Jamie . Neil . Jenna . Colin . Ashley . Jason. .
Owner & Manager
Jamie Dunn, a.k.a. Mike Messerschmidt, is by far, and by complete and unhesitating consensus, the absolute weirdest boss any of us have ever had. First of all, he wears shiny, gold-colored shoes. And silver ones, too, sometimes. He’s a perfectionist who’s clean-cut and whose clothing style ranges from fashionable to a bit gaudy. His go-to facial expression is one of dry sarcasm and judgmental disgust. And he kind of walks around like he’s attracted to himself, and he likes Madonna and Britney Spears, not to mention Farrah Fawcett, his absolute fave. He has an amazing collection of kitschy memorabilia, hates Thanksgiving (issues!), and is a complete hedonist who is only saved from the tyranny of physical pleasure by the fact that he’s obsessed with the way he looks.
The guy is strange, off, not on the same page. He doesn’t socialize in the same way that the rest of us do. He often responds to questions that are actually important and sometimes urgent with “Bleep, bloop, blop. I am an interstellar robot,” or, “Does not compute.” But he does it in a robot voice. For the last 6 months he’s been into this name-calling thing. So, if one of us asks what time it is, he’ll say, “YOU’re a ‘what time is it’.” Or if a couple of us are talking about the espresso machine he’ll just butt in and say, “YOU’re an espresso machine.” He does it ALL THE TIME.
But mostly he just sits in the back corner of the bar doing God-knows-what on his computer, all hunched over and moody looking, avoiding and being avoided, while all of us try to work as little as possible. Sometimes he’ll get up to see if there’s any left-over chocolate cake in the kitchen window or to check the night’s sales, and every once in a while you can catch him wistfully glancing up at the space behind the curtains above the front door where his favorite, very old Flat Eric puppet was stolen from. Again: weird.
The unfortunate reality is that being a weirdo is not without its hardships, and it is rarely easy. Opening his first restaurant, The Pepper Lounge, in Chicago at the age of 24 was not an easy task for Jamie, we are sure. Garnering the inclusion of his second restaurant, Technicolor Kitchen, into the Chicago Tribune’s ‘Ten Best New Restaurants’ was certainly not effortless. Neither was doing all the designing and almost all of the build-out for The Gilt Club by himself a simple or painless thing. We can also mention the following-- Earning his certification as a level 3 snowboarding instructor: difficult. Maintaining Genius Bar level proficiency on a Macintosh: time-consuming. Being a 13-year-old fat girl trapped in the body of a 39-year-old man: arduous. Holding on to his Pez collection long enough to eventually sell the whole thing in order to make a down payment on a house: trying. Being really, really, really, really, really good-looking: burdensome.
And we don’t know if it’s his android programming or not, but the guy’s pretty honest, and at least seems like he attempts to be fair. Don’t misunderstand, J.D. regularly tries and succeeds at being a completely insulting jerk, but overall he’s actually (dare I say it?) a good boss. And that in itself is unusual. For every finger he slowly drives into your most deep-seated emotional wounds like the sadistic deviant he is, you know he either has or will put a sincere effort towards doing what he can for you when you need it. As much as he may gloat and prance and yell “In yer face!” whenever he gets the chance, you know when he says, “My pleasure,” he means it.
You, the customer, of course, will never see most of these characteristics I’ve just described in any of your interactions with Mr. Dunn. You will only ever encounter a perfectly polite, charmingly handsome, Italian-Irish-American from Michigan who is more than happy to oblige your every whim. But be warned: as much as he may act like he’s on track with what’s going on around him, you must remember that he is a very sexually confused robot from outer space, whose immediate gut reactions and compulsions are no different than those of a pre-pubescent who suffers from body-dysmorphic disorder. Knowing is half the battle, but be on your guard, and if you feel like something bad is about to happen, just acknowledge his superiority and give him sugar. We don’t know why it works, but it does, and that’s all we have to go on right now.
“It took Jamie a year and a half to acknowledge that I’m not a complete moron.”
“I hope he catches fire!”
“He just makes everything look so effortless... mostly because he’s not really doing anything.”
“Ya, most people I know put an effort towards NOT making others feel uncomfortable. Jamie, not so much.”
“Owning a restaurant sure must take it outta ya, ‘cause the guy is constantly eating.”
Here since 2006, almost the begining, Neil has done his time under the two previous Executive Chefs. Now it's his turn. More to come soon....
So this blonde Polish girl walks into a bar….. No wait, that’s not how it goes. What do you call a bubbly blonde bartender who constantly has a smile on her face? No that’s not it either. Give us a minute and we’ll remember the joke.
Meanwhile I think we’re supposed to say something about Jenna Wazny. I have to be honest…… We’re kinda afraid of her. Not for any specific reason, but we just can’t help shake the feeling that given the right circumstances ANYONE would be afraid of her. Let me give you an example. First, she’s always happy and pleasant to be around. Seriously! It’s almost unnaturally so. Believe us when we say its eerie. It’s kinda like she knows something bad about you that you don’t know, but she’s not going to tell you. And it’s not like she does or says anything to make you feel that way. It’s something deeper. You can only see it if you look really, really deep into her eyes. Her words, her body language and her disposition all say “I love you!” but if you look really close her eyes give her away. I think I even saw a reptilian like second set of eyelids blink once! It’s almost like there’s something anomalous about her.
Anyway. So in order to describe her we have to start with her childhood. We think Jenna grew up on a fringe-group-religious-sect compound in Utah. The signs are unmistakable. She’s always talking about one of 300 different family members, always needing time off for “reunions at the family camp” and it’s obvious even to the layman that she compensates for a chaotic upbringing surrounded by dissidence and clutter with her elaborate hairstyles. Seriously, we can just imagine her Jan Brady like hair routine every night (1000 strokes both sides) with her sitting in front of a mirror braiding her hair in any of a dozen complicated styles. Ever just so. With every single little hair in exactly just the right spot. With not even a single bad, bad, very bad hair out of place. Everything neat and orderly. Just the way Mama Jenna wants it. And then there’s the fact that she’s traveled all over the world “on a boat” for “a class”. Yeah right, was class was that? “How to convert savages to the ways of your cult 101?”
Oh wait! That’s how it goes! A guy walks into a bar with his dog. And the bartender says ”We don’t allow dogs in this bar.” And the guy says ”But sir, my dog is a smart dog it can talk!” The bartender isn’t impressed but gives him a shot anyway. So the man asks his dog ”What grows on a tree?” and the dog reply’s ”Bark, Bark.” Then the guy asks ”What’s above a house?” and the dog says “Roof, Roof.” Then for the final time the guy asks “What’s the opposite of smooth?” and the dog reply’s “Rough, Rough!” Unmoved the bartender throws them out of the bar. The dog then turns to his owner and asks ”Which one did I get wrong?”
Remember when you were 7 and that really cute puppy followed you home? And your parents were like “Oh no, no way. Not gonna happen. You couldn’t even keep that goldfish alive that you won at the fair.” And you were like “PUH-leeeeze! I promise I’ll walk him every day!” And they wouldn’t budge. And then after you stomped around and cried and lay on the ground and pounded your feet and fists they finally gave in and let you keep it. And then after about a week or so your mom had to do everything with the dog cause you completely stopped?
Remember how when you went to school you’d say goodbye to your dog and promptly forget all about him until you got home and he was still sitting in the same exact spot just waiting for you to get home because YOU were that dog’s world! And while you were at school eating jello and pizza on Fridays and worrying about the color of your trapper keeper that dog was just counting the minutes until you returned. (Well, trying to count anyway.) And all that dog wanted to do was make you happy. As far as that dog is concerned, you are the only person at his bar and he LIVES to make sure you are happy and satisfied!
And remember how you would try and try to teach that dog things? Like the names of all four of the Beatles. And no matter how many times you told him the answer over and over he just wouldn’t remember it. And then finally you just gave up and decided you didn’t really care if he knew the answer or not because he was smart enough at other stuff.
And remember how you’d be playing with the dog, having a good old time and then suddenly another dog would walk by and your dog would forget all about you and be all distracted because someone mentioned snowboarding or motorcycles or girls or something?
And remember how when you were in a bad mood and you yelled at that dog it never once held a grudge and never stopped loving you any less? And how in that dogs eyes you could do no wrong? And that dog only saw you as the best person you can possibly be?
And remember when your first love dumped you and you felt like the world was ending and how that dog never left your side and he licked the very tears off your face and was always there for you? And how as the years went by that dog grew from a scrappy little puppy with the best of intentions into the master bartender that made the drink that saved your life when little Timmy fell down the well?
Fishes, Techy and impossibly polite. Stay tuned
Just because they don't work here anymore doesn't make them any less interesting to read.
Becca Paisely knows an inside joke about life that you don’t.
I know it’s a bold statement but it’s true. Every word she says, heck I’d even bet every thought, is a well-crafted and ingenious reference to a secret that no one else is on to. I’ll give you an example. When you say “hello” to her she ALWAYS responds with an impossibly chipper retort. Frequently it’s just your first name with “er” added to the end, but it’s always got this invisible pink cloud surrounding it. Kinda like she was just having this conversation with a narwhal and a pixie about how “if instead of calling you “Tom” wouldn’t it be just hilarious to call you “Tom-ers,” and wouldn’t that just be a bustle in your hedgerow?”
And then there’s the way she always projects this unbelievably happy, fulfilled, confident exterior. It’s not unusual to ask “Geez Becca what are you so happy about?” and in reply get a response much like, “Oh not much, my house burnt down, I got a flat tire on my to way work and someone spilled bleach on my pants but look at this leaf I found! Doesn’t it remind you of a kitten? MEOW!”
And quiet frankly, we simply want to be like her. I mean, little girls want to be like her, little boys want to be with her, and even mothers somehow alter their physique just to be a little closer to what Becca represents. You know that “fashion” website the thesartorialist.com? That’s right, so does she. And whenever you ask her where that super cute outfit she has on came from she always replies with some ridiculous answer like “goodwill” or “saks.” Uh-huh. It can’t be true though. Some of us speculate that she has a magic wardrobe that takes her to a land of lions, witches and sample sales.
And just to prove our point that she knows some secret cosmic joke, there’s the way that she knows the lyrics to every single pop song ever written. Seriously! Try her. It’s amazing! Just walk up to her and state;
“I was like good gracious, ass bodacious.” And she’ll quip right back,
“Flirtatious, tryin' to show patience.”
And then you’ll try to throw her for a loop and say:
“If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends” and she’ll bust out
“make it last forever, friendship never ends.”
“My loneliness is killin me”….?
“I must confess I still believe!”
and since we don't wanna be her fool in this game for two,
So shes leavin' you behind
“Bye, bye, bye...”
I’m not really sure what to write about Allegra… Usually it’s pretty easy for me to write these bio’s and just backhandedly compliment people with copious amounts of sarcasm. Not so much with Allegra. I’m not exactly sure why. I think mainly it’s because Allegra is like a precious young bird, just learning to spread it’s wing and fly. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not like she’s completely unworldly. Even though she’s like 22 years old she still knows way more than you do. It’s more like she’s at this level of emotional development where she’s just old enough to “know things,” but still young enough to not be completely bitter about them yet or even have a developed enough sense of self-esteem to demand them. I’ll give you an example. She always comes to work practically skipping through the door, does a really good job, doesn’t complain and on top of it has a great attitude! Then when you try to chip away at her armor by pointing out that it really isn’t “that great a day,” or happily point out when she does something wrong, she just takes it. I mean you can see her try to process the adversity, sometimes you can even see her start to get a little mad but then this blissful ignorance of youth comes over her like a wave and you can see her self-doubt plain as day on her face and practically read her thoughts through her eyes, “Is this really happening to me? I feel like I should be assertive but I’m not quite sure how!” Then quick as it comes she swallows it down and poof, just as happy as a can be again! At first this was really disconcerting, just waiting for that inevitable meltdown that makes fukushima look like a microwave oven, but it hasn’t happened. She just packs that stuff away and keeps on skipping down the street. It’s like the 6 layers of clothing she always wears are adding to the thickness of her skin. Maybe she knows something we don’t, or maybe she just doesn’t know yet. Either way it works for her.
Whether it’s “I’m a nerd-bomb exploding into a million pieces!”, “Shut your face, I hope you catch fire,” or just a quick, little wiggle under her nose with the Dirty Sanchez tattoo she has on the side of her index finger, Tracy Apple always has something interesting to bring to the table.
Her ability to talk about any subject as if she has been doing intensive research on it for days on end has both convinced and confused us all, especially when she actually has been doing intensive research on that subject for days on end. A connoisseur of wine, food, and liquor, Tracy is not afraid to take her work home with her, or to get so drunk she can’t see, or to eat so fast she throws up. Often trapped all day in her fourth-story apartment by her undergrad studies in English and French (PSU), or simply by her insatiable curiosity [yes, that’s code], she rarely lacks the energy to tell you everything you didn’t actually care to know about her new favorite wine or tequila, the phonology of Old English, or where LSD was invented and how it effectively redefined how we think about our culture and our selves.
The first girl to have a cocktail named after her that involves mainly cucumber; the only girl we know who has no observable control over her bodily functions; literally a nerd-bomb exploding, yet ever so slowly as to not be so dramatic or noticeable: Tracy Apple.
We don’t think of Joe Turner as a bartender. We don’t think of him as a really tall guy who doesn’t like tomatoes. And We don’t even think of him as an up-and-coming Portland music star or a talented mixologist. But although Joe Turner is all of these things and more, we think of him as a man who cares.
Because whether it’s keeping you abreast of the progress he’s making with his music project, Very International Love, or impressing you with his knowledge of amps and guitars and other musician-type gadgety thingys, or maybe taking off for China to play music and coming back a month later to tell you he just partied in L.A. the whole time, Joe Turner is a guy who you know cares about you. You can tell by the way he nods his head and doesn’t look at you and says, “ya. ya... yup,” when you’re telling him a story most people would find pretty boring, but still keeps on working as if completely undistracted. You can tell when you order a drink and he starts joking around like he’s crazy and keeps pulling out different bottles off the shelf and putting them back and then tells you they’re all filled with water and shrugs his shoulders like he’s really sorry (so funny!). You can even tell when he’s not there, but you wish he were because you simply miss his presence, and also because you’re really thirsty now.
Ya, Joe Turner is alot of things, but at the end of the day we know he is one bartender who’s focused on making original cocktails that will not only make you happy, but will only add, and never take away from, how impressed you are with the man that Joe Turner is: really tall, doesn’t like tomatoes, cares.
This is Kelly. She’s our part-timer right now. Works Mondays and Tuesdays. Oh, and she’s a lawyer—sort of. Well, c’mon, when you think of a LAWYER you think of a steely-eyed, grim-faced, commanding human being who wouldn’t shy away from putting their own mother on the gangplank to win a case, right? So, Kelly’s as much of a ‘lawyer’ as a person can be who’s 5’6” with a thousand cute, little freckles on her face and who smiles all the time and bobs around the restaurant like Boo Boo out for a sumptuous picnic with Yogi Bear. And, come on, would a LAWYER tilt their head, snap their fingers, stick out a hip, point at you a say “Yo, what’s up?”? Right? OK, maybe a LAWYER would say “yo, what’s up”, but the hip thing?
So, for now, as far as we’re concerned, Kelly’s not a real lawyer. The mismatch of stereotypes is something we don’t understand, and the task of reading about what a ‘public interest lawyer’ does simply doesn’t appeal to any of us, except maybe Tracy.
Sooner or later we’ll find out what she really is when she’s not slinging burrata and sorrel ice cream, but until then we’re gonna keep on treating her like the backpacking, bike-riding, organic gardening, yoga-practicing, WTO protesting, Burning Man-burning, world-travelling, sensible shoe-wearing, Dartmouth graduate we know she really is. And if she ever makes a completely transparent attempt to commiserate with you about the hardships of navigating through the details of ‘environmental law’, just do what we do: give her a pat on the shoulder and a little wink. ‘Environmental Law’. Like that even exists.
If Allison Webber looks at you up and down with one raised eyebrow like she's judging whether you're cool enough to be in her presence, she's covering. If she leans a lazy arm over her bar and pulls a snotty face and says something like, "What's your damage?", she's also covering. And if she puts her hands on her hips and aggressively yells at you: "What?!", you know she's definitely covering. Because she can't remember what you just said, or what just happened, or what she's supposed to do. Because Allison is totally ADD. She's one half of our bar staff here at Gilt, and she's a classic case of the type of person who loses focus, struggles with multi-tasking, and forgets what she's doing. We know it doesn't make sense, but this is the reality.
So, don't be fooled by her bitchy, put-out exterior. She actually wants to give you good service, to anticipate your every move, to satiate your every thirst, to make your Gilt experience all it should be. But just try not to distract her too much. Avoid asking her too many questions in a row. Don't insist on carrying on a conversation with her about the same thing for longer than a couple minutes. Only order one thing at a time, and never, never bring up anything that could be seen as even remotely related to these few subjects: sailing, travelling, camping, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Mexico, good scotch, ducks, Scotland, England, spelling, Germany, France, movies, Italy, cats, Austria, her weekend, Oregon, the history of Oregon, Oregonianism, Washington, New York, sailing, horses, rabbits, chickens, South Carolina, The South, southern food, sailing, Idaho, breaking bones, bedtime stories, ponies, pigs, going to state in 4H (barrels, keyhole, and figure 8), time capsules, high school, her dog and cat, apartments for rent, love, sailing, David Sedaris' books, David Sedaris signing her book "To Foxzilla", David Sedaris in general, drinks, food, hopes and dreams, or her naturally curly hair.
Other than these, you can talk to her about anything. Otherwise, you will unwittingly render her useless, except for the occasional drink she might make, which she will deliver with a dramatic sweep of her hands and a "Huzzah!", which is always quite appropriate, seeing as how you waited so long for it.
So don't get Allison the wrong way. That feisty front is merely her way of coping with a total lack of qualities which normally assist bartenders in remembering what they're doing and working efficiently in a fast-paced environment. Underneath that snarky, annoyed face is really just a big dork with a good heart, who just wants to know what to do next. So, don't take offense at her snide comments, just play along with it and try to help her keep on target.
Oh, and she WILL come round to the other side of the bar to help you with your crossword while drink tickets pile up on her rail. So, no crossword puzzles allowed, either. "Them's the rules," as Allison herself might say.
"Kate is great." That's what everyone said when Kate started here at Gilt, and they still do. "Kate? Oh, Kate's great. We love Kate." It's true. But one sometimes wonders if the phrase "Kate is great" could be used to describe not only her, but also her opinion of everything. "Oh, wonderful," "Oh, that's brilliant," and "Oh, perfect, ya, um, that's marvelous," are phrases you will often hear from her. And one must also wonder if sometimes when she says, "Oh, that's just, that's just sexy, that's just really, it's really intellingent is what it is," when she's talking about a glass of lemon wedges or a clean rack of silverware- one must wonder if the meaning of her words is the same inside her mind as it is in everyone else's minds. One must wonder if she's being a little over-affirming, just slightly passive-aggressive, when she says it's "wonderful" that you don't have change for a ten, or "brilliant" when we run out of bibb lettuce. One time she even called a plate of crostini "cute" as one of us walked by with it into the dining room.
The thing about it, though, is that Kate is great. All of her overly-positive comments aside, she actually is wonderful and brilliant, and she has a B.A. in Documentary Film-making to prove it, among many other unofficial credentials, including a background in pilates instruction, dream analysis, and a serious interest towards post-graduate studies in Jungian psychology. And sometimes, if you're lucky, her passive-aggressiveness and her brilliance will cross streams and right in the middle of a sentence with words like "commodify" and "aristotelian", she'll just up and forget how to talk altogether. That's right- she'll forget how English works. An absolutely gorgeous, 5'11", half Japanese/half German, educated server in a vintage dress struggling to form a sentence? Now, that's just marvellous, and way cuter than a any plate of crostini.
Ok, Mike Doherty, Mike Doherty, Michael, Michael, something about Mike Doherty that isn’t racially insensitive to the Irish people and is still interesting or entertaining enough to be note-worthy, let’s see… well, that’s easy, there’s lots of things.
One of those things: his stealthiness as a sex symbol. Ya, that’s right. Sex. Symbol. But Stealthy. Now, it’s not common for sex symbols to go unnoticed as such, but Michael Doherty’s game is one that must be well-played or not played at all. It takes time to grasp, to wrap one’s head round, but once you understand that it is his very UN-ladykiller-like façade that makes him so deadly, you suddenly (and it happens suddenly, this realization) find yourself in awe as at any other really good piece of art. And it IS an art— Michael Doherty would have it no less.
For women are Art to Michael Doherty, and a species whose craftiness begs the craft of a man who, for lack of a better way to put it, dates way above his class, all the time. Don’t get us wrong, folks, these are his words. And proud words, spoken with an affable Irish gusto that invariably makes him look the better man. He’s a warlock, this one, a devilish leprechaun.
There are charms a ‘plenty up this one’s sleeve, and best you believe us, because he’s got every single one of us here at Gilt right where he wants us: Up that damned, charmy sleeve. Non-threatening but clever, nerdy but not uptight, humble yet quite confident, only slightly above-average height and looks but WOW, what a wardrobe! To be sure, if every employee at Gilt Club were a woman, he definitely would have had sex with us all by now. In a sort of corporate, restaurant group way, of course.
Where were we? Ah, yes, Michael Doherty. So, one day the ol’ Mick pops into the wait station with this: “Member that scene in High Fidelity where John Cusack’s character is talking about his Top Five Break-Ups and he says that Catherine Zeta Jones was out of his class? Ya, well, eff that. I say, eff not dating out of your class. I date out of my class all the time. And I do it well,” and on “well” he gives us a triple eyebrow raise and a toothy grin.
So, there you have it. And that’s just one out of many partially racially sensitive things we can say about Mike D. Moral of the story is: Don’t Smoke Crack. And: Be Careful, Ladies. ‘Cause the Doherty is in full-mothereffen’-effizzeck. If you don’t believe me, just note the contents of #1 on M.D.’s list of four to five cure-alls that exist on planet earth:
“I’ve distilled my philosophy down to there being about 4-5 cure-alls that exist on planet earth. Number one is A Good Shag. [Agreed] Number two: Steak & Eggs. [Oh, ya.] Number three, and this might just be for me, is A New Suit. [um, OK] Number four: (pause) Jumping Jacks! [Right, right, but, like how many, though?] Oh, until you feel better. It’s a cure-all, so it’s until you feel better. [OK] And number five: Oh, can I can get a drum roll? Drum roll, anybody? [Budda-budda-budda-budda…] A Nap. [Wow.] Ya, that’s my repertoire of top four, or five, cure-alls that exist on earth.”
Joshua Favale is pretty much your regular kinda guy. If he’s not dropping his keys down the drain in the parking lot of Fred Meyer, rear-ending parked cars on his single-speed bicycle at four in the morning, or alienating his friends and family by drinking way too much bourbon on the last night of camping and running half-naked through the woods for hours because he believes that nobody loves him, you can be pretty sure he’s probably relaxing at home with three or four books in front of him, the content of which having nothing at all to do with what he’s daydreaming about while staring off into space.
Currently working on his undergraduate degree in Applied Linguistics at PSU, Joshua loves the weekends, because that’s when he gets to shed the burdensome costume of academia and scholarly correctness and just let loose, laugh at his own stupid jokes, and shake those those crazy martinis.
We're not sure, but we think Aimee Bertani was living out of a storage unit for the first month that she worked here. She's got this really unassuming air about her, and she's from Salem, OR, or some place like that. So it's kinda weird when she mentions strange facts about herself: she used to train with a professional body-builder; her sister's a doctor; the people at the storage unit where she lived were really nice and so the 'no shower' thing didn't bother her so much; she might have a trust from some grandparent somewhere.
Definitely a strange one, this Bertani. If you yell her name really loud, "Bertani!", like you're going to boss her around, she'll look up at you with this really innocent, surprised and slightly worried look on her face and say, "Ya?" But then if you say, "Oh, nothing. I just wanted to yell your name and see that cute, helpful look on your face," she'll light up and smile the hugest, dorkiest smile you've ever seen and cloud the air with a super-geek laugh that only makes a sound when she breathes in. You know the one. "Huuuuuh-huhhhhh-huh. Huuuuuuuhh! –huuuh-huh. Oh, God, that's funny."
Ya, that IS funny, Bertani. But only when you do it. ………
And she's more accomadating than Mother theresa! Seriously. Sit at her bar and ask for a drink and suddenly this north dakotan accent from who knows where comes out. "You betcha! I'll get it right away." Ask to borrow her car? "uh huh uh huh of course!" Tell her you need her to come over and paint your kitchen? "I'd be HAPPY to!" She'll chirp with a smile. We can't figure out if she's so nice because she's too young to have been jaded and bitter against the world yet or if it's the knowledge that secretly she's a spoiled rich kid just trying out this "working for a living" thing and realy doesn't need this job anyway.
If you were to attempt a translation of the name 'Pedinotti' into English in order to derive some sort of meaning from the it (which is a ridiculous thing to do with most names, but fun), it would probably come out something like 'NightFeet', or 'NightWalker' or something about going on foot combined with something about the night. And none of these "translations" would be far from describing the truth of the character of Elizabeth.
Because from the day she walked into Gilt she has been sneaking around like some kind of psych-ninja, stealthily creeping through the darkness of our thoughts and affecting the minds of all she meets, whether wittingly or unwittingly. Of course, you don't notice her doing any of this, which is the main reason she is so good at it. When you meet her she immediately strikes you as unwarrantingly humble. What I mean by this is that you can tell there are a million genius thoughts running around in her head, but that she's just a bit too sagacious to let on to any of them- at least not right away. It's also quite obvious that she's incredibly perceptive, almost right away. But most of all, she is, without any pretense or affectation at all, completely charming and immediately real.
And then she hits you! It starts with mentioning the teaching she did in California, which sounds normal enough, until you fish out of her (and she makes you dig for it) that it was at a talented and gifted school that was extremely progressive and artsy and some other stuff that sounds absolutely badass. Then, while giving you a compliment about something, she mentions that whatever awesome attribute of yours she's just mentioned reminds her of some photos she was taking the other day. So, then you say, "Oh, you like photography?" like an idiot, and she says something like, "Ya, I like taking photos," which is a huge understatement, and then you go, "That's cool. You should show me some of them sometime," like a moron, and so she says (so nonchalantly as to make it seem like she's asking you to pass the salt), "Well, you can see a bunch of 'em on my website," and then you're like, "Website?" And she's like, "Ya. It's just my name dot com." "Your name?" you say. "Ya," and she writes the last little bit in the air while she says, "dot com."
Then you look at her website. Then you read her resume. Then she has you over to her house for lunch and involves you in a project she's working on. And then you realize you just got 'night-footed'. E.P. now seems like the coolest person you ever met. And that's how she gets you. She gets every one, somehow. One way or another.
She even got me, the guy who writes all these silly bios for this website, to fall in love with her, or at least she got everyone here to believe I've fallen in love with her. Truth is, I don't even have a crush on her, though that was the original rumor. The ACTUAL situation between me and Elizabeth is that I want to BE Elizabeth. When I see her greet a table with that gracious smile that could either tame toddlers or enrage an Ajax, I don't want to kiss her mouth, I just wish I had it. Wish I could smile like that. I'm not IN LOVE with her beautiful, thick, black, W.O.P.ed-out hair; I just wish I could have hair like that. I also wish I could wear boots like she does, charm the pants off anybody she meets like she does, produce art like she does, and even taunt, tease, and make fun of me while getting clean away with it like she does.
She's brilliant, yes. But that doesn't mean I wanna marry her, k guys? Just wish I WAS her. But I can't be. Because she's a girl. And I'm… well, I'm a guy (mostly). Not to mention the fact that it's logically impossible, according to Aristotle, for one person TO BE, in any way, shape or form, another person.
To see what the world looks like from the perspective of a artistic genius go to http://www.elizabethpedinotti.com/
What’s better than being a small fish in a big pond? Being the stick of dynamite that blows them all out of the water, that's what! Ladies and gentlemen of the Motion Picture Academy of America we present to you the greatest contemporary actress of our time; that you’ve never heard of. (That’s just how good she is.)
Her distinguished career has included such critically acclaimed roles as “stint as an artist's model,” various “interesting” characters on haunted hay rides, and playing a clown, barbie, belle and cinderella at children's parties. (Although not all at the same time.) The pinnacle however was a "major" theatrical performance as “Violet” in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the renowned Helmetta, New Jersey auditorium. (Stick of gum anyone?)
Fed up with the slipshod rinky-dink theater scene in NYC Christina Markowski decided to make it big on the west coast. Or, at least that's what she’d like you to believe. Christina would like you to think that she’s just your average Jersey girl, Brooklyn transplant, reese’s peanut butter cup addicted, Star Trek nerd. But we know better. You see, “Christina Markowski” is actually in the role of her life. The pretty twenty-something waitress who takes too many tables, and is always moving just a little faster than everyone else to catch up, is actually Mrs. Krystinah Markowski a soviet era eastern bloc communist defector.
Wait! We know it seems unlikely that an octogenarian could play the role of a chipper young woman so convincingly but it really is just a testament to her acting abilities. When you come in you may think you see your average saxophone blowing, bikram yoga enthusiast, but we’re on to her. You see, because sometimes in the dim light of the wait-station, out of the corner of our eye, we swear we can see the shape of a hunched over, pigeon toed, world weary form of a former Slavic peasant farmer who ran from the post war soviet occupation. And if you don’t believe us, put on a babushka, hang out by the kitchen window and listen for the dulcet tones of her brethren to call for her……. “KRYSTINAHHHHH!!!!!”
Jeanne Ralston……. Jeanne Ralston. You know, if you say it enough times it sorta sounds like a pack of smokes. “Uh yeah, I need $15 on pump #3, a teriyaki beef stick and give me a pack of those Jeanne Ralston’s please. No not those, the one’s with the filter tips. Thanks.” We wish we could tell you more about Jeanne Ralston but none of us really know anything about her. She’s kinda like the Gilt Club house elf. You know, always around, doing amazing things but never seen.
She’s also the quintessential Portland server. She never works. Well, that's not entirely true. She does come in one night a week sometimes, but only if she’s not body surfing concrete steps. And she’s a card carrying, burlap wearing, mother jones receiving, non meat-eating member of the hippie party. Or would be if the hippies could get organized enough to have a political party. And she really doesn’t wear burlap that we can tell. Although she refuses to buy leather goods. Unless they are second hand. (Gotta love her stead fast devotion to the cause!) And we don’t know if she gets Mother jones. Do they still make that catalogue? But we DO know she doesn’t eat meat. Or any animal products for that matter. Therefore we have a hard time talking to her. You know how the conversation goes. “So Jeanne, what’s your favorite way to eat bacon?....What do you mean you don’t eat bacon?....Uh, ok. So do you eat sausage instead?.....Wait. What do you mean you don’t eat meat? Does that mean you only eat chicken then? “
So eventually we’ll get to know her. It should only take another year or two. Unless she starts eating food and we can break bread. Meanwhile we’ll just keep lightin’ up Jeanne Ralston’s and wondering who that girl is that keeps the wait-station so clean.
We think that we have discovered Nick's secret super power.
You see Nick Hays tends to stand a little too close to you. Not offensively in your face close. Only about an inch or so inside your personal space. Enough that you don't so much as realize that this guy is a little closer than he should be, but rather feel like something unusual is happening. It's just enough to make your spidey senses tingle. Just enough to make you wonder why your interaction with him just feels different.
When you meet most non-super powered "citizens" you have a tendency to notice certain things. For example, normally when you see an immaculately groomed, well-dressed, thin man with blonde highlights, earrings and a coifed beard your mind tends to go places. "Hmm", you might think, "Should I try to set him up with my sister? Or, perhaps my brother?" This is Portland Oregon after all, and to quote the Willamette Week, "most 'men' here—though many look more like overgrown boys who struggle to grow their ironic mustaches —are mopey, scrawny hipsters who spend more time on their hair than their girlfriends do."
But you don't think these things about Nick Hays. We think it's because he's just a tad to far in that region surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs.
You might be off put by a "Normal" person when you notice the 10,000 mile vacant stare in their eyes. Your first instinct might be to ask "if they are holding." (A drug reference used amongst chronic marijuana smokers to illicit greater quantities of the contraband.) But with Nick somehow the lack of blinking only serves to calm your unease as you fail to notice he is within that 2 sq ft. buffer zone.
Maybe we are wrong. Maybe Nick only feels like he is closer than he actually is because he cares so much about your experience here at Gilt Club. Maybe it's actually his care and diligence that we aren't used to. The genuinely untarnished and not yet bittered desire to truly offer each and every guest the most amazing experience they have ever had. Maybe it's actually an extraordinary gift, a super power if you will, that allows him to truly empathize with his customers in a way that, to us, just feels like he is larger than life.
Or maybe Nick smokes way too much pot.
Brian Wynn is the Bud Abbott of the Gilt Club.
Or maybe the Steven Wright. Either way he’s definitely the straight man in the comedic duo of table service around here. While the rest of us are playing Lou Costellos or Sam Kinisons and just trying to figure out “who’s on first” or who’s just closing tonight, Brian is standing quietly in the corner wiping menu’s. And thank god! If it wasn’t for him our menu’s might be so dirty you probably wouldn’t be able to read them. And while the other servers around here will dazzle you with their larger than life personalities, one hit wonder style lyrics and Kardashian-esque weddings, Brian just comes and goes once or twice a week and wipes down the menus. You’d almost not notice he was here if it wasn’t for the exceptional service he provides, that and the foundation from which to tell a really, really funny story.