I wrote this story on March 12, 2012. I think it’s fun to bring it back once in a while to help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Tomorrow is the big day, better get to the store to buy corn beef, cabbage and tortillas.
Quill Shiv has a new Haiku writing prompt… A photo of Saint Patrick.
Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos… In 1986, back in my Restaurant Days, I went to work for Jerry Franco. Jerry was a bit of a culinary impresario on the Sacramento restaurant scene. He had just reopened the Town House on 21st Street, down the block from The Sacramento Bee newspaper. The Town House had been a Mexican Food tradition and had been sitting empty for a few years after the owner retired. Franco had opened in a blaze of glory, courting the news hounds and the denizens of California State Government. Having just left a job managing The Fabulous Fifties Cafe, I was ready to mingle with and serve adults. So I went to work for Jerry as a waiter/bartender/manager.
It was a fun place to work, and we did some crazy promotions to try to make the Town House a success. Big lunch business, big after-work bar business. He kept a few Mexican items on the menu, along with the ‘Upscale Designer’ dishes he came up with. Each Happy Hour, we featured a Taco Bar, where the patrons could make their own tacos, to wash down with their Martinis and G & T’s. For me, that taco bar was a pain in the ass, since I had to leave the bar and run back to the kitchen to replenish the supplies. But the tips were pretty good as long as the food held out.
Saint Patrick’s Day was coming up, and the Town House, along with every other bar and restaurant in Sacramento… no, in the United States… was looking for ways to make some money off one of our more important Drinking Holidays. I had the bright idea to put corned beef and cabbage on our Taco Bar for the day. Jerry agreed that it was a brilliant idea, and gave me full credit, in case it bombed. Getting free publicity was not too difficult since we always made sure to ‘take good care of’ certain writers from up the street. Low and behold, we saw some nice mentions in the gossip and the What’s Going On In Town sections of the Bee the day before, and our Happy Hour was packed that St. Paddy’s Day. In fact, two guys drove down from Hangtown at lunchtime to try the CB&C Tacos. I had to plead with the cook to make some for them. At Happy Hour, the idea was well received, lots of new people came in, and best of all… Mr. Franco even stuck around to help stock the Taco Bar.
So, when I saw the photo prompt for this week’s Haiku… for some reason, I thought of those Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos, and my days working at the Town House.
About four months later, I left for the neon restaurant lights of Chicago. I later heard that the Town House had closed and that Franco was the chef at a seafood joint in Cape Cod. Last time I was in SacTown, it was a gay bar.