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Maintaining The Gardens

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If there was a way to describe the prep that goes into tending to the gardens, I would say it’s carefully maintained chaos. The day for me starts as early as 4am, and usually doesn’t end until far past midnight. From the fresh deliveries at the start of every storm, to maintaining proper records of our sales and cost and even further beyond that to make sure we are providing the best possible service to our customers there isn’t really much time to slow down and stop on some days.

The day begins with the delivery from Zimports of our fresh Alaskan King Crab and Salmon we use for our two latest signature dishes. While Josh doesn’t come deliver it personally, I would like to say I’ve grown close with his workers who do. The crab comes to us straight from the ocean, only out of the water for a max of two hours before we start to prepare it for the shift.  The crabs are killed in the most humane way possible, and prepared one by one for the shift depending on how busy we are expected to get. Each crab can take anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes depending on the size, and while those are being prepped Sarena will usually work on slicing the cucumbers and preparing the salmon pinwheels.

Serena Chaise is honestly a godsend. From her first day here she has been a complete joy to work with, and quickly moved her way up to the manager position. Even now as a lawyer, she still makes time to come by and help me prep every morning. Her signatures in the restaurant are the smoked salmon pinwheels and the Marigold Mimosas. The salmon we use is wild-caught pacific salmon, since I don’t personally support farmed salmon due to the environmental damage they can cause. The cream cheese is provided to us by farmers up north in the grapeseed area, the chives and wraps come to us from a small market down in Little Seoul. She prepares all the salmon herself along with slicing the cucumbers before the shift starts for the Alaskan King Crab.

Once the crab is prepped and ready we put it on ice in the freezer and serve it as customers order it. We put an entire crab per dish, wasting none of it whatsoever so our customers get what they pay for. The bowl itself is kept cool in a separate cabinet under the bar, and we place the first layer of crab at the bottom before we place thinly sliced cucumbers over it, and then follow it up with another helping of crab, some edible flowers and an egg. The egg is prepared in a very traditional way by soaking it in a blend of soy sauce and other ingredients for up to 24 hours before we serve it. Once the crab is set to rest, Serena and myself will wrap the pinwheels carefully to serve them as customers order all while making sure we keep things as close to fresh as possible.

For dishes like the Bacon Egg and Cheese on a bagel it’s a lot less prep, we can just make those as customers order them on the spot. Dani is our expert bagel maker and is usually the one to prepare them for customers, along with making the rose lemonade in batches. They are squeezed fresh every morning, and topped off with a specific amount of infused rose petals and left to rest. We usually have two to three batches infusing and cooling as time goes so we always have more ready for days ahead of time. Once it’s ready we stash them in mason jars and serve them with a copper straw to cut down on environmental waste and keep the drink cool all the way through.  Dani is the “Best Employee” according to more than a few people, and while she can be a bit brash, she’s a phenomenal worker and always gives more than 100% to make sure the shop is looked after at all times.

After the intense prep is done, we usually have a much easier time preparing the Kobe and Whiskey Steak. Those get delivered to us from Whiskey Business up in Grapeseed. The cows are all free range and grass fed, taken care of meticulously by Olivia Moore and her staff. They are prepared and butchered before they reach our door, meaning all we really need to do is final inspection of the product before we store it and cook it up on a small grill kept under the counter as customers order it. From Whiskey Business we also receive our Senbazuru Blend, Celebration Whiskey and the double oaked straight bourbon we use in our signature drink, The Del Perro Sunrise. The Del Perro Sunrise’s are mixed by Christie Budsworth and I. It’s a simple recipe, but a lot of what gives it flavor is that special ingredient we call time. The porthole glasses are prepared first by peeling oranges, and using those peels to line the glass. Next, we layer hibiscus flowers on top, followed by the fresh mint leaves. Once it’s all settled, we lock the porthole tight before using a small funnel to pour the double oaked bourbon and Amontillado Sherry into the glass. The Amontillado is provided to us through Zimports, and usually delivered around mid-day every day. The oranges will then be used to prepare the Marigold Mimosas, which are prepared as customers come in and order them. Usually, we can count on Anna Anderson to help customers in the morning hours with their brunch needs, so she’s an expert at making these.

While Christie is usually our closer, Anna will more often than not be the one to open the gardens for customers for the day. Christie’s caring and understanding vibe really helps her connect with customers, making sure they always leave happy after a long hard day of work, while Anna’s bright deposition welcomes them in at the start of their day to get them going on the right step, a lot like the Marigold Mimosas and The Del Perro Sunrise. The bourbon used in the Del Perro is pretty sweet, but packs a pretty heavy hit to take the edge off, while we opt to use Prosecco in the mimosas to provide a very rich and sweet taste to compliment the orange juice, splash of mango juice and grenadine used in it to give a really refreshing after taste. 

Once everything is prepped and ready for service, I’ll usually leave the shop for a few hours to check in on the garden. The flowers curated there are the ones I sell in my shop, and the ones I’ve always sold. They are usually boxed up and ready for the day by the time I arrive, my curator always being mindful of wasting time with the vast amount of flowers she tends to. Flowers were what I started with in this city business wise. I didn’t care about making a profit or building the business at the start, I simply wanted to bring life and color to the people in the form of flowers. As time went on and my passions grew I wanted to do more for the city. I started investing most of my money into companies as they came up, all while keeping the flower shop running. When I stepped down from the SAFA, I wanted to provide for local business and provide reasonably priced food for everyone, all ways keeping things as high quality as possible. At first I absolutely refused to import anything from out of the city, I wanted to keep everything I sold local so I wouldn’t have to upcharge to make a profit, but as profit kept rolling in, I realized I could use those margins to afford imports all while not passing the cost to the customers. A big part of my growth as a businessman was Serena Chaise and her way of pushing me to do more, be better, and stop being so stubborn towards my ideas of an ideal business. It was through her managing, Dani’s hard work, Christie’s dedication and understanding and Anna’s deposition and work ethic that I can say we managed to make one of the best lounges in Los Santos. While I know there is still a lot of room to grow, as long as I have my amazing staff and my suppliers that always go above and beyond, there isn’t much stopping us from earning a Michelin Star somewhere down the line.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie St.Clair

    March 18, 2022 at 7:46 am

    I absolutely enjoy The Hanging Gardens and look up to Jack as an influential figure in my life.

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