A GRATEFUL REFLECTION ON 2014

Welcome back to Soupfly!

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As you are all either getting ready for, or in full swing of, New Years celebrations-(depending on where in the world you live) I wanted to take a few moments-(I’ll try to make it short) to offer my reflection through the eyes of Soupfly, on the year that was-2014. Six months ago, Soupfly had not even been born yet.  After much planning, contemplating and telling myself and others that I was going to start a Service and Hospitality focused blog-finally, on July 8 of this year, Soupfly was born! I did it, wrote my first post-When the World Brings You Soup and there’s a Fly in it.  It was very encouraging that, from the beginning, there has been support and an audience for the content that I seek to provide here on Soupfly.  If you’ve not ever read our inaugural post-I invite you to read it here:

https://soupfly.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/when-the-world-brings-you-soup-and-theres-a-fly-in-it/

 

We also started a Facebook page for Soupfly and that first post quickly garnered 49 Facebook Likes and over 100 blog hits in the first 48 hours!   How exciting!  We are just 9 short Likes away from having 200 Soupfly Facebook Likes.  If you are a reader of Soupfly-I invite you to help us with this goal and Like our Soupfly Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/SoupFly/1438615929733655?ref=bookmarks

I am so grateful for the following of Soupfly that has grown in less than 6 months, to readers from nearly 60 Countries!! That is mind-blowing and very humbling to me.  Thank you all who read and share my blog.  I hope that you are gaining value from what I bring to you.  My original and main focus has always been to cater to and serve people working in the Service and Hospitality industry-no matter where you work or what position you hold.   I also know that I have many, many readers, who do not work in the Service and Hospitality industry-however, the principles, ideas and concepts that Soupfly has to offer, are applicable to most any work environment-whether one is dealing with, serving, or selling to guests, customers, clients, patrons or even employees.  My intention and desire is to motivate, encourage and inspire you to provide the very best service possible to those people that you serve.  At the same time I want to provide practical principles that you can use in your work place to up your game.

With that in mind, many of you know that I have been working on my book,

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Getting to WOW!  Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service for a long time and NOW IT IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER.  Actually, today is the very last day to get it at the introductory price of only $20.00!  Books will be in hand in  a few short days and the price is going up.  Go here to pre-order your copy today:

http://www.gettingtowowbook.com/

If you pre-order today-You will receive a signed copy-by the author-that’s me!  Getting to WOW! Has already been endorsed by such industry luminaries as Chef Alex Stratta, Chef Rick Moonen, Chef Kim Canteenwalla and others!

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Over this past year, I have been privileged to meet some wonderful Service and Hospitality professionals.  We have traveled to and met people in Santa Barbara, California; Loveland and Denver, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Minneapolis, Minnesota; St. Louis, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri and of course in our home area of Las Vegas.  It is a joy to meet Service Professionals that truly have a passion for service and the business.  We have also met and been served by individuals who may need a little more guidance and instruction on how to truly provide exceptional/WOW! service.

 

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Earlier this year, I started my company-ASPIRE Enterprises, a Service and Hospitality focused, consulting and training company.  The company name-ASPIRE is actually an acronym for: Advancing Service Performance, Inspiring Restaurant Excellence.  It is my intention to serve the industry on a greater scale this year, through my book, Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service, providing training seminars, consulting and speaking at Food Service and Hospitality Conventions around the country.  This is a fantastic industry to be a part of and just like any industry-continual training and on-going education is a foundational key to success.

 

 

2014 has been a fantastic year-a year of many new beginnings. I am truly grateful to all of you have been a part of it in someway.  You are blessed, loved and very special to me.  Thank you.

 

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2015 now is ready to greet us and I welcome it with open arms, an attitude of excitement and and anticipation of all the Amazing things it holds in store.  I wish you all  a positively, wild and wonderful ride in 2015-only the best, only great success in all areas of your life.  If you are in the Service industry in any capacity-I pray that 2015 is the year that you really elevate your Service and Hospitality and become one that consistently WOWS your guests.  If that is indeed your desire and intention-I would love to be a part of that, serving you, in helping you to reach that goal.

Thank you, God Bless you all and…

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Raise a Glass to 2015 -Make it Your Best Year Ever!

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterpises

Las Vegas, NV

ChristoffJWeihman.com

Soupfly.net

GettingtoWOWbook.com 

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The Joy of Serving

WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!

“Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.” -Mahatma Gandhi

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Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays from Soupfly!

I hope that all of you are feeling in the Spirit of the Season.  The Spirit of the Season to me, is two things- Giving and Serving.  It’s during this time of year when we focus more on those two mindsets and actions, than at any other time. It all seems to begin right about  Thanksgiving time or shortly after. Why?  Because Thanksgiving is all about Gratitude, recognizing the blessings that we have received.  Once one realizes that they have much to be thankful or grateful for, the natural response is to think of those that don’t have as much and to give to them.  I know a lot of people are focused on shopping and what is that if not putting yourself in the mindset of giving?  But in addition to the shopping-because that is usually for the people that we know and love, there seems to be a general attitude of  selfless giving in the air.  The Spirit of the Season inspires people to want to be a blessing and to serve others.

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We see this attitude and Spirit of Giving and Serving everywhere we turn-from the volunteers ringing the bells on the red kettle-(Salvation Army )in front of stores and retail outlets, to the Toys for Tots drives that local businesses and civic organizations contribute to.

http://www.toysfortots.org/donate/toys.aspx

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There’s extra offerings taken up at our churches and places of worship, as well as donations being collected at the checkout stand.  There’s the secret Santas at the office and other variations of it at the company Christmas parties.  Most everyone seems to be in the Spirit of Giving.  Giving is great. It’s great to be a part of-on either side of the exchange and it puts a smile on both participant’s face. It warms the heart and the giver is always blessed, as is of course, the one who receives.

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During the holidays there is also a wonderful Spirit of Serving that comes upon us.  This is evident with many more people volunteering at homeless shelters, or other outreaches.  It is displayed by the Mom or Dad, or Grandma or Aunt or whoever is “having Thanksgiving or Christmas” this year.  I remember when I was younger and we would go to my Grandparents for the holidays-while most of the family was in the living room watching the parade, or football or a Christmas special on tv, Mom and Grandma would be in the kitchen for hours, preparing the big dinner.  I know we’ve  all probably experienced something similar.

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Even though, Moms and Grandmas seem to be the innately, natural givers and servers-they, too, ramp it up big time, during the holidays.  Even before the actual holiday of Thanksgiving or Christmas, I remember my Mom and my Grandma Lenac spending an entire weekend in the kitchen baking all kinds of Christmas cookies, and special treats and our family favorite-Potica (poh-teet-sah)-a Slovenian walnut filled nut roll.  It was absolutely delicious and I haven’t had it in years.  Just thinking about it, makes me wonder where I might find it here in Las Vegas.  Although, I might, I know it wouldn’t be as good as my Mom’s and Grandma’s.

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This Spirit of Serving is also seen in the people who spend long hours working in retail and the service and hospitality industry.  Those who work in retail during this time of year-while they may not be volunteering-as they are getting paid-but they certainly are not in charge of or in control of their schedule or hours.  From right before Thanksgiving through January 1st, retail and service and hospitality professionals are Giving and Serving-US.

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They put in extra long hours so the stores can stay open late for us to be able to shop and so we can have our holiday gatherings and Christmas parties at their restaurants, hotels etc.  While this tends to be a very lucrative time of year especially for those in the service and hospitality industry-it also brings extra stress.

Those of you who do work in the retail industry working those long hours, I thank you and salute you.  I encourage you to stay positive minded and have a sense of humor even when you are tired, exhausted and just want it to be closing time.  You are not just working a job, you are providing a service.  Do it joyfully.  Greet your customers with a smile and a cheerful attitude.  I know most of you do, most of the time.  Make these last few shopping days a time of happiness both for you and your customers. I hope you can find joy in your serving.  One thing to be thankful for is-Your store or retail outlet (unless you work in a casino in Vegas) will be closed on Christmas and you’ll be able to spend that time celebrating.

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Those of you who work in the Service and Hospitality industry, I know you too, are super busy with back to back to back Holiday and Christmas parties.  Many of you are working daily doubles and that is not a reference to Alex Trebek.  You are serving huge banquets, and catered office events and dealing with people who go overboard when there’s an open bar at a company party.  If you work at a nice upscale event, you may have diners coming to your place who have saved up for a long time to go out for a nice dinner.

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Or you may have people who are at your restaurant for the company Christmas party and otherwise they may never have known of your establishment.  Be patient with them.  You may be overwhelmed with the people at your bar.  Be thankful.  That is great.  Relax, enjoy and be grateful that you are ‘so busy’.

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And God bless all of you who every year work on New Year’s Eve so the rest of us can go out and celebrate ringing in the New Year.  May you find joy in your serving this Holiday season and realize that you are being a blessing to those that you serve.

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Finally, I want to mention one other group that knows a lot about Giving and Serving-the members of our Armed Forces.  Whether they are stationed here in the United States, or abroad, the theme of their life, is Serving.  They don’t get to choose their days off and if they’re on deployment, then certainly, they are not spending Christmas and Holidays with their family.  My son, Josiah serves in our Air Force.  Thank you Josiah, and all the men and women that serve our country.

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My hope is that all of you, reading this, no matter what your station or profession in life, that you can find an opportunity to give and to serve someone in some way at this time of year.  It might mean taking an extra holiday shift so a co-worker can be with their family on Christmas eve.  It might mean sacrificing something so you can give a little extra to the offering at church this weekend.  It might mean donating to an organization like Toys for Tots, The American Red Cross, or giving the turkey or ham you got from employer to a family that needs it more than you. Whatever form it takes, I hope that you, too, will be blessed with the Joy of Serving-the Joy of the Season-from the original Giver and Server, Jesus Christ.

Thank you for reading.  I want to WELCOME  new readers from Bosnia and Herzogovinia!  

Please Like Soupfly on Facebook.  

Also, Please Comment & Follow below.  And Share on Social Media.  Thank you so much for your support!

My readers are AMAZING!  

Lastly, this will be the LAST WEEK TO PRE-ORDER MY BOOK- at the introductory price of only $20.00

Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with  5 Star Service

Pre-order your own copy signed by the author-that’s me-Today!

http://www.christoffjweihman.com/my-book.html

Thank you to all of you who have already ordered.  They are coming soon!  I’m very excited.  Also, if you pre-ordered, you have received a sneak peek preview of Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service with a follow-up survey.  I invite you to read the Sneak Peek Preview and complete the survey.  Thank you so much!

God Bless you all and Cheers!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all and your loved ones!

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Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

ChristoffJWeihman.com

SOUPFLY’S Travel Adventures -Part 3

WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!

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This is the 3rd and final part recounting our travel adventures from the cross country trip we took last month.

After a few days of visiting family and friends in St. Louis it was time for us to finally start going West.  Our first stop-Kansas City, where Greg and Megan live-Michelle’s son and his wife.  Megan is a graphic designer and she is the one who designed the logo for this blog site, Soupfly as well the original cover design for my book-

Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service.  

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When we arrived in Kansas City we learned that the hotel that we booked through Hotels.com isn’t actually puppy friendly-although they come up on many puppy friendly sites as well as on Hotels.com they show up when one checks the puppy friendly filter.  So, originally we were going to stay in the Westport area of Kansas City which has tons of bars and restaurants, we ended up staying in Overland Park.  The first night in Kansas City we went to a favorite restaurant of Greg and Megan’s- Blanc Burgers and Bottles.

http://blancburgers.com/

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The food at Blanc is very good.  The truffle fries are great and they’re served in little miniature shopping carts.  Very creative presentation. The truffle fries are served with Blanc’s own house-made ketchup and chipotle aioli.

When we were there, the place was packed and there were only 2 servers in the entire restaurant.  Our server did  a good job considering that he had  a hundred other  tables.  Just kidding, not a hundred but he was pretty non-stop busy.  I was happy because they had a great lentil burger-which I really enjoyed.  So, even if you are a vegetarian or vegan, I recommend that you give Blanc a try next time you are in Kansas City.  Oh, and all the burgers are served with wonderful house-made pickles.  Yummy.

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Aside from visiting with family, in fact, Michelle’s Dad and Step-Mom also came to Kansas City, our major Kansas City highlight was our second day there which happened to be our (Michelle & Me) 1 year anniversary!  We got married-in a fever-hotter than a pepper sprout.  Johnny Cash fans-anyone?  Ok, never mind.  I’ll end the digression.  Michelle and I got married in Vegas, where we live, on 11/12/13.  So on 11/12/14  we spent the day just the two of us.  We even left the puppies back at the hotel.

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Although I had never been to Kansas City aside from being there for a conference a couple years ago, I did my research and told Michelle that I’d like to plan our anniversary day myself.  Hopefully she would be happy with the places I had decided upon for our lunch and dinner.   First lunch.  We went to the historic, 100 year old Union Station.  It is a beautiful building with surprisingly, a number of choices of places at which to  dine.  I decided to take Michelle to Pierpont’s-a famous steak and fresh seafood restaurant.

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Located in the recently renovated Union Station, Pierpont’s is a premier fresh seafood and steak restaurant in Kansas City. The restaurant has an atmosphere of casual elegance and is named after one of the most prominent people in the railroad business, John Pierpont Morgan.

Pierpont’s has a variety of seafood flown in fresh daily, such as scallops, wild salmon, ahi tuna and lobster. The restaurant also serves, Filet Mignon, Ribeye Steak, and Kansas City strip steak.  They have an excellent wine cellar that features over 300 bottle selections .

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A highlight is Pierpont’s architectural features. The space looks much like the original building did in 1914. Sixty percent of the restaurant’s three-story structure is historical space, including the original women’s smoking room, the women’s waiting room, and the women and children’s waiting room. Pierpont’s was selected as the best architecturally designed restaurant as well as the best place to take out-of-town guests.

http://www.pierponts.com/about-pierponts-at-union-station.html

Pierpont’s truly is a beautiful restaurant.  We were greeted very warmly by Sean, who also was our server.  He was very approachable, had a pleasant personality, was very informative and an overall great Service Professional.  It was quite apparent that he really enjoys his work and the people that he interacts with.

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Our lunch began with a glass of prosecco to toast our 1 year anniversary.  Next,  crab cake with a tomato mustard sauce and calamari with flash fried spinach.  Both of them excellent.  Michelle had a blue crab and sweet corn bisque and I had the Pierpont’s salad  which was topped with crispy root vegetables.  Both of our second courses were also very good.  By the time our entree’s were served we were both nearly full but today was a celebration so we pushed on.  I had the trout while Michelle ordered the pulled pork croque madam – an open face sandwich of pulled pork, with a bechamel sauce, topped with a fried egg on a brioche bun.

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This was one of the best lunches I have ever had-I think Michelle would concur.  The ambience, the decor, the food, the wine-all were excellent and Sean’s service and hospitality made it a most pleasurable experience!  Our meal, however, was not yet complete until Sean did a tableside flambe of a white chocolate bread pudding with rum sauce for us!  Very nice!

You can go here to watch Sean doing the tableside flambe’:

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And of course the company of my amazing wife-it was a perfect lunch!  What a wonderful way to start our anniversary celebration day!  Thanks Sean McKenzie!

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After lunch we did a bit-and I mean a bit, of strolling around at the Plaza (which is an outdoor mall) and shopping. However, because it was about 25 degrees outside and somewhat windy-remember-I don’t love cold weather-our Kansas City shopping was not very extensive.  I prefer shopping in sunny and warm Las Vegas.

For our anniversary dinner I chose another one of Kansas City’s premier restaurants.  Since lunch was in an old historic building, I thought we should go modern for dinner.  I made reservations at BlueStem-a recently James Beard awarded restaurant in the Westport area of Kansas City.

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http://www.bluestemkc.com/

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BlueStem describes their food as progressive American cuisine.  Their head chef,  Andrew Longres creates culinary masterpieces for the various set tasting menus that they offer.  Dinner at BlueStem was Amazing, to say the least.  We were warmly welcomed by the hostess, sorry, didn’t get her name.  She offered to hang our coats for us.  The service team of Paul and Nathan and the others (sorry didn’t get everybody’s name) did a wonderful job of creating a great dining experience for us.

I can’t recall all that we ate and I can’t even spell some of the items but here’s  little rundown: We started with an amuse bouche-which I don’t remember exactly what it consisted of but I do know that it had salmon roe and a gelee of some sort.  An amuse bouche is a single bite hors doeuvre’ that is offered complimentary by the chef to restaurant guests.  It is a French word that literally means “to entertain or entice the mouth”.

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I had an heirloom carrot salad, Michelle started with a truffle and potato tortellini with rabbit.  Both were excellent.

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For our main courses-Michelle decided to be adventurous and opted for the venison, although she had never had it before.  I had the snake river sturgeon which normally is prepared with oxtail and I believe had a sauce made with the oxtail.  I do not eat meat and  so our server asked me if I liked beets.  I said yes and sometime before our entrees were served, the chef sent out another little bite for us to enjoy of pickled beat puree-(I hope I’m getting that right).  That, too, was another delicious morsel.

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What I didn’t know at the time is that Chef, sent it out to see if I liked those flavors because he then created a beautiful beet and ginger sauce to accompany my sturgeon.

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So many times when I order something without the sauce-(oftentimes there is a veal or beef stock in it) that typically comes with a particular dish-I at most restaurants I am usually served a naked-not fully completed dish.  However, I was very impressed with Chef Andrew’s care and concern for me and he later told me, “If somebody doesn’t like a particular sauce or component on a dish-we don’t just omit it.  We replace it with something that the guest will enjoy and can eat.  We never send out “unfinished dishes”.  That was really great!  And I loved the sturgeon! Not only was our food delectable to taste, as you can see from the pictures it was stunning to behold-culinary works of art.

Our dinner ended with an apple butter cake with walnuts, raisins and cinnamon stout ice cream and a snow white goat  cheddar cheese with chestnut, roasted pear and cider.  Scrumptious! I rarely eat dessert but this was a special occasion.  And our server brought out some festive looking shooters that had-actually I don’t recall what was in them, maybe cranberry and prosecco.  He just called them “celebration aids”.  Michelle thought that was a cute name for them.  Cheers!

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After dinner, I asked our server if I could meet Chef Andrew and take some pictures of him.  I watched him plating a couple of dishes.  He does it with such care and finesse-it’s like watching an artist create a masterpiece-Andrew’s canvas is the plate.

Our first year anniversary celebration was a beautiful and very memorable day!  Thank you Kansas City!

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After another day of visiting with family it was time to hit the road and begin our trek back to Las Vegas.  I drove the puppies, while Michelle and Melissa rode in Melissa’s car.  We left Kansas City early in the morning just as a huge snow storm was on it’s way into the area.  Bye Kansas City-see you later.

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After 11 hours of driving we stopped in Albuquerque for the night.  No fancy dinner this time. Just pizza delivered to our room.  The next morning, Michelle and I went to a cool local diner called Range Cafe-where they do “Ordinary Food Extraordinarily Well!”  It’s very eclectic cool place that uses local fresh ingredients and makes many types of pies in house. There’s little 1950s ovens as part of the decor as well as southwest style painted murals and colorful stuff hanging from the walls and the ceilings.  I don’t really know how to describe it.  So here’s some pictures.

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Our server was very friendly and upbeat.  All the staff seemed to be pretty cheerful people.  The food was good and it was a great way for us to start our day for the last leg of driving back home-Las Vegas.

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After a quick stop at Mama’s Minerals in Albuquerque to pick up a couple gemstones, we were finally on our way.

http://www.mamasminerals.com/

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On Soupfly’s Travel Adventures over 11 days we passed through 15 states, traveled 4488 miles, spent 63 1/2 hours in the car driving and visited many family members and friends that we otherwise would not have been able to see.  Thank you all that we got to spend time with and we miss those of you that we missed.

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Thank you to all of my readers and followers.  And Soupfly salutes all the wonderful Service and Hospitality Professionals that we were blessed to meet-both old and new, along the way.

Thank you  for reading!  As always, I love it when you Share my  Soupfly posts on Social Media.  If you have  not yet Liked our Facebook page, I encourage you to do so here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/SoupFly/1438615929733655

And as a reminder-my book- Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service is still Available for Pre-Order at the Special Introductory Price of only $20.00 !

If you work in the Restaurant/Service and Hospitality industry-you will want to read this book.  If you care about Service and Hospitality-this book is for you!

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http://www.christoffjweihman.com/my-book.html

I wish you all a very joyous and blessed holiday season!

God Bless you all and Cheers!

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Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

ChristoffJWeihman.com

Soupfly.net

Soupfly’s Travel Adventures -Part 2

WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!

 

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Continuing from our post from November 19…

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While in Minneapolis, we returned to the Mall of America the next day to shop and enjoy the day together with my daughter, Kimberly, while Lilly and Carly (our puppies) stayed at Kimberly and Jesse’s apartment.

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http://cravemoa.com/

We ate lunch at CRAVE, which features both modern American fare as well as sushi. As we approached the host stand, I inquired as to whether they had any booths available.  We were informed that they were all occupied but that they had a table available immediately.  We opted for the immediate table rather than wait for a booth to open up.  As we were being escorted to the table by the hostess, we saw that there was a booth that was vacant in the same area and that was partially cleared and cleaned.  We asked the hostess if we might be able to wait for that booth to be cleaned and set for us.  She rolled her eyes and then said yes.  I realize that it wasn’t what her plan was, however, we told her we were willing to wait for it.  As a host or hostess, one must be gracious, have an upbeat, pleasant attitude and not show disdain for your guests.

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Once we were seated, the service, led by our server, Ozzy, was very good.  He and his team did a nice job of cheerfully serving our lunch.  He made great recommendations, was not fazed by the modifications I requested on my entree and it was really a pleasure to be served by him.  There were only a couple issues-one, the glasses were gritty on the outside, as if there were a problem with their dishwasher, and I, was served my meal ahead of my wife and my daughter.  I know we live in a society that is very progressive in many ways, however, it is still proper to serve Ladies First.  I brought the gritty glass issue up to Mikayla, the service supervisor, who promptly brought us new glasses.  And the General Manager, Jude was at our table within minutes to apologize for the situation.  The food was very good and overall it was a  good experience.  If you go to Mall of America, I recommend that you give CRAVE a try.

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Actually, there is a new CRAVE that has opened at Downtown Summerlin, here in Las Vegas.  Michelle has already been a couple times and I’ve been once.  Again, overall-good-I wouldn’t say “very” this time and also, I will suggest that the host staff needs some training.  This seems to be such a common theme many places that we go.  I’ve done a whole blog post on this back on July 17, entitled “A Greeting, A Seating & Setting the Tone”.  A host/hostess’ job is so vital to setting the tone for the entire service.  What you do is so important. A host/hostess’ attitude, demeanor, personality and communication skill play a very big part in the overall success of the restaurant.  Check out my post from July for more on this topic:

https://soupfly.wordpress.com/?s=a+greeting

After two days in Minnesota it was time for us to travel south to Ottawa, Illinois-my hometown, to visit my Mom and her husband George.  Although it was quite cold in Minnesota-35 during the day and in the 20s at night, it was sunny with no precipitation until we left.  Literally, the snow storm came the day we left.  Thank God!  We drove 6 uneventful hours with the puppies still comfortable and enjoying their   puppy carseat.  If you have small dogs and you travel often, I highly recommend that you try it out for your little furry ones.  You and they will be glad you did!

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In Ottawa, it was v-e-e-e-e-e-r-r-r-r-y cold and windy!  BRRRRRRR! I am not fond of the cold in the least.  We met my Mom and George for breakfast at a local diner.  We found out that that day happened to be George’s birthday-his 94th birthday!  God Bless him!  At 94 years of age, George acts like he is 20 years younger.  He always has an upbeat, cheerful and positive attitude.  He is not a complainer.  He just seems to love life.  What a great example for all of us.

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We also learned from George that during WWII he had been involved in something called Operation Varsity-which was the last and most spectacular Airborne Invasion in all of history.  It happened right on the heels of the Battle of the Bulge bringing in replacements for all the troops lost in that battle.

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As we were sitting at my Mom’s house, George pulled a small piece of paper out of his wallet and began to describe the event.  He had been amongst the over 20,000 paratroopers and glidertroopers that landed at the Rhine River in the Ruhr Basin in Germany for this assault.  As he began talking, Michelle said we should record this.  So, I asked George to stop and start over so I could get it on film. You can watch the clip of George talking about Operation Varsity here:

 

(Sorry, still having trouble uploading video. Soon to come when I repost this)

After a short few hours of visiting my Mom and George in Ottawa, it was time to head out to St. Louis.  The puppies also enjoyed the short visit with Carly spending most of it sitting on my Mom’s lap.

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The weather was sunny and clear as we drove south to the place where Michelle and I met, just two years earlier.  We arrived in St. Louis just as the sun was about to set and seeing the sun glistening on the Arch as we pulled into town brought a feeling of warmth to our hearts.  However, it was cold outside.  But thankfully the next two days were the warmest it had been in St. Louis for weeks.  65 degrees in St. Louis in the middle of November was a nice welcome for us!

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Saturday evening was the going away party for Michelle’s daughter, Melissa.  She would be moving out to Las Vegas, so she would be joining us on the trek back in a few days. It was great to spend a few days in St. Louis to visit Michelle’s family who all miss her so dearly.  And of course Lilly and Carly, too, soooooooo enjoyed their homecoming as well.

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One evening, we met up with Julia Petrovic, a long time friend of Michelle’s and the person who was most instrumental in her following the path to her nursing career.  Although that was the first time I had ever met Julia, she has been a wonderful, encouraging supporter/follower of me/Soupfly.  Thanks, Julia, not only for following Soupfly but more importantly for guiding Michelle to pursue nursing. Every person in our lives has helped lead us to where we are-so in a way she too was a part of Michelle and I meeting.

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We were blessed and thankful to spend time with Michelle’s family.  Not enough time of course since there are so many of them.  Thank you all for your warm hospitality!

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Most of the time in St. Louis, we enjoyed home cooked meals with family but on our final day we had decided to catch up with some friends and to dine out. We started with lunch, but before that, we visited a place where I had worked for over 3 years-Paul Mineo’s Trattoria, a beautiful Italian restaurant in Westport Plaza.

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While we only had a short time, as we were planning on meeting a friend elsewhere, we did have the pleasure of seeing Brigitte Mineo, the owner and her brother,  Michael Clark briefly.   It was while I was working at Paul Mineo’s about 6 years ago. that I first began conceptualizing my idea for both the tv show and my book, Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service.  I was very happy to reconnect with Brigitte and Michael after a handful of years. Michelle and I each enjoyed a glass of wine, courtesy of Brigitte, while  I shared with them about the progress of the book and the show.  They seemed genuinely happy for my growing success.

Next came lunch-unfortunately, my friend had to cancel at the last minute but I decided to still stick with our plan of eating lunch at Patrick’s (Formerly Pujol’s 5) also, in Westport. It would just be Michelle and me.  To say that we were disappointed is an understatement.

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First, the booths, all had torn upholstery.  We received a half-hearted greeting from someone who shouted to us from behind the bar as we walked in.  Our server was not very friendly, even seemed defensive when we told her that Michelle’s burger was not cooked properly.  She was pretty inattentive.  There were just too many things to even go into detail here.  Suffice to say, it was not even  an ok lunch.  I used to work there and I do know Patrick Jr. and Sr.  I expected it to be better than it was.  Unfortunately, neither one was in and the manager that did come to our table (Larissa-I think) was not very engaging and didn’t exhibit any care or concern for our disappointment.  She said, “I’ll let Patrick know.” Ok.  Well. Now I’m letting Patrick know here.  Actually, I did send Patrick a message via Linkedin upon our return to Las Vegas but as of yet, I have not received a reply.

 

Dinner that evening was much better, though.  Following our theme-ok, my theme of wanting to reconnect with people and restaurants that I had known when I lived in St. Louis, I made reservations for us at one of the places that I used to frequent when I lived in Maplewood-Acero.

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Every time I had eaten or drank at Acero, I was always warmly-not just greeted- but welcomed.  And the food and service were always excellent.  Acero, is part of the Fiala Food Group of restaurants in St. Louis, owned by Jim Fiala, which includes The Crossing and formerly Liluma and City Garden.  My friend, Adam Gnau is the chef at Acero.  I had the pleasure of interviewing him for my book earlier during the summer and he is referenced in it.  We were joined by our friends Lisa and Volkan for dinner.

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Acero occupies a beautiful old brick building on Manchester Blvd. in Maplewood. In fact, the word, Acereo means “Maple” in Italian. The decor is simple and beautiful.  The lighting and the music create a very pleasant and inviting ambience.  We were, as I was always used to-warmly greeted by the hostess upon our arrival.  Our server, did  a nice job explaining the menu and made some good suggestions for cocktails.

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While dinner service was good, what really set it apart for us, was Adam coming out and explaining many of the dishes to us.  For example he described a pasta dish called pece-which if one just read it on the menu you may not be too excited about it.  But he enthusiastically explained that, although simple in ingredients-   the flavor was amazing.  So, with that recommendation,we had to try it.  And when it was served to Michelle, and we all tried it, we all agreed-it was great!

The food was great-Michelle had her favorie-duck and she was quite pleased with it.  I loved the crudo and I can’t even remember what entree I had but I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Overall, our dining experience at Acero was very good with the exception of our server holding our glasses at the top/on the rim when placing them on our table, rather than on the lower portion of the glass.  I politely pointed this out to her and asked for them to be switched out for clean ones.  After that point, I feel that she was not wanting to be as engaging as she had been at the outset.

A server may not want to be corrected on something they do but this is a very basic point of service that all servers especially in a place like Acero should be well aware of  and not need to be reminded of.  So, as a reminder, “The top half of the glass is mine (the guest), the bottom half of the glass is yours (server).” I also want to mention, Tom was very attentive when our server was at other tables and he helped maintain the right balance of attention.

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Though we had a wonderful time visiting family and friends for 3 days in St. Louis, we still had yet another destination on our journey…Kansas City.  So, the next morning, we loaded up the car once again, bid adieu to St. Louis and headed west.  This time we were off to visit Michelle’s son Greg and his wife, Megan.

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To BE CONTINUED…

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As always, thanks for reading.  I appreciate all my readers and your continued support!  Please Share on Social Media.  And I welcome all your comments.

My book-Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service is still available for special pre-order price of only $20.00!

If you have not yet pre-ordered your copy, I invite you to go to my website and do so today!!

http://www.christoffjweihman.com/my-book.html

God bless you all and Cheers!

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas,  NV