Server Name: Drina Quintana
Restaurant: Root Down
Years in Industry: Off and on for 13 years
What is your favorite dish at Root Down?
Hmmmmm, that's a tough one, there are a lot of incredible layers of flavor on the menu right now, but if I had to choose one on the spot I would have to say that the pillow style Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi has a pretty solid rainbow of flavor. Delicate fluffy pillow style lemon Ricotta dumplings of perfection blended with a dose of fresh organic brussel sprouts and an earthy blend of Colorado's exotic Hazel Dell mushrooms accented with a succulent Tender Belly bacon vinaigrette (Miss Piggy is always fed 100% all-natural vegetarian diet and is free to frolic leisurely outdoors as she pleases), all tied together with a delicate almond pequillo pepper sauce and topped with a perfect soft poached egg to create the most velvety mouth-watering flavor experience of this snowy winter season. If I'm in the mood for a little delicate sweet, salty and savory wine pairing we've got a great 2011 Henry Estate, Muller Thurgau out of Umpqua Valley, Oregon by the glass or for a little more "Let's get down and dirty," type of flair the Cuna de Reyes, "Edicion Limitada" 2008 Tempranillo out of Rioja, Spain is one of my favorite bottles on our list.
How did you get into the business?
After flying back home from the US Army and doing physical security for government facilities such as the FBI and ATF while in college, I decided that the risk factor of my personal safety regarding politics wasn't worth the paycheck and after 4 years I shifted into the restaurant industry.
Toughest challenge in your field?
Accepting failure. Anyone who has worked in restaurants knows that the roller coaster of unforeseen mishaps can either make or break you so you have to be capable of making split second decisions and trouble shooting strategies combined with compassionate connections and communication with people in order to realign and mend what can often times feel like an eternity when the ship seems to be sinking.
My proudest moments are those that involve helping people discover goodness and observing their satisfaction, regardless of where I am. Whether it be while working with some of the most talented & incredible humans I've ever had the pleasure of knowing (present and past), sharing in the adventure of creating a space for people to just unwind or by simply shifting someone's mood from heavy to light with a genuine smile or gesture, these are the things that inspire me to strive for awesomeness in LIFE in general.
Most embarrassing moment?
Hell, probably anytime I make a rookie mistake. Communication disconnects are always embarrassing, when you know exactly what you intended to say, but instead it ends up spilling over your lips in some profound sonnet of mumbling resembling the teacher from Charlie Brown is always epic.
Secretly desired food/ingredient?
Secretly desired huh, that's a good question. I don't think I can necessarily pin point one particular item, but something I enjoy incorporating into my own cooking agenda is cayenne for its brilliant healing and warming characteristics commonly recognized as the element capsaicin. This night shade is actually a fruit, not an herb, and contains beneficial vitamins such as A, B6 and C, beta-carotene, manganese, and potassium. Fun fact: Cayenne has been known to help conditions such as stopping heart attacks within seconds functioning as a vasodilator to open arteries. Cayenne is a great antioxidant, is great for pain relief, cancer prevention, weight loss, preventing blood clotting, in addition to helping prevent stomach ulcers.
Person in your business you most admire?
Oh man, this is where the brown-nosing section of the survey comes into play haha... Honestly, my respect(s) include everyone who make is possible for a concept to flourish and contribute to any movement involving sustainable green business practices meshed with clean healthy eating and its influence on society today. "You are what you eat," it's an age old statement, but it's accurate. To be a part of taking something as simple as dining out and setting a higher standard for people to support and enjoy is what life is all about.
Is there a secret dish not on the menu?
Root always has something up its for flexibility purposes, regardless of whether it pertains to a special allergy or occasion, we always have a little something sweet unlisted.
What advise do you have for servers wanting to be well recognized for excellent service?
People just want to be taken care of when they dine out. Regardless of unforeseen circumstances (good or bad), communication is key in this industry. Own it. Acknowledge it. Cater to the needs of others by being authentic, your place of business, fellow employees and clientele will appreciate it!