Wednesday night prix-fixe diners began their adventure with "stuffed" eggplant: fried eggplant wheels with roasted tomato and mozzarella cheese.
This was followed by a duck "hash" - large chunks of duck confit browned with potatoes and onions. We debated whether or not to set a nice fried egg on top of the hash, but thank goodness that idea never materialized. We were slammed big time at 6:30, and once all the tickets came into the kitchen, the line had all they could do to put out the orders. Next time we'll do the egg.
No, this was not the dessert for the menu - that was vanilla ice cream with peach sauce. This chocolate pie was something Kevin put together yesterday, to fill a blind pie shell he had made. He made a simple ganache for the filling, and we served it with whipped cream, caramel sauce and toasted pecans. Good grief, just looking at this keeps me up at night! But not Kevin - he had a piece just before we went out the door at 9:30 and was asleep before his head hit the pillow, his usual habit.
In other news, yes, apples are beginning to come into play. We made a trip to Fifer Orchards in Wyoming (Delaware) on Monday and picked up some of those most delicious Honey Crisps. They haven't made it further than our bellies yet, but I am sure we will see them on plates soon enough. Driving to Fifer's is a great ride - turn right at Byler's and follow the signs - through the Delaware Amish farmland and the bountiful apple and peach orchards that are Fifer's. Right now the apple trees are weighted down with fruit; you wonder how the smaller trees can hold the load. (And you wonder why your own trees bear not a pit...)
New bus girls in the dining room lately have brought a few comments - our turnover is not so great, so a new face or two is an event. BT has been joined by two Kent County High School students, both currently on the field hockey team. Kara is a senior - meaning a one year employee, if we are lucky - but Mallory is a junior, so hopefully we won't lose them both at the same time like we did this summer. Katie from the lunch crew is also helping us out on the bus at night, and she has also been a big help training the freshmen. Nicole - our main lunch server - is putting in her share of doubles as well, running trays at dinner and learning the ropes for evening service. As usual, when there are new folks on the floor, things can be a little stressful, which is how it has been for the past two weeks or so. Slowly, though, things start to make sense to people, and they understand more of the whys which explain the hows. It takes time, and while it is certainly not rocket science, it is not an easy job, especially for the bussers who often have orders given to them by three people at one time. Now if we could just get the breakage under control...
Many of you have asked me how our summer went. Well, besides going way too fast - par for the course - it was moderately busy. Not gangbusters like last summer, especially on the weekends, but not so bad. It seems we are back on the track of one busy weekend night and one slow one, with week nights being pretty steady busy and lunches being just steady. Saturday lunch remains the weak link - and that is partly due to our out of the way location for weekend tourists, in my opinion. Overall, business is fine, the rent is paid, payroll is met and we are not in any danger of defaulting. We are very lucky to have such a fine crew to help us do what we like to do best, and lucky even more to have such customer support as we enjoy here in Kent County. It doesn't get much better than that - having an occupation you love which allows you to live in the Land of Pleasant Living. Not a bad way to go.