Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday's Wednesday Report

Such a beautiful day yesterday, it definitely killed our lunch trade.  We generally average around 30 covers a day at lunch.  Tuesday we rocked - 54!  It seemed as though all of our regulars showed up on the same day, plus both offices contributed large groups.  It was crazy.   And then there was yesterday - a gorgeous day, as stated - where we had...I'm embarrassed to say...5 customers.  That's F. I. V. E. 5.  This does not include two carry-outs, so we could exaggerate and say 7... Good grief.  Of course, this means we still averaged 30, but honestly...

Anyway, to make the day interesting in the face of all that slowness, one of our guests suffered some sort of health issue - maybe heart? - and we ended up calling 911, with the paramedics coming to take her away on a gurney to the hospital!  One of her friends commented "At least you weren't crowded".  To say the least.

People ask me all the time, how do you plan for days like that?  How do you know how much food to order?  It's a real skill, believe me, and of course there are weeks you order too much and other times you run out.  We prefer to err on the latter - I'd much rather tell our guests we are out of chicken on Saturday night than throw out pounds of product too old to use.  But, of course, it's best to not run out or throw out. 

Anyway, on to the news.

Last night, one diner called the panzanella "spot on":

Probably one of the greatest applications for day-old bread, panzanella is only as good as the tomatoes it requires.  Kevin used a combination of Redman's and some of the heirlooms that our friend Roy brought by earlier in the day.  He also used some of our Thai basil, which I personally prefer over "regular" basil.  It is going to be on the lunch menu today, garnished with shrimp.  That ought to be edible on a 100 degree day, eh?

The main course for Wednesday's prix-fixe was veal meatloaf, topped with a roasted plum tomato and mozzarella cheese.  A little "special sauce" brought the whole thing together.  Dessert was a simple dish of vanilla ice cream, up-graded with a pine-nut macaroon.   One guest remarked that she had been dreaming about Kevin's meatloaf ever since the last time she had it!  Of course, it is different every time, but she seemed to be enjoying this version as well.

We've had a few "Chef's Dinners" lately, which is always a lot of fun, for both Kevin and the lucky guests.  Chef's Dinners for Two are what we indicate on our donation "dinner for two" gift certificates, given to local organizations for their auctions and fund-raisers.  We ask that the recipient call us a day ahead of time, and give us information about any food allergies or dislikes, so Kevin can prepare a menu specifically tailored to their appetites.  When they arrive - and often this involves sitting at the kitchen table - the courses start coming on.  Most people are astounded at the variety and ingenuity on the plates before them.  One woman last week said she would never have ordered the shrimp with hominy on her own, and found that she loved it.  Generally the meal is 6 or 7 courses long, sometimes smaller versions of menu items, sometimes  a whole new compilation of ingredients on hand.  Many, many times the diners have expressed their delight to me, having had no idea what was in store for them.  We have also done this same sort of meal for paying customers, who may want to just sit back and let Kevin steer the way.  One night we created a special tasting menu for a young couple who had recently had a baby and whose parents wanted to treat them to a relaxing and intimate dinner for two.  

Most recently we fed the winners of the certificate donated to the CRHC for their annual golf tournament, as shown above, on a relatively hot Friday in the kitchen.  (If I could recall both of their names, I'd indicate it here, but I can only remember that his name is Mark, and that his wife is Erin Gillespie's sister...)  They really had a good time, and they were good participants in the kitchen scene as well.  With no food issues, they were open to everything that Kevin and his crew put before them.

For all of you gluten-free diners out there - or I should say, drinkers - I am finally getting a potato vodka in for you.  While I find it hard to imagine that there is much gluten left once a traditional grain vodka has been distilled a million times, I do get requests for wheat-free versions, and last night a customer shared a favorite brand name with me: Luksusowa (look-soo-soh-vah), a potato vodka from Poland.  Reasonably priced, relatively smooth, plus the wheat-free thing, makes it an obvious choice to add to our vodka line-up.  I'm ordering a bottle today!

Back in the Kennedyville Inn days, transportation for employees was often an issue. There were not too many employees living within the town limits, (the Wilson family being the exception) and so a job there meant the need for a vehicle to get a person to and fro.  At our current location, the larger work force available in Chestertown can walk or ride a bike to BT, if they don't have any other mode.   That being said, we now have an employee who lives in Kennedyville and gets to work here in Chestertown every morning, even though she has no car.  Cherelle - daytime porter extraordinaire, Debbie's mentor and all around great person - has taken the initiative to contact the county bus service to get herself to work Tuesday through Friday.  A Delmarva Community Transit bus picks her up in front of the Post Office in Kennedyville and drops her off at our back door for a $3 fee.  She makes her own way home, and on Saturdays, through friends and family, but the rest of the time she is a commuter.  What a great program!  I would even go so far as to say "our tax dollars at work" in a positive way, which believe me, I don't often say.

Peaches from Godfrey's are good this year.  I found a recipe for a peach cake on some food site yesterday, and after tweaking it a bit - of course following what all the "reviewers" had to say - I made it this morning for lunch service.  It came out nice, with a light cinnamon glow and fresh peachy flavor from the four cups of chopped peaches in it.  I just wish I could figure out how to keep the peaches from settling on the bottom most part of the cake...Meanwhile for dinner service we will have a peach-cherry pie, and later this week Kevin will most likely change the duck to include fresh peaches as well.  When it's peach season...

St. Brigid's Farm delivered our whole veal this morning, so we look forward to seeing some new meat items on the specials list.  Of course Kevin insists on getting the head, which he will have fun with I'm sure.  And you can be sure it will be documented here!

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