A dreary start to the work week this week, but then it's January in Kent County, so what more could we ask?
Been getting the "how's business?" question a lot lately, which I am never shy about answering in the affirmative. And, especially considering the time of year, it is true. We've had moderately busy weeknights, pretty busy Friday nights, classically busy Saturday lunches and equally slow Saturday nights. Someone remarked on Friday night how busy we were, and how happy they were to see that, since the last time they had been in it had been one of those "quiet" weekend nights. My response was a bit impertinent (and I hope that isn't another word for "rude"), replying that if we got worried every time we had a slow shift, we'd never get out of the dumps!
One reason business has been moderately acceptable is due to the Canada Goose. Except for Saturday nights, our dining room has seen a strong influx of (mostly) men who like to go goose hunting on the Eastern Shore. Several groups are regular enough to be on a first name basis with everyone in the dining room. It is a great boost to our bottom line - many times, without this seasonal clientele, our dining room would be half empty rather than half full.
In the "old days", we were allowed to prepare the game for the gunners. They would bring us their cleaned birds and Kevin would prepare them for the shooters' dinner. He might make a pate or a soup from the legs and thighs, reserving the breast meat as a separate course, served rare with maybe a green peppercorn sauce. It was great business and Kevin became quite adept at preparing all manner of game.
That came to an end several years ago, when the health department decided that the wild game should not be co-mingling with our regular supply of meat in the walk-in.
That doesn't mean Kevin still doesn't cook wild birds, however. This past Sunday night we roasted a pair of Mallards, given to us last week by a customer who knows we love to eat such things. Seeing as the weather was a little damp for open fire cooking, Kevin had to use our indoor oven. We knew that cooking this breed of duck was unlike the domestics we serve everyday, so we did a little research before roasting them in a hot oven for only 20 minutes.
They were oiled and buttered and spread with a little mustard, saucing them with some of the aforementioned peppercorn sauce. Oh. My. Goodness. Best meal ever! Thanks Harry!! These ducks did not die in vain, I can assure you. It really is too bad Kevin can't do this for our gunning guests in the dining room anymore.
Instead, this is what they had to eat. A braised SBF veal chop, with grainy mustard mushroom sauce. Not too shabby, even if our latest TA review proclaims that Brooks Tavern is "The perfect example of a small town establishment trying to be something they are not". (I don't know why I look at this stuff, and I sure know better than to let Kevin see it!) And there was duck available as well, in the form of the usual breast and those ever popular duck wings:
Besides our Sunday dinner special, Kevin and I enjoyed another successful meal during our weekend. We drove over the bridge to A-Town, in search of certain items at the GoodWill and other consignment shops, as well as (of course) a few things from Whole Foods. Lunch was on the agenda, and we knew it would be a difficult assignment, seeing as none of our first choices were open that early on a Sunday. We drove to one possible destination, and when it too was closed, Kevin suggested heading toward Crownsville for a place he had randomly stopped in before, on a trip home from the airport. He couldn't remember where it was or what he had or why he thought it would be a good bet, only that it was on the right as we headed west on Generals Highway.
It was a good bet. Lure's Bar and Grille, in Crownsville, was the perfect place for a casual Sunday lunch. Nice atmosphere, good service (except for that usual difficulty in getting the check!) and tasty food. We shared a special of nachos to begin, followed by the seared tuna for me and the turkey sandwich for Kevin. All was much better than average, although of course there was room for improvement. (There just about always is, when you are dining with a Chef!) I particularly enjoyed their cute little signature gold fish on every plate. We would definitely return, especially given what's available for midday Sunday dining in the area.
It's not all about food and fun at Brooks Tavern. The office where I am frequently holed up is often a battle ground for organization, a battle I win some days and lose the others. Right now I am winning:
...as I do my annual year end filing. It might not look like I am ahead of the game in this photo, but just the fact that I have destroyed my desktop with all that paperwork means I better get it finished so I can pay the bills that are lurking beneath. I managed to complete the task during lunch on Friday and this morning - once I finish the procrastination that this Blog Post partly represents - I will get on with the payroll and bill paying and house charge billing that is next on the office schedule. Talley ho!