Thursday, April 04, 2013

Weekly Round-up

Hasn't it been quite a "spring"?  It was 21 degrees when we got in the car to come to work this morning - 3 degrees colder than the thermostat read yesterday morning.  Plus it seems as though it has been one thing after another, since our return from the life of vacation.  First we have a no-show cook on our first day back, as well as the death of the Mother PosiFlex.  And now the EMR truck parked outside of our loading dock is a sure sign that something else has gone bad.

On Thursday night last, the convection oven became seriously ill.  The thought of working the line without this crucial piece of equipment was bad enough, but the thought that it might be out of commission over a weekend service was cause for a serious back-up plan.  Luckily, we do have two other ovens on the line.  And luckily the tech who arrived late Friday was not only very competent but had a terrific sense of humor as well.
If ever you see one of these trucks parked outside of a local business - usually a restaurant or grocery store - feel their pain.  These guys have some kind of corner on the electric motor repair business, and they ain't cheap.  Jim the Technician confirmed that there were some issues with the "capacitor", and he "Jimmy rigged" us back into working order until he could return on Tuesday with parts the oven needed.  Of course on Tuesday the news got even worse - the oven needs a new motor.  And while it is less expensive to replace the motor than the oven itself, it still is a rather large sting for the Landlord.  

Jay has seen this many times before, as he waits on the line Friday night to see what the verdict is.

Kevin did all he could to get the process rolling.  Meanwhile Jim is calling into his office to see if they have the parts we need in stock.  

My job is to inform Randy about what is going on with his oven.  I think I have the worst job.

So, that is three things.  That should be the end of it for quite some time, don't you think?

Meanwhile, back to the business at hand - this week's Wednesday report.  It wasn't a very busy night, but the menu seemed to be popular enough; we sold all but one order.

The starter was a spelt and mozzarella salad on red watercress.  Spelt is a type of wheat that is very high in protein.  It is a bit "chewy" and nutty in flavor - for sure it is not something you can eat really fast!  The comments on the salad were very positive; most people were unfamiliar with the grain, and this proved to be a good introduction.

The entree was what Kevin called "braised beef steaks", but in reality were individual pot roasts.  He slow-cooked Roseda beef chuck steaks, and served them with the braising liquid reinforced with mushrooms.  It looked quite appetizing, and on a rather chilly spring evening, was quite welcome.  The turnips were also commented on, in that a few diners wanted to know what our kitchen did to make them actually taste good!

Dessert was supposed to be chocolate angel food cake.  However, this was not to be.  When we saw Cherelle pouring the batter into her angel food cake pans, Kevin and I both knew there was trouble ahead.  She doesn't have a lot of failures, but this was a spectacular one.  The resulting two cakes were technically edible, but not at all what one would call correct for the type.  More like rubber cake than angel.  They were quickly relegated to the staff table, and Cherelle got to work on the alternate option - an upside-down cake.  No one - staff or customer - complained about this deal!  Cherelle, however, was quite angry with herself, and this morning she made another cake, with a little closer supervision so she could understand better the science and technique demanded for success with this dessert.  It's not an easy cake to make, but once she saw where she went wrong yesterday, it all clicked and I think the lesson was successful.  Next Wednesday, we know already what the dessert will be!

In other news, 
Baby Haley came into dinner last Thursday night with Dad Josh.  Mom Jenn was tending bar, which meant Mom was serving dinner. 

Except for those red-eyes, Haley is quite the charmer, eh?  I am not sure she appreciated Kevin's cooking though!  Maybe later!

Last week's "French Onion Meatloaf" was pretty popular.  It was garnished with sauteed onions and Swiss cheese, hence the cutesy name.  Kevin's meatloaf, while rarely the same two times in a row, is always a popular entree choice. 
And the porkchop-on-a-salad theme was repeated this week, with a little cheese (!) on top of the chop to sort of gild the lily. The protein topped dinner salad is not an entree we have offered that much, and I am not sure why, as it seems to be an oft requested item.  I am hoping we see more of this style in the slowly approaching spring.

Probably the biggest news this week is fact that Kevin has finally located a source for locally raised pork.  Jimmy Reynolds of Magnolia Bread Company in Sudlersville gave Kevin the name of a woman in Massey who is raising pigs for sale.   We rode out to Black Bottom Farm on Easter Sunday to get a look at the operation and meet Kim, the farmer in charge.  Fortunately, the rain held off the whole time we were touring the farm, meeting the hogs and cooing at the piglets.  Kim is an astounding woman with a tremendous vision and apparently endless energy.  She and her family are turning their 25 acres into quite a pork, poultry, mushroom and vegetable producing force, with the enthusiasm and determination such a project demands.  We timed it just right, as several hogs were going to be heading to market this week.  Ours will be processed by Haas - the same folks that butcher the veal for St. Brigid's Farm - and delivered to us tomorrow.  We will be getting the whole hog - nose to tail - and Kevin will be able to break it down to his own specification.  This has been a long time in coming and we couldn't be more excited.   Heritage breed pork, raised the way Kim is doing it, should be quite the taste treat.  Of course I will document the arrival of the close to 200 pound beast when it comes through the back door tomorrow morning, for those who are interested in such things.  Meanwhile, Kevin is sharpening his knives and dreaming of head cheese!

Peace out!


  1. Before you even said it.....I thought "here come the pictures of the blood and guts of a hog.....yeah...I did grow up on a farm...have been present for many "butcherings of all sorts"....yet I'm a sissy. I'll be opening that post with one eye closed. Shari

    1. As long as one eye's open Shari!!