Believe it or not, Kevin and I have made a decision to come into work a wee bit later than our usual 7AM. There are some strange math equations going on, but in the end it is all about me. You see, I try to walk in the mornings before work, but in order to get here by 7AM, I have to get up at 5:10 to get my exercise. And that means I need to be in bed asleep by at least 10PM to feel "okay" the next day. However, not very often these days do we get home by 10PM, let alone in bed and by god asleep by then. It has been taking it's toll. And making it very hard to leave bed in time to walk. So, Kevin kindly suggested that we could arrive at work at 7:30 and he would still be able to get everything done. At least on the mornings that he doesn't have a Chef's Warehouse delivery.
So, here's where the weird math comes in. How come I can sleep some 50 minutes longer, getting up at 6AM, and we arrive at work only 20 to 30 minutes later? Why didn't we make this change years ago???
Next thing you know I'll have him convinced that 9 o'clock is just fine...HA!
Last night was a terrific night, albeit a late one (see above). We had a really nice crowd after the David Axelrod lecture at Washington College, which was unexpected but welcome. And it was a nicely seasonal menu, featuring some of Kevin's signature items.
The menu opened with a spring salad of mixed greens, some roasted asparagus and Kevin's famous mozzarella beneath a balsamic dressing.
Plated with some vegetables and a red pepper sauce, it seemed to hit all the buttons with our diners.
Cherelle's first attempt at a cornmeal cake came out perfectly, sauced with some stewed rhubarb. It was a bit of a hectic end of the night, but in a pleasant way. We had several tables of first time customers, who seemed very happy with their choices, both of our dining room and their plates. One of the more humorous asides of the night came from a regular who was waiting for a table at the tall top by the door. He witnessed one of the new guests as they left the dining room, and when he and his wife were eventually seated, shared his observations with me. "You know Barbara", he said, "I sell grain and fertilizer to farmers, 6, 7 thousand dollars worth at a time, and I thank them for their business. They don't thank me. But here you have people leaving your place, thanking you, thanking you for letting them spend their money at your place! It is unbelievable!" I had to laugh, for his insight, from his standpoint, was a bit comical. I reminded him that that was one thing about the restaurant business that made it a bit unique - our customers are mostly in our dining room because they want to be. They are looking forward to their experience, as opposed to visiting the lawyer or the dentist, so we get them when they are already upbeat. If we are lucky enough to keep them that way, maybe even exceed their expectations, then they will leave happy too. Our battle is already half won when they choose to walk through our doors. We just have to keep the momentum going - at the very least.
We served some swordfish last night, with a garnish of pine nuts. It was a nice piece of fish, meaty and moist, with the crunch of the nuts adding that fourth dimension to the dish.
And here we have a picture of what we did with some of Redman's asparagus last night, the roasted spears with a lemon shallot butter. I want a plate of that right now.
Instead, I'm getting a bowl full of burnt asparagus pieces. I left our breakfast stir-fry on the heat, forgetting it while I checked in a liquor order, and no one smelled it burning until it was too late. You can imagine how happy I was about that, especially since it was our own asparagus, our first cutting of the season. Ruined. This is why I am not a cook.
I sure do hate wasting this precious stuff. And I hate not getting any breakfast!
I'll try to make myself feel better - but no less hungry, alas - by posting one or two more photos of food cooked by actual professionals. The duck breast for instance, accompanied by those luscious maple beans.
Or perhaps the St. Brigid's Farm veal special of late - a cutlet, pounded thin and filled with our Black Bottom Farm house cured ham and Swiss cheese, all served with a rich pan sauce. Oh man, you are killing me here! or, rather, I am killing me...
Recently Kevin was offered some New York Strip loins from Chef's Warehouse, graded Prime. We had to check it out. Look at that marble! It is not very often that Prime meat meets our walk-in, but Kevin did the right thing and made the purchase. We sold a few expertly trimmed steaks to a few regulars, and brought home a few ourselves to check out with our neighbors. Cooked over a hot wood fire, served over a mixed green salad with a perfect parsley/basil dressing, we were in red meat heaven.
So, now that we've verified for our customers that the goods are indeed prime in flavor and texture (oh the things we do for our guests!), Kevin bought another loin. We will be offering these beauties sometime soon, either as a steak special or retail for you to cook on your own wood fire, at a fairly decent price to boot.
I leave you with a lucky shot I got of our apple blossoms, which will not, in the end, produce too many edible apples, but sure do make spring happen for us each year.