Still waiting for the round of severe weather to come over this way. There was a brief squall early this morning, and hopefully that will be what we get. There is not only all that wheat out in the county, borderline ready to harvest, but my raspberries are at the point where some heavy wind and rain could disturb their potential for greatness in a big way.
Last night's menu might be a potential keeper. Meaning, maybe it will make it to the regular menu:
Not the greatest picture, but this is the entree - a veal and mushroom cannelloni, with mozzarella cheese and tomato. Kevin's thinking maybe a chicken and sausage version for the regular menu?
The menu began with what is the last asparagus of the season, on a bed of mixed greens, sauced with that retro salad dressing known as Thousand Island. When is the last time you had Thousand Island Dressing?? It was always my first choice when dining out with my family as a youngster, but it has pretty much fallen off my radar in the decades since. Check out this CBS Sunday Morning video about the origin of the classic dressing, especially taking note of Martha Teichner riding up the St. Lawrence with her head of iceberg lettuce in her lap. And why did Kevin make such an old fashioned dressing in the first place? Well, we had a request for it at lunch on Tuesday, and that put the bug in his ear. Today it is going to be part of the sandwich special, on flatbread with roasted vegetables and mozzarella cheese.
Dessert was also a bit on the retro scale - cream caramel. No picture however, although I guess I could just post the same one from the last time we served this classic custard with the menu...
[[The storm is coming through now -
it is as dark as night outside.]]
In other news:
This is Jay's baby Josie, visiting Dad in the kitchen while mom Holly enjoys a peaceful meal out in the dining room with GrandMom. Put this little girl down on the floor and she is off toward the finish line! I thought she might be interested in Cherelle's "biscuits", seeing as they were probably perfect for a teething tool...
The only other food photo of interest is the Steak Salad we served over the weekend. Featuring rare slices of very flavorful St. Brigid's Farm beef, with a poached David King egg perched on top, it was quite a sight. Kevin put some tarragon butter on the egg for that added "je ne sais quoi" element. This special obviously sold out.
And this is what we ate Saturday night - roasted chicken wings! There were no complaints!
Finally, we have a third cook on the lunch line, and hopefully this one will be the keeper. We've known Eliza Abbey for quite some time, and when she heard we were looking for help, she called to say she might be available. A month later, she's in our kitchen. It is so refreshing to hire a cook who actually knows how to cook! It has been a tough row this spring, ever since Brittany dumped us after vacation, but hopefully things will get back on track soon, and Kevin can get back to being a Chef instead of a kitchen manager.
[[Storm has passed, quick and furious. Hopefully there is not another one coming behind.]]
Father's Day on Sunday means Dads on the Grill. We sold out of our USDA prime steaks, a few of which are most likely going to be a Dad's Day feature. If we get the demand, we will get in a couple more strips, as long as the price stays in a welcome range. You can put an order in via email.
There's been a bit of a buzz in the restaurant world about the very popular NYC sushi restaurant, Sushi Yasuda, no longer accepting tips for the servers. They've done away with the tip line on the credit card slip and supposedly are rejecting any cash that is slipped under the plate. Apparently tipping is considered quite crass in Japan, and this being a very Japanese place, albeit in Manhattan, the owners felt they should follow suit. I've read a few articles, plus the comments, in various online venues, and while some readers get the idea, most really do not. There are lots of suggestions that if there is no tipping the service will fall off, while others lament the fact that they can't stiff the waiter if the service fails to succeed.
There are many well known (mostly high-end) restaurants that include a service charge with the bill, which acts basically as the "tip" and is somehow used to pay staff a decent wage, so this is not a brand new concept. What is new - in my mind - is the attention it is getting. Tipping is already very controversial, and doing away with it would be like doing away with income tax - a dream for many, but only that, a dream. As many of you know, I am not a fan of the gratuity system in place in this country, where most servers are paid a great deal less than the Federal minimum wage in exchange for the opportunity to gamble on a living out in the dining room, letting the whimsy of the customer determine their weekly take-home salary. The restaurant owner pays payroll taxes on the tips, plus makes up the wages if the tips fail to meet the minimum wage, but still, it is a pretty good deal for us. At Brooks we do pool the tips, which at least eliminates the classic "not in my station" syndrome, along with most of the other disagreeable tip-related behaviors, many of which I have witnessed, not only when eating out myself, but in my own dining rooms in the past.
That being said, I doubt many servers around here would understand, let alone accept the idea of not working for tips. I know when we used this system in Kennedyville, to the delight of the customers and the accountant, it was very difficult to convince experienced waiters that it could delight them as well. And no, the service at the KVI did not suffer because the staff was not working for individual tips - the "manager" made sure of that, as she does today. The work ethic of the service staff trumped the tip system, which is what it should do.
I am all for the service charge system. Will I see it become the norm? I doubt in my lifetime.
Maybe next time.