Enjoy your last day of summer weather today, seeing as it looks like a thunderstorm-bearing cold front is looming ahead for the afternoon, bringing with it cooler, early fall temperatures. It doesn't look as though it will reach eighty degrees again in the foreseeable future, so one more day of air conditioning and iced coffee cravings... Most everyone around here will be happy to see the fall weather arrive, and while I will miss the heat, I love the change of seasons along our eastern seaboard, especially knowing that the steamy summer months will undoubtedly roll around again in nine months time.
Along with the drop in temperatures comes the change in produce. We will really appreciate that corn and those tomatoes and watermelon these next few weeks, because who knows how long they will last. (Although we have a tomato plant at home that has been putting out two or three red fruits on its own schedule, but with dozens of green ones still on deck...) We were gifted with an amazing selection of mixed heirloom tomatoes and peppers last night; I ate two right out of the box. The gardeners with such the green thumbs are, not surprisingly, Melinda (Herr) and Billy Blyman. There isn't a lot that excites Kevin more than a cardboard carton appearing on the loading dock containing the likes of these. Thank you so much! It will be enjoyed by many.
Summer produce formed the base for the first course on the prix-fixe menu last night, a salad of green beans and tomatoes with a mushroom frico perched on top. Kevin worked on those cheese discs most of the morning, until he got it right.
One of these days I'll figure out why some pictures come out perfect - like this one - and others are not so much...
The entree was Langenfelder pork shoulder, roasted with herbs. The Langenfelder farm is located right here in Kent County, near Kennedyville. We get their pork from United Shellfish via Fell's Point Meats, along with the Roseda beef raised on the Western Shore. Mostly Kevin orders the shoulder, which he slow roasts for the Carolina Crepe. As usual, we love being able to use meat that is raised locally, and while this is basically commodity pork, raised on a large farm, we appreciate knowing where it comes from. Supporting the small, sustainable farmers like Kim's Black Bottom Farm, where the hogs run around the woods and root in the field all day long, is important for both the community and the farmer, but there is still room for the big guys like Grand View, who farm with a conscience as well. Farms like that feed America.
Dessert was rice pudding, of which there is no picture. It was a little busy last night (once again, we could have used a tray runner), and it was all I could do to get shots of the main events. It was a fun night, and the menu was appreciated by all who ordered it. One guest told me she was most interested in the rice pudding, because she made really good rice pudding herself. Her table got the last of it, and I stood there while she dipped her spoon below the whipped cream and took a mouthful. Quietly she contemplated. Eventually she nodded, and remarked, I must say with some surprise, that she thought ours was better than hers! Bravo! Our recipe came from a customer at the Kennedyville Inn, a woman from Betterton who shared her version of this stove top pudding in a moment of generosity, and it is the only recipe we use anymore. It's a bit tricky but it is worth the effort.
St. Brigid Farm veal was not neglected on the specials list either. This cutlet was stuffed with aged Provolone cheese and placed on a mound of pasta with sauteed Cubanelle peppers and onions for a crown. No one who ordered this went hungry.
We really do serve seafood here too. Note to self - photograph it!
Rayvon and Antwan didn't go hungry either. One night recently their dinner was the BT take on poutine - this time with our french fries under sausage, pork and cheese gravy. They probably wanted to take a nap after that meal, not spend the next four hours washing pots and dishes!!
Kevin and I have done okay lately too - including this awesome breakfast of a saute of eggs with Ralph's Hatch chile pepper sausage, direct from Texas, on a flour tortilla. I sent a picture of this straight to Mr. Dowling, for his approval.
Cherelle's current upside-down cake is the classic pineapple, which looks splendid right out of the oven, and smells heavenly. Everyone in the kitchen watches when she flips that thing out of the cast iron skillet, and as the steam rises the aroma hits the air and we all take a deep breath. Ha! Just a little hyperbole there! Still, it is a very good cake, and it really does take a strong arm to turn it out of that heavy pan. And yes, it smells good too!
The round-a-bout construction on our end of High Street is no less than a monumental pain for anyone trying to go anywhere from that intersection. Often the traffic to the west is backed up as far as you can see down Route 20, and up Flatland Road as well. When I leave after lunch, to go feed Ruby, it is a kind soul who will let me into the line, especially if they have already been waiting through two rounds of stop and go. And it's the same in the other two directions as well. I can't say that it is hurting our lunch business, because it's not like we are super busy from 11:30 til 2, but it sure hasn't helped it any. Sometimes you will have to wait 10 minutes for your turn to go, and that is not something most drivers have time for on their lunch hour. Who ever had the bright idea that a round-a-bout would be the solution to that corner of town obviously didn't drive that way on a regular basis.
Today at lunch I spent a lot of my time chatting with a very nice couple traveling through town on the return part of their road trip from the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina. They were driving up to Niagara Falls and back, via the Hudson Valley, Long Island and eventually to their daughter's home in Annapolis. This is my favorite part about my so-called "job" - conversing with our broad mix of customers, be they weekly regulars doing some catching up or total strangers with a terrific tale to tell. It does get me in trouble sometimes, but it is what I do best - talk!
I'll leave you with this picture of our late summer container planters. Soon enough you will see what I see:
"Peace out!" she says!