Friday, October 04, 2013

Wednesday Weekly Report

Sure is nice not to have to make the AC work too hard these past few weeks, eh?

Wednesday's menu was a huge success - not so much in that the menu itself was popular, although it was, but in that it brought in a robust crowd.  My email regarding what would be on the prix-fixe informed our customers that the main course was going to be a prototype for a new chicken dish being planned for the dinner menu, which is not the way Kevin usually does things.  Generally the courses on the p/f menu involve some interesting recipe Kevin feels like trying, and which will never be seen again, due either to a complicated technique or limited ingredient or what have you.  This time his thought was "Let's see how this goes over" and the guests were "used" as guinea pigs.  

The chicken stuffed potato got mixed reviews, nothing seriously negative but no superlatives either.  The appetizer, however, was King!

Mussels steamed with white wine and garlic - always a crowd pleaser - took their accolades as the first course of the menu, with most people wondering when we would be having them again.  (Kevin will not like this picture because of that dribble of sauce you can see at the back of the bowl...)  I assured people, we will definitely be serving mussels at the Brooks Tavern again, now that they are back to being plump and juicy.

The aforementioned chicken and potato looked very good:

There were bits of pork belly mixed in with the twice baked spud and chicken, and that was one "complaint" - the pork was barely noticeable.  I think for most people who had the menu, the lack of "pizazz" was the missing ingredient, with the one dimensional aspect of the dish a bit boring.  I relayed all the comments - good and bad - to the Chef and he was appreciative of the feedback.  He had already planned for the addition of oysters when he does the "real" dish, and bacon rather than pork belly will be the porcine part of the package, which would add another textural layer.  Overall, a good trial run - sold out! - and some great feedback from our very discerning crowd. 

Dessert was the ever popular angel food cake with chocolate sauce:

In other food news, some new lunch hour menu items are coming out of the kitchen these days, including a white bean and chicken chili on a grilled tortilla, garnished with cheese, cilantro and sour cream:

The salmon has come off of the salad and gone onto a stir-fry of rice noodles and coconut curry sauce, always a very tasty selection.  

The spinach salad has also morphed, gaining sweet potatoes, feta cheese and golden raisins.  Nice to know that healthy can also be delicious, eh?

And for some unknown reason, I took yet another picture of our Piccolo Frito.  I guess because it always looks so good and I always wish I could have some for myself!
We had a special group of diners in on Friday night.  Friends of Kevin's from his Union College days made the trek to the Eastern Shore to hang out with each other on the Bay and come to Chestertown to see what their old buddy was doing in a kitchen.  One thing he was doing was making them an hors d'oeurve plate for their amuse. 

At the end of the night he was able to sit down and reminisce with the party, which is something he rarely gets to do. 

A good time was had by all, I think!

Meanwhile on the home front, my brother hosted a family reunion this past Sunday, and Kevin's contribution was, of course, a fire roasted meat product.  In this case, pork shoulder, first cooked on the Big Green Egg and then spun over the fire pit for a final glaze.  Another triumph of fire and meat!

Two big newsworthy events coming out of Chestertown!  First of all, the Flaggers are gone from our end of High Street!  Was that a P.I.T.A. or what??  Now we will be prepared for the future construction issues, as the highly unnecessary round-a-bout is put in.  Meanwhile, no delays at our intersection is a welcome change. 

Second would be the return of an upscale bar to downtown Chestertown, something everyone of drinking age has been clamoring for, ever since Andy left the building.  JR Alfree, of Lemon Leaf fame, has moved his growing empire to the 300 block of High Street, and turned the old Andy's site into JR's Past Time Pub.  So far, word on the street - or, actually, at the table - is hip hip hooray!  The loss of Andy's was a big blow to the downtown social scene, and the past two incarnations did nothing to ease the pain. JR, who has already proven his mettle with the successful Lemon Leaf Cafe on Cross Street (#1 on Chestertown's Trip Advisor!) is hopefully the one who can let Andy's finally rest in peace, so that another "The Bar" can breath life back into that block of Chestertown.  And am I wrong in thinking that there used to be an earlier bar with the  "Past Time Bar" moniker in olde Chestertown?  I don't think it was Newt's - that was "Hillside Bar".  I found a reference to "Emma's Past Time Bar", but where was it?  JR's Pub has had many, many lives as a bar, and perhaps Emma's was one of them. (That would be a great trivia challenge - name all the businesses that operated out of that space in the last 50 years...)  I'm not sure whether JR intended to bring the past to the present, but no matter what, he's going to be busy!  We look forward to seeing Jeff behind The Bar again, one of these nights.

Peace out!

PS - I have confirmed that there did indeed exist a bar with the name "Emma's Past Time Bar" at the 337 address on High Street, and it is thought to be the first watering hole at that location, although not proven true at this point.  Love it!

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