Friday, November 01, 2013

The Weekly Round-Up

Nothing like doing a Blog Post to circumvent taking inventory...

Interesting week - so far.  The activities included a serious lesson in "be careful what you wish for".  And we carved pumpkins!  Fun fun fun, all week long! 

The week's festivities began on Tuesday when we were met without three of our four daytime staff.  Hmmm.  How's that gonna work?  No porter, no salad cook, only one line cook.  Hmmm.  Tuesdays.  Gotta love 'em!  We get on the phone to begin texting and calling in some substitute help - and let this be a lesson to all of you: cross train your staff so they can fairly easily step into one anothers positions.  Eventually we got Antwan to come in to take Tif's spot on the dish, and Jay to help on the line. (Most of this was arranged via text messaging.  The text I sent to Jay - who generally comes in for his nightly shift at 2:30 or 3 in the afternoon - read: "No matter what time you come in today, it won't be too early".  He granted that it gave him a little shot of confusion at first, but he quickly wrote back "I'll be there at 12".)  So far, so good.

But wait, there's more!  Before we had even figured out our total game plan for the day, Abby sliced off half of the top of her left middle fingernail.  Kevin soon realized his medical license was not capable of doctoring this injury, so off to the emergency room I go, depositing Abby and her torn off nail into the capable hands of medical professionals.  I came back to the empty kitchen, and Kevin and I stood there, kind of stunned.  As many of you know, one of our anticipated joys in our future retirement would be a lack of employees to manage.  God knows, we love them and God knows even more how much we need them, but frankly, they are also the bane of our existence.  However, on Tuesday morning, as I looked at Kevin and he looked at me, we both had the same thought: be careful what you ask for!!  It's two hours to lunch and there is not one employee on the premise!

We made it fine, of course.  Abby came back by 11:30 and managed to help out on the salads until the rush was over.  Jay, of course, was our hero.  Antwan, of course, was pleased to help as well.  We are so lucky to have these great employees!  We certainly couldn't be in business without them.

Wednesday it is more of the same - except no one cuts off their finger.  Cherelle is still having issues with her housing, Mandrell is having a family problem to deal with and Tiffany is still sick.  But at least this time we have the players lined up ahead of time - Dashan comes in to work the line for Mandrell, Rayvon covers Cherelle's shift and Antwan replaces Tiffany again.  As I said, cross-training is essential!  And we made it easily through a busy Wednesday lunch, with no casualties.

Thursday just Cherelle is out, and we bring in Antwan once more, with Tiffany stepping into her secondary role on the salads.  Another cross-trained individual!

The biggest problem with this employee outage is the baking of desserts.  That, frankly, is Cherelle's job security.  Abby made lemon pie and pudding cakes, Kevin made panna cotta, Rayvon even got into the act and made cookie dough for the ice cream sandwiches, but the bulk of the extra dessert making fell on you-know-who.  And, of course, I can do it.  But I don't want to.  And it takes time.  Still, between Kevin and I, we managed to make plenty for the "specials" on the dessert menu.  We produced, among other things, that wonderful Pecan Cream Cake, a seasonal "pumpkin" pie, and Kevin added a quartet of chocolate cakes to be filled with ice cream.  He wasn't happy with me taking this picture of his work in progress, but who could resist!

Today everyone is back on their feet and we are good to go.

There are not a whole lot of pictures this week; we'll begin with Wednesday night's prix-fixe menu.  This white bean soup with pork belly and basil served as the first course.  
This was followed by slices of St. Brigid's Farm sirloin:
Dessert was brown sugar bread pudding with a butterscotch Drambuie sauce.  I thought that the brown sugar would add a new twist to our bread pudding recipe, but it really didn't change it all that much.  The butterscotch sauce however, with its dollop of Drambuie, was really good and will possibly enter into the dessert sauce rotation on a regular basis.  There is no picture proof of this, unfortunately. 

The only other photo of food that I managed to capture was this shot of Antwan's dinner on Saturday night - meatballs on rice.  He looked at it with a bit of trepidation, but in the end it won him over.

The rest is all about October 31st.  Kevin, as is his tradition, carved several of our pumpkins.  He does such a fantastic job, everyone is always quite impressed.  He is the man with the knife, in a multi-talented way, what can I say!  Someone last night asked me how we got all the insides out of the pumpkins.  I explained that Kevin cut off the tops, took an ice cream scraper, handed it to the dishwasher and said "Use this to clean out the inside of the pumpkin".  Easy peasy!  Ha!  

Antwan and Mandrell both put in their time and the results are out in the dining room for all of us to enjoy.

It was a pumpkin carving assembly line.  We even managed to save the seeds and toast them up for a Hallowe'en snack.  

We also enjoyed a few Hallowe'en visitors yesterday.

First was our friend Joseph Towner, back from his stint at Butterworks Farm in Vermont, where he spent the summer on the tractor, roughing it on the farm.  He is headed to his winter retreat in Mexico, but managed to stop in for dinner and a chat, bringing with him some of the Farm's whole wheat and organic flour for Kevin to play with.  Joseph used to grow quite a lot of produce for us on his farm on Morgnec road, and it was great to see him happy and healthy. 

And then we had a pair of mysterious creatures arrive late in dinner service - a wiry fisherman and a purple mini dragon:

The fisherman - aka Noree - made a few rounds in the dining room, possibly hoping to hook a couple of fish, while the Dragon - aka Harlan - chased after him in her mother's arms. 

It is The Sultana's DownRigging weekend here in Chestertown, touted as one of the largest Tall Ship Festivals on the East Coast.  That translates into lots of extra people in town, and with a potentially favorable weather forecast (I have the AC on in the Dining Room today!), could result in a few busy shifts in our future. We hope we don't suffer the "they'll be too busy" syndrome, where people don't try to come in because they assume we will not have any room.  That can be the case, especially for a business like ours that does not take reservations for small parties, but hopefully I have gotten the word out that calling ahead is the plan. 

Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy having all of these wonderful employees in the building and spend the entire day telling them how much we appreciate everything they do here at Brooks Tavern! It is not much fun without them, that much is certain.

Peace out!

No comments:

Post a Comment