Thursday, November 21, 2013

Weekly UpDate

Seasonably chilly lately, which helps with making ThanksGiving Plans.  Today it even seemed like it might snow - although that is not in the immediate forecast.  Still, it is late November and it should be cold.

It's been a very interesting week since Jay has been out on Paternity leave.  He returns to the line tonight, and probably not a moment too soon for all involved, but mostly for Kevin and Mandrell.  Mandrell held up extremely well as the substitute middle guy, he deserves a lot of credit.  He got thrown a few curve balls but he never let anything get in his way, and he came back night after night ready to do it again.  I think he got a lot out of the experience and we got a cross-trained line cook.  Win win.  Jay got a baby...

Anyway, last night's prix-fixe.  It was a pretty good one, and we sold out which hasn't happened in a few weeks.  

First, duck leg with hoisin barbecue sauce.  Delicious.  I got a thigh when the night was over, so I can say that with confidence.  A new way of cooking the legs, apparently, yielding juicy duck.  Pick-up-with-the fingers delicious.  Might see it make its way to the small plates section of the dinner menu.

Main was linguine with white wine and garlic, graced with some of Kevin's sweet Italian sausage.  The sausage alone is worth the price of admission, IMHO.  

Dessert was apple crisp, which did not make it into the camera last night.

Overall, a successful menu and hopefully a new dish to share with the guests in the bargain.

We sent out a small take-out catering job on Saturday - three mini-versions of standard fare for twenty-some people.  The customer picked everything up on Saturday afternoon, including instructions for re-heating for the Sunday event.  Photo op!

Dozens of little burger rolls for lamb sliders.

Two dozen mini Carolina Crepes.

Two dozen lamb sliders.

Two dozen mini-crabcakes.

The sliders get a square of feta cheese.

Eventually they looked like this.

We don't do a lot of this, but every now and then we get a request that we can handle.  We have one turkey going out the day before ThanksGiving, being done "porchetta" style, oven ready for pick-up on Wednesday.  We do a few pies or cakes now and then, and once a carry-out picnic meal for 8 or so, to be served on a boat out on the bay.  We're no threat to any of the real caterers out there, that is for sure.  I have always maintained that catering is a lot more work than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, and I want no part of it!

Steaks though, I can certainly wrap my mind about that!

Not totally on purpose, Kevin got in a Roseda Beef bone-in New York Strip Loin, via his pals at United Shellfish and their pals at Fells Point Meats.  It is quite a nice looking hunk of red meat, which  Kevin turned into some bone-in New York Strip steaks.  For retail sale.  He got them trimmed up today, and cut some pretty substantial steaks between the short rib bones, leaving the bones in.

It took his saw to cut through the one long rib bone.

Are these gorgeous or what?  A steak lovers dream, I suspect.  Especially this time of year, when turkey and ham rule the dining scene.  While I would never imagine a couple of fat steaks on the grill could displace the golden brown roast turkey on ThanksGiving day, I sure wouldn't put the Weber away just yet!

Is this enough pictures yet??  I do like looking at nice cuts of red meat...

Anyway, they are one and a half to two pounds in weight, which means most people could share one - as long as they agree on the temperature.  They are all individually sealed in plastic (see photo above) for longevity, although we'll be putting any that are left after Saturday into our freezer.  We are selling them for $18 a pound (yes, this is blatantly an advertisement, and hopefully Adblock won't keep you from reading it!) as long as the supply lasts.  For me, there is something especially tasty about meat with a bone;  I prefer it above all else.  Will I get one of these steaks, you may wonder?  Only, I am sorry to say, if no one else wants them...

On another end of the food spectrum, there is lobster.  The Dizes celebrated their wedding anniversary with their favorite meal last night.  Kevin was much happier with his results this time than he was for Karen's birthday dinner this past summer.  First he sent out a little amuse of the knuckles as a salad with spiced citrus vinaigrette and salsa verde.  Just a little taste.

Next, a small romaine salad - as per our menu - topped with the meat from the claw.  That is a romaine lovers dream, trust me on this.  It had to be good.

For the main course he used the bodies as the vessel for the remaining meat, sauced in a rich brandied cream with lemon.  Over the top, but hey, it's lobster!

I think the Dizes were happy.  I know that a few of the surrounding tables were envious...

I was afraid that posting a picture of the fluke from last night would be anti-climactic, but it looks pretty good itself, with the olives and grape tomatoes garnishing the fish.

Later - Friday Morning the 22nd

I had hoped to get this post up before Thursday dinner service, but Burger Mania interrupted.  Wow! what a crazy Thursday night.  Who knew that people were craving spicy sweet potato puree on their burgers!  Unfortunately, we sold out before we finished seating people, which was disappointing to more than a few, but it was just burger chaos and they flew out the door.  More than likely it was the thought of no Burger Mania next week that sent the hungry hordes through our doors.

ThanksGiving plans shaping up?  We almost have our menu down - it's a shared affair, with everyone bringing something - we usually do the turkey (Kevin's job), a green vegetable (this year Brussels sprouts roasted in the Big Green Egg) the cranberry sauce (me) and mashed potatoes, since they are best done at the last minute. The debate we are having is: should we or should we not have mashed potatoes?  It seems like anarchy to not have them, but we have plenty of other things and it's not like mashed potatoes are that "special".  I don't know.  I guess we'll put it before the board and see how the vote goes.

Meanwhile, the weekend is here.  Have a good one!  We'll be back next week with more BT adventures plus the annual report of ThanksGiving plans from the Brooks tavern cooks. 

Peace out.

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