After ThanksGiving comes Christmas. And it is always the fastest time of the year, if you are over the age of 12. I swear, those December weekends fill up before the month even appears on the calendar. Typically, we take a sort of low-key approach to the Winter Holiday Season, as far as decoration in the Restaurant goes. This week I began the coverage with some pine cones and lightly Christmas-y tunes on the CD player. Later I'll put some Christmas Lace on the geese and next week we'll finish up with the lights and greens and Holiday Glitter.
But for now, pine cones will do.
Last night was a very successful Prix-fixe. Much better than our ThanksGiving Weekend business. What was up with that?? That had to have been one of our slowest TG weekends on record. Saturday lunch was good, but both dinner services were dreadful. It ended our November with a bust, leading us into what is already a traditionally slow month. December offers so many options for our guests dining dollars and time, what with shopping of course, and parties and wrapping and decorating and all the rest, that the usual routine gets tossed to the curb. Last year was not so bad, but some years the sale of gift certificates has been what sustains us!!
But that slowness is also what gives us time to enjoy some of the Holiday rigamarole, to make our annual pomanders, maybe whip up some Christmas cookies and imbibe in our favorite winter beverage - the Mocha. Soon it will Lewes Dairy Eggnog time and all will be right with the world.
Anyway, back to the Wednesday Report.
The fifteen patrons who managed to score a menu last night were treated with a starter of hand-cut fettuccine: house-made fresh pasta cut into strips, sauced with white wine, cream and garlic with house-cured guanciale and mushrooms. Actually, I scored one of these myself, since there were only 15 desserts to pair with the menu and there were a few extra pastas. It was as delicious as it looked. Kevin made the guanciale from the jowl of one of his earlier Black Bottom farms pigs, curing it since April, and it turned out better than he could have hoped. I imagine you will see it turning up here and there, while supplies last.
This little plate of tasty was followed by spice rubbed griddled catfish and the usual accompaniments. One party commented that the fish was on the bland side, despite the rub, which, while may be the nature of the beast, told the kitchen that perhaps the seasoning was too mild itself.
Or perhaps the black bean puree that was under the fish could have used more seasoning to bring the top and the bottom together. Either way, Robbie was cooking the fish - he is training on the griddle end of the line this week - and I think by the end of the night he got it down without Kevin or Jay breathing down his neck. Too much.
Dessert was the classic cream caramel:
ThanksGiving - a week ago today, believe it or not! - was a fine, food filled affair at houses across the nation, and ours was no exception. On our last visit, I left you with the procedure leading up to TG turketta. It was a qualified success. In my opinion (and I think I am solitary) it was slightly overdone and therefore a little turkey-dry on the white meat. Luckily we had plenty of Cherry Heering enhanced sauce to mellow it out!
I think one of the main pluses for this ThanksGiving centerpiece is the ease of carving.
Two of our of our ThanksGiving guests participated in the Turkey Trot in Kent Island, very early TG morning. Uncle Kevin accompanied his two nieces and their Dad to this event and got some great shots of the group, which I feel compelled to share here.
The Turkey Wear that Cailin (L) and Kyle (R) dressed in for the race were made by Dad (F), and were apparently the hit of the run. They were asked to lead off the 5 miles, in their finery, and absolutely set the tone for the holiday.
Here they are, coming into the finish line. Only a few feathers failed to qualify. What a great way to work up an appetite for the biggest meal of the year!
Food for the Holidays, my favorite part of this time of year, begins with the fruitcake. The completion of last week's start to the process was done on the Friday after TG, and is pictured here, ready to be brushed with brandy and then wrapped and put into the walk-in to mellow for a few weeks, taken out occasionally for more brushes with E&J. 15 minis and 2 large cakes to look forward to...
But for now, there is other food to enjoy. Like this plate of chicken and oysters with cornbread:
Or this plate of the rainbow trout with clams and bacon. And those are beets on the plate - doesn't everyone love beets? everyone gets beets, that we know - but they look like watermelon or winter tomatoes because they are candy cane beets, of a pink and white hue. Sweet and mild, they add that color we need on our winter plates.
The new dinner menu that went into effect last week includes a boneless Langenfelder pork chop with mashed sweet potato and sausage gravy. This has been a definite hit. Who can argue with pork on pork, eh?
We've had several requests for Kevin to bring back his duck confit, which will become a reality tonight or tomorrow, but until then we have to satisfy that craving with his duckwings, sauced with hoisin bbq sauce. Several orders of these went out last night, and were gnawed down to the bone in a delighted fashion. As they say, these were "finger licking good"!
The final photo of the day is of Shore Nuff Farm leg of lamb, served with baked ricotta cheese. It looks pretty good, and was another popular choice last night. Shore Nuff lamb is from the Katahdin breed, which if you follow this link, will explain their attributes. Lamb raised for meat as opposed to wool is the basic difference, and so far the flavor has won over a few hearts in our dining room.
As is our usual behavior this time of year, we are looking forward to all the good eats that will be coming our way as Christmas week (rapidly) approaches. We've been discussing our plans for the Christmas Dinner Menu for several weeks already, and avidly anticipating the annual surplus of chocolate and champagne. I'll keep you posted on how things progress regarding the special dietary needs that must be met in December, which might vary a bit year to year but always include those fixtures we wouldn't have a Holiday without.
And then comes New Year's Eve. That special dining event is being planned and prepped for even as we type. Plus reserved - 7PM through 8 is booked up already.
Ho Ho Ho! Dashing through the Snow. With eggnog, and truffles, roast goose and brandy. Some fruitcake and cookies and baked ham and candy. Christmas comes but once a year! Now it's here!
Peace out! I need to get a real job!