Thursday, April 03, 2014

The Weekly Report

Raise your hand if you love getting a new computer.  Raise your hand if you love getting a new computer you are forced to get because your operating system is way too old to support what you need your office computer to do every day.  Raise your hand if you love moving all of your old computer files to your new computer that is so technologically new you have no idea how to use it.  Raise your hand if you'd rather just go back to paper and pencil.

Okay, maybe that last line is a little extreme, but this whole Microsoft-no-longer-supporting-XP thing is creating a bit of a fuss in our office, that is for sure.  Here is what Kevin's poor desk looks like right now - thank goodness he just straightened it up last week, although I don't think this was his plan:

Yep, that's three computers.  The one on the left is Kevin's tablet.  Now claiming center field is the new Dell, which is going to cannibalize the old Dell on the right this weekend.  It's going to be interesting.  Once the new Dell has all the info it needs, we will be doing a remote thing with Delaware Business Systems to make sure the two computers out in the dining room are up to speed with the office software.  We already know that one is running on XP and will most likely have to be retired as well.

As I wrote in my weekly email this week, I've known for a long time that Microsoft was not going to support XP any longer, but I conveniently put it out of my mind, until I got that little reminder from *Bill* week before last. Suddenly, we were sent into high gear to find a replacement for our seven year old PC, which did not prove to be strong enough to support a Windows upgrade.  (When I mentioned to a customer the other day that our office computer was 7 years old, she queried "Does it still work?")  My brother is helping me with some of the software and I also have a very tech savvy sister who has been able to share some insight, but for the most part it is sort of point and hope.  Going from the XP operating system, with Office 2007 on the 2007 Dell, to Windows 8.1 on an All-in-One Touch Dell feels like going directly from a pad and pencil to the Samsung Galaxy 5 - in one afternoon!

Meanwhile, the Brooks Tavern show must go on!

Last night the menu featured some of Kevin's delicious mozzarella cheese in the first course, followed by rainbow trout and chocolate cake - what's not to like, eh?

The "cheese course" was sort of like a grown up grilled cheese sandwich - a little bed of greens tossed with balsamic vinaigrette, topped with a pesto rubbed crostini and the melted mozz.  

The rainbow trout fillet was filled with sauteed cabbage and apples, rolled up roulade-style and baked with a slice of bacon wrapped around the middle.  A little drizzle of lemon butter and a few strands of lemon candy completed the package.

The sour cream chocolate cake was a second attempt.  The first one(s), using a recipe Kevin came across while he was cleaning off his desk, were disappointing to the extreme.  In fact, both cakes went right into the trash can with nary a thought about trying to get some use out of them, they were that bad.  The second recipe turned out great however, and has become the base for a new dessert that Kevin and Cherelle created today which will make its debut tonight - a "S'mores Cake".  We'll have pictures of that at a later date.

Of course, there has been more going on here at BT than computer woes. (Oh, and take note - so far, no traffic woes either, which has helped at lunch so far this week.)  One event worth noting - the "Russell Girls" came in last week to celebrate the birthday of one (I can't remember which) of their husbands.  I thought this was an excellent idea, one which perhaps I could promote?  "Celebrate your husband's birthday at a Brooks Tavern lunch with the girls!"  Yes!

In honor of Leigh Crooks' birthday, which was documented last week, Kevin got in some foie gras, so he could make a little special treat for Leigh on her big night.  It was a hit all around, and now Kevin has decided it needs a place on the menu on a more regular basis than New Year's Eve and March 23rd.  He discovered a novel approach to preparing it, which turned out to be not only easy but delicious - what a great combination!  Last week he paired the disc of foie gras with some gravlax, and we called it, what else - "Surf and Turf"!  Sold out.

Another crowd pleaser on the recent special lists has been seafood gumbo - a bowl of rich, authentic gumbo crowned with fried oysters and shrimp.  The so-called cup, pictured above the bowl, would make a nice meal all by itself, the bowl a true entree.  The same dish has been on both the lunch and dinner menu to the delight of many.

Baked scallops were a seafood special last week.  The price of "dry" sea scallops has gotten a little out of hand lately, so they've been removed from the regular menu, but when he can get them reasonably from Frank, they make a very popular dinner item, no matter what the preparation.

Rockfish was the fin fish, skewered, griddled and served on a noodle cake.

Lunch today saw this crispy pork taco.  Having the deep fryer on at lunch has opened up great new avenues for food preparation, and this was one of them.  I'm not sure what prevented us from using the fryer during the day before now. A great example of what has been missing is the new oyster po'boy, with its stack of fried oysters, becoming one of the most popular lunch items ever!

My favorite story lately involves not only the food at Brooks Tavern, but also how a husband and wife manage to work together so closely for so long and remain married.  The first time I saw the new chicken dish being prepared... I watched Kevin put a fistful of arugula on the plate with no dressing, no nothing, then pour the sauced fettuccine over that, with finally the chicken paillard and its bacon, I was a skeptic.  "Aren't you going to saute that arugula or at least dress it with something?" I questioned the Chef.  He cleverly ignored me.  A few minutes later, as I approached the diner whose chicken it was, she pointed her free index finger at her plate and practically shouted, "Off the charts, Barbara, this is Off The Charts!"  And you might wonder, did I share this with the Chef?  Of course I did.  That's one of the reasons this relationship has carried on as long as it has in this business - humor at all times.

That, and a lot of wine!

Peace out!

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