Thursday, June 12, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

The next time a full moon occurs on a Friday the 13th won't be until the year 2049.  So, be ready tomorrow night for a lot of craziness...

This week has been crazy all by itself.  Busy + short staffed = crazed chef.   Whole veal coming in on Saturday + short staffed = crazed chef.  Crazed chef + crazed staff = Brooks Tavern.  At least the (current) staff can handle it.  Let's hope the new crew mates adapt!

Wednesday night was one of the busy ones, with lots of regulars to talk with and everyone seeming to know everyone else.  The menu was a good pull - from smoked bluefish to frozen coffee cream - plus there was rock fish and lamb to round things out.

First course on the menu was the  the smoked peppered bluefish on a bed of chopped romaine lettuce and a creamy lemon horseradish dressing:

I got a taste of the dressing - very good - and the smoked fish - very good - but not all the components together, although it wasn't hard to imagine how tasty it would all be on one plate.

Langenfelder pork tenderloin was the entree.  Fanned out like duck breast, one guest told me it didn't taste like pork.  Or at least not like the pork they were used to.  I'm not sure this comment can be taken as a compliment or not, but I know they meant it in a positive way.  

Dessert was a frozen concoction - cream and meringue, coffee and almond -

resulting in a coffee almond tortoni, with a bit of chocolate sauce swirled from above for added pleasure.   This is one of my favorite desserts - creamy but crunchy with the toasted almonds, rich from the cream but light from the meringue.  We thought about adding a little amaretto to the mix, but then got worried that it wouldn't freeze as well, so we chickened out.  Maybe next time.

Here's the picture you've all been waiting for - the head cheese finale!  It was perfect.  The savory gelatin surrounded the chunks of brined and poached meat, forming a refreshing cold pate of great porkiness.  A little mustard sauce and a crouton created a bite of crunchy bliss.  For a large plate, Kevin paired it with a roasted pork loin - all pork from the recent hog raised on Kim's Black Bottom Farm - to create a dish that was definitely a turf-and-turf to be remembered by those who were brave lucky enough to order it.  

Just a couple more shots of recent food:

The romaine salad revisited - looking better and better.

 An open faced red-pepper and mozzarella sandwich, served at lunch last week.

Crab cake!!!!  Needs no introduction.

This pork taco - another lunch special - may replace the fish taco on the daily menu.

One of the luckiest things to happen last week was Kevin forgetting to order his usual case of artisan lettuce from Teddy Bear.  Lucky because he remembered that Bill had said Redman's had lettuce, and turns out it is really gorgeous stuff.  Kevin couldn't be happier with it.  A nice mix, fresh as the early morning on which it is harvested, served only hours later to our guests.  It is wonderful.  As long as this lasts, he will be using it for all things salad.

The burger tonight was another showcase of Redman's produce - that young kale that Kevin is so enamored with, chopped "chiffonade", strewn over a Swiss cheese melted burger, with a warm bacon dressing overall.  Yes, it really was a popular "special" burger tonight, which surprised me.  But it did look good and messy!

Another special tonight featured the aforementioned Kennedyville's own St. Brigid Farm veal - the tenderloin - paired with the aforementioned crabcake.  A sell out.  No surprise there.

I have been begging Kevin for years to make cream of crab soup, and every so often he humors me:

I know his version will be the best, and several diners in the dining room tonight echoed those sentiments.  Wherever I go, I order cream of crab, if it is the right season for the crab to be right (and even then, only if the crab is right), and it is so often way too thick and way too "cream" flavored, with the only taste of crab coming from whatever crabmeat is in the soup.  Kevin's tastes like crab flavored cream.  Not salty, not Old Bay-y, but simply creamy crabby.  I'm going to encourage him to continue in this endeavor...

And the last picture is for you to identify.  If you a member of this cult, you know what you are seeing. 

Hopefully we'll be fully staffed tomorrow.  Kevin is getting a little cranky.  It's been a week or two of mystery as to who will be showing up to work and who won't, on a daily basis, and it gets old rapidly.  My crew has been fine, except poor Nicole had to leave early on Wednesday because of an eye infection.  She left Kaitlyn and me in charge of lunch, which normally wouldn't be too big a deal, but normally it isn't the afternoon of Kent School's graduation...First one table of seven, then one of eight, and multiples in between.  It was hilarious, if you weren't us.  But really, Kaitlyn did a fine job, and the two of us were a fine team; I don't think anyone really noticed that we were a bit short.  Kaitlyn's main strength, in a situation like the one we found ourselves in on Wednesday, isn't that she can handle the customers, the ordering and serving with aplomb, but is that she never gets flustered!  She has no fear.  I told her tonight, that's probably because she has no idea what could possibly go wrong when you have a dining room full of customers and only one other person to help you.  I, unfortunately, know that anything could happen to send the whole thing spiraling out of control before you know it.  A spilled glass of tea, an order rung in wrong, a forgotten two-top. Boom!  Everything is suddenly out of kilter and you are in the weeds, struggling to right the ship. But we were very lucky and none of these things ruined our day.  Or the day of our guests.

Be careful out there this Friday the 13th with its unusual pairing of a Full June Moon.
Peace out!

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