A very busy Wednesday night last night with me on the bar shift left little time for photo documenting the prix-fixe menu as is my custom. Actually, lately it's been a little too busy to do much of anything except keep up. This last minute outpouring of support has been simply wonderful, really. It has been good for the staff and good for us, sad as the reason for it might be. We are challenged to remain committed to our product and prove to the staff that we will be professionals to the bittersweet end, and so will they. It would be the easy road to follow, if we just said "Oh, what the heck does it matter? We're closing anyway." But obviously, that is not the way we operate. We intend to be the best we can be, all the way through. And we appreciate more than words can say how our customers are also remaining committed to us.
That doesn't mean I like being on the bar on a busy Wednesday night, despite the shelter from conversation it offers me. And last night was particularly painful because it was too busy for the floor staff to handle well and I was too busy on the bar to help them. While I am here promising to be the best, we probably did not come across that way last night, and I was very disappointed to have to witness it. We want to go down in a blaze of glory, not as some inept comedy show. Luckily we have Meg scheduled on the bar for next Wednesday, so this may be the last time we suffer from being understaffed during this outpouring of appreciation. I could not take another night like last night...
Here is the only picture of the menu I was able to shoot - the linguine with mushrooms and leeks. There is a story behind this pasta dish... During one of Kevin's forays into the world of internet food, he came across a very interesting way to cook dry pasta. We've already mastered Mark Bittman's method of cold water pasta, which involves less energy use, but now Kevin has learned a way to cut back even more - soaking dried pasta. Soaking it for 90 minutes allows the pasta to absorb the water it needs to hydrate, so that all it needs after that is to be tossed in the sauce you've already made to serve it with! Wow! Who knew?
If you like summer meals, this salad from lunch the other day was for you - Redman's kale, squash and cherry tomatoes with slices of fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. And, as summer winds down - not going to get over 75 or so starting tomorrow - be sure to eat all the watermelon you can. I recommend daily.
FYI - Kilby Cream has absolutely nailed the salted caramel ice cream. Nailed it. I can only compare it to Jan MacDonald's award winning version, and Kilby's comes in a close second. We are currently pairing it with an oatmeal raisin cookie in our ice cream sandwich, and it is a killer combination.
We had an interesting take on the tipping conversation last week, bringing to us a theory I've never encountered before. A couple of Jenn's customers had a drink before dinner and then each chose a bottle of wine to enjoy with the meal - she wanted red and he wanted white, so they got one each, and took the leftovers home. When it came time to settle up, the gentleman explained that he did not believe in tipping on the bottles of wine, although he is fine about leaving a tip for the "corkage". He carefully subtracted the cost of the two bottles - $42 - from the bottom line of the check, and then proceeded to replace that with what he deemed was a fair "corkage" fee of $15. He added that into the check and tipped on that new total. It appears that he is of the opinion that the price of the wine makes no difference, it's the opening and serving that he tips upon, the so-called corkage. I find his methodology to be quite creative, although his beliefs are not new. I have witnessed the controversy over tipping on a $20 bottle of wine versus a $100 bottle - why should you have to tip so much more on the more expensive bottle when it takes no additional effort to serve than the $20 bottle? But this corkage thing was taking the same premise to new heights. Or maybe just a little more careful thought went into his philosophy. The worst of it was that he then asked Jenn if that was okay, if that was enough tip for her. What is she supposed to say to that? She is a professional. She said "Whatever you want to do, sir, is fine with me." Really. And now I wonder, is his corkage fee $7.50 a bottle? Because that's a little low.
It is pretty exciting to think about all the new restaurants getting ready to come our way. The new Luisa's is slated to open soon in the old Village Bakery location; of course Cafe Sado is entering our space in November; Molly's outside of Kennedyville is morphing into Matthew's, with Matthew Whitehair at the helm; Barbara's rejuvenation of the Betterton restaurant that used to be Dublin Dock is rapidly approaching; and Steve from the Kitchen at Rock Hall will apparently be taking up residence at the Imperial Hotel dining room, with our sous-chef Jay taking over Steve's spot in that Rock Hall Kitchen later next spring. Wow! That is a lot of change coming! Not to mention a renewed Acme and new Redners. Kent County is just going to rock the food world, eh? We picked a good time to be diners rather than operators, didn't we? We are on a road to change ourselves, with our new business in Kennedyville demanding more and more of our attention. The K-B Market and Kitchen School has a FaceBook page, complete with a photo of the building while it was under construction in 1995! just need to do a little updating there! I attached a link to the page on the weekly email, which didn't work, so maybe I got it right this time...
I leave you today with a picture of what may end up being our legacy here at the Radcliffe Mill. That little red vine you see there in the shrubbery has gotten a firm hold on the bed by the loading dock, and if my experience with it in my home garden is any indication of the future, this lovely hummingbird attractor will continue to sprout here for years to come. You're welcome!