Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Weekly Report From 870 High Street

As we reach "hump day" on our third "last week" at Brooks Tavern, things continue to be very interesting.  We are trying to be careful with our ordering, so as to not have a lot of leftover ketchup and such, but we don't want to actually run out of anything either.  My brother has been doing some shopping for us at Sam's Club, because there are some things we can only get by the case, which we don't need, at this stage of the game.  And, since we don't need a whole five gallon pail of dill pickles, Kevin took the advice of his Sister-in-Law and made his own, with a recipe she provided:

I'm not exactly sure if he followed Harriet's recipe exactly (probably not) but the results were perfectly acceptable.  And the spears look quite nice on the lunch plates.  It's sort of comical though, really, that he has to have that pickle on that plate.  The plate is not complete without it, even if it means you have to make the pickles yourself!

I'm pretty sure I've noted in an earlier post that we have never actually closed a restaurant before, so  this is an entirely new procedure we are following.  Luckily, we will be able to do a Bulk Liquor Transfer to Mr. Wong, when he gets his license, so we don't have to worry about ordering too much  V.O. or Captain Morgan, but the food will take careful monitoring.  Some things will certainly stay on the menu until the bittersweet end - the calamari, the romaine, the crab cake and quiche for example.  But as the days travel onward, the menu may begin to reflect more and more of what's in house.  For instance, there may be a few #10 cans of hominy that will find their way into the Soup of the Day.  Of course, any non-perishables can be taken to the local food bank at the end of the day, so it is generally the meat and produce that will have to be tightly ordered.  Luckily we have a freezer! Ha! My plan, to help with this critical issue, is to eat something from the menu every night.  I'm going to start with the scallop tempura, then the next night, a crab cake.  The night after that, cream of crab soup, and then a crab cake the next night.  The following night - crab cake.  And perhaps the night after that I'll have...piccolo fritto!  What ever it takes, I'm here to help!

It is no doubt going to be a challenging few weeks to come.  Saying "goodbye" is going to be terrible.  I've already had to do it with a few regulars and I know it is only going to get worse.  Frankly, I've been kind of glad to be on the bar both Tuesday and Wednesday nights, because it limits the interaction I have with the guests in the Dining Room - I can only handle so much!  

The traffic circle has been no friend of Brooks Tavern this week, that is for sure.  They are putting in the curbing - god knows how Harry Morris is supposed to get into his driveway! - and so the flaggers are back, directing traffic to go around the circle counter-clockwise, which is of course very confusing.  It must have been extremely confusing to someone this morning, because they drove straight across the circle, until stopped by cement.  The driver had to be taken away by ambulance - whether the confusion was caused by a physical event, or the event caused by confusion, I can't say - and the Jeri-dan arrived shortly thereafter for the car itself.  All of this mess of course caused an even longer back-up for traffic in every direction.  Let's hope this is the last day for this.  (Bill Kelly just dropped off our Redman order, and he was livid - he'd been on Route 20 for 45 minutes, trying to get the few miles to our stop.)  (And this is even better - Mr. Bramble et al came in for lunch today!  I told them we appreciated the business, as we were quite slow!  He retorted that they hoped to be finished by September 20th...  It was too funny.)

What a great menu we had last night!  Some remarked that Kevin was trying to pave the way for the Asian cuisine soon to come to our dining room, but it was simply a coincidence.  The starter was egg-drop soup, or, as Kevin phrased it, "drop-in-an-egg soup".  Once again, this is an example of Kevin having fun with the Wednesday prix-fixe. He'd come across a technique for poaching eggs in advance to use in ramen noodles, and he decided maybe he could do the same thing for a menu soup.  I think he felt he was 75% successful - most of the eggs came out perfectly, and the guests were able to swirl them into the hot broth.  The method he used for these "slow poached eggs" came from David Chang's "Momofuku" cookbook, if you want to give it a try yourself!

Next was the sweet and spicy roast chicken on rice noodles.  The sauce that these chicken pieces were tossed in after being roasted was ridiculous!!!  The aroma alone got the salivary glands working overtime.  It was so good,  I for one could have just slurped it up with a spoon.  And, believe it or not, he wrote down a recipe for it!  The two key ingredients are ginger and gochujang - Korean red pepper paste.  This dish is a serious keeper - it has a definite place on wings, for certain.

More food - tomato, bacon, mozzarella and string bean salad found only at lunch at Brooks Tavern last week.  And only for one day...

Surf and Turf, BT style - St.Brigid's Farm veal with a Brooks Tavern crab cake.

Peach pie.  One of those "last" things we are seeing more and more of around here.  The last Brooks Tavern fruit pie.

Cherry tomato and mozzarella salad with Thai basil.  The basil and the tomatoes are from our home garden.

The duck stir-fry has been featuring peaches in a coconut sauce.  This is a very popular dish, which in itself bodes well for Mr. Wong's arrival in November, eh?

Kevin had another request for sweetbreads last week, and they were paired with more of that tasty SBF veal as a dinner special.  I just realized that I never got one bite of sweet breads this go around.  I'll have to add that to my bucket list for the next two weeks!

Many people have been quizzing me for details on our plans for the so-called cooking school we plan to open in Kennedyville later this fall.  I realize that  I am a little sketchy with details thus far, but basically we envision it as a casual yet serious place to learn new kitchen skills while you cook with friends, new and old.  We hope to do weeknights and weekends - Saturday classes for kids, let's say, and maybe a ladies only Thursday night event, or a Friday night couples class.  Subjects would range from perhaps a sauce making class to knife skills to "How to Make Mozzarella", with the end of the class resulting in food eaten together.  And then there's team building, bridal showers, birthday and retirement celebrations, all events that could be documented via a specially arranged class with Kevin.  And don't forget the wine!  I am hoping that will be part of it.  I imagine things will rotate in and out of repetition, with more popular topics appearing more regularly.  If you think you might be interested in keeping track of what we are planning,  please be sure to get on our current email list, as this will most likely be the only venue for communication in the beginning.  You can email me through the Brooks Tavern web site, or at

Peace out!

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