Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Last week I finally received a product guide from my produce proveyor, Frank's Quality Produce (also mentioned in my last post), outlining the fresh available bounty that they have to offer right now, with emphasis on what's coming from local farms. I have been asking fruitlessly for something like this for quite a while now, but the truth was: they were simply too small of a company to offer the frills that many of us have come accustomed to in this digital age, some of which are already routine for their larger competitors. So why have we stayed with them, waiting patiently through their technological inadequicies? Two simple words: Customer Service. They strive to get me what I want and when I want it, with indifference to quantity or disadvantage to them, and always with personality and a smile; we have a relationship with them, not an account. I'll agree with you in believing that this is the way that every aspect of the service industry should be performed, but anyone who has dealt with a shoddy repair company or tried to return something through a company's "Customer Care Center" has learned that this is not the world that we live in, so I have to admire a business who even in today's world values what the customer wants and employs the best people to help them carry it out; a merit that mirrors the way we feel about our restaurant.

/End Rant.>

What I really wanted to tell you about was the product guide (but, really, I wanted to rant...): it is something that I like to refer to as "Produce Porn" for us food geeks. This little inspiration bomb sent my mind into a spiral - chasing after ideas in every direction at once like a losing contestant on Supermarket Sweep...

Then I was reminded of the trellis my wife and I were talking about building on our balcony and what kind of plants we wanted to grow on it (and what would be safe for our pea-brained cats to nibble on) when I realized that although it was too late for us to grow them this year, I still had time to incorporate Pea Vines into one of my specials. Then the building began...

Pea vines are the top tendrils and leaves of a pea plant harvested in spring/early summer that are similar to spinach yet still retain the flavor and sweetness of peas. They can be eaten raw, but I prefer them sauteed in butter, in this case with Walla Walla Spring Onions (the BEST onion), local Shitaki Mushrooms, Fingerling Potatoes, finely sliced Red Belgian Endive (whose slight bitterness balances the sweetness of the pea vines) and finishing the medley is some fresh Chervil, a delicate herb similar to parsley but with subtle licorice notes that I love pairing with traditional peas.

One meat that I love joining with peas is beef - especially steak... so I hand picked a whole boneless Angus Ribeye that I carved down into thick 6-7 ounce steaks, grilled them to the obligatory perfection of medium-rare before slicing for presentation. To finish the plate, I infused a rich beef stock with the leftover shitaki and chervil stems as well as one of my favorite spices - Juniper Berries, traditionally used as the distinguishing flavor in gin.

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This week's cocktail special has an added benefit - other than the one that gives you a buzz! For the whole month of June we are featuring "The Equalitini"!!! Though the flavor will change weekly (as usual), $2 of every Equalitini sold this month will go towards funding the fight for equal rights for gays and lesbians. For more information, or if you want to feature the Equalitini at your restaurant, please contact us here.

For the first Equalitini I wanted to do something new, symbolizing progress, yet accessible enough to sell a ton of in order to maximize our donation, so I stewed blackberries with fresh thyme, then steeped the mixture allowing it to cool and let the two flavors meld. Once strained the elixir is shaken with ice, vodka and more fresh thyme, then poured into a chilled martini glass:

Just another example of our philosophy: it is more about you, and less about us.

With Love,