Monday, April 11, 2011

Getting Ahead of Myself

Usually, in the past when I would go on vacation for more than a few days or an extended weekend past Tuesday, I would pre-write my blog and post it on schedule with the intention to elude from the fact that I'm not actually there cooking during that time. The reasoning was because many people believe that whenever the chef isn't at the restaurant, it all goes to shit. This time I'm forgoing all of that nonsense because I am confident that things will go as smoothly as when I'm there.

So, here I am, after work on a Friday night, ending my week just the way that I began it, and after another day of preparation and service, I will be on my second full-week of vacation in nearly four years and my delayed honeymoon to boot. Ironically, my send-off dish will also be my welcome-home one, since I will be putting it on the menu along with other new tidbits the week I get back. Stop by to check out what's new!! In the meantime...

I have to admit that the inspiration of both of these specials came from one source: one of our servers, Justin. Not only did he suggest I offer a sandwich that I made for a friend of his who used to wash dishes here, but he also introduced this week's cocktail special, of which I coined The Nutty Professor. But first thing's first -

I poached firm Bosc pears in Mirin and some simple syrup along with the zest and juice of lemons, infusing the flavors well beyond the first day as they sit in the cooking liquid. I made a sandwich using the same sourdough bread from our legendary French toast by toasting each side like a grilled cheese using Teleggio, a washed-rind cheese that is gooey and a little bit stinky, just the way I like 'em. With the poached pears and a bed of baby arugula for optional bitterness and freshness, the sandwich is a great treat, but it is complimented by some beautiful white, orange and purple heritage cauliflower cooked with butter and chives.

As for the drink, Justin and I share an affinity for whiskey, so he knew that I would appreciate a cocktail that he came across, and while I could be "like a boss" and take sole credit for his idea, I appreciate his enthusiasm to introduce things in order to better our restaurant, so I give recognition here to my friend and employee, and for good reason, too!

He suggested we offer a cocktail that he had tried where a traditional Manhattan was made with Frangelico, a hazelnut liqueur, instead of sweet vermouth. I took it a step further and toasted some hazelnuts to use as garnish that float as if to show their true flavor!!

See You Next Week!!

With Love,