Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Think Winter is Over

It better be because it's time to prep the garden! Although it feels more like farming than gardening. 22 raised beds measuring 10x4 each. 880 square feet of planting space.

The garden is located just behind the restaurant. Customers can watch from the window as we harvest throughout the shift. (Whether we need to or not, it makes for a good show)

We've been known to pick lettuce to order.

P.S. I don't want to hear any chef bragging about going green. Sure, tout sustainable, organic or the farmer/chef connection but unless you're breaking your ass tilling the soil, weeding, watering and nuturing the food you are going to serve your customers shut the fuck up! From seed to salad, it don't get no greener!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Current Affairs

Halibut Season, The Menu Gets Another Tweak and "Early Morels".

I've been bringing in Alaskan halibut on a regular basis and the quality has been great. I also brought in "early" morels. They're not true morels but look, smell and taste like morels. They're also known as "Verpa" morels. They come out early, before the real morel season. The ones I have are from the Columbia River Valley in Washington State. The micro greens this week are golden pea shoots, micro mustard sprouts and micro daikon sprouts.

Sauteed halibut with early morel cream, micro mustard sprouts, 25 YO balsamic reduction, parsley oil.

I've been playing around with the steak options on the menu and have come up with another idea. I'm going back to the rib-eye. Not 14oz, not a bone-in 18oz but a bone-in 28oz dry aged USDA Choice Certified Angus Beef Rib-eye. That is not a typo. 28oz dry aged choice angus beef rib-eye for $34.00. An excellent value considering the 18oz was $32 when I took it off the menu.

I cut the first rib today, picture above. You get seven steaks out of one "export" rib. The one missing in the photo is on the grill.

P.S. I'm finally figuring out this "new" camera. When I don't screw it up it works pretty damn good. (Click on the photos for close-ups)

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I've posted 2 audio clips from video that I shot on a very busy night. I have to preface the clips by saying it was one of our classic "everyone wants to eat at once" weeknights. The audio captures 16 minutes of a 30 minute rush from hell. We had a 18 in a private room doing four courses, 13 corporate types ordering up on the company dole, (god bless them) and another 28 covers thrown in there. Mostly larger tables. all within a 1/2 hour.

We weren't in the weeds but we were close and just as it started it was suddenly over. We were pressed to the limit every second of the clip. One fuck up and it's over. We made it despite the missing 12 oz filet (Do you know how long it takes to cook one?) and the small piece of fish. Luckily we had another walleye on the next ticket and used that one. Also as it turned out she didn't need the missing filet after all.

It's not like this all the time but it's not unusual.

P.S. Noise is now located in Salty's Media Room on the links list.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Latest Photos

Unfortunately the photo below doesn't translate into how good this dish was. Petite filet topped with lobster tail and bearnaise. Served with demi-glace, baby purple carrots, candy stripe beats and au gratin potatoes.

I've been doing a number of special dinners lately. Razor clam is one the items I've been featuring. The greens are golden pea shoots, petite red amarinth, micro chervil and micro mustard greens. (Those micro mustard greens are my new favorite)

I couldn't resist a photo of the raw beets just after washing them. It's nice having windows in the kitchen.

As always I encourage you to click on the photo for a close up.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Enya Makes Me Melancholy

The new mother goes out to party for the first time since having her baby. She comes home feeling a bit tipsy and takes the baby to bed with her. She wakes up in the morning to find her lifeless baby partially underneath her.

It’s not the death that is so memorable but the human sorrow. A witness to hell. Blood and guts almost seems easy.

Blood smells like metal. If there’s enough to smell it’s not a good thing.

I remember my first CPR. I remember the perfume and the dress she had on. To this day when I smell that perfume it takes me right back. It smells like death.

I remember a kid asking me for my autograph.

I remember the sunrises over Lake Michigan while sitting on the roofs of burnt out German Duplexs.

I remember thinking I was going to die....................

I remember my father.

Old Post

It's funny how my posts evolve over time. As a matter of fact the whole tone changes from season to season.

Here's one from September 2007

I am often engaged in conversation with "foodies". People who love food, breath food, dream of food, and cook food. I'm a natural sounding post for foodies because they assume that being a chef I must be one also. I've got news for them, I am not. Sure I love food but it's not my hobby. After a 12 hour day of buying, slicing, chopping, sauteing, grilling, lifting, cleaning and wearing food the last thing I want to do is talk about it. Foodies have the advantage of not having to make a living with food. They can piddle about experimenting with new and exotic ingredients or go on great searches for the most unusual restaurants. They'll bend your ear about great recipes, I really don't care about the recipe for chili gravy. I hate recipes. I don't use them and most are flawed. I find recipes are dangerous. Especially in the hands of amateurs. I may not know who has the best cumin and quite frankly I don't care. Now if you can tell me where I can buy good choice PSMOs at a decent price I'll listen. Or about a produce company that's not going to screw me, I'm all ears.

I'm guessing my attitude is similar to a farmer's regarding animals. Just because he raises them and earns his living with them, he doesn't have to be an animal lover. I'd also argue that being an animal lover would be a detriment to his livelihood. Just if I were to spend my whole day in search for some exotic fungus that might be the current craze.

So next time you want to have a nice conversation with me, let's talk about the Packers, or knives, or travel. Anything but food.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Victor's Cooler

I just happened to randomly open Victor's saute cooler and took a couple photos. This is the way it always looks. In kitchen lingo it's known as "mis". (Pronounced mees, long "e".)