Our Crab & Wine Festival is over up here which means a return to the winter doldrums. We're fortunate in that a number of restaurants here close in January and early February so we stay pretty busy during the "slow" time. By President's Day however, everyone who will be open for the season is and our numbers usually drop. We've grown every year so that's good and the winter always starts by being busy and I usually fool myself into thinking that it's just going to stay that way.
Then March comes. And April. And May. June kicks in and we think it's summer and supposed to be busy. But usually it's not. Again, we grow every year and we've tried to cater to the locals so we're better off than some of the place which focus exclusively on tourists but it's still dispiriting.
It's hard to be passionate about a dish 20 people may see, much less order. 20 friends at your house, sure, but 20 customers in an 80 seat dining room?
Fortunately we've got a couple of trips planned but that brings up the equation fewer customers=more time, which also means fewer customers=less money. Therefore, more time=less money. So paying for said trips becomes something of a hat trick.
Steering this back to food a bit. For the wine judges I made a short rib risotto with fried kale (my latest garnish love) and a poached egg. Like I told them, I usually try to do something ill-advised when I do this lunch every year. Last year it was serving Southern food (one of the judges is something of an authority). This year it was the poached egg. One of the judges wrote the chapter on eggs in the revised Joy of Cooking.
Of course now I need to work on my own eating habits. Like many chefs I forget to eat and don't keep any food in the house. Well, at least like many working chefs. If you're Alice Waters you've probably got food in the house. So last night found me with a peanut butter sandwich for dinner and some cheddar cheese potato chips (don't ask) for dessert. Pretty gross and extreme nausea was the result. I need to make time in the day/evening to have dinner.
I need to make time for a lot of things. Fixing my closet door, walking the dogs, reading, seeing friends. Oh wait, that's called having a life. I forgot I own a restaurant.