The storms that have been pelting our coast mean no fishing boats are going out. Thus, no ling cod, black cod or crab, at least locally. And no seafood at a coastal restaurant means unhappy customers. We'll still have a wide selection, although with various road closures that's getting iffy. When you live remotely you practice what I like to call "defensive ordering" which essentially means you carry more inventory than you need and hope for the best. It also means you try to have at least two suppliers for an item in case one craps out on you.
In general the rain is good for us, business-wise. When the weather's crappy people want to be indoors. When the weather's crappy for days locals get cabin-fever and have to go out for dinner. Also, it's raining in the mountains, rather than snowing, so no one's going skiing. If we can just keep one road open going in and out so we can get goods, we should be in good shape. Years ago when the GM and I were leaving for points east, thinking never (or at least rarely) to return, we had a whopper storm. Roads closed, power out, banks out of commission, all our stuff packed tightly into the GM's Yugo and us crazy ready to shake the dust of this town from our heels unable to get our money and unable to leave.
Hopefully nature is getting this out of her system now, rather than the end of January when we have our crab and wine festival. I'm getting smarter and I think this year haven't over committed. We're doing a brewer's dinner and a 7th anniversary circus dinner along with a fixed price 2 or 3 course meal every night during the festival. We'll do lunch for the judges of the wine competition (who are also the judges of the crabcake competition).
I won't be involved in the crabcake competition this year. The last 2 years I judged, the 2 years before that I won. The woman who organized the event last year called yesterday to ask if I'd be entering. I told her I was still in the same position as the last two years. The same judges, the same playing field and having them have lunch with me the day before the competition (and this year they requested crabcakes) added up to an unfair advantage. She said "Well, they probably won't be able to tell the difference the next day." I assured her by saying, "Believe me, they will." Because in my two years of judging my bubble was burst. You see I thought I had won because our crabcakes were so good. It turned out that all the others were so bad, some to the point of actually inedibility that when we announced a winner, it was because we had to pick one, not because one of the entries was actually good.
Anyway, the woman seemed a little non-plussed by my response. What the hell was she thinking? Food writers not being able to recognize a dish they had the day before, that they've declared a winner twice before? I'm harboring a hope they'll announce us as the winner even though we haven't entered since they'll be having them the day before. Based on what I've sampled the past two years, it's not an impossibility.
I'm not sure why this woman didn't ask for my involvement in some other capacity since we had talked about all these issues last year, and earlier this year. I've been used as poster boy for the crab festival in years past and the crab has been very, very good to us. I feel a little bad about not being there, but doing a food event with someone who doesn't understand food, restaurants and chefs is difficult at best. Besides, I have to leave later that evening since I have a flight to Seattle the following morning to go to the Seafood Choices conference.
So, now to see if all our stuff for New Year's Eve will be arriving. We've got our menu changes in place, venison with coffee-cocoa rub balsamic-dried cranberry sauce and sunchokes; pork confit with sage pesto and celery root puree; mussels with kaffir lime, garlic, ginger and chile flakes; changing the albacore preparation to a Moroccan crust, warm hummus and Meyer lemon sauce. For New Year's Eve we'll also have short ribs, squab stuffed with black chanterelles and truffles, crispy fried quail with black-eyed peas, and maybe a braised pork belly.
I hope your holiday season concludes well. Stay safe, warm and dry.