It goes to show you never can tell.
Continuing in the who knew department. Pork belly is certainly a trendy ingredient. In fact it's so trendy that by now I'd say it's passe. Particularly since we've been selling some lately. Our town is somewhat behind the times in most things, mullets here are hair-dos, not fish, and no, they're not ironic. They're being sported in all seriousness. Widespread internet use has brought the town a bit more exposure to the outside world, but it still takes a while for things to penetrate the fog.
On the current menu we decided to try pork belly again. In years past we've only been able to sell it as a special and only as part of a pork sampler that featured a much safer ingredient, like ham. But since it's fairly inexpensive and we make our own bacon and usually have belly around we thought we'd give it another try. We had a few ideas but I think all of us in the kitchen were not looking forward to yet again not selling the belly so nothing really seemed right. Finally I decided, "Hell, it's not going to sell anyway, let's just do something weird." So we've got it on the menu with a root beer reduction. And it's selling. More than we ever have before. Perhaps the mullet wearing citizens of my town only see the BEER part of the sauce and their eyes glaze over. The sauce isn't actually as weird as it sounds. In some parts of the South folks cook pork and chicken with Coca-Cola. This is kind of a thin root beer BBQ sauce with shallots, chile flakes, root beer and vinegar.
This menu is a nice collaboration between the cooks and I. Everybody has a dish or component on there, which is great because I have shifted much more to the GM's job. It's nice to see the kitchen taking a greater interest in their part of the restaurant. The GM has been spending time with one of the cook's wife since our Sardines are close in age and she said the cook came home excited, telling his wife all about the new menu. She and the GM came in to try things last night and were both really happy.
So am I, except 1 chocolate dish needs a little more work. So, after research in SF (we're leaving today) I'll see what I can come up with. Anyone with free time, send an email or give a call.