It's time to change the menu and I am going through my usual struggles about what will sell, not repeating ourselves, what's affordable, what's fresh, what's sustainable and what we can get consistently.
Part of the drag of doing business in the boondocks is there are fewer suppliers with fewer delivery days and most know they have you over a barrel. This of course means higher prices & poorer service, in some cases, non-existent service. Restaurants have to carry more inventory than we need which leads to more waste and higher electric bills since you need more refrigeration than you do than if you were in a city.
Of course there are trade-offs. Like being able to go in my backyard and pick blackberries and apples for specials. Or getting out in the woods and finding matsutakes, hedgehogs, chanterelles and porcini. As one of my friends who moved here 20 plus years ago said, "there's just food lying right there on the ground".
Being at the end of a personally trying year and entering the true slow season, I'm not feeling particularly inspired. It doesn't help that unlike some of the places where I love to eat, I don't have a crew passionate about food and cooking who are feeding me ideas. I've got a few Mayan guys who do a great job but I don't know that they're inspired and my Republican sous-chef. More on him in another post. So, it's me and our manager trying to figure out what the hell people will buy that we can feel proud of serving, that our cooks can pull off and our servers will endorse. The manager and I are also married, which sometimes is a plus in working together and sometimes is a disaster.
Dish for the day: Tempura Green Beans with Poached Egg. Obviously not for this time of year, but when I said I'd do a dish per day I didn't say they'd have to be for now. This came as I was going to sleep last night. I see a diamond of green beans with a space in the middle a little nest of greens and a poached egg on top, perhaps even fried after being poached to add a crisp texture