I finally feel like I am getting traction with our goal to get some products to market. I found a local chef / manufacturer today who has similar ideals and philosophy. He will take a look at our spice blends, and with his current client list and product placement this could propel our project ahead of our expectations. Lenore and I have been focusing on other products to manufacture, too, and it is by accident that we have these spice blends. We developed them to promote the Savor Cannon Beach weekend in a joint promotion with the Hallmark Hotel in March. Now that the formulas are blended we can take the next steps.
We sampled the blends this past month on our menus and we had great positive response that only encourages us more. What makes these spice blends different is that SALT is not our primary ingredient. I like the idea that home cooks can control the salt. It is okay to use these blends without salt, though sometimes it is best to add salt. Putting the choice in the hands of the consumer is important to us. We currently have a Madras style curry blend, an Andalusian Basque style spice mix, and a Coriander sea salt, where salt is the secondary ingredient. Since I use coriander and salt in combination almost always anyway, it just seemed a natural combo for my blends, especially since when I use coriander I tend to use less salt.
I know it sounds weird that we take a break exactly when Portland schools are on break–presuming lots of people will migrate to the beach, and that’s good for business. Actually we had planned to go a week earlier but our business community group got together to drum up business on this historically slow week before Spring breaks begin. In addition they talked the children’s center into doing their fund raiser wine walk that weekend, and of course, we all felt the need to support this important effort. So the timing was unavoidable this year. Savor Cannon Beach weekend and the Children’s Center Winter Wine Walk was a big hit. Our Zerba wine dinner was one of our best– both well attended and received. We now believe if you build a wine dinner around ZERBA they will come!
And taking a break? Make no mistake as difficult as it is for us to break away from the never ending “to-do” list, Lenore and I really needed the opportunity for sunshine, good friends, great food and drink, and a chance for business out of sight and out of mind. Makes me better now. Always good to be home, play with the poodles, and cook in our kitchen again.
I am writing tonight even as late as it is to capture a discussion at dinner tonight before I forget. It was the first night of our March Dinner Show menu. We had a full house with three birthday guests and one anniversary couple in to celebrate. Being a new menu I guess I am a little edgy about the execution. We have been testing the recipes for a couple weeks but until the first night it really doesn’t seem to matter. It’s opening night and it has to go off without a hick up. This evening was going very well until I described the fish I was about to cook up as Rockfish, or aka, snapper. I was so focused I barely notice when one of the birthday guests shyly raised her hand and said, “I don’t mean to be disputatious, but I believe Rock fish is striped bass and not snapper.” She said she is quite sure they are different and she should know being from Maryland where Chesapeake Bay Rockfish is the state fish. I explained that the West coast species is more like snapper and of course that was the conversation I had had with my fish perveyor who described the Pacific Rockfish species to a tee and said we also call it snapper out here. When I got home, did a google search and found we are both right because we were dealing with a varied species all around. The Maryland species is definitely different, and depending on origin, Rockfish come with different flavor profiles. As much Rockfish as I cooked in Maryland when I was there, you think I would be more confident. The guest making the point was really anything but disputatious. She was persistent and yet ate my fish offering with gusto. She said it was her favorite course of the night. Further she said it wasn’t a big deal, and told us it was kind of like the time she told her husband that dinner was spaghetti with red sauce. When he came to the table the spaghetti was spaghetti squash and he really had a taste for the pasta kind. In other words, her point of reference was Maryland rockfish and that is what she expected when the name rockfish was use. It all shook out just fine with laughter all around and we had a great time with the word “disputatious” the rest of the evening. “dis put ta’ tion,” noun- the act of disputing or debating; verbal controversy; discussion or debate.