Tonight we are entering our second week of the August menu. After five full weeks in July we are pretty ready for the change. You see we eat the leftovers all month long. All good, just happy to see the new variety of leftovers that the new menu brings. And our cooks are happy to move on from stuffing corn husks with our tamale mixture to now making buckets of falafel and shaping them into our oval patties.
As a chef, I find it energizing to start fresh and work on new stuff. I guess it is why I always gravitated toward catering in my former career life, because menus are new, at least more variety than typical restaurant menus, except for the daily specials which I always enjoyed, too.
We refer to the beginning of our new month menu as FIRST NIGHT. We expect to make “tweaks” as a result of seeing it altogether the first time and listening to the feed back from our first night guests. This month our first nighters were very generous in letting us know what they thought. So much so, we have changed some of our recipes, though our menu remains pretty much the same.
First up, “too much smoke on the beef course,” they told us, so we reduced the time in the smoke for the beef. “Hard to eat the first course,” a meze salad atop a grilled flatbread (my pizza dough). We responded by increasing the flat bread to fill the entire plate, piled the meze ingredients on top, and encourage guests to roll it up and pick up the entire entree in their hands. That first night Lenore even suggest we change the first course completely, or maybe add our house made sausage, but our guests responded that they wouldn’t change the flavors. It is good as is, just a little hard to eat.
Guests also liked the sturgeon course as is, but Lenore and I thought a “remoulade” addition was needed. It is sort of a homemade tartar sauce. It is just a good summer plate featuring a delicious local fish.
And lastly, dessert. We served a graham cracker cake with warm ganache on top then; we then planted a giant home made marshmallow on the chocolate, scattered some toasted almond slices around, and lastly, torched each marshmallow before serving! As you might imagine the evening ran overtime as we attempted to roast all those marshmallows! They were so big that their outside was toasted before their inside was melted. Needless to say, the giant marshmallow project gave way to toasted marshmallow meringue, instead. It does still resemble a s’more, which is what we were going for.
At this point, we are grateful for all the help our FIRST NIGHT guests gave us this month. So much so, that they will receive a special invitation to come back to EVOO with a 20% discount. In fact we intend to officially make it our practice for every FIRST NIGHT. Maybe we’ll see you some first night.