Thursday, December 09, 2010
(Small Bites: Korean Pork Belly, Potato Samosa, Mahi Ceviche and Jerk Beef and Pineapple)
Yes, It is winter in he Hudson Valley and that means slow cooking, braises and hearty stews, right?
Yes, Maybe and maybe not.
In the last two months, according to the "Product Mix" on our Point of Sale System, New World Home Cooking sold over three small plates-appetizers-sandwiches- to every one Big Main plates.
Appetizers like Mushroom-Huitlacoche Tamales, Half sized Thai Italian Bolognese Pasta, Tuna Burger Sliders, Korean Pork Belly Bites, Puerto Rican Style Seitan "Wings" and Sicilian Pumpkin Fritters are leading the way in sales. We are eating smaller bites and bigger tastes, for sure. The sales are telling the truth,
So, I have done some menu tweaking based upon your eating habits and the results are more small plates and appetizers actually!
Now I know the math is somewhat skewed because people often order numerous small plates "for the table" but it is still an intriguing window into our eating habits.
The question I ponder is "Are we eating more small plates because of the economy?"
The answer is a resounding NO.
Our per person check average is actually up over the last two months. Note that November the first three weeks of December (allowing for Thanksgiving weekend) is one of our slowest stretches of the year. Our guests are spending a consistent amount, even though the sale of Po'Boys, appetizers, Tapas plates and half pastas and risottos are at and all time high.
It is obvious from the feedback that we receive via comment cards and email, that most of my customers are eating for flavor and excitement!
This is fun for me.
It is clear that New World's base is split with about 25% vegan/vegetarians and about 25% Snout to Tail eat it all with lust folks, with the rest just being good ol' normal steak/burger or chicken/fish diners like the rest of the world.
Our updated menu mix reflects that--with a Vegan tapas platter, a locally made Charcuterie platter and a Artisan Cheese Plate side by side on the menu, equally selling.
The best sellers last week were Tandoori Salmon, Big Brined Pork Chop and Blue Corn Seitan Medallions.
So you will see the menu offer more tastes, half orders and small plates, You will see more fun sandwiches, "tacos" for lack of a better work for food wrapped in different medium.
It all will have my flavor profile stamp.
We now have VEGAN and GLUTEN FREE menus printed, so if this is you, just ask of one or get it on line and the bottom of the page.
We still cook clean, make buying decisions based upon integrity of product and I still develop recipes that are have their own personality In a era of cookie cutter menus, either one way or another, New World will still stand out. That is who I am.
In 1986, my band skin in Boston released a single and video called Stand Up.
The first line of the song is " I want you to know my name, so stand out in the street"
That was 25 years ago. I haven't changed!
So what is my job?
My primary job is two fold--
One, to make enough business to remain open, as every winter season is a threat to all businesses in this area.
Two, to enjoy my work and my customers, and not just meet their needs by EXCITE them.
This is not a molecular gastromony market--this is The Hudson Valley, land of the BAND and DYLAN, of the HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL and of course NATURE. It is all around us.
It is why we all love it here. It is why I keep cooking the way it do.
My job is to bring all of that and more to the plate to keep you all coming back.
I hope you do because like it here.
See an OLD "Skin" interview with edits from the Satnd Up Video at the end. I was 25. Don't laugh.
It is OUR birthday weekend-- Liz and I are both October 28th and our sons, Willis and Terrence are October 27th.
This year is Lizzie's 50th so we decided to spend in the NYC for some foodie fun with our best friends!
We have GREAT foodie friends so off we went.
Here is my rant and summary--
Friday night with our best friends to a classic brasserie- They are GREAT dining companions who are world travelers. They know that Liz and I love a good brasserie - they type of dinner that should be a no bullshit, filling and unpretentious experience. Well, I guess I missed the NY revolution- brasseries gone minimalist--how sad. The food presentation here was VERY precious and pretentious. Not bad, mind you, but what is the deal with Austere and Brasserie in the same sentence. Brasserie means working man's establishment. Any self respecting workingman would beat the tar out of this chef!
1. Steak frites with Maitre D'hotel butter. No brainer--Liz loves a good steak frites plate. This was---A steak on a plate--just like that--nothing else? Frites in the side in the stupid deli paper cone, compound butter on the side. Was the chef afraid of getting butter and blood on the plate? That is the idea! Steak blood and shallot butter get into the fries--that's real baby!
2. Pigs feet stuffed with foie gras. I was excited! I just enjoyed this at Au Pied du Cochon in Montreal and there it was huge, delicious and decadent, full of knuckle cartilage, skin and collegen, toes intact-- so I had high hopes. Here I received a rectangle plate with 2 perfectly formed triangles of pork, breaded golden with a hint of liver in the filling, and a pencil thin streak of wine reduction, probably 1 teaspoon full of sauce. It was...accurate..but worthy of a snore or two, no more.
Braised rabbit--ONE foreleg--ONE foreleg--ONE foreleg!!! That is like ordering roast chicken and getting one wing. Was it executed well? sure, well enough for ...ONE foreleg, but that is not the point. What workingman would have ONE foreleg of rabbit for dinner? Where is the love?
$600 for dinner for 4 including 2 bottles of wine. Got home hungry-- I could expect that if I were going to WD50 but a Brasserie? No love. No lust.
Give me Montreal anyday!
The Ethnic stuff in NYC was and always is Great-
Saturday Korean lunch on 32nd street--perfect Bim Bap and Kim Chees and short ribs - wow--hey, here is some flavor, complexity, spice, courage!---cheap - $30 for two - and memorable, always inspiring!
Sat PM Dinner- Celebrity chef Tribeca bistro- High Hopes
Fine Dining was Fine, but so safe-Where is the energy and excitement? Blaring John Mellencamp does not inject energy into the food.
Whatever happened to taking risks and pushing flavors--I do'nt mean molecular gas-twinkie-stronmy, but real soulful cooking?
The nuances and dymanics of using the pantry to bring the beast to a symphonic level is really missing in the new "clean Cuisine"
Safe, predictable and frankly, a little boring- To spend $700 for 6 - to eat stuff like mussels, steak frites, lamb shank, pasta bolognese and roast salmon – leaves you feeling kind of hollow. It didn't suck, it was cooked correctly. It just didn't make me feel like I was somewhere where someone was truly behind the food. There was no signature. It could have been a chain--a nice chain, but a chain nonetheless. No brightness, no spice, no assertiveness. It is like the nerds have taken over the school band. It had all of the right items-bones, octopus, shank--all cooked correctly but it was just so what. No one wants to lay claim to being an accurate lay. You're either a good lay, a great lay, a crazy lay, lazy lay or a bad lay. This was a forgettable lay. What does that say about it?
Sunday quick French breakfast - Lizzie and I eating Lardon salads -!
the vacuous team of hostesses - or porn stars-- or whatever-- were clueless to the fact that our hip hop server was still reliving his conquest of the previous night and didn't get to our table for 15 minutes, but that salad is a perfect breakfast (I added and extra egg and a side of bacon) and the coffee was hot and black (I dumped a shot of espresso into it) so wtf? right? right.
Immediately after breakfast, we strolled right down the block to Eataly.
EATALY - What more can you want-- forget the whining about commercialism and food being imported and the slow food issues, forget the unsatisfied knw-it-all brats who blog because they cannot actually speak to anyone face to face.
Eataly is good foodie fun!
--it is delicious, soulful and sexy! Nuff said. Get there and get over your celebrity envy. What Bastianich and Batali have done for Italian products is amazing. Kinda like what the Beatles and Stones did for Elmore James and Howlin Wolf. They were thankful and so are Italians.
Next time I think I'll go to the boroughs for some heartfelt, flavorful food that inspires me to cook and to laugh. I never did like playing with the rich kids toys.
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