Archive for September, 2008

Now what?


30 Sep

Lets talk about the 10,000lb elephant in the room.  When money gets tight what is the first thing to go?

Luxuries.

Is eating a luxury or not?  Of course not, it is something we have to all do every day.  But, spending money on ingredients is something that people will immediately cut back on when money gets tight.  “What is the difference between Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano anyway, no one can tell right?”  Well, can you tell?  (There is a question. Who can really tell, but that is another blog. )  I can not tell you how much we appreciate the people that are continuing to come to our restaurant and say that they are only spending money on going out at restaurants like this one, because it truly makes a difference.  Makes a difference?  To whom?  To the farmers, to the local economy, to the local neighborhood, to everyone in the chain. I know that sound like a cliche now, everyone is talking about local, heck, I even heard of a Tree company useing the term “Locally owned” as a selling point.  Of course they are local, no one comes from California to prune trees just before winter do they?  (I know, it is not their fault, they were told to use it by some marketing firm)  But, back to the question.  NOW WHAT?  What is everyone doing with their money?  Are you eating out?  Are you cooking for yourself?  What?

We are just starting to wind down on a crazy season of summer here in Minnesota and Wisconsin. This year the farms we have dealt with have had some roller coaster years.  When Pam at South East MN food network is asking for rain, Chad in Tomah, Wisconsin is wondering if it will ever dry out?  When Maurice with Six rivers co-op in and around Barron, Wisconsin is telling me how hard he works, (he does, really) and how they are in need of rain and sun, Joe, just north of them on the Hay river, is trying to get the field dry so they can get in and plant.  This is just all right here folks.  So, with all that going on.  What do they do?

I know, so many questions, what is the point of this post?  The point is NOW WHAT?  We pay attention to things that have value, things that cost something, right?  We spend money on things that are of high value and quality in our day to day life.  We will spend some money on a piece of furniture believing will last, we will spend extra on a phone, cause it will save us time?  Right?  But when it comes to food, we look for 1/2 price deals and happy hours, and value meals.

What are you going to do?  What are your thoughts?  I know it is something large to ponder.  But, it is very important.  What do you want?  Do you choose your restaurant based on philosophy or your bank account?

And, so we move onto the next point of discussion…


18 Sep

“…It also says something about how that chef & restaurant are willing to cook & develop menus. …you put yourself into the same boat as the farmer worrying about weather & rain & how that effects the crops. So, if the hail destroys the salad green crop or tomatoes you do without instead of buying some flown in from halfway across the country & change your menu based on what is available.”

This was written by “kat,” a commenter on a previous post.  I think about this every time I decide on where I am going to eat.  This to me, is what makes a restaurant committed when you put yourself on the line right out there with the farms.  Somewhere in this website there is a statement that we are a “farm driven” restaurant.  I believe that and practice that every day.  It does depend on what comes in from the farm, what the weather is like, it is truly a different way of thinking.

So, what is the point you are saying, he just said the same thing over and over.   Well, what is the point?  That is the question.  Why does this make a difference? We are a restaurant and you are the customer.  We should make what you want.  We should have things available year round.  We should be like every other restaurant out there.   REALLY?

What I strive for in my restaurant every day is to make better food, give better service, and help people enjoy their meal.  That simple.  Not to say that is not the goal of other restaurants.  But, I feel we are doing everything we can.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that we are the only one doing this, they are out there and they are making a difference.

There is the question.  Lets start with that.  Who do you trust?  Why does it matter to you?

Cue the R.E.M. song, one more time.


10 Sep

Don’t worry people, this is not the end of the world

This is a conversation that has been going on for a long time.  Is it safe?  Remember the food laws that are in place are there for a reason.  They are there becuase of mis-education, improper handling of food, and liability.  Food laws are not there to protect us from the food.  The are there to protect us from the people who have been handling our food.  I was asked a number of times in the last couple of years, how the news about salmonila, e-coli, (insert break-out here) affect us at the restaurant.  My answer is: it doesn’t.  We know where our food comes from. Simple as that.  I have not been informed by any of my farmers of any of the food that they are growing having these problems.  ( I should knock on some wood right now, I know.)  If we did, we would address the issue right away as we should.

I would love to hear your thoughts, how safe do you feel about the food in restaurants that purchase direct from farmers?

Blog, what have I gotten myself into?


05 Sep

Here it is, my first post. Normally, this would say all those things about me that people may or may not find interesting. Where I am from, what I am here for, what the restaurant is all about. Well, that will all come in time. What this is about is the conversation. I want people to talk and think. Maybe, think and talk, that might be the better order.

This may or may not inspire you to do anything. Who knows. But, the point is that for just a few minutes while you are reading this, I hope you think about food and those who are affected by your choice of your next moment of consumption. I wish I could say your next “meal”, however, meals sometimes seem a thing of the past, now there is no rhyme or reason to when, what or with whom you eat, Hence: your next moment of consumption.

Questions
What do your food choices say about:

  • – you?
  • – those who made it?
  • – those who sold it?

Tell us about it. We’re all figuring this out together.