Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bye, Friends

I called Fragozo's today to place an order for linguica and chourico and got the answering machine and found out that this fantastic company was no longer in business. So far as I know this restaurant has only used this brand of both sausages for the entire 18 years of it's existence, it is the one ingredient we use that I didn't want to try making for myself just because I really, really liked the product and the folks who made it.
I like our Italian sausage just fine, but I get it through either of the giant food suppliers I buy from with no contact with the company, and I can make a pretty good Italian sausage for half the price; same with canadian bacon.
I would have known sooner if I ordered online, but I never liked doing that because I always enjoyed talking to Alison; she has a great accent and great sense of humor and was always more than willing to go out of her way to help, from walking me through my orders the first few (ok, most) times, making suggestions based on past use and shipping. Once, when I desperately needed some linguica air shipped after their UPS pick up she said, "Aw, what the heck, I'll just throw it on my bike and drop it off at the UPS store on the way home."
That's customer service.
The article below is from a link on Fragozo's web site. The last line gives me hope, in the mean time I'll be looking at some sausage making equipment.

Recession was last straw for struggling New Bedford linguica maker

By BECKY W. EVANS May 07, 2009 6:00 AM

NEW BEDFORD — After 88 years and three generations of sausage-making, New Bedford Linguica Co. Inc. has shut the doors of its North End factory and stopped production of the Fragozo family's spicy Portuguese pork sausage.
"The cost of doing business ... and the economy have made it more difficult for us to produce the high-quality product our customers are used to receiving," said Alison Fragozo Anselmo, the plant manager, who co-owns the company with her mother, sister and brother.
The bad economy made for expensive ingredients, high fuel costs and a decrease in demand from restaurants that were cutting back or closing, Anselmo said.
To stay in business, the company, which employed eight people, would have had to compromise the quality of its smoked sausage — something it was not willing to do, Anselmo said. So the Fragozo family decided to close the factory at 56 Davis St. and did so with little fanfare.
"We just informed our customers we were going out of business, and that was that," Anselmo said.
On April 20, the family posted a message on its Web site, notifying customers of the closing: "We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers for their years of support." The message cited the economy and "changes in federal regulations" as reasons for the closing, although Anselmo told a reporter it was not so much changes in regulations but the "cost of continuing to meet the demands" of expensive meat inspection requirements.
Fragozo and other local sausage producers submit to inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Anselmo's grandparents, John and Angelina Fragozo DeMello, founded New Bedford Linguica Co. in 1921. When her grandmother died in 1995, Anselmo's mother inherited the business and recruited her children to help produce linguica and chourico that was sold under the Fragozo brand.
Closing a business that had so much family history "is a sad thing," said Anselmo, who worked at the company for 15 years. She said she will miss talking with customers and watching them take their children to the same sausage factory they visited during their own childhoods.
Anselmo said Fragozo's customers "are heartbroken" by the closing.
"We are heartbroken, too," she said. "It was a business decision."
For two decades, Paul Innis bought Fragozo linguica for his Have a Clambake catering business in Wareham. "One of the features of a local clambake around here is the linguica," he said.
Innis said he chose Fragozo linguica because of the company's smoking process, which "made it a little different" from other local brands. With Fragozo exiting the Portuguese sausage industry, he said he probably will buy from one of the larger Fall River linguica companies.
Innis said it "was a shame" that the economy and regulations had forced "the little guy" out of the market.
The area's remaining Portuguese sausage producers include Gaspar's Sausage Co. Inc. in Dartmouth, Lisbon Sausage Co. (Amaral's) in New Bedford and Michael's Provision Co., Acoreana Chourico Manufacturing, Mello's North End Manufacturing Inc. and Furtado's in Fall River.
Those producers now will have to compete in an open-bid situation to determine who will get to supply linguica for the annual Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in New Bedford, said Edward Camara Jr., director of media and public relations for the feast.
"It has to be a good price and a good product," he said.
In the past, Fragozo supplied linguica for the feast, including an order of 3,000 pounds of the spicy sausage for last year's festival, Camara said. Fragozo linguica had the perfect blend of spices and just the right amount of fat, he said.
"We have been dealing with them for a number of years and felt it was a very good product and they offered us a very good price," he said.
Anselmo said her family has yet to decide what will happen to the factory and its sausage-making machinery. But they have decided they will not reveal the secret blend of spices that won them loyal customers across the country and abroad.
"That's a family secret," Anselmo said. "You never know what the future holds."

Monday, May 25, 2009


We've been thinking about making a commercial, I like this one.
Best Commercial Ever!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Great Show

Hey, if anyone still hasn't seen Star Trek you need to catch it. Yes, I grew up watching the original, then the animated series (called 'em cartoons back then), saw the movies, and got into the Next Generation after a little mild resistance. Hell, I even liked Deep Space 9. I never really got into Voyager or Enterprise, never read any of the books, never attended a convention, and never considered myself a Trekker (being a Trekkie sounds so much more fun anyway).
Star Trek was probably my introduction to sci-fi, but as new stuff with better effects came out I drifted away, to Star Wars (until George Lucas killed it), to Battlestar Galactica and even to the most-ridiculous Space: 1999. But like Battlestar Galactica came back way, way better than ever, Star Trek is back. I had to pee almost the whole way through but there was no way in hell I was walking out for even a few seconds, and my face is still sore from smiling for two hours straight.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Prep list

I'm really not feeling much in the way of inspiration today and am pressed for time so no Cafe Update today...well, at least not this, here is what I'm doing today in addition to working the line.

Bake cupcakes
make icing
bake rolls
bake bread
make croutons
make sausage
cook sausage
place food order/do inventory
stock walk-in
make dough
weigh flour
roast garlic
pick specials for next week
cook rice
and set fire to office

Now, this is not in order and just off the top of my head, but it's a good start...and hey, I wrote something.
Hope all of you are having a great Sunday!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Your intrepid correspondent here, reporting from Ruidoso, Nuevo Mexico, hometown of Tristan Gale who won a gold medal in the skeleton when it was brought back to the Olympics in 2002, and Michael J. Fox is from here...wait, no he's not, it's Neal Patrick Harris.
Anyway, our trip to Oklahoma was pretty good, the twins and I tried playing the ass game for a little ways (replacing one word of any sign with the word "ass") but quickly got bored (we were in Hereford, Texas) with changing "Custom Cattle Feed" to "Custom Ass Feed," so we started singing signs to the tune of "Loving You." This kept us, well me and the Chiweenie anyway, amused through the next 300 miles.
Our first morning there was Mothers Day, which is decoration day at the cemetery, so the kids and I packed into the car with Mom and Dad and went to what's left of the town of Lenna where the cemetery is that holds a lot of my relatives from my dad's side. Mom had her list and bundles of silk flowers so that my uncle, great aunts and uncles, grandparents, great grandparents, and great great grandmother, along with a couple of people who I'm not quite sure how I'm kin to all got flowers.
Walking around with my bag of flowers while Mom planted them at each grave and Dad talked with the old man who acts as caretaker and the kids searched for the oldest grave (oldest marked one we found was 1897, though there are several that are unmarked or marked only with rocks) I was wondering who would take up this task when my mom was gone. My sister lives in Kentucky and due to events involving her ex says that she'll never move back, and as much as I love that piece of land, I can't see moving back either.
I also can't see not moving back, maybe a little cafe out there in the sticks with a garden (my God, you can grow anything there), access to fresh perch and catfish...
Most of our time at my parents' was spent working, which suited me just fine. Danny, Steve (brother-in-law) and I cleared a lot of brush and cleaned up the small orchard which I had helped plant over thirty years ago, but that over the last fifteen years or so had gone mostly untended.
No one brought firearms, I couldn't find fireworks, and I didn't have a drink the whole time we were there, so this visit was a little different. We did have a bonfire every night though, we did have to watch shows at night that my dad thought we'd like (c'mon Dad, Airwolf?), and we did have sausage for almost every meal, so it wasn't totally different either.
And you know what? Airwolf is pretty kickass.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Oklahoma! Where the people don’t signal when they turn, and the somethin' wheat sure smells sweet, somethin', somethin', somethin'…
That’s where I’m off to in a couple of days, headed back to my mom and dad’s for a few days of country fun. My sister and brother-in-law will almost certainly bring a small arsenal for us to plink around with, my mom will fix heart-stopping fare such as porcupine meatballs and biscuits and gravy, my dad will talk about how he's going to finally fix the fences so that he can get a few calves (this one-sided conversation has been going on for about 20 years now), and I’m going to see if I can find some fireworks, because nothing is more exciting than lighting short fuses while drunk. Who needs an extreme sport hobby?
Speaking of drunk, I’m starting to think maybe the title of my blog should be “I’m not Scottish, I’m drunk,” I just think that it makes more sense that way.
Ok, I’m procrastinating here, tons of stuff to do before we head out and not one bit of it appealing. Well, one bit might be appealing, we’ll see, but the rest of it? Not so much.
Got a seriously ill Jeep to tend to, some of my staff are acting like high school girls (and it’s not the high school girls), I’ve got a ton of prep to do, a few things to take care of for the new place, which we’ve decided to call Café Z, by the way, my house is a wreck and I can’t have someone coming over to feed the dogs with it like that, and there is a massive pile of mail on my desk that I have been avoiding (note: when the mail that is usually white suddenly shows up brightly colored, it’s time to pay attention to that one)…which reminds me, gotta go to the accountant’s too.
Hell’s Bells, I can't wait to be on the road.
Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Super Power

I have a confession: I should have been in the last X-Men or Harry Potter movie, for I have the Power to Summon the Irritating. I consider it to be a curse more than a blessing, for if I mention the Irritating, or even just think about them, they will appear within a couple of days.
Example: The other day, pissed off at a prep cook who had done a pretty poor job of getting things ready for the next couple of days I was in the back kitchen telling Sonja how I was going to find all kinds of nasty little projects for the cook when he came back on shift. I had no soon walked out of the room when the cook walked in the back door.
Then there’s Creepy Mail Man…or the Anchovy Walruses…or the A-Team…just the mention of them, a little, “Hey, I haven’t seen so-and-so in a couple of weeks,” will bring them in within hours
I know, I can hear you mumbling, “Coincidence, nothing more,” and I would be tempted to agree…if I hadn’t used my power to kill.
A couple of weeks ago a friend and I were looking over the collection of pictures glued to one of the walls in the dining room. They are mostly eight or more years old, pictures of former employees, a few select customers, and friends. John paused over one and said, “Wow, Craig…I haven’t seen him in years.”
I agreed, it had been at least two years since I had seen Craig. I knew that he had moved to Albuquerque and, a hippie since high school, had converted to Republicanism.
Two days after this conversation Jared and I were sitting on the bench in front of the café when a small pickup pulled up and parked, and who should exit? Yep, Craig.
“Wow, Craig, long time no see, what’re you up too?” I asked, shocked.
“Aw, just in town for my mom’s funeral…” Yes, my powers had killed. Ok, she had been sick for about eight years, but my powers pushed her over the abyss.
Perhaps I could learn to use my powers for good? No, I’ve tried and I’ve tried and they don’t work.
I don’t know how many times I've thought as I’ve been driving home at night, ‘Gee, it sure would be nice if Eliza Dushku would be at the house wearing one of my t-shirts and making me a sandwich and opening me a beer when I got home. But, no, it’s never happened…not once. Couldn’t even get Hottie Air Force Wife to come in for coffee.
So, I must learn to keep my mind blank…to not mention people I don’t want to see, for even if I find them irritating I truly don’t wish to send tragedy into their lives. The scary part is that several of my friends share this power, together we make up a sort of short bus Legion of Doom, and we must some how temper this curse, to learn to live among our mortal kin without standing out for fear of being hunted down, or of having our homes egged and our cars keyed. If you share this power know that you are not alone, but keep the information to yourself, for people fear that which they do not understand and they lash out at that which they fear.
Be strong my brothers and sisters and watch plenty of late night television, for nothing else cleanses the mind like a couple of hours of reality re-runs.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cafe Quote

"Pepsi tastes like shit in the morning."
- Danny