Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Breakfast Menu

Breakfast is going well, this week was the first full weekend and we made it through with no disasters, I am ditching that late night thing for now though. Here's what my schedule was looking like:

Thursday - work from 9:30 am to around 9 pm.

Friday - get up at 4 am, this requires two alarms set at opposite sides of the room just out of reach of my bed, get to work by 5 am to prep for breakfast. Breakfast ends at 11 am, put everything up and clean the stoves and surrounding area. Take care of any boss stuff (bank/store runs, payroll/accounting, stuff like that) and get home around 2:30, nap 'til about 8 pm and then back to work for the late night stuff. Sell 6 slices to three very drunk people at 10:15 pm then absolutely nothing 'til about 1:30 am when the drunks would start wandering past on their way to their cars as bars were closing. Sell about 6 more slices. Clean up and either sleep at the cafe on my cot or drive home and sleep there (cafe sleep is sucky, but good for about an hour more rack time), get up in time to get back to work by 5 am.

Saturday - Same as above.

Sunday - Back to work by 5 am and done and on my way home by 1 pm. Nap. Mostly a day off.

Monday - Boss shit in the morning, then off for the day. Woohoo.

Tuesday - Regular day, pretty much 9:30 am to 9 pm. Cooking, washing dishes and prep.

Wednesday and Thursday - Same as Tuesday.

Rinse and repeat.

So, yeah, fuck that late night stuff...for now. I still think it's a good idea with potential to make some good money, but not at this time of the year. Besides, it was making me stupid.

Breakfast though is going well, not real busy, but that's good. This is a completely different way of cooking than I'm used to at work. Pizzas you make and put in the oven and then you've got seven minutes to take care of other things. Everything is either prepared in the oven or from the steam table or salad bench. It can get pretty hectic on an extremely busy day, but one person can feed the fifty or so people in a reasonable about of time with little trouble. During breakfast service even a small table can throw you into the weeds...eggs are poaching, biscuits are warming in the oven, bacon and sausage frying, gravy thickening, pancakes overcooking in a second, grits turning from soup into glue as soon as you turn your back on them...and, as you can see from the pic, I don't have a flat top, it all happens in separate pans and it can spiral into chaos pretty quickly.

I've never been a short-order cook, but it's getting better, I'm figuring things out, fine tuning with nearly every order that comes in. It will get easier. I just hope that it stays slow until I find my way a little better.

Around here the Mexican breakfast is king, lots of stuff with tortillas, red and green chile sauces, and beans. And I love that. There are few things I enjoy more than huevos rancheros with pinto beans and a couple warm flour tortillas to scoop it all up with. But every restaurant in town has it on the menu and I wanted to do something different to stand out, so I went with the menu below. It's definitely Southern inspired, some of it is what I grew up eating as a kid, and I guarantee you're not going to find biscuits with chocolate gravy on any other menu in Lincoln County...I'd be surprised to see it on any menu in the state. So far, no one not related to me has ordered it, but a lady this morning did ask if I had some bacon drippings for her grits (hell yeah I did) and a couple from Virginia said that their breakfast today (biscuits with sausage gravy, fried tomatoes, and sausage) was the best they'd had since leaving home. So, I'm finding my audience.

Pretty much everything is made from scratch except for the puff pastry, I buy frozen 3" rounds for the 'nests'. The bacon is cured in-house and the sausage is also house-made. Biscuits are from scratch.

I hope you enjoy.

The Rio Plate – 2 Eggs, your choice of Bacon or Sausage, potatoes and a biscuit $3.95

Nests – Light, crisp puff pastry shells topped with one of our four sauces and two poached eggs.

Florentine – Creamed spinach and hollandaise sauce. $5.95

Creole – Spicy shrimp jambalaya. $4.95

Moroccan – Spice infused tomato sauce. $4.95

Jacksonville – Sausage gravy. $3.95

Griddle Cakes – Short $3.95 Tall $4.95

Toast Lafayette – French toast with a crunchy, golden crust $4.95

Maple syrup, apricot syrup, blackstrap molasses, and honey are available

Biscuits and Gravy – Two buttermilk biscuits with your choice of gravy. $3.95

Cream, Sausage, or Chocolate

Sweet rice - Who says morning grains have to be healthy? $3.45

Sides -

Bacon (3) - $1.95

Sausage (2) - $1.95

Grits - $.95

Biscuit - $.95

Rice - $.95

Fried tomatoes - $1.95

Beverages –

Coffee $.50

Hot Tea $1.00

Fountain soft drinks or milk $1.50

Bottled soft drinks or juice $2.00

Saturday, October 9, 2010

So, I've been up for around 31 hours right now, due to a couple of brainstorms (suicide missions) I came up with to keep my restaurant afloat over the next few months.
Ok, that's a little melodramatic...I could keep the restaurant going, but some people, people I care about, would have to lose their jobs. So I decided to stay open late on Friday and Saturday nights to catch the bar crowds and to start serving breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.
That means I get to stay open 'til 2 am for the bars and then close and start prepping up for breakfast at 7 am.
And since I'm the cheapest employee I've got I'm the one doing all the work. And that's ok.
Yesterday I made a hundred bucks in a hour and a half doing some PI shit. At the restaurant? I made about nothing in just over 25 hours.
Guess which one made me feel dirty? Yeah, the easy one. The bar crowd I could do without, but the breakfast menu I love. I'll post it soon. I'm really proud of it and the food (for the most part) has tested really well. I say for the most part because several items that were tested and seemed easy a few days ago failed miserably this morning on what was supposed to be our first breakfast service. I ended up closing (we hadn't even had a customer, but things were just not working out the way I wanted them to) and only cooked for a few friends who came by. I learned quite a bit and hopefully things will work out better tomorrow.
And somewhere in the process I realized that it's not only the difficult jobs that hold my interest, it's the difficult loves...the women who, for whatever reason, I just can't seem to attain, or if attained, keep.
All this became clear as my hollandaise broke for the second time while I was burning bacon and trying to nurse my grits back to life and thinking about Sam and how I couldn't wait to see her again.