Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Rudeness and Naming Rights.....

Last weekend we did a party for a good friend and longtime client…..I remember three weddings. At the last wedding he asked me: “Michael, do I get a volume discount?”

I came right back: “Pete, you are a rug merchant…..you got a volume discount on the FIRST wedding!”

Anyway, he had a nice engagement party for a friend. It was a rainy day, so it made the whole outdoor pizza oven deal kind of problematic.

Ahh, what the hell. Do it anyway. Great food, great drama….hand made, primal food. Pete is worth it.

Day of the event dawned wet and drizzly as promised. Micah came in at nine and did his prep: the dough, carmelized onions, julienned and sautéed shiitakes, the chanterelles Dirk found, the ham, the prosciutto, the grated cheeses, the crème fraiche (well that was the day before….yeah, we make our own crème fraiche). He did all his knife work: agar agar mushrooms, the Bermuda onions, the sundried tomatoes, the leeks, the fennel, the Corralitos sausages….

Then, of course, you carefully pack all this stuff up: dough, the semolina, the flours, the oil guns, the paddles, the platters, the herbs and spices…oak stove wood just in case…..and drive it 30 miles to town in a rainstorm.

Upon arrival, the wood is wet. The genial host saved some stuff out….pine, plywood, some oak. We sort through all this, eliminate the actual toxic stuff, get the fire going in the pizza oven and ignore the rain pelting down. There is a permanent canopy….but it is for the counter in front of the pizza oven, not for the oven….or the guy standing in front of the oven doing the work.

The bride or the groom or someone is a vegetarian so we came up with a First Pizza: organic Sonoma soft ripened goat cheese base, carmelized onions, the chanterelles…stretched by some shiitakes….sundried tomatoes, toasted pinenuts, some basil oil…dusted with some Carr Valley cave aged sheep cheese….roasted on Kevin McGovern's hand split Cachagua oak….in the pouring fucking rain.

First person through the door is Becky, the across the street neighbor and part-time illegal caterer (gotta pay for all those face-lifts SOMEHOW....that airline pilot ex is just not delivering!). Becky has brought her own dish for the dinner in properly cool shopping bags….why let the pros have the whole stage? Becky stops by the pizza oven on her way inside, and juggles her Nordstrom bags full of Tupperware long enough to seize a piece of First Pizza.

“Not bad…..You know they have a pizza EXACTLY like this at Trader Joe’s for $6.99. The EXACT same thing…..You should check it out!”

And totters off on her so-four-years-ago-super-pointy Italian giant pumps…….knock-offs, of course.

It is not the 18 hour days….the rain, the 120 degrees-in-the-kitchen thing.....the lack of financial rewards……

It is the Becky’s of this world that make this job hard.

Our menu that Monday:

Just Like Trader Joe’s Roadhouse
There is a reason for the C-word, Becky….you!!
23 of April 2007

Cachagua Valley

Duncan’s Pizza: Corralitos sausage, smoked ham and bacon; artichoke hearts, jalapenos, and mushrooms $7.50 and $12.50
Micah’s Pizza: Crème fraiche, Corralitos ham, carmelized onions, fresh basil leaves, fresh and domestic mozzarella $7.50 and $12.50
Becky’s Just Like Trader Joe’s Pizza: Sonoma goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, carmelized onions, and pine nuts $7.50 (manipulative rudeness extra)
Cate’s Pizza: Shiitake mushrooms, carmelized onions, fennel, asiago 7.50/$12.50
Soup: Sorrel with Slow Roasted Chicken and Cream $4.50
Fresh Local Dungeness Crab Cake with Meyer Lemon/Rosemary Aioli $10.00
Roasted Beet, Arugula and Coconut Goat Cheese Salad $6.50
Porcini Risotto Cake with Butter Roasted Chantrelles and Shitakes $7.50
Poached Quail Eggs with Green Beans and Crispy Shallots $6.50
Scallop with Black Rice, Lemongrass, and Lime/Fennel Foam $7.50
Cool Salad of Jicama, Blood Orange and Cumin $5.00
Cachagua Caesar Salad $5.00 Zolan’s Blue Cheese Wedge $5.00

Served with organic King City asparagus, cous-cous, and roast baby creamer potatoes

Mesquite Grilled BBQ DuRoc Farms Organic Saint Louis Pork Ribs $14.50
Roast Loin of Kobe Beef with Porcini Cream $16.00
Syrah Braised Niman Ranch Organic Beef Short Ribs $16.00
Pan Roasted Sea Scallops with Fennel Pollen $14.00
Confit of San Benito Rabbit with Shiitake Mushrooms and Creamy Risotto $16.00
Mesquite Grilled Niman Ranch Tri Tips of Beef with Mushroom Gravy $12.00
Duck Confit with Braised Endive, Pecans and Szalay Raspberry Reduction $14.00
Oven Roasted Fulton Valley Brined Fulton Valley Chicken $12.50
Chicken Cacciatore (Chardonnay Braised with Leeks and Roma Tomato) $12.50
New Zealand Double Venison Chop with Szalay Jamaica Reduction $20.00
Michael’s Saffron Linguine w/ Black Mussels, Shiitakes, Sundried Tomatoes $14.00
Niman Ranch Loin of Pork Chop with Heller Port Reduction and Cherries $12.00

Michel Cluizel Single Source African Chocolate Cremas Inglése, Sea Salts and Olive Oil
Micah’s Dumbass Redneck Carrot Cake with Cointreau Cream Cheese Frosting
Txema’s Crema Catalan
Death by Brownie with ALBA Organic Strawberries and Mint
Strawberry Balsamic Sorbet with Balsamic Reduction and Strawberries
Susan’s Jamesburg Apple/Blueberry Pie

Savory Dessert (
Carr Valley 10yr Aged Sheep Cheese, Carr Valley Baa Baa Blue and Chevre, with Carrot Confit, Pineapple/Fennel Compot, Lemon/ Red Onion Compot and Basil Gelée with Wild Olallieberry Honey)

All Desserts $4.50

Nellie Melba had other skills....she got a toast and a peach and a raspberry sauce. Lady Curzon got a turtle soup.

Becky gets a pizza.


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