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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, around 2pm or some other non-descript slow restaurant time, a single college age student had a sandwich and left us a little note, semi-crumpled on her dining table.

This is our first ever piece of customer generated sandwich art.  And the kind and thoughtful words give me that lump in your throut, 'I kinda want to cry feeling'.

Here is what is says:

"I'm at Graze by myself.  I ordered a Turkey sandwich.  I miss Michigan.  Walla Walla is a very different environment.  I miss the forests and the the smells.  I wish I felt better about my move.  Good food is important to me that's why I came to Graze.  My dad and mom would eat here.  They both have worked in the restaurant industry for their whole lives.  They taught me the difference between a good dish and a bad dish."

We have had this little scrap of paper push-pinned to the wall ever since she left it. 

Cheers and Thank You to the young lady.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"the chipolte incident"

I read this book a while back called... oh I can't remember it now.  But it was about famous chef guys and gals and their own personal pro cooking screw ups, nightmares, horror stories.  Batali, Keller, that dude with the famous 'best restaurant in the world' Spanish guy, Bourdain, all the usual suspects.  It made me smile, remembering the time I let two gallons of fryer grease overflow the catch pot onto the floor of Creektown Cafe (rip) to begin a day that would see us serve a hundred or so lunch patrons.  Or the time (as a very newbie cook) I was making a batch of pesto in a blender.  Apparently I was unhappy with how quickly the basil was working its way toward the blades. so holding the blade end of a chefs knife I poked the basil downward with the wooden handle, only to hit the spinning blades, nearly cutting myself... and to the horror of the other cooks immediately proceeded to reattempt the failed exercise... hitting the blades again.

This definitely not a mistake!  Roast delicata squash, acorn squash, garlic, onions, rutabegas,
sage brown butter. For a tiny little wedding this weekend.

I recall all of this because we had an accident the other day at the sandwich shop I would like to share with you.  It went like this, the cook, great person, newish to the trade, was making chipolte mayo for the pulled pork torta (have you tried it yet? chile garlic onion braised pork, smashed avocado, fresh cilantro, our house quick pickled jalepenos, tomatoes... I digress).  The secret recipe goes like this, one can of a certain brand of chipoltes, nine cups of mayo, blend in food processor till smooth.  The smoothing out process can take awhile, chipoltes can be a bit tough, and we don't want any chuncky bits.  Something made our young cook unhappy so she stuck her spatula into the running machine.  Of course it hit the blade (I could have told her that...) and the whole machine started to rattle, and shake, and immediately spurt chipolte mayo everywhere.  She panicked, and rather than shut the machine off, she tried to dislodge the spatula, which only seemed to make the machine spew faster.  By the time she got the thing stopped, the aftermath was not pretty. 

Being the extraordinary boss that I am, I immediately started laughing and taking as many pictures as I could before the clean up started.  And now for your viewing pleasure, the day that will be fondly remembered in 'GRAZE - a place to eat' history as "the chipolte incident".

It hit everything...

...the ceiling...

...across the entire cook area...

... into the dining area...

... it was awesome!

Monday, October 18, 2010


The difference between my camera phone and the professional photographer's lens is well... jaw dropping.  Photos from Brenda and Keith's Wedding Reception.  Courtesy of Wilton Photography.

Summer's finest.  All purchased at the farmer's market Saturday Morning and prepared for 200+ guests Saturday Night.  Sweet corn saute, zuchinni, basil, Maria's perfect cherry tomatoes. 
Prime rib.  Don't you hate grey prime rib, thats what you get when its cut too hot, and placed in a chafing dish.  We carve ours in back, keep it warm with a heat lamp, cook it between medium rare and medium, and serve it on a crisp white platter.  Salt and herb cured for three days prior to service... we don't gloat... but yeah its probably the best prime rib in town... by a longshot.
 Kimi's Rockstar Salad Mix, and just cut vegetables with a couple of side dressings.  Kimi is the proprietor of Stone's Throw Farm... amazing salad greens.
Ron's green beans, sun dried tomatoes, toasted almonds, parmesan, extra virgin olive oil, golden garlic.  Do you have any idea how long it takes to trim and blanch 40 lbs of green beans?  Answer... too long.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

fun stuff

The last few weeks we have done some fun stuff.  Mostly winery thingamabobbers and whatchamacallits.  A trip up the hill and dinner in a gazebo for Cadaretta, family style dinner at Dunham, appetizers at Longshadows, buffet at Waters, plated dinner at Amavi (poor JF, the winemaker for Pepperbridge, I think he ate at three dinners of ours in four days, and had a few sandwiches in there as well), wedding in Dayton, and ran all over Walla Walla delivering sandwiches. 

Here are some random photos.

 The Cadaretta gazebo built on some vineyard property (near the Seven Hills Vineyard on the Oregon side of the border).  The gazebo at sunset and the inside of it setting up for dinner.
 Brian's paper thin crostinis with white bean arrabiatta and seared shrimp.
A special at the sandwich shop.  Grandpa's favorite sandwich was a huge slice of tomato from his garden, lots of mayo, salt and pepper, and a fat slice of raw onion.  We upscaled it a bit... I still think his is better.
So this picture looks pretty horrid.  It is tiramisu we served for the Washigton Wine Commision field trip to Walla Walla.  We did a family style dinner for 70 guests, and finished up with this dessert.  I swear this picture doesn't do it justice.  We don't normally make dessert... but we are starting to rethink that with our tiramisu.
Same deal.  This looks bad right.  But it was killer.  We cut yellow, green and red heirloom tomatoes in half, removed the seeds, stuffed them with fresh mozzarella, egg washed the cut sides, and breaded them with panko bread crumbs, then shallow pan fried the breaded side, then flipped them and roasted them on the grill to just get them warm, then drizzled pesto over the top.  You will never want to have a regular caprese salad again after eating these.
The view of Walla Walla from the Cadaretta Vineyard site.