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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

television the drug of the nation

I found Hulu a few weeks back.  Sad how far behind the times the wife and I are.  We haven't had television for something like five years.  Netflix was our entertainment choice for quite a while until we found Hulu.  First we devoured Kitchen Nightmares (which really is a crash course in how to run a restaurant properly, good food and attention to food,customers, and employees, work hard, try, care, try some more, work harder, keep working, work some more, and if you are good and lucky... things may just go your way.  (Gordon Ramsey is a god, he is one of my personal heros, that silly show has taught us so much), then we tackled as many Chopped episodes available, and finally we are stuck waiting for new episodes of America's Next Great Restaurant.  (For which my answer to their question is... Hello... successful and reproduceable fast casual restaurant business model patiently waiting for you right here in Walla Walla.)) 

This was our last week of relative calm for the catering business. Starting this weekend, the next 15 weeks are busy. Like crazy busy. But we are ready and willing. So we spent the little downtime we had wisely, Brian went on vacation, Tracy and I went to meetings, and I messed around in the home kitchen with the kids.

Braciole test cook version number one for Entwine Dinner.
Mirepoix, garlic, pancetta for red wine marinara to braise the braciole.

The extra red wine that could not be allowed to go to waste.

 A homestyle roast chicken headed to our ancient oven.

Two big parties coming up we are super excited to be responsible for.  The Entwine Grand Dinner and Auction which will be a four course plated dinner for 300 to 400 guests.  And the opening gala dinner for the preview of the new Shakespeare Theatre being retrofitted in the old power building, it will be family style multi course for 200+ guests.  Those along with lots of dinners, weddings, luncheons, and appetizer events. 

We look forward to serving you soon.  Cheers.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

two new sandwiches

We added two new sandwiches to the menu.  The Spring Asparagus Panini makes its return, replacing the Butternut Squash Panini.  It is lovely, blanched aspargus, two year old aged Tillamook Cheddar, provolone, and bechamel made from Pure Erie Dairy here in Walla Walla.  Get them from now until the second week in June when aspargus will no longer be local.

Our version of a Vietnamese Banh Mi is brand new and super yummy.  Lightly toasted Italian white bread, with a little mayo, sliced cucumber, medium flank steak, black pepper, fresh cilantro, thinly sliced raw jalepeno, and pickled daikon and carrot make up this super fresh sandwich.  We love it, and hope you do as well.

Wanted to share this snack the wife and I had last night, garbanzos tossed with garbanzo flour and paprika, cumin, tumeric,, salt, and cayenne, shallow fried in olive oil.  Such an awesome little appetizer/condiment/topping for so many different dishes.  One of our favorite things at the moment.


Friday, March 4, 2011


Palmares is a cycling term which means "a list of great accomplishments".  Here is our version of palmares.

Three emails sent to me regarding the Pheasants Forever Dinner last week, 340 guests (of which 40 were added in the last 24 hours) and we served prime rib and whole slow roast salmon filets with aioli.

Dear Graze,

I wanted to let you know that I heard nothing but absolutely wonderful compliments in regards to the food at the banquet. It was just delicious! I had the salmon and it was the best cooked salmon I have ever had (and that’s impressive when you are cooking it for 340 people!). My husband was absolutely obsessed with the whole meal and could not stop talking about how delicious it was. And, I have had many, many people come up to me out of the blue and tell me how much they enjoyed their meal. Your catering was an absolute success and I want to thank you so much. I had 100% confidence in you guys going in, but it always makes me very nervous to have been “the person that picked the new caterer”…as I knew any negative feedback would fall directly on me. BUT, it was the exact opposite!

Thank you so much for all your hard work, for being flexible on the ever-changing head count, and for the beautiful presentation. We were all SO happy with the final result.

Thank you again. It was great working with you.  
Alison Brugeman
The food was the best anyone ever had at one of these kinds of events.
-Randy Snyder (pheasants board member)

... and we got this email from a guest at the dinner, and she shared a great sounding recipe with us too...

Hello John,

I was in your restaurant about a week ago... LOVED IT!!!
Then, I went to the Fundraiser, Pheasants Forever
Oh My Gosh, Divine. Everything was !!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Boom Boom

Saturday we served 340 hungry pheasant lovers, 15 hungry beef tenderloin eaters, 40 wedding celebrants, and 17 hungry college students, and another 100 sandwich munchers.  It was a busy day.  Here are few shots from the appetizer party.  It was a pretty cool evening of food.  10 different appetizers, a few at stations, a few passed. 

We call these shrimp firecrackers (why I really don't know), the shrimp are skewered to stay straight, topped with a tiny bit of ground japanese red pepper, fresh cilantro, and then wrapped in lumpia wrappers and deep fried.  Served with sweet chili sauce.  They are incredible... really.

Grilled Lostine Beef skirt steak bahn mi.  A bahn mi is a Vietnamese sandwich, our version is on a hoagie roll with fresh cilantro, thinly sliced raw jalepeno, fresh cucumber, mayo, and pickled daikon and carrot.  We run a sandwich shop... this would definitely be one of our best three.  Coming to the menu soon.  And the grilled Lostine Beef skirt steak may be my favorite grilled meat ever.  Unlike any skirt steak you have ever tasted.

Coconut curry marinated chicken skeweres, with our traditional coconut thai peanut sauce.

House cured gravalax, with creme fraiche, caper, red onion, on a wafer thin crostini.

 And this is what you get to deal with in the morning when you serve 400 people.