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Monday, February 27, 2012

GRAZE - a drive thru (Breakfast)


The drive thru opens at 7:00 Monday through Friday.  We serve Walla Walla Roastery drip coffee, with a couple of different creamers for your choosing.  And we serve four different breakfast paninis.  That is it.  Until we think up other stuff to serve.

The eggs are omelette style.  No fried, or poached, or scrambled eggs, omelettes are your only option.  The cheese is Tillamook Medium Cheddar.  My favorite generic cheddar, my kids favorite generic cheddar, there is no better generic cheddar.  The mayo is Best Foods, we love you Best Foods.  The bread is La Brea Bakery italian rounds, brushed with pure olive oil and toasted, just like we do at the sandwich shop. 

Here are the four breakfast paninis in all their glory (with their codes):

PBAC - egg, omelette, cheddar, mayo, Daily's Bacon.
(how much do we want to make our own bacon.  A lot.  How practical is it?  Not very.  How much do we go through?  Enough to make it NOT PRACTICAL.  Sigh... maybe someday.)

PHAM - egg, omelette, cheddar, mayo, house cured tasso ham.
(tasso ham is a southern styled smoked ham made from pork shoulder.  It is quick cured, then dredged in spices, and hot smoked.  It is firey.  And super yummy.)

PSG - egg, omelette, cheddar, mayo, house made sage garlic fennel country sausage.
(we grind pork shoulder with fried sage, raw garlic, fennel, and other good things... it is decidedly not your everyday sausage patty.)

PEGG - egg white, omelette, cheddar, spinach, roast peppers (no mayo)
(you want a yummy breakfast without the calories, this one if for you.)

Each breakfast panini is $4.25.  Add coffee and its a flat $5.00 (plus sales tax). 


Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Magic Oven


Back in January the wife and I flew to Tacoma with a styrofoam ice chest full of pastrami, flank steak, meatballs, pulled pork, sauces, and cheese.  We stuffed our backpacks full of hoagies, italian rounds, and torta bread.  Yes, we had a few strange looks from fellow passengers.  And a very interesting time getting the russian dressing through the TSA checkpoint.  

At the Bargreen Ellingson test kitchen we played around with an Amana AXP22 convection oven (thanks Chef Bob for the hospitality).  We called it the Magic Oven.  Our pastrami sandwich which takes 6 minutes at the sandwich shop in our regular convection oven... takes 40 seconds in the Magic Oven.  The meatball takes 50 seconds.  The torta 40 seconds.  It is unreal, like science fiction, we used it, we bought one, and we still can't really comprehend it.  The sandwiches come out identical to our convection oven version.  And it makes our soon to be open drive thru sandwich shop at 213 South 9th Street possible.  GRAZE - 'a drive thru' should be open around March 1st. (509) 540-1261.

Kudos to the super engineering geniuses who invented it.  These ovens are changing the way quick service food is served... you can fry frozen french fries in them without any oil, and they taste like they came out of a fryer.  Name a food that is baked, roasted, or deep fried and this Magic Oven cooks it at least five times faster.

Almost exclusively these Magic Ovens (made by Amana and TurboChef) are used on processed food, by big corporate quick service places.  They are, to put it mildly, expensive.  We are using this technology with our honest and wholesome food.  That sounds like a good, and quite frankly, rather radical idea to me.

[The week after going to Tacoma to test cook, we went to the Seattle Wedding Show, and stayed at some rather generic, clean, large hotel chain.  When we got to the hotel the kids were starving and needed a quick bite.  So we ordered a couple of things in the bar area.  I swung back to look at their kitchen (I am always looking at kitchens).  The kitchen was pretty much a Magic Oven, a small stove, and a cooler.  That was it.  And they served breakfast, lunch, dinner, and appetizers out of the space.  Was the food good, no, it was generic and boring.  But the range of the menu was large, and the kitchen was sparse.  Just one Magic Oven and a bunch of processed food.  Sometimes progress doesn't feel so progressive.]


Friday, February 24, 2012


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

Hi John,

I wanted to pass along the many wonderful comments I heard from parents and students alike last night about the delicious food that you served at the AVID Recognition Night. It was a real treat for these students and their families to have an upscale dinner (and presentation) for this special night - because so few of these folks have had an elegant catered experience like this. It was also a good mental boost for teachers and students (amidst the winter doldrums) to remind us to finish the school year strong!

A big thank you for making it a memorable experience for our AVID students and their families.  -  Sue

And from the wine tasting at L' Ecole Winery...

Thank you so much John!  The food was excellent and I had nothing but compliments.  - Rachel

And from the 90th birthday party host...

Thanks John.  The party was a success, and the food was great!  - Doug


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Walla Walla Poker Tour


My dad likes to gamble.  He plays poker.  He plays it well.  He wins more than he loses... his little black book records the give and take. 

I like to gamble.  I play poker adequately.  I win as much as I lose for the most part... and don't tally my wins and losses.

My wife does not like to gamble.  She would rather buy shoes and add them to her footwear empire.

This catering business gamble started a number of years ago, and after losing a bunch of hands, we started to win some, and then we laid a bigger wager on a sandwich shop, and we won a few more hands... the accountant has a little book recording the give and take.  And next week we get to place a nice big bet on another sandwich shop. 

It will be located in our catering kitchen.  It will be a drive thru only.  Breakfast and lunch.  The same menu as the downtown dine-in location, called GRAZE - 'a place to eat'.  We are calling the drive thru GRAZE - 'a drive thru'.  We couldn't think of anything better.  It should open around March 1st.

In the food biz, every day is like a poker hand... you place your blind bet, pay for food, employees, and the space... and wait for the customers/cards to arrive.  More winners than losers and you can stay in the game. 

We hope to play for a long time.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Graze Anatomy

We ran an ad in the Whitman Pioneer asking the super witty Whitties to come up with an ad.  The overwhelming response of one advertisement idea got us this one.  Way to go Mad Men.

Our logo is not our logo, and it really is supposed to read "GRAZE ANATOMY of a sandwich"... like the tv show, get it.  ha ha ha

I got myself a bachelor of science in Exercise Science, with an emphasis on exercise physiology, which means I learned things like how your body changes short term and long term to exercise.  To sum up four years of education... as a general rule, most all the time, all the things having to do with your body get better when you exercise.  (So this advert is some super funny stuff from my anatomy learning days.)

And this picture has nothing to do with anything except it is somewhat pretty.  We donated a mini brownie and mini cookie bar tower for a Campfire USA fundraiser at the Charles Smith Winery.  It tasted good.