Thursday, February 26, 2009

And now the Herald Sun

The good people of the Herald Sun have produced a dandy article chronicling our efforts. We would like to get as many versions as there are of this article. My mom thanks you as do we.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


It has been quite a ride for the last month. First were the Paperhand Puppet shows in successive weekends, and then the Burlington Times story broke about our humble little endeavor. We have been plastered with folks, and we have been seeing return visitors from both exposures. Now, here we are at home for two days in a row taking care of things and getting some rest and spending some warm time with my mom and her husband (and my friend) John.

John has come down to see our doctor after being run through the conventional medicine ringer. His deterioration has been reversed since visiting here with Dr. Mark over the last few weeks, and he is well on his way to a full mending.

When we met our friends Doug and Claire at the Lantern last night for dinner, we got a sweet parking spot because of the handicapped parking sticker on John and Mom's vehicle. John exclaimed he was happy to say that privilege will pass soon, as he'll be too mobile to need the thing.

I can't say enough about what Dr. Mark Eisen has done for my dear 77-year-old friend. Suffice it to say he has a new lease on life where hope had been lost. Cameron and I have been in much need of some recuperative time as well, and John's patient and committed effort to get well based on his treatment regimen has inspired us to do the same.

Next, though, we'll be readying for a new and busy weekend, as the Chapel Hill Herald will soon display their own article on this strange effort to which we and you are giving life. Look for another expansion to our menu that will extend the dinner menu again. We are rested and ready and inspired by our friend John and my grateful mother. Menu additions begin this Friday.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

We made the Times

We made the Times. Burlington Times that is.

Yet another big weekend as Chathamohicans are catching up with us and Chapel Hillians keep rolling in and now Burlington and the triad have found us.

There is no turning back now. The dinner food must come forth. Today folks were calling in to see if we had all the items on our dinner and a show weekends menus. Representative Carey Allred stopped by and had the goat burger and duck breast salad. He hung with us for a good portion of the afternoon and asked about that menu: Wagyu beef? Sea Scallops? Yup, but not today. Next week? Probably.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Local food loop

Eric and Tom's project within the project:

We are weaving circles here out of our kitchen - food loops, if you will. Local and store-made selections: biscuits, muffins, pies, beef, chicken, stew, chili and on and on.

Cameron with Roland MacReynolds of CFSA discussing exciting foodshed news:

Eric Henry at T.S. Designs has been a champion from the beginning. He and his wife Lisa were amazingly gracious to me while I was at the marketplace in Pittsboro. They live in Burlington yet were willing to travel the hour it took to get to pbo for food. It is hard to find a more committed soul for sustainability. Their plant is state of the art green, they use locally produced organic cotton, and above all, they treat people right. So it is an honor and an inspiration to work with Eric.

So as we provide lunch in concert with Charles Sydnor from Braeburn farm we are able to offer ever closing food loops. The pies will be made with local flour, apples, sweet potatoes, dairy, butter, eggs. The greens are local, as is the cream and the potatoes for potato salad. This is possible because people like Eric are committed to it.

Thank you Eric.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

This weekend, we'll be doing a repeat (with menu variations) of our special dinner menu, in honor of the Paperhand Puppet Intervention show "The Hungry Ghost." Shows are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and tickets are $15 each--available at the door. Shows begin at 8 p.m.; dinner's from 5 'till we close at 9.

I can't help sharing a moment with you that helps illustrate what Jeff and company are doing in the kitchen of this little store--a feat beyond what the place ever hoped to see, I'm amused to tell you.

Last Friday night, during what turned out to be a rare quiet moment during the weekend, I breezed around the corner in the kitchen to find Jeff at the prep sink teaching Chris to filet a flounder. Chris is working on a culinary arts certificate, so he's been soaking up every bit of practice he can get when he's working in the kitchen. After his week of class, Chris returned to the store today beaming about his most recent classroom experience. His class has been working on butchering, and his instructor taught a lesson--as fate would have it--on fileting flounder. Chris was confident, having just practiced this skill, and demonstrated such filet-ing proficiency that other students in the class asked him for help. The instructor even called him to the side at the end of the class, and said, "Chris, this is excellent work. You have mastered a classic style of filet that's not often used anymore." A smiling Chris replied to his teacher, "Well, thank you, sir. I learned to do it at the gas station where I work."

Thanks to all of you for making this moment--and your local gas station slash gourmet eatery--possible.

We have steel head trout on the menu this weekend in place of the flounder, along with local Wagyu steak filets, scallops, duck confit, and other delights--menu attached.

I've made a chocolate pecan tart and sweet potato pie for dessert. Saturday we'll have local chevre cheesecake with local strawberry sauce, barring any tricks by the temperamental oven.


Weekend Dinner Menu
5-9 P.M. Friday and Saturday, 5-8 P.M. Sunday
February 6-8

Shrimp Chowder
cup for 4—, bowl for 5—

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
cup for 4—, bowl for 5—

Crispy Pork Belly
Apple cider glaze, garlic mashed potatoes, garlic and shallot green beans

Pan-seared Duck Breast Salad
local goat cheese, currants, grilled onions, balsamic glaze

Steel Head Trout
sweet potato hash, asparagus
14 —

6 oz. Wagyu Sirloin Steak
sautéed spinach, duck fat fried potatoes

Kurobuta Pork Chop
Portobello mushroom gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts

Eggplant Parmesan
mixed greens salad

Wild Caught Sea Scallops (after 6 p.m. Friday)
risotto cake, asparagus

Lamb Shank
white bean ragout, sautéed greens

Plate of Mussels
roasted garlic and tomato broth, grilled baguette

Local Sweet Potato Pie, Chocolate Pecan Tart, Local Chevre Cheesecake

Monday, February 2, 2009

Five star gas station

Yesterday as I was preparing the glace for the beef short-ribs, I looked over my shoulder from the stove-top and there was Dobbs, outside our front window. Dobbs is a a member of a local community replete with a sweat lodge. They have welcomed us with open and gracious arms. Sherry, one of their community members, works with us. They come for brunch and lunch faithfully and shop the groceries, local produce and local meat. Dobbs, a long-haired, wiry artist and craftsman, lived his life all over the world before settling here in Saxy. With his typical care he was drawing a plum line on our window next to our door.
Oops! back to the sauce. What is he doing?
My attention wandered to the previous evening. In the bustle of the busiest night of our sweet little store's life, Dobbs and Shannon (the queen of Saxapahaw) began an applause. "The best meal I have had in North Carolina," the artist warmly and broadly intoned. Slightly teary, I hit the mussels with a splash of Torrontes. Fire.
My sauce is coming together nicely as Dobbs puts the fifth gold star carefully in place. I go out to look. He is gone.