Friday, February 25, 2011

Feeding yourself

I should be in bed, but I just have to write about my friend.

He and his mother used to have a really cool, down home, spirit satisfying, soul food restaurant.  Here in the US that means lots of honest Southern cuisine.  But, you know how those things go.  Even though they had plenty of business, the work became overwhelming for the two of them, especially his mother who was no longer a f\girl with youthful energies.

So, they finally closed the restaurant, but they never gave up on having the energy to try it again sometime.

So, anyway, my friend was at a local veteran's center.  They have a bar, meeting rooms where vets come to play cards, have bar snacks and shoot the shit, which is a good thing, by the way.

One day he happened to wander down a hallway and see a fully equipped kitchen, with an adjoining dining room, albeit a little on the small size, both the kitchen and dining room.

Since you cannot smoke indoors anymore, he continued on his way outside to have his way with a cigarette and got to talking with another smoker.  He mentioned the kitchen and asked if the other guy knew how or when it was last used.  Turns out the other vet was on some kind of board at the center.  My friend told me, but I have forgotten the details.  Anyway, they used to have Friday night fish fry dinners there, but it did not work out, mostly because the previous guy was kind of a flake and the food was not so great either.

My friend and I have been noodling around with ideas for a community center that he wants to open, and since that sort of thing is both in my background and an adjunct to the self-employment support and services I provide to my clients, between the two of us, well, we had made forward movement on his ideal plans.

But, when this opportunity presented itself to get back into a kitchen post-haste, he arranged for a meeting with whomever is in charge there (again, he told me, but I have forgotten...huge surprise) and developed a plan for resuming those Friday night dinners.  He shared all of his ideas, but, frankly, he was so informed about what is needed for having a restaurant, even a part time one, that I was of little extra help to him.  He says otherwise, but he is wrong.

That was a month ago.  Tonight was their first dinner.  Actually, it started late this morning with a lunch menu, but the full dinner menu started this evening.

To say that it was great is an understatement.  You could tell that it was the first time for all of those people to be working together, but there was barely a misstep.  There was the kitchen door that kept self-locking and the really old guy at the table next to me who managed to unscrew the top from the tartar sauce container and dump most of the contents on his lap and cap and then proceeded to pick up the container's top from the floor and screw it back on.  No worries, because I told the wait person and she took care of it.

There were two tiny issues with the serving temperature of my dinner, but we will discuss that later when we meet to recap my experience.  On the whole, it was outstanding food, efficient and friendly service, a pleasant environment and he really scored a huge win on his first day there.

Despite the fact that I, a very healthy eater, brought home half of my dinner, he assured me that he really is making sufficient money on the huge portions they are serving.  Just another proof of his dedication to fabulous food at a fair price.  I can hardly wait to surprise the kitties with pollack and catfish for din-din tomorrow when I get home from the quilt show.

I am looking forward to next week for the chance to try another item from the menu.  I may never cook another Friday night dinner for myself.  Yum.

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