Thanks to everyone who came out to L5P Halloween Festival on Saturday, you made it a record day for us! But I am still exhausted from it, so no more blog this week… though Nick does have some amazing specials on right now:
shaved lardo, parmesan, egg yolk, veal jus
Homemade Boudin Blanc
potatoes a la robuchon, red pepper jus
(the potatoes are 50% potato, 50% butter!)
Blue Point Oyster
dill panna cotta, bread and butter pickles, 3.25 each
Nick loves Tacos, so much so he once suggested to me that he wanted to open a place called Taco, Tacos, Tacos after the joint in the TV show Reno 911. Then Nick suggested they all have dirty names and then I said no. But tacos turn up on the Porter’s menu every so often and they are always delicious! Sometimes they are traditional like the lengua one Nick did in August, the pulled pork has been really popular during past summers, but the crazy ones are my favorite. This week’s taco is defintely a walk on the wild side : It’s Pork Belly done in the Korean bbq style, topped with kimchi spiced bean sprouts, cilantro, spicy jalapeno and sweet Asian pear. If you take a bite with all the elements and shut your eyes the balance of spicy, sweet, hot, cold, crunchy, soft, is perfect.
Woah! It’s already been three years since The Porter Beer Bar opened. Doesn’t time fly? What’s also amazing is how many 3 year reviews I have to write. It’s truly a blessing that over 25% of our original staff are still here. Truly they make Nick and my job so much easier. With less turnover we don’t have to be constantly hiring and training, instead we can focus on the good stuff, like beer!
Speaking of beer, we’ve come a long way baby! We opened with 25 taps and 100 bottles back in September 2008. Now we have over 500 bottles and 30 drafts including two hand cask hand pulls. But don’t worry we won’t stop there. Restaurants are like children (see previous post, Beer and Babies) they are either growing and changing or they are dead in the water. Nick and Ia re constantly getting better at our big picture job: making The Porter Beer Bar one of the best beer bars in the world. That’s why Nick is always coming up with new specials and we are always trying to find the most delicious and rare beers.
So come out, one and all September 10th is the day we will party! Starting at 11am we will unleash a crazy line up and amazing stuff. At some point throughout the day we will tap a keg of KBS and at another random moment a firkin of Cigar City made just for us! No reservations required, just get here early and drink the day away!
I can list the number of days The Porter has been closed since we opened on one hand. Thanksgiving, 08,09,10. Christmas 08,09, Christmas Eve 08, Staff Party Day, 09, 10. Once in April 2011, when the power went out for 24 hours. Ok two hands, but still, 9 days in almost 3 years is not bad. So why are we closing for three days to fix our kitchen floor?I only have two words for you: Health Inspection. Our floor in the kitchen is cement, which is fine in the health inspector’s eyes. But after repeated attempts we could never properly seal with due to a minuscule amount of water that always seemed to get under the seal and bubble up.So eventually every seal would flake up and degrade until the floor was not “an easily cleanable surface” which is key in the health inspector’s book. Now with new inspection rules and reputable restaurants failing their inspections right and left, we decided we could not risk losing a single point on something we could fix. Thus we had to close, move all the kitchen equipment out of the kitchen, level the floor and tile, then move everything back in and prep the entire menu!
Whew! I get tired just thinking about it.
But back on track, why I hate to close. First of all there’s the customers to consider. Every time a customer shows up and you’re closed, you risk permanently losing that customer. It’s also the reason I insist businesses keep regular hours as consistently as possible. Yeah sure, it’s nice to close Sunday & Monday and give yourself a restful two days off. But it makes it that much harder on the average customer to remember when you’re open. (Side note, this works for restaurants/businesses that require reservations and appointments, but it’s a killer for the casual concept) The Porter is like many of my regulars’ home away from home. Closing that home risks those regulars finding another home away from home, which we just can’t have!
The 2nd reason I hate to close is lose of momentum, closing means throwing away food, or running it really close down to the wire. Your staff also have too much time to get drunk, arrested or find another job. So many restaurant employees live paycheck to paycheck so a loss of a couple days of pay can be devastating. (I am praying all my staff show up on Thursday alive, intact, and still wanting towork at The Porter)
So closing is a major risk, but sometimes it’s worth it. Just wait until you see the new kitchen floor, it’ll make your Belgian fries taste that much better!
So Nick and I recently went to DC, Philly and NYC! We drank a lot of beer and ate a lot of ramen! We also ate ate Totto in NYC and Mechenko . We are pretty obsessed with ramen and some day just like in Tampopo, we hope to serve the perfect bowl!
Above is Mamfuko Ramen, in which they smoked the pork bones that the broth was made from. It was very smoky, Nick felt it was too smoky, but we liked the idea.
This is ramen from Ippudo in NYC. It had a spicy oil on top.
Nick enjoying Ramen at Toki Undeground in DC, which is actually on the 2nd floor and not underground at all!
My ramen at Toki Underground! Yum yum!
This fancy machine is something Nick has wanted for a long time. We finally
saved enough money to purchase one for The Porter! (Its like Christmas in May!)
It makes pasta in all shapes and sizes!
All you have to do is put the dough in it! As a result, next week we will be
switching our dry shells in the mac and cheese to fresh ones, made in-house!
Here’s a picture of one of our prep cooks making ramen noodles!
As a person, who’s usually running around insanely and barely getting to taste my food, let alone enjoy it, when I do get a chance to enjoy my food I will frequently snack my way through dinner. A little nibble, a drink, a nibble, yum yum! So here’s two of my favorite snacky things on the specials menu (there are lots of favorite snacky things on the regular menu salt and vinegar popcorn anyone?)
mustard greens, swiss chard, collards, Flat Creek Lodge Little Martha, aged white cheddar, grilled bread
Brasstown pork belly, basil mayo, field lettuce, tomato, fries
Banyuls vinegar hollandaise, poached egg, bacon
I want a snack RIGHT NOW!
For the first time ever I ate a delicious beef heart this week! It was tender and tasted a bit like roast beef. Nick served it up chilled (after sous vide cooking it for many hours) along with red wine blueberries, pickled ramps, Farmer Jeff’s radishes, grilled baguette.
Occasionally Nick makes a dish he loves so much he eats it twice in one day. The Cacio e Pepe with Brasstown pork belly, parmesan, egg yolk, black pepper, fava beans, spaghetti is exactly that. Nick ate it for lunch and for dinner yesterday! It put many pastas to shame it’s so good.
Everybody has a different idea of the perfect breakfast. Usually for me it’s an excuse to eat dessert as a meal (pancakes, french toast, muffins, scones, sweet cereal are all favorites on Molly’s breakfast table) But sometimes when I’m feeling really hungry, the sweet stuff doesn’t cut it. So today I ate Brasstown Beef Cheeks with lentils, bacon, poached egg, young garlic, frisee, baby broccoli, crème fraiche. I decided the poached egg made it breakfasty enough for me. It was amazing!
Sometimes I feel like I have created the perfect meal, even though I didn’t do any of the cooking at all! I eat a lot at The Porter and I am always grateful to my husband Nick and his awesome sous chef Dan for the amazing ever changing specials. I never get bored of eating at The Porter. Today the sun was out, but there was still a chill in the air, and I only had a few minutes to eat. So I chose Farmer Jeff’s Salad and the Spring Pea Arancini. The salad was delish in a buttermilk dressing with bacon bits and Elm Street Garden turnips. The arancini ( deep fried spring pea risotto balls) were paired with a new cheese from Flat Creek Lodge called Little Martha which is a single cream and therefore smooth, creamy and whippable. The Little Martha was whipped with olive oil and served as a rich sauce to dip the hot arancini in! Amazing! If I had time to add a beer something like Allagash White or Hitachino White would have been perfect.