Monday, December 23, 2013

"A burger off the griddle has an optimal shelf life of approximately three minutes." - Kenny Shopsin

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Best of 2013

With excavators all over Durham literally changing the face of our city's structure, we reflect on the year gone past.  Apologies in advance for the preponderance  of self-referential items.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Llorando / Taste is Memory

We recently had a customer comment that Matt Prop's Indian food was so good it made her cry a little bit.

While I wouldn't want to see our whole dining room bawling, I can understand the emotion -- food that is so well-balanced and well-crafted that its deliciousness takes you away to a far off place, to a place that only the emotions typically associated with memory could reach.

We tend to associate memory with sight and sound, but in fact smells and tastes can be super-powerful, just ask Proust!


The Fabled Thanksgiving Pastrami (NSFV - Not Suitable for Vegans)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weekend Update

With the sounds of Kraftwerk piping out the decks, German Night was a total smash.  Many thanks to Chef Matt for going the extra mile to put together an altogether novel menu that paid homage to his European roots.

Also big ups to Amanda R. for holding down our stall at the DTown Holiday Market at Fullsteam on Saturday!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Baguettes and the Rhythm of the Mother

Since October we have been producing sourdough french baguettes three times a week using a continuously-fed natural starter method along the lines of  Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread.  Maintaining a mother properly takes a lot of discipline and dedication, but the payoff is in the improved flavor, which has robust sweet and sour notes without being overpoweringly sour.  Check out Robertson's full recipe here, along with my annotations.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekend Update

Northern Cali: Another busy weekend, another amazing meal from Chef Matt.  Our Northern Cali menu, which one could have feared would have been a bland rendition of pulses, quinoa, and brown rice, was brought alive by Chef Matt's ingenuity.  The savory fruit salad was, as he says, "banging", his dal was rich and hearty, and the toasted quinoa salad, which was really more porridge than salad, had almost a glutinous, silken deliciousness.  Also, shouts to David Mills and Jessee, two NCCU music students, for playing jazz during the evening - it set a nice tone.  My fave track of the night: "In a Sentimental Mood".

One question I get a lot is, "So, how is it going?"  We have been remaking the bakery bit by bit since early September, and in spite of (or perhaps because of) a lot of early mornings and late nights, our customers are happy and sales are moving the right way.  But most of all, the crew is having a lot of fun.  Chef Matt, Jacqueline, and the kitchen crew work extremely hard every day to bring you their best, and our bread and pastry teams are consistently going above the call of duty to tweak recipes and production processes that result in improved product.  We continue to look forward to your feedback, and all that Ninth Street Bakery has yet to bring!

Track of the Weekend:

Friday, November 22, 2013

The VeganSafe Grill

One thing that many vegans might not know about us is that two months ago we had our flat-top grill re-polished.  That means that the steel surface was powersanded, polished, and then re-cast.  So we can say with certainty that that cooking surface has never seen the likes of meat, dairy, or eggs!

Holiday Cookbooks

The latest batch of Holiday Cookbooks are out.  And it looks like there are some winners.  Parker and Otis has some nice displays of them if you want to browse.

Stollen in Stores Now

Fans of holiday treats should take notice that our Stollen and Pan Forte are now in our retail stores as well as our Downtown location.

Our Stollen received a makeover/facelift this year.  We are now making it in a more traditional way, using wholegrain flour, brandy, brandy-soaked raisins and almonds, orange zest, and dusting it in powdered sugar.  It also has a natural starter foundation to give it a beautiful depth of flavor.  Lastly, like a brioche bread, it gets softened butter kneaded into it, giving it a delicious richness when sliced thin, toasted, then schemeared with butter, jam, soft cheese, and so forth.  We hope you enjoy it!

Where Do We Fit In?

The opening of the new Harris Teeter on Ninth Street (Durham) left me kind of wistful: as happy as I am that our products are in a new store, we hear every day from customers who remember when Ninth Street Bakery was on Ninth Street and about how our cafe (now the site of Elmo's) was "the place" to go.

The other reason I felt a grain of sentiment is that the Harris Teeter is literally in my backyard (I live in Old West), and as much as I am in favor of economic development, it feels like a megacorp (complete with hundreds of parking spaces) just landed in what had been a neighborhood-friendly commercial zone.

Which left me with the question: where does Ninth Street Bakery fit in in this world of superchains (a Panera Bread is also moving into the same supercenter and a Starbucks is in the HT lobby)?  We are bigger than a boutique (like Monuts), and smaller than a megacorporation.  We actually sell a lot of our wholesale bread through major retailers like Harris Teeter and Whole Foods.  But at the same time we are trying to keep our ethos of small footprint, ethical practices, scratch methods, and independent ownership.

So this Thanksgiving, give your local small retailer some shine.  As we continue to grow our operation in new directions (e.g. kombucha, internet retailing, gluten-free, vegan), we thank you for your continued support and hope that Ninth Street can give back to the community everything and more that you desire and expect.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekend Update: Korean

This past weekend we were graced by an amazing Korean menu from Chef Matt.

Track of the Weekend (If you missed Roy Ayers at the Hayti Friday night, you missed out - Chef Matt and I were lucky enough to attend):

Bonus Clip

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekend Update

This past weekend we had one of our most well-attended dinners yet: (Pan-)African Gone Tapas.

We were also graced by the singer-songwriter Emily Musolino - she played well and made the night really special - hopefully we can have her back soon!

Tracks of the Weekend:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekend Update: Pizza Boogie

Did anyone else listen to this album as a kid?

This weekend we did pizza for the first time.  As a backbone staple of the American diet, we rejoiced in the opportunity to provide it for our customers entirely vegan and there was a GF option as well.  The varieties were BBQ Tofu Pizza and Roasted Veggie Pizza.

Track of the Weekend:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Old School Counter Service

People who are born schmoozers often go into retail businesses, usually small, family-owned ones. They like, and maybe even need, the personal interactions such places offer. People shop in small retail stores because they, too, like—and maybe need—that same personal interaction. Among people who work in retail, the great schmoozer doesn’t just talk but also knows how to listen. The ability to be a good listener is derived from a basic love of people. This must be genuine. It cannot be faked. There is no doubt in my mind that this joy in listening to people, in hearing their stories, sharing in their nachas and their tsuris, is genetic in origin. The schmoozing gene will soon be mapped.

From Russ and Daughters: The House That Herring Built, by Mark Russ Federman

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dante's Inferno

This may go down as the single most ambitious menu Chef Matt has ever made (and certainly the most courses).  Each circle will be served tapas style.  This menu was inspired by Matt's love of heat -- he has been known to go through a bottle of Sriracha sauce in a week.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"A cuisine is only as good as the quality of its indigenous ingredients." -- Lao Tzu

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Weekend Update

Chef Matt's South Indian Menu was hot this week...Crowd reaction was very enthusiastic.  What amazed me is that almost unintentionally we did the whole meal GLUTEN-FREE.

Tracks of the Weekend:
via AS

Word of the Month (via AS): Heuristics.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Busy Weekend

Sometimes I feel like our weekends are more crazy than our weekdays.

On Friday, we had our ever-popular Falafel Friday Mediterranean lunch (and dinner too this week).

On Saturday, we popped up at the Mid-town Raleigh Farmer's Market, the South Durham Farmer's Market, and the Hunt Street Arts and Food Truck Market near the Central Durham Farmer's Market.

On Saturday night, we held our weekly rotating Ninth Street Downtown Special Dinner - Cambodian food this week, thanks to our fearless leader - Chef Matt Props.

Char Kroeung (Lemongrass-Garlic-Infused Tofu with Stir-Fried Veggies and Toasted Cashews Served Atop Cold Rice Noodle and Cabbage Salad Dressed in a Lime 

Our Hunt Street Market Crew This Week - The Zellers! -- Stu and Kelley

Track of the Weekend:

Friday, September 27, 2013

My Tomato Sauce

Start with good tomatoes, preferably meaty peeled romas.

You can take out the hard stem ends, but it's not necessary.

Sautee briefly some minced garlic in olive oil.

Add the tomatoes and more olive oil (about a quarter cup for a medium stockpot) and bring on medium heat to a low simmer. Salt lightly. Turn your light down. Add one eighth the amount of homemade tomato paste as whole tomatoes that you started with. If you only have canned tomato paste, you can drop this step.

Depending on the water content of the tomatoes, simmer for 1.5-2.5 hours.

When the taste of the sauce is just beginning to turn bitter and the flavors have been concentrated to their most delicious state, salt to taste and puree the sauce to desired consistency. Add more olive oil for a more rich, spoon-coating sauce.

Add Italian herbs or grated hard cheese as you wish.

Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight to further concentrate flavors.

One of my favorite beers, now on tap at 9SB

Monday, September 23, 2013

#BreakfastofChampions / Celebrity Sighting

And it should be noted here that Deleuzian scholar Michael Hardt likes Ninth Street's Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish!

Track of the Weekend:

Friday, September 20, 2013

I'm Winston Wolf, I Solve Problems

In one of the more celebrated scenes in film history, Winston Wolf helps two gangsters, Jules and Vincent out of a jam (see below).  At 9SB, we have our very own wolf, or should I say wolves - Tom and Valerie.  Both of these operators have been knocking out stressful jobs (like reprogramming a cash register, repairing drywall, untangling Christmas lights) without so much as a peep.  Thanks so much guys!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

32 Years of Funk

We had a "Celebrating 32 Years" event last Saturday at the bakery.  Here are a couple of standout tracks from the night spun by DJ Adam Rogers.

And one from DJ Sarah Carrier

Guest DJ SMG

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How was Your Garden?

Our garden was largely unproductive due to the heavy rains during the beginning of the summer.  But what Sungold tomatoes we did get were delicious - miniature golden goblets of sugary tomato goodness!

How was your garden this year?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Moment of Zen: Body without Organs

The bakery is like a body without organs, a surface whose primary functions have been exfoliated into a howling dimension.  Freedom, should we accept that nicety, is contemporaneous with existence, such that there is not a moment that we are not free, and becoming unbound, we skitter and oscillate between lunar poles.  What would it mean to conceive of a tangent to the surface of the Earth?  Would that tangent land you in a mixing bowl or upon a dough hook?  Perhaps in a vat of cookie dough or upon a crumb lying on the slicing room floor.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A new phenomenon at the Hunt Street Farmer's Market - Biker Bar (drink while you pedal)