Monday, January 27, 2014

Ramen Remix Wrapup

Extra wrapup this week straight from the source -- Chef Matt Props:

As many of you know (or by now have heard), Ramen Night was our first foray into the always interesting world of 'pop-up' restaurants. The team was inspired (in some ways even forged by) our collective interest in the ever changing attitudes, trends and disciplines in the culinary world (especially when it came to cats like Danny Bowein & David Chang). Ari had recently lent me a copy of Chang's Momofuku cookbook/memoir and we were kinda mutually stoked on dude's whole attitude and approach to food. After a little deliberation and (what we thought was) meticulous planning we hatched our plan and the Ramen Night concept was released into the ether...

We all had full-time jobs plus were putting in mad hours with Ari's bake stand (Berenbaum's) project, my private cooking classes on the side, etc. etc. so all the work, planning and eventually prep/cooking was done after-hours at the bakery with bloodshot eyes and already aching backs. The work was exciting though. We had our concept, we had our inspiration, we had our passion firing on all cylinders.

The actual event had it's flaws for sure. We were more than a little overwhelmed with the response and workload. We quickly realized we had neglected some of the more simple planning -- perhaps as a result of our excitement, perhaps due to our unfamiliarity with the type of event... but regardless, we were pleased with the results and the response was beyond encouraging. Doing an updated take on this event felt like an inspirational 80's movie montage... full of glimpses of our triumphs and failures, symbolic of our progress and the steps it took to get us to where we are today. 

With every event, we aim to not only make good food for the citizens of our adoptive home (big shout-out to Durham - it's all love all day), but to evolve ourselves (personally and collectively) and hopefully allow everyone involved to have a good time and come together to dine - one of the most simple yet potentially enriching experiences of life. Now, less than a year later (that alone is kinda tripping me out), not only have we continued our pop-up concept and used it as a platform to explore the many exotic and fascinating cuisines of the world but we have literally taken over the bakery where it all began! Following in the community-minded footsteps of founder Frank Ferrell we are doing our best to craft a brand that not only nourishes and intrigues our friends and customers but hopefully conveys the passion and love for what we do. Please believe we're just getting started on this adventure. Thanks for the amazing level of support y'all continue to show and stay tuned for what's to come...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

young tony bourdain

Triangle Bread Baking Contest Wrapup

Friday night we had a truly wonderful celebration of bread-making and bread-eating.  With twenty-four breads competing in two categories, everyone who attended had a heaping plateful of breads and dips to taste.

The Winners

Multi-Ingredient Category

1st: Christopher Johnston's "Stollen"
2nd (tie): Alaka's "Cinnamon Honey Oat Bread"; Charles Bowerman's "Raisin Anise Bread"
3rd: David Sittser's "Iredell Olive Ciabatta"

Four-Ingredient Category (Flour, Water, Yeast, Salt)

1st: Matthew Novak's "Rustic Loaf"
2nd: David Sittser's "The Companion"
3rd (tie): Julia Wacker's "Crusty Bread"; Christopher Johnston's "Poolish Baguette"

Many thanks to all the bakers and thanks to our judges which included myself (Ari), George Ash, and Matt Props.
Judges' Table

The weekend, Part II: On Saturday, we brought back the ramen for what I hope will be an annual encore (Ramen Night was our first ever pop-up).  Hats off to Chef Matt for putting together an amazing menu - if you only knew all the thought and preparation that went into the crafting of the stock!

Track of the Weekend:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Alan Richman on Taste Matters

"No new restaurant is good, and if it is, something's wrong." - Mitchell Davis

Heinz Ketchup Factory

I love these old school vintage factory shots.  You see glimmers of the future evil agribusinesses in those gigantic (2-ton) bags of tomato paste.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Weekend Update

Wow, our Best of 2013 dinner Saturday was our all-time most-attended event ever.  Thanks so much for coming out to support, and thanks especially to Chef Matt and his crew who worked so hard to make it happen (Andy, Morgan, Katya, and Ligea).

We hope everyone had a great holiday and New Year.  We are looking forward to 2014 with great anticipation.........many improvements and new recipes to try yet!

Track of the Week: