RENOVATIONS AND LOVING YOUR CITY

January 29, 2017

 

We recently completed a renovation of our bar and kitchen areas to better serve our customers, and as always, working with a historic building brings such joys and challenges. We were overwhelmed to see the gorgeous heart pine floors lurking beneath years of wear and tear and busy feet. The original floors from the mid-nineteenth century were gorgeous, and though it was tempting to leave them unstained, cooler heads prevailed, and the smooth finish of both the upstairs and the main dining room area leave me extremely happy with the result...

Discovering the tile in the bar area from the barber shop that used to be in the same space in the 50's was another dear treat...sweet hexagons of blue and white in a traditional pattern, and yet again, the years of wear and multiple surfaces that had been placed on it left the tile unable to be saved, although attempts were made.

Many folks have asked why we undertook such a big project with no real demanding reason, and the answer is multifold...we both needed more refrigeration space to handle a growing customer base (thank you, Wilmington!!), and I wanted to show my hometown a commitment to our city and our desire to stay current and welcoming as long as the Port City will have us (thank you, Wilmington!!!).

We have much to be thankful for here, including the many locals who make us their destination several times a week, the wedding parties who can celebrate and break bread with us, the passersby who pop in for a drink and a celebration of their vacation, and the many happy faces of our wonderful town. The new look is for you all, and many many heartfelt thanks for the nine years we have enjoyed here so far!!

The Art of the Recipe

I have been collecting recipes all my life. It wasn't so much a conscious effort, nor did I write things down and organize them in the smart way of doing things. it was more a gathering, an observing, a detailed notation in my mind of how people made food. My grandmother Carden didn't work by recipes, but rather by feel and intuition and practice. She made the world's best fried chicken, and as with many good Southern cooks, her process wasn't written down anywhere, but rather committed to sense memory from her own watchfulness as she grew as a woman and cook. My grandmother Long, on the other hand, was an organized soul who wrote down her recipes and organized her index cards to suit with notes and the dates or occasions when she had prepared them. Her matching deviled egg trays and linen napkins suited her more formal style, which was no less or more delicious, merely different. I have spent many an hour hoping for that perfect combination of cooking "off the cuff" and having a foolproof structure. Working in restaurants teaches us both of these methods, for certain, and after years of study, I keep coming back to the glorious art of how to write down what at times seems so fleeting and momentary a process. But reading a recipe is like reading a book, with nuances and drama, and unexpected plot twists. I hope to share some recipes with you here as a way to connect us to all the recipes written before us and all those yet to come.

This recipe seems especially appropriate for the summer months and all the delicious tomatoes you can find if you really seek them out, or are lucky enough to have some in your backyard. I hope you enjoy!

TOMATO ASPARAGUS SALAD

2 TBL pinenuts

1 Big Boy Tomato, or similar large ripe tomato, cut into slivers

½ red onion, slivered thinly

½ bunch asparagus, blanched, sliced into 1" pieces

3 TBL balsamic vinegar

3 TBL olive oil

1 ½ tsp salt and pepper mix

2 tsp brown sugar

 

Combine all together in a mixing bowl and toss lightly. Refrigerate for up to 1 hour before use.

 

SERVE:

With freshly cooked fish as a side

On a bed of arugula and some French bread for a light lunch

On a buffet as a vegetable sid