Monday, December 16, 2013

W/E Dec 21st 2013 Wanes

This is going to be a busy week for so many of us. Welcome to the fray.

This week will start out slowly. First of all, closed Monday. Still recovering from 2 caters Saturday night.

This is our last week before closing for the rest of the year. We are making it happen to be able to spend the holidays with our children and grandchildren. This will be our first chance to see them in 2 years. So it is a big deal for us. We wish you, your family and our staff a very happy time as Christmas and New Years Day approaches. On December 30th  I'll turn the big 6-0. We'll send that day with family as well.

This last year has been one of highs and lows. We had so many wonderful weeks serving lunches and dinners that we believed in. You have made us feel that what we are doing is worthwhile—producing meals that came from real, mostly local sources and cooked in a creative fashion that allowed for the exploration of flavors. I hope we have expanded your palate. If so, we achieved one of our goals. Hopefully, you have been taken outside your comfort zone and allowed yourself to try different flavors from around the world. We wanted to prove that one could do healthy food while still maintaining a budget. We wanted you to see that local sourcing is good for everyone. We have tried to maintain as small a carbon footprint as possible—composting, recycling and local sourcing.

The lows have mostly come in the form of concern for my mother. She remains extremely frail, needing full-time care and confused to a discomforting level. I am grateful that I have been able to spend time with her when she most needed me, but always sad when she has called when I had to be at work and unable to ease her discomfort. We have had a few growing pains that created periods of discomfort and gradually grew through them. We saw many wonderful new fans and have enjoyed the glow from the ones we've kept along the way. We have cherished the new friendships and hope to see them expand.

Music will come in 2 forms this week—both Thursday and Friday will have music. Thursday the Renee Wood After Hours Big Band will take over the annex. Their performances have brought in a growing audience each time they play. Friday—the Renee Wood Trio performs with David Moore and Tom Rowley.
We encourage reservations as we often have a good-sized crowd.

In an effort to keep things as simple as possible this week, there will be no dinner specials beyond the usual dinner menu.  The lunch specials are as follows—
Monday~Closed. Sorry
Tuesday~Chicken Souvlaki with Greek rice and side salad $7.99
Wednesday~Enchilada pasta with side salad $7.99
Thursday~Chicken spinach and mushroom crepes with side salad $7.79
Friday~Turkey Ranch Bacon Wrap with side salad $7.59

That is it—short and quick. Thank you for being here. Thank you for a wonderful year. I hope you take the time between Christmas and New Years' to think out your goals and make plans to achieve them. That is my usual most favorite week of the year. I feel my purpose is rejuvenated and my road ahead well mapped.  Here's to a wonderful 2014.

~~Susan et al.

Monday, December 9, 2013

W/E Dec 14 Same Song/ Second Verse

Wow~ Two weeks in a row we were not open on Thursday or Friday. That's not happened before due to weather. Guess we'll have to cram a whole lot into a little time.  Please include us in your lunch choices and even dinner choices this week.

To keep things as simple as possible I'll keep the same dinner specials from last week. We'll do new lunch specials and throw some potato soup into the mix. That should bring us back to where we started.

For myself,  I am trying to do as little chopping prep as possible. I had a misunderstanding with a cat Thursday evening. He feared I was grabbing him to put him out. In fact, I was gently petting his back. But just to make it really, really clear that he had no intention of facing the "wintry mix", he reached around and bit the heck out of my hand. This, of course, happening just as all the world was coming out of the sky. In Thayer we got 1/4" of freezing rain, topped by 1" of sleet, then 14" of snow. We were not going anywhere! Front and center in my memory was the fact that Kelley from Wal-Mart DIED from a cat bite a few months ago. So we did the usual field dressings after soaking in soapy water, kept it elevated and exposed. When we finally arrived at the OMC ER on Saturday morning, my hand was hurting pretty badly. But they got me fixed up with antibiotics, a tetanus shot and a pain pill or two, and now it is healing nicely. The swelling has greatly decreased and I can nearly chop. Hopefully, it'll be mostly mended by the time we get to the 2 caters this weekend.

The Stroll on the Square last weekend got cancelled as well as our music. This week the Christmas tree lighting has been re-scheduled to Thursday with fewer choirs. Michael McClure, local painter extraordinaire,  has a lovely display of his work in our "Gallery." We thank you for supporting local artists and helping to keep the money in the local economy.

Music THIS week will come in the form of Marideth Sisco and Dennis Crider of Blackberry Winter fame. They usually draw a nice crowd and we always look forward to their playing.  They have been in the studio recently and we may have new tunes to hear. Don't miss this lovely opportunity; reservations recommended. Music will start about 6:15.

Perhaps we can make up for some lost time with a good crowd all week.  The lunch specials all look tempting~

Monday~ Falafel gyros  $7.25
Tuesday~ Pulled pork quesadillas  $7.99
Wednesday~Caesar-roasted Tilapia with vegetable quinoa  $7.99
Thursday~Ham, Swiss and spinach quiche with side salad  $7.99
Friday~Chicken Stroganoff with side salad  $7.99

Seafood Entrée~ Mixed seafood crepe—shrimp, calamari and crab in an herbed cream sauce. Served with wild rice pilaf and our seasonal stir-fry. $14.99

Flavor Journey~ Spain~ Garlic chicken over mushroom polenta with stir-fry $13.99

We are always grateful to see your smiling face walk through that door. This week even more so. Your energy is what helps keep us going. Thank you. Have a joyous week.

~~Susan et al.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

W/E Dec 7th Big doings this week!

First of all, thank you for shopping locally and eating locally. Your support keeps the money in the local economy and helps to keep several families afloat. Where you choose to eat DOES make a difference. Each week we strive to create an ever-changing menu that gives you plenty of reason to drop by. We listen to your requests and keep non-essential ingredients away from your meals, giving you peace of mind that the food you are consuming is healthy, sustainable and especially tasty. We know that you don't need MSG or preservatives to have healthy, tasty food.

What a whirlwind of flavors coming your way this week! Each day the lunch specials are quite unique to this area and are healthy too! A little time off has given me a moment to step back and look at things afresh. I think that must of happened to Amy, as well, since she has some pretty exciting things scheduled.

Friday night will be the last Stroll on the Square until Spring. We have Michael McClure showcasing his exquisite watercolors in our "gallery". His work will be available for sale.  We'll also have live music via Rachael Luster and more. I expect we'll be pretty busy—so reservations will be highly recommended. The weather is predicted to be an element to contend with. Stay tuned for updates.

Here's a little bit about what Michael has to say about his watercolors—
When I was in school I was told that representational painting had all been done already and there was no point in bothering with it. It took me 20 years to realize that, point or no point, I still wanted to learn how to paint what I saw. The beauty of the natural world is a constant source of inspiration for me. It has been said, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. My way of expressing my spiritual nature is through my art. Whatever is inside of me, you will see it out there in every brushstroke. I hope that my work will bring you joy when you look at it, just as it has brought me joy in creating it.

Here's a tad of info on Rachael's music: We are proud to introduce Country Combo. Our music style meshes elements of classic country and swing on pedal steel, fiddle, and keys. Ron Cowens is a Thomasville native who has spent years playing pedal steel around the country, most recently in Wyoming. His smooth style is renowned in the Mo-Ark area. Keith Johnson is a music industry veteran having written countless top hits for country music legends including Merle Haggard and Gene Watson as well as playing piano in sessions in Nashville and beyond. Rachel Luster is a traditional Ozark fiddler who's been in love with classic country music from a young age. She plays frequently with local groups and is a founding member of the Signal Hill bluegrass band. We're looking forward to our first show at A La Carte and hope you will join us for some classic country and swing with a dusting of Christmas cheer in honor of the tree lighting!

Our staff has plans to decorate for the holidays. Watch out! You never know what might wind up tinseled!

Our seafood entrée is simple but tasty. I am making crepes and filling them with a combination of shrimp and crab and topping with a cream sauce. I'll serve wild rice pilaf and our seasonal stir-fry along side. $14.99

The Flavor Journey this week originates in Spain. It is garlic chicken with sun-dried tomatoes aka Pollo al ajillo con tomates secos. The chicken breast is cooked in a mixture of fresh garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. I'll serve it over a raft of creamy cheesy polenta and add some of our seasonal stir-fry to the plate. We've had some really interesting veggies in the stir-fry of late. Lots of Asian greens as well as daikon radish, and our usual red bell peppers, red onions, carrots and mushrooms. $13.99

Now here are this week's lunch specials~~
Monday~Vegetable ratatouille. This mediterranean dish struts out all sorts of rich veggies and ties them together with a rich vegetarian sauce. $7.29
Tuesday~Shrimp with Forbidden Rice,  sugar snap peas, and avocado $7.99
Wednesday~Chicken Tikka Masala $7.99
Thursday~Chicken Souvlaki (Greek) and lemon rice $7.79
Friday~Caesar-roasted tilapia over vegetables and quinoa $7.99

We hope you will bring in any visiting kith and kin this week. We love meeting your family and dear friends. Show them a little bit of the warmth and good food we offer. We promise to make you proud.

~~Susan et al.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

W/E Dec 1st A VERY short week

Well, it is that time again. Families congregate, cooking ensues, stories are told, and memories are made. We invite you to bring your families along to visit us this week. We'll only be open Monday through Wednesday for lunch and Tuesday and Wednesday for dinner. I am hoping that you'll find some time to squeeze us in. Wednesday evening would be an excellent time to escape cooking dinner and joining us for a relaxing evening.

It has become quite traditional for each of us to share aspects for which we are grateful. While many wonderful parts of my life are an open book, there are many things I am privately grateful for, as well. In the public realm I am continually grateful to have created A La Carte Cafe with Jon and had the chance to share it with a community of people who respect and appreciate what we have brought forth. Each day I read the food industry headlines and am appalled by the blatant poisoning happening by various large-scale corporations in the name of profits. Seeing some of the lists of ingredients in foods presented by these corporations and suppliers leaves me proud of the fact that we go out of our way to keep said ingredients out of the foods we serve.

During the three plus years we have been open, we have met an amazing array of wonderful folks. Even though we ran a company with a national market, and I have done art shows from New England to Florida and points West, we never had the opportunity to get to know, over a longer term, so many dynamic and wonderful people. I think, because you see us when you are hungry or relaxing, we see a different side of you than many others might. We see the YOU that is pretty fundamental. How lucky for us. When you are here you tend to let "your hair down." That allows us to see more than your "work" side, more than your "family" side, more than your purely "social" side. We like that. You are a pretty spectacular group. We are proud to know you.

While being grateful, I would be horribly amiss if I didn't do a big shout out to the fabulous staff that have joined us at one time or another. Currently, with the exception of Jon, it is all female. Do you have any idea how rare it is to have a restaurant where the entire creative staff is female? Especially since we are neither East  nor West coast. I am proud of the talent we have. Amy has boucoup experience in addition to stellar training credentials. She brings with her a love of good food as well as a vegetarian sensibility. Her creativity is allowed to be scratched and her efforts are extraordinary. As someone who considers herself an artist first, I understand the value of being able to be allowed creativity within your job. If you can't be rich, at least be rich in your ability to feed your creative soul. I am proud to have created an environment where this is not only possible but expected. I treasure the individual creativity each staff member brings to their jobs. No one here is exempt from any job. From dishwashing to creating lunch specials, to devising better ways to do something, everyone gets to contribute.

We know the next few weeks are  likely to be filled with many, many activities. Hopefully, you'll find some time to wind down a bit and join us for a meal or few. We do plan to be closed over the end-of-year holidays. So plan ahead. This year Jon and I will actually make it happen to be with our children and grandchildren. We'll do an early Christmas with Mom here and leave her in the capable hands of the folks at Shady Oaks whilst we feast on the love of our younger kin.

Now here is our short week of lunch specials and dinner specials~~

Monday~ Black bean and potato tacos with chips and salsa $7.29
Tuesday~ Chicken pad Thai $7.79
Wednesday~ Hungarian chicken paprikash $7.79

Seafood Entrée~ Garlic shrimp with wild rice pilaf $14.99 Large shrimp sauteed with garlic and green onions and red pepper flakes. Serve over a pilaf of wild rice, white rice, parsley and lemon.

Flavor Journey~ Beef Stroganoff~~ Traditional Beef Stroganoff made from beef tri tip roast, mushrooms, wine, sour cream and served over egg noodles. $13.99

Have a joyous week. Surround yourself in the love of others. Share your richness of being. Be engulfed by gratitude.

~~Susan et al

Monday, November 18, 2013

W/E November 23rd The season settles in

Despite some wild weather in other parts of the country we've been pretty lucky, thus far. I have an aunt in southern Ontario who keeps her eyes glued to the weather channel because she fears for our lives, living as we do, in such a tumultuous weather area. This year she has reported more strange weather coming from their area than we have had.

I don't think I have ever lived in an area that had bland weather. Growing up in Texas, we had heat and big summer storms that lasted just a few minutes. When it was cold we were as likely to have ice as anything. In Nashville, I never got used to the days of long, cold rains in December. I was sure this is what people talked about London being like. But then we'd get a nice snow. That was pleasant until you had to get on the road with Nashville drivers— who are clueless.

From there we lived in Florida. Winter seldom had any excitement weather-wise, but the late afternoon summer storms in the western hemisphere's lightning capital could get QUITE exciting.  Of course the occasional hurricane could get very exciting but seldom did any lasting damage. We lived on the west coast where hurricanes are seldom a problem.

So I am not a 'fraidy cat when it comes to weather events. I am, however, now a weather wimp. That means that when it is cold, I bundle up and try not to get out in it much. The same holds for extreme heat. I'll stick it out indoors. I do love the drama of a good storm. But I could go my whole life without another ice storm of the magnitude in '09. Freezing our tushes off for nine days without electricity, trying to keep an 80-year-old who is perpetually cold somewhat comfortable was miserable for all.

Today is slightly warmer and I plan to use that last bit of fall warmth to finally get the garlic and tulips planted that should have gone into the ground a month ago. Thinking about planting things stirs up my thoughts of the future. How can it not? Planting is ALL about the future. With an eye toward that future, I have resolved to find ways to interact with my grandkids though they are 1100 miles away. My almost eleven-year-old grand-daughter and I got a good start on that this weekend by emailing fashion design ideas back and forth. She wants me to make her a light jacket to wear over a flowered ruffled dress. I'm digging through my silks looking for interesting fabrics I can dye to create the look she wants.

Jon sent me a link to a site that talked about the use of fresh herbs in foods and how they can boost your immunity. We routinely use fresh parsley, sage, garlic, shallots, dill, basil, thyme, oregano, cilantro, and marjoram in our foods. We also incorporate some of the super-foods like seaweeds and even algae. This article pointed out that some of the herbs and spices we use have very positive effects on the body. Among them, sage can boost your memory, soothe a sore throat, soothe digestion and calm a cough.

While not a fresh herb but a spice, we often use turmeric which is noted for being a powerful antioxidant, can be used to detox the liver, and even relieves pain. There is evidence that turmeric can protect against Alzheimer’s disease and even prevent breast cancer.

Oregano, we use both fresh and dried in many dishes. Oregano and the oil derived from it have been shown to encourage weight loss, promote healthy digestion, treat sinus infections and even sooth toothaches. It is an anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-histamine herb. 

Cinnamon turns up in many other dishes beyond desserts. Last week's chicken mole enchiladas had it, as well as the chocolate hazelnut bundt cake with chocolate brandy glaze. The carrot cake we make from scratch has lots of it, as well as several jumbo fresh carrots. Reports show it to be beneficial in fighting or preventing diabetes, promoting a healthy heart, fighting Alzheimer's, arthritis, cancer and PMS.

Basil is probably the fresh herb beyond parsley and cilantro we use the most. We weekly make fresh pesto, which uses large quantities. We also incorporate it into our Italian potato salad and some of the seasonal salads. Did you know that basil can improve circulation, reduce cholesterol oxidation, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity? It can also treat stomach cramps, nausea, and headaches.

Fresh garlic is also used in vast quantities. We routinely include it in our dressings, our stir-fries, our potatoes, our gyros, and most all of our pastas. The beneficial uses of fresh garlic are widespread and generally well known. Included in these benefits are antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal . Many cultures use fresh garlic to address virility. LDL cholesterol and heart disease can be reduced with regimens that include fresh garlic. B6, iodine and vitamin C can all be found in concentrated amounts in garlic.

Why am I telling you all this? Because feeding you is more that filling your stomach on a routine basis. We care about your health AND well being. We choose the ingredients we use with an eye toward less processed, less adulterated, more whole uses. While we may have a higher calorie count in some dishes, that is counter-balanced by the fact that you won't find trans-fats, or MSG, or highly refined "foods" that barely qualify as such. In other words, eating at A La Carte Cafe is good for you!!!!!

Now let me tell you about the dinner options this week. The seafood will be rather simple but tasty. This recipe was inspired by a dish from one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Fonda San Miguel in Austin. Camerones en Crema de Chipotle ~~Shrimp in chipotle cream sauce. Within the last couple of years chipotle has become the darling of the flavor industry. It is simply jalapenos that have been smoked and packed in an adobo sauce. The cream sauce is punched up with the spiciness of the chipotle, but the cream tends to counteract some of the heat. It will still be spicy enough to get your attention. For those who find it a touch too mild, we can top it with a dollop of Amy's house-made habanero pepper sauce. While Amy can drink it straight, most of the rest of us can see steam escaping from our ears and sweat pouring from our foreheads. Need I tell you about the benefits of eating hot peppers? I'll serve it over a bed of rice and it will come with side salad for $15.99.   

The Flavor Journey is a new creation made from a combination of several recipes. It is Creamy Feta Pasta with Chicken Basil Sausage and Asian greens.  Part one is fresh chicken sausage made from scratch and using lots of fresh basil. The sausage is made using chicken thigh meat which is rich in flavor. That is served with a pasta whose sauce is enhanced with lots of feta and Parmesan plus a few wonderful Asian greens. The greens are coming from two of our local organic farmers. We are so lucky to have these suppliers in our midst!  $14.99  

Moving along to the lunch specials~~
Monday~ Pesto penne with mushrooms and tomatoes, with side salad $7.25
Tuesday~ Creamy rosemary chicken crepes, with side salad $7.79
Wednesday~ Chicken and shrimp jambalaya $7.99
Thursday~ Blackened chicken over cilantro-lime quinoa $7.79
Friday~ Meatloaf and mashed potatoes $7.79

Please note:  If you used to receive our weekly emails but no longer do, please sign up again. The email program we use will bump you if you fail to open the emails regularly. We don't know why; it just happens. So we'll put you back on the list. As long as you open and read the emails, you should remain on the list. We do not share your information with ANYONE. 

I hope you have a glorious week. We look forward to seeing you and hopefully adding a smile to your day. Every single customer is one for whom we are grateful. When you bring along a friend or family member who has not experienced our food previously, it really makes our day. We'll even reward you by giving you double lunch punches; just ask!

~~Susan et al

Monday, November 11, 2013

W/E November 16 Feel the love!

Love your food! Know your food!

Okay. I know it is purely cornpone, but I've seen first hand just how much love and attention go into each meal we serve. It begins weekly with our choices for the specials. These take time to figure out as well as special time to prepare. We could just show up each day and make what is on the menu without any extra effort but we don't. Each special is chosen because we know of certain customers who would especially enjoy that selection. As for the day-to-day menu items; they are special as well. Here is why:

frost flowers
Did you know that we make all our own dressings? We even make a point of buying the extra high quality mayonnaise and NEVER use Miracle Whip. 90% of the time, the ingredients that go into our menu items are totally handcrafted. An example would be the romaine lettuce.We always bring in whole heads of lettuce and chop it ourselves. Why? Because the lettuce stays fresher without the use of additional substances to keep it fresh.  We COULD buy lettuce that is already chopped. Nope. Not gonna.

Our eggs are free-range all year. During the summer months we are able to get them locally from several customers. During the cooler months, when local chickens have ceased laying, we get them from Amish farms mid-state. The eggs tend to have deeper yellows in the yolks, the shells are stronger (indicating higher level of health in the laying chickens) and, I think, the flavor is richer. They seldom have white shells.

We make our soups from scratch. With the occasional exception of canned tomatoes, the veggies that go into our soups are freshly cooked and prepared. When we use a canned broth (seldom, but done) we never use any that contain added MSG. You can know you are getting the good stuff.

We grill our chicken in a wood-fired smoker that allows the wood flavor to be naturally baked in. This helps to give us a unique flavor profile. You can find the same attention given to our salmon, tilapia and corn. There  is a reason our Tuscan chicken salad tastes different from other chicken salads, and the wood-firing is a big part of it.

Our stir-fry served at night should get some special attention. Did you know it differs week to week? Why? Because we incorporate only the freshest ingredients as they present themselves seasonally. We take a lot of pride in introducing new flavors to the stir-fry. Some ingredients are only available for a week or two. Others may be tasted nearly all year. We are especially fond of adding Asian vegetables that are grown locally for us to incorporate. You should be feeling very loved by now.

When it comes to desserts, many local restaurants buy theirs ready made from their suppliers. Not us. We go the slow route and make our own. That carrot cake? It takes up to 4 carrots to make a single cake and those are JUMBO carrots. There are one-and-a-half pounds of cream cheese just in the frosting and about 6 ounces of pecans. I like to pick seasonal desserts to immerse you in the seasons. During the fall, pears, pumpkin, cranberries, and nuts are prevalent. During the summer I prefer to incorporate fruits. During the winter, warm gingerbread will make you glow from within. When we make crepes? We do it from scratch. Yep. We COULD buy them ready-made. The sauces are also made from scratch—whether for a dessert or an entrée.

Music this week—The After Hours Big Band joins us THURSDAY night. You may choose to sit in with the band or in the main dining room for a less impinging experience. Each time the big band joins us the crowd is bigger. We know why. They are great!!! Friday has no one booked to play thus far, but the food will be, none-the-less, pretty awesome.
Lunch specials~~
Tuesday~ Turkey Cranberry Monte Cristo Sandwich with side $7.79
WednesdaySpicy Sausage Pasta with side salad $7.59
Thursday~ Chicken mole enchiladas with black beans and yellow rice $7.79
FridayItalian grilled cheese and a side $7.25 choice of bread, Mozzarella cheese, Tomatoes and house pesto

Soups—We'll make 2 this week. I'll start the week out with a red bell pepper and sweet potato soup. Yes, it is vegetarian. Later in the week we'll add a chicken corn chowder. It promises to be a chilly week. We'll be prepared! We'll top the bell pepper and sweet potato soup with steamed dumplings.

Night-time dinners~~

Seafood Entrée— This week we have brought in freshly harvested mussels from Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia. These are a very special treat and there are many fans. I'll be steaming them in a light curried shallot wine broth. They'll be served over a light bed of pasta, so all the lovely juices can be sopped up and enjoyed after the mussels are eaten. I encourage you to get in early during the week. You won't be disappointed. We'll serve them with a side salad for $15.99.

Flavor Journey—Oven-roasted turkey breast served with butternut squash with spinach, raisins and pine nuts, plus our Autumnal potatoes. Cranberry horseradish sauce will add some kick and color. This isn't the sliced deli meat but whole turkey breasts which are slow-roasted, then sliced. There may even be some turkey gravy. $14.99 Cue the gobblers.

Dessert—In addition to our exquisitely prepared carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, I have a bundt cake made with toasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate. It has a brandied dark chocolate glaze and whipped cream. Ready, set, prepare those taste buds!

Last week was scary in how quiet it was. In talking with other restaurant folks, others were affected too. I know you don't make your meal choices based on how much you are needed, but please know, our sustainability depends on serving our regular base of customers weekly while adding in new folks who discover us. We appreciate every single customer we get and want to know how we are doing. If something doesn't meet up to your standards, we need to know. That one-on-one customer communication is a major part of what sets us apart. We look forward to your smiling face. How about bringing in a new face with you this week? We've give you double punches for it! (Just ask at checkout ...)

As always, thank you for your loyalty and support. We do not ever take it for granted.  Have a lovely, chilly week. Brrrr.

~~Susan et al

Monday, November 4, 2013

W/E November 9th The denuding of the trees

Last week's tree colors were pretty spectacular. This week I expect to see the trees drop their leaves and the glorious spectrum of color will dim. Then the season of lines and silhouettes takes over. As you probably already know from my art, I love the contrasts of lines against the sky. I love how suddenly I can see the hawks nestled in their overseers' perches, previously hidden by foliage. I hope the vultures return to Thayer this year. They skipped us entirely last year. When 500+ vultures are a no-show, I notice! They  were one of my Dad's favorite things to watch.

I am quite thrilled to see so many community events this year. The Stroll on the Square that salutes local artists and merchants brought in lots of folks to view Gail Rowley's nature photography last weekend. Phil Wages' organized Home Brew Festival got many folks out to taste local beers at the Yellow House Community Arts Center. The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival brought hundreds of kids to our door for candy. Even with 9 large bags of candy, we still missed a couple of hundred of them (and I didn't get one single piece).  It is lovely to see the level of community involvement, and it happens only because unsung heroes make it happen with huge amounts of effort going on behind the scene. They often meet for months of weekly meetings, launch themselves over unexpected hurdles, and land, though somewhat winded, on their feet and still make it all come together. We are fortunate to live in a community that values having events families and friends can enjoy. So many of us live in rather isolated rural locations where it is easy to go for weeks without another human voice. It is important to keep people having reasons to meld together, and we are proud to be a part of that community.

The music Friday night was quite spectacular. I love hearing a female voice singing the jazz standards and Beci was super! She and Kent Coffey really had the place moving to the beat. We look forward to a return visit from them soon. They were very impressed with the caliber of our audience. You made us proud!!!

This week Renée Wood will join forces with Jon Lumsden and David Moore as the Renée Wood Trio, playing jazz Friday night. They routinely play tunes you'll recognize while making them sound anything BUT routine. The combination of saxophone, jazz guitar and light drums will carry you to the clubs of a big city without all the time on the road. As usual, reservations are strongly suggested for Friday night. You might not know this if you are new to our Friday nights, but we do not make any effort to turn the tables. In other words, you are free to stay and hear the band as long as you like without feeling you need to move along and let others sit there. Just get comfy.

The food this week really celebrates the cooler weather we are expecting. The seafood will be a fish stew from Brazil. It actually is very similar in flavor to a Thai fish stew. (Yes, I know, neither are especially cold locations.) So, if you like Thai you'll most likely enjoy this as well. The recipe uses bell peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, cumin, coconut milk, tomatoes and lime.  We'll include fish like cod, sole, tilapia, shrimp and mussels. Then top it with a salsa verde. Served with a side salad for $15.99. It is sure to warm you from the inside out. No, it is not spicy in and of itself.

The Flavor Journey is more from Germany than anywhere else, I think. I am doing a beef roulade (roulade means roll) stuffed with peppadew peppers from South Africa, Gouda cheese from Holland, fresh parsley, and cream cheese. The flank steak will then be rolled into a log-like shape and baked. It'll be sauced with a horseradish dill sauce. I'll add some home-made spaetzel (Germany) for a starch and our seasonal stir-fry will round out the dish. $14.99 A good week to feel adventurous.

Now the lunch menu for the week~~
Monday~ Pasta with vegetarian chorizo and mushrooms plus a side salad. $7.79
Tuesday~ Autumn Turkey and Israeli couscous salad with fresh turkey, almonds, cranberries, apple, rosemary, thyme and with a maple syrup vinaigrette   $7.79
Wednesday~ Pork fried rice and veggies; made with our seasonal stir-fry. $7.79
Thursday~ Traditional beef stew made with beef chuck roast, carrots, onions, potatoes. Served with side salad $7.79
Friday~ Pizzadillas—Quesadillas stuffed with pepperoni, bell pepper, onion, cheese and served with a side of marinara sauce and a side salad $7.79

Soup~ unknown but we'll have some!!!
Dessert~ Chocolate hazelnut cake with brandied chocolate glaze. Oh my!

During the month of November it is not uncommon for people to share with others the gifts for which they are grateful. You, our customers have made the last 3+ years a joy and an adventure. I have been allowed a wide range of exploration and creativity. If you had been "stick-in-the-muds" like many others had predicted, I could never have explored so widely. I am grateful for the creativity you have allowed and supported. I feel that my personal mission of expanding your palate is being embraced and you are allowing yourself to be challenged. Whenever I dive into the cuisine of another culture I can be sure that at least one of you will have traveled to that region, will taste my efforts and report how well I've pulled it off. So far, with a lone exception early on, I've managed to duplicate the flavors rather truly. I am grateful for your business, your friendships, and most of all, your caring about all that we do. Thank you.

Have a marvelous week!!!

~~Susan et al.