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Archive for April, 2010

Special Menu Combines Regional Dishes and Drinks

Cinco de Mayo has become an excuse to throw back shots of industrial tequila and drink slushy margaritas but this year, Two Chefs and a Table are fighting back the tide with a menu that spans classic national dishes like Sopa Azteca to moles of Oaxaca and seafood of the coasts. They’re combined with a variety of regional cocktails and drinks for an immersion in the tastes of Mexico.

Though Two Chefs and a Table is very much a collaborative kitchen, the Cinco de Mayo menu being offered Wednesday May 5th is very much a labour of love for Alan Bosomworth whose Mexican heritage has led to a deep passion for the cuisines of Mexico. The cost for the Cinco de Mayo dinner is $65 per person, not including tax and gratuity.

Two Chefs and a Table is located at 305 Alexander Street in Railtown. For more information or to book your table, call 778-233-1303 or email them at info@twochefsandatable.com. Reservations are recommended.

Two Chefs and a Table Cinco de Mayo Menu

Amuse

Sopa azteca – chicken, pasilla chili, fresh avocado

Serrved w/Tequila Caesar: tequila blanco with pickled serrano, horseradish, and sea salt

First course

White shrimp escabeche – guajillo salsa

Served w/ Top shelf margarita: tequila blanco, lime sorbet,

Second course

Duck carnitas – fresh corn tortillas, salsa fresca, crema fresca, cilantro

Served w/Watermelon oro punch

Third course

Pork tenderloin – braised black beans, molé negro

Served w/Negra Modelo

Entrée

Polderside chicken – corn & black bean tamale, agave braised carrots, adobo sauce

OR/

Veracruz grilled pacific snapper — Tomato, chili, peppers, garlic, rice and sautéed rajas

Served w/Vinicolo la cetto petit syrah

Dessert

Mexican chocolate pot de crème – vanilla bean whip, fried plantain chips

OR/ Churros with dolce de leche ice cream

Served w/Aha reposado 1921

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Now that we have a blog, we’re going to be posting our new menus as we rotate and update the fresh sheets and multi-course set menus. While many restaurants only offer set menus during Dine Out season, we offer set menus year-round always made with the best seasonal ingredients that we can find. The current set menu includes 5 courses with fresh local seafood, house made pork sausage and desserts made from scratch.

The a la carte dinner menu includes Two Chefs signatures like Polderside Farms chicken, braised short rib and Pacific red snapper, served Southern style with beans and rice. The full menus are viewable below–for lunch and brunch menus, visit the Two Chefs website at www.twochefsandatable.com.

Chefs Table Set Menu April 26th

Chefs Table Set Menu April 26th

Two Chefs Dinner Menu April 23rd

Two Chefs Dinner Menu April 23rd

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the plantsWith the decision made to plant an herb garden on our roof, the next step was to put a shopping list together and get planting. We asked a few questions of our friends and this is what we came up with:

  • Small Starter Plants
  • Seeds
  • Containers for planting
  • Soil
  • Gravel for drainage

Looking after the garden will be a big learning curve for us as neither me nor Allan is much of a green thumb. Luckily for us, JC one of our first cooks is. He has a great garden at home and is quite talented at this and a multitude of other things so we’re relying on his knowledge, teaching skills and systems to ensure that we follow proper watering and growing procedures.

We planted this week now that the weather is getting warmer. We are also going to gather rainwater on our roof to help keep the project going through the hot months. Now that the first batch has been planted, we will keep you updated on the progress. Hopefully we’ll be able to grow a lot of herbs that we can use in our own kitchen and enough that we can share with our fellow area chefs.

more plants

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We featured a Southern Dinner menu last week and Wednesday was the kick off for it. The dinner went very well: joined by friends and colleagues, we even had a few guests do the wine and bourbon courses with their meals. We were pleased by the positive remarks from all in attendance . . . And the fact that all had fun!Al & Karl in the paper

Our tasting partner Paul Watkin was in attendance enjoying a nice quiet dinner before he embarks on crazy wine week with the Playhouse Festival. Paul is one of our best sources for wine pairings, and really cool ideas, Paul and I have some good ideas coming up in the near future, he also has a twitter Twitter @liberlibera  and a did one of the funniest blog entries I have read in a while on: http://www.winemonkey.ca/Web/Juice/Entries/2010/4/18_A_grape_walks_into_a_bar….html

Also Mike Schratter from 24 Hours newspaper came in on a school night no doubt to catch our Southern Dinner and he put photo and blurb in Monday’s 24 Hours. Here’s a quick snap of it, along with a couple of snaps of dishes from Wednesday to whet your appetite for a trip to Two Chefs and a Table.

The next dinner event is on Cinco De Mayo with a Mexican menu and tequila cockails!!!! Watch for full menu details soon.

All in all, being deep fried, bacon infused and bourbon marinated, it was hard to not have a good time last Wednesday.

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Local entertainment legend Terry David Mulligan is also a passionate wine advocate and his weekly show Tasting Room Radio is a two hour opportunity for him to feature some of his favourite people, places and wines. He’s been a great supporter and advocate for Two Chefs and a Table and he featured an interview with Karl covering topics like the plans to open a Two Chefs butcher shop, the growth of the Railtown neighbourhood and the April 14-18th Two Chefs Southern Dinner menu.

Visit http://tastingroomradio.com/ to listen to the show–Karl’s interview is right at the start of hour 2.

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Dinner at our Chefs Table

The Chefs Table

Most, if not all of the restaurant industry people reading this will be familiar with the problem of getting a table–not a table at someone else’s resto but your own. So often, the hardest table in the business to get dinner at is the one in your place, especially if you are an owner . . .

Last Wednesday night I was able to do just that. I had dinner at our own Chefs Table with Colette and her family and, I am pleased to say that it was a great experience from start to finish. While I am not saying there weren’t some things that could be better, I was pleasantly surprised by the whole night.

We had been at the California Wine fair prior to dinner and then dropped into Market to say hi to JT and to have a couple drinks and an appie before we went to my restaurant for dinner. (As a side note, let me say that drinks at Market with JT will solve all your problems, should there be any!!!) When we got to Two Chefs, we even used the front door like regular customers do. Colette’s family was a bit late so we hung at the bar and bantered with Al a bit and then proceeded to the Chefs Table when everyone arrived.

The verdict? Great: good wine, great food and good service. It definitely made me proud of what we do on a daily basis. I thought the value and portions were very good. That said, there were, of course, things that I thought we could improve and it was eye opening to be reminded of what the operation looks like from the other side. I definitely plan to spend some time meeting with pertinent people on staff for a debrief session.

Here’s the moral of my story for operators

  • Always sit back and enjoy what you have built and operate on a daily basis.
  • When you invite friends and family in for dinner, don’t just serve and cook for them–sit down and enjoy it, too.
  • When you are there be relaxed and have fun, make notes in your head or on your phone but keep it light. Don’t stress out the team by looking for stuff.
  • Follow up and reward or coach those who need it and let them know what you thought.
  • Do it more often. I had a really good time and for some time there I didn’t even realize where I was I think.

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I grew up watching my dad grow his own tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans for years in a small garden behind our log house in Sechelt when I was young, then when they moved to the Okanagan he continued to grow the same plus radishes, onions and chives. He always said with a huge grin on his face, “I love a good tomato, and it’s hard to buy a good tomato” and now he grows 200 lbs plus a year in a small garden behind their house. I always love the stuff he grows–its fresh from the vine and tastes great, so last winter I asked if had ever grown an heirloom tomato. He’d never seen any but said he would give it a try and with that in mind, he planted 10 plants last year and said he would tell me how they turned out. He called me one day in August, and said “well I don’t think our tomato experiment worked out too well, but I boxed up the tomatoes I thought were ripe and they are on the way to Vancouver with your sister, let me know what you think.”

My sister dropped off a Styrofoam box to me that day and I opened it up with low expectations . . . Wow!! Inside it was some of the nicest heirloom tomatoes I’ve ever seen–4 or 5 varieties of some of the best I have ever had. Allan and I were blown away, and, no offense to the pros that grow these beautiful tomatoes for a living, but my dad had nailed it. We made some great salads, salsa, and soups with these beautiful hand raised tomatoes!

Hence, I now have the growing inspiration!

We are going to set up a small garden of mostly herbs for this year on top of our restaurant. It’s a perfect spot with lots of sun in the morning and cool shade from the fig and apricot trees we’re lucky enough to have on the side of the restaurant. We love the using fresh herbs for our summer menus, and it will be even better when we’re growing them in the backyard, so to speak

This is our wish list of what we are going to plant and with a bit of luck and maybe some skill passed along from my Dad and one of our chefs John Currie we will have a plentiful assortment of herbs to use all summer.

Rosemary, golden sage, chives, garlic chives, Lavender, Shiso, Sweet Cicely, fennel, Lemon verbena and some great fresh mint.

Keep checking back for updates, as we become proud owners of seedlings we will add picks and give feedback on what is growing well and well what maybe we haven’t had good luck with.

And as all good sons want to do, maybe make dad proud one day and send him some tomatoes that will bring a big grin to his face and say “Now that’s a good tomato!”

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