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Archive for March, 2011

I wrote my last blog about the testing process and how new products end up making it onto the menu. Well, this quick note is about how quick the process can be sometimes!

There are time when an idea just comes together on the fly and the first tests are so quick and the results so good that we find a way to add it to the menu. I spent Tuesday I was bouncing back and forth between Two Chefs and a Table where the new breakfast service was going on, and Big Lou’s Butcher Shop where we were serving our new sandwiches (yes I can be in two places at once) when I remembered that we’d talked about chicken fried steaks in the past. Chicken Fried Steak is a classic southern breakfast dish and I thought I would try a version with the new Pemberton Meadows grass fed burger meat that we’re using.

I quickly took buttermilk, onion, garlic powder mix, cowboy rub, and our own Italian-style beef and pork mix and breaded it chicken fried style and cooked it. While it was cooking I basted a fried egg with duck and put the works together—let’s see how it works.

The verdict was “gooooood”. We’re going to tweak it a little bit but you can look for an item something like this on our menu soon.

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A 33lb turducken, a 1lb sandwich and a buddy’s smoker

Karl Gregg

When we set out on the adventure of building and running a nose to tail butcher shop, we knew there would be some experimentation along the way. A lot of our product development is a mix of inspiration with trial and error to perfect ways that we can use all the cuts of the animals that we source from our great partner farmers. There are many more concepts that get thrown against the wall than make it into the display case and onto the menus at Two Chefs and Big Lou’s, but I wanted to write about a couple of the recent ideas which are going to make it all the way to the public.

Turducken on ciabatta

As coincidence would have it, the two great new items will both launch on Monday the March 28th. The first is the turducken which is, as the name implies, a combination of turkey, duck and chicken. It was the first new idea that we started working on after our opening in January and though the idea or a turducken started getting bounced around really quickly, it took a bunch of testing over the next couple of months to get the final product dialled.

We started by sourcing out the best products we could find: fresh turkey from Fraser Valley, Polderside duck, and housemade Polderside chicken sausage. The sausage was a twist on the classic turducken but it was consistent with our shop and we thought it would add a twist to the recipe.

The first test turducken was made with our master butcher Karsten at the helm and it was big! Really big: a 25 lb turkey, 8 lb of duck, sausage and bread. We seasoned the whole unit before roasting and did the first tasting. Our first impression was that it was a little bit bland so we ramped up spices in the sausage, the seasoning in the rolled duck as well and got to something that was really close to what we wanted. It was a lot of turducken though and we set the idea aside for a few weeks.

The next one was made when a regular of ours asked for one from us for his Superbowl party. This one was a mere 20lb and we made it with the seasonings we’d worked out before. We delivered it and then nervously waited for the response. The verdict was “awesome”. He has made and bought numerous turduckens over the years and said that he was was blown away by ours. Success!

The sweetness was balanced with the seasonings and the feedback was very good but being the way we are, we had a couple more things we wanted to tweak before it was just right. We wanted to make it easier to make our signature sandwich, so we changed the deboning process and now I think we have nailed it. We think this new product that will be a winner.
The Big Lou’s Turducken sandwich will be added to our sandwich menu and will be made with a fresh ciabatta, cranberry orange preserve and fresh herb butter. The turducken will also be available for Easter and, with only 48 hours notice, we can make a custom-sized turducken for your Easter dinner.

Finally, it will also be the entrée course for our Two Chefs and a Table Blasted Church Wine Drinker Easter Dinner that we’ll be offering through the long Easter weekend.

Now for our second classic in waiting: the one-pound sandwich.

Not all our ideas and successes come from within our team. I have always said the minute I stop learning in this business I should probably quit. Not too long ago, our master butcher Karsten was playing around with some ideas with the secondary cuts that we accumulate. These are a natural part of the butchering process and coming up with tasty, appealing ways to use them is the essence of the nose to tail approach.

He was working on a housemade pastrami and had started the testing process for us–we give Karsten free rein to try new ideas and he’s working on new things all the time. The first pastrami he made was really good: tender, perfect colour and nicely seasoned, but it was still missing a little something. SMOKE.

We wanted more smoke but our small in-house smoker wasn’t cutting it for the pastramis. We knew needed a bigger smoker, but it’s not that easy to walk into a store and buy a new one. Well, actually, it’s easy but it’s also damned expensive. In another neighbourhood, the pastrami project might have ended there—on the shelf until we could afford the new equipment, but we’re in East Vancouver and there’s a very special neighbourhood camaraderie here.

Our friends down the road had just bought and built Peckinpah, a Carolina BBQ joint at Carrall and Water Streets. If you haven’t been there yet, GO! It’s really great BBQ and their signature brisket is killer. Anyway, I went down and had a beer with Tyson Reimer and worked out a deal to use their smoker. We’ll also be selling some of their ribs and Chili vinegar at Big Lou’s which, in the end, good for everyone. Especially our customers.

Just yesterday I got 12 pastrami back that had been smoked for 4 hours and, wow, they came out really smoky! We’ll smoke the next batch a little less and the pastrami will be perfect.
We added our own sauerkraut and pickles, and put the whole works on rye bread, with hot mustard and weighed it, we one-pound smoked pastrami sandwich. Test Complete.

We launchws the Pastrami Sandwich this week alongside the Big Lou’s Turducken and we’ll be selling the Pastrami sliced and ready to go for your own sandwich creations.

If you haven’t been to Big Lou’s Butcher Shop yet, it’s located at 269 Powell Street and is on the web at www.biglousbutchershop.com. Two Chefs and a Table is located at 305 Alexander St. and on the web at www.twochefsandtable.com. And our good friends at Peckinpah can be found at  2 Water St. and on the web at www.peckinpahbbq.com.

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Two Chefs and a Table announces breakfast seven days a week

We’ve had lots of demands over the last few months to serve breakfast more often than just Saturday and Sunday. We’ve been asked by our friends in the restaurant and bar trade whose time off comes midweek, locals who can’t wait five days between getting their brunch fix and, well, us–it’s no secret that we love a great breakfast and we think ours is one of the best!

So, with that in mind, we’re going to be opening for breakfast from 9:30am-230pm seven days a week starting Monday, March 28th. As a bonus, we’re going to be adding a brand new item to our menu: Chicken & Waffles. Anyone who’s been to traditional diners in the US has probably encountered chicken and waffles and we’re upping the ante soul food classic with our housemade waffles, breaded Polderside chicken, pecan butter and bourbon syrup.

Our weekday breakfast menu will focus on classics like omelettes, scrambles, Chicken & Waffles and our signature Big Lou’s Breakfast. Breakfast service will overlap with our lunch service and menu of sandwiches, bowls and salads. The weekend brunch menu will include our breakfast classics and will add our delicious hashes and our bennies that feature housemade English Muffins and hollandaise sauce.

Follow us on Twitter (@2chefsandatable) and Facebook to get our latest menus and fresh sheets and for first news about upcoming special events.

Media contact:

Paul Done, epicmedia

paul@epicmedia.ca

604-644-5423



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March’s Wine Drinker Dinner gets meaty

The next Two Chefs and a Table Wine Drinker Dinner will be held March 23rd and will focus on the in-house creations of our partner Big Lou’s Butcher Shop with a menu that features locally sourced meats in every course, even dessert. The partnership between Two Chefs and a Table and Big Lou’s Butcher Shop is unique in Vancouver and gives the restaurant an advantage not even the most meat-friendly restaurants have with expertise, selection and freshness of what’s the next best thing to an in-house butcher shop.

Taking inspiration from the Chinese tasting menu style most famously espoused by Susur Lee, the menu starts off with the main course, sating hunger immediately and creating a solid base in the belly upon which flavours and wines can be savoured and layered through the succeeding smaller courses until dessert, which remains the last course of the night.

Big Lou’s award winning partner Polderside Farms provides the poultry courses while Sloping Hills provides the pork for the first course and the showstopping pork belly bacon gelato dessert. Pemberton Farms produces some of the most succulent beef around and their rib eye is one of the featured entrees. Finally, Nicola Valley Farm has won great praise for their lamb which features in two courses on the menu.

Paul Watkin of the Icon Wine and Spirits Group has been a major contributor of expertise and inspiration to the Wine Drinker Dinners and, in keeping with the reversal of courses, he has selected some unorthodox pairings for this menu working on more opposite tastes than usual. Focussed on wines from Portugal and South America, the sometimes contrasting flavours serve to highlight specific facets of each course.

The dinner costs $75 per person (tax and gratuity not included and reservations are strongly recommended. To book your table, email info@twochefsandatable.com or call 778-233-1303. Two Chefs and a Table is located at 305 Alexander Street.

The Butcher at the Table Wine Drinker Dinner Menu

Amuse Bouche

Big Lou’s lamb sausage: made in house at Big Lou’s Butcher Shop, brioche wrapped

with/

2008 Bodegas Aruspide Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc: this unique blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc gives this wine both weight and freshness
Entrée

Sunflower Duck: Polderside Farms, blood orange reduction, rapini, duck fat roasted potato

or/

Pemberton Farms rib eye: dry aged grass fed, roasted shallot, garlic, citrus herb butter, pomme puree

with/

2008 Louis Moreau Domaine de Bieville AOC Chablis: Louis Moreau is one of the premier producers in Chablis and unique in the fact that he owns his own vineyards, enabling him to produce wines of great quality
First Course
Pork: Rilettes: Sloping Hill Farm pork rilettes, apple compote, herb crostinis

with/

2009 Crasto Douro Tinto: Internationally recognized as one of the premier producers in Portugal. The Douro Tinto is unoaked, allowing the wine to be fresh and expressive
Second Course

Nicola Valley Lamb Wellington: wild mushroom, mushroom reduction
with/

2007 Van Zeller Douro Rose: the Van Zeller family is one that defines the history of the Douro Valley.  The Rose is a blend of grapes that can be found in Port, making this a lush, round, yet wonderfully dry rose.
Third Course

Chicken: chicken liver parfait: Polderside Farm chicken liver, herbe de Provence aspic, French bread

with/

2007 Vina Leyda Carmenere: Vina Leyda is a pioneer winery that helped define the Leyda Valley in Chile as an official appellation.  The Carmenere, the signature grape of Chile shows wonderfully herbaceous spice and fruit notes.

Dessert

Mr. Belvedere’s Sundae: Sloping Hills candied pork belly bacon gelato, bourbon maple syrup, candied pecans

with/

Hidalgo Palo Cortado “The Wellington”: From one of the oldest names in Sherry, the Palo Cortado offers both savoury and sweet flavours, making it one of the most unique wines around.

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