We got a man down

I register my first “brew injury” last night as I was trying to get a small batch of ale made from my fresh cascade hops that I picked from my backyard vine yesterday. As I was transferring hot water into the mash vessel, steam bit my fingers unexpectedly, causing me to reflexively drop the container on the ground. Only problem was, the water splashed toward me instead of away, filling my right shoe and soaking my sock. The end result was a stinging, blistered ankle.

But the good news is that the beer is in the fermenter gurgling away. I … more »

120 gallons of sauce

Katie found me during a busy Friday night to tell me, “There’s a woman at my table who needs to tell you something. She made a comment about the food that I’ve never quite heard anyone say before.”

In those nanoseconds of synaptic activity, my brain was trying to sort out what that might be. Is the customer happy? Dissatisfied? What could it be? What could have been said that was so unusual?

She led me to the table of four women, all of whom were smiling, so I presumed it wasn’t negative. One of the guests pointed to the … more »

Saturday’s Market Meal

I can’t say for certain what we will have on Saturday, but I will commit myself to a vegetarian entrée, since there is so much great produce coming in from the fields this week. This is what I mean when I say that we let the harvest dictate our menu. She speaks, we listen, and you get to enjoy.more »

Order up

“That order goes to Mary Pipher out on the patio.”

Mary Pipher is in my restaurant?

I said to the server, “I will take this one out myself.”

Earlier this year, I finished reading her book on writing, Writing to Change the World. I came across a copy at a book sale and decided I liked the title, and since Mary was a noted author from Lincoln, I decided to give it a shot. In it she spoke of a writing group that meets once a month to read each others work and offer comments and feedback. It appeared … more »


The coupling of Idea and Work I wrote about in the last post extends to many other aspects of endeavor. You may like the idea of a clean house, but the work is too much to keep it so. Its fun to dream of traveling to new destinations, but getting there is a whole other matter.

Such is the case with buying and utilizing local growers and their goods. The idea is nice and in vogue right now and to be able to say your stuff is grown within 50 miles of here is hip, but it’s not as easy … more »

Two sides of the coin

It’s a known fact that restaurants fail frequently. The banking industry will tell you it’s about an 80% failure rate. The restaurant industry will temper that by half to around 40%. Both groups will tell you their number one reason for why doors close so often. I will offer my theory.

We got into this business with an awareness of two sides of the coin. On one side is the Idea of the Restaurant. Food carries a romance and charm with it. It’s a very social industry. It sounds cool to tell people, “I own ________ restaurant.” You get to … more »

The Kitchen Garden

The seeds are finally in the ground and the garden smells of coffee.

I took advantage of the few days without rain yielding dry earth and planted the rest of the flower seeds that have been sitting among the garden supplies since April. It’s not out of lack of desire. It just the amazing amount of rain we have received has prevented me from being able to do much productive by way of planting. It is raining again now as I write this entry.

I grow mostly to supplement my restaurant, with a little thrown in to make homebrewing more … more »

Green Scrubbie Things

I’m standing in the checkout line at our local members only warehouse, bleerly eyed as usual, with my flatbed cart loaded with approximately 900 pounds of food and sundries, when I hear the guy behind me ask,

“Did you get the green scrubbie things?”

Slow to decipher the question, I looked back with a puzzled response, only to see him point at my clipboard that was facing him. And written on it in with a Sharpie in large black letters, GREEN SCRUBBIE THINGS. We laughed and I pointed to the box, assuring him and myself that I had secured the … more »