Tuesday, December 25, 2018

(re)Branding William Meloney VII


The time has come to unify the William Meloney VII brand.  Too long I have lurked in the intertube shadows.  I am stepping out and here is where you can find me...




Monday, December 24, 2018

Restaurant Theater - Act I - Eat@Bill's

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts...

As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
- William Shakespeare

The show must go on.

There are actors.  There is scenery.  There are "places" and blocking, choreography, and even Curtain Calls.

Act I

Scene one is methodical in its awakenings,  its beginnings.  Just the act of turning on the lights, bringing polished stainless steel out of the darkness, sets the stage.  The first mopping of the day; a form of moving meditation.  A ritual cleansing.

Scene two: Primal beginnings.  Flour, salt, water, sugar and then the primordial essence, the sourdough starter.  A living and breathing entity.  Lovingly and gently nurtured.  Grown from natural yeasts borne of his mother's hundred year old grapes.  A portion is given to the new dough.  Passing on the heritage of family food, simple bread.  Once the portion is sacrificed to the new dough the starter is fed new flour and water to carry on.  The wheel turns full circle.

The rest of act one is the long prep. Meats are browned, readied for the long slow stew. Shrimp are peeled and butterflied. Calamari is cut into classic circles.  Salmon is portioned.   Tenderloins are trimmed.  New York Strip are slice and trimmed as well.  Rice, grits and potatoes are prepped.  Bread, having risen twice, is baked.  

Evenings when there are parties or banquets there is Scene Three.  A Charcuterie on an elegant platters. A tureen of delicate salmon dip.  Iced shrimp for dipping in a bright cocktail sauce.  And quite possibly both of the cheeses that Chef was deliberating on that day in Kroger's .

The main curtain falls slowly as finishing touches are pressed upon this evening's repast.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Surf & Turf - Eat@Bill's

Roasted Eel finished with a classic Japanese Unagi (Eel Sauce)* over a medium rare New York Strip.

* Bill's Unagi is a reduction sauce that starts with stock made from all of the fileted eels parts (heads, tails and backbones).  It is seasoned with copious amounts of sugar, low-salt soy sauce and Dashi (Bonito  soup stock powder).

Friday, December 21, 2018

That First Day - Eat@Bill's

I was nervous as a schoolboy on the first day of class.  And wouldn't you know it started with a test.  At least for me it was a test.

Did I know how to slice an onion?

Yes, but not the way you want it cut.

Here is how you chop an onion.  Here is how you Julienne an onion.

Have you ever roasted peppers?  Char them until black on all sides then put them in a container covered with a towel to steam.  Finish chopping the onions and I will be back from Kroger in half an hour.

"Yes Chef."

Onions got chopped.  Easy-peasy.  Looked around.  Waited.  Read labels, looked in corners.  Thought about the steamed roasted peppers.  Waited.  Investigated some more.  Waited.  Finally decided to act.  Filled a large bowl of cold water then started rubbing the charred skin off the peppers.  Wasn't sure how Chef wanted them cut so just let them rest.

Bill returned as I was finishing.  "Excellent, just right."  (*Whew* - To both the onions and the peppers.  Seems the small things can be the most important.)  And yes, Chef did have a particular way he wanted his roasted peppers chopped.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Adventure Begins - Eat@Bill's

B and I were waiting at the Deli counter.  Looking around I noticed the owner of Eat@Bill's.  He was at the cheese counter with a wedge in each hand, taking alternating whiffs.  Classic culinary decision making behavior.

I excused myself from B saying, "I will just be a minute."  Famous last words.

I asked Bill Hughes if he would consider a volunteer in his kitchen.

Appropriately, he was reticent.  What did I expect to get out of this?

I started to ramble... I was interested in the workings of a real kitchen.  I wasn't looking for a job.  I felt that I had some skills but no real experience.

"Call the restaurant and talk to Sherry."

That was on a Saturday.  I called and left a message on the following Tuesday.

I called on Wednesday and got to talk with Sherry.  She promptly handed me off to Bill.

"Come to the back door of the restaurant on Saturday, November 10th at 9:00 AM."

... And so the adventure begins.

Shattered Hearts

sorrow sleeps beside me
tossing and turning
stealing the comfort of my

shattered hearts strewn
across the kitchen floor

Monday, July 30, 2018

a clear, unified vision

With the guidance of accomplished scholars Jay Garfield and Guy Newland, you’ll come away with a clear, unified vision of Buddhist doctrine and a greater understanding of the texts, scholars, and practices that make up this expansive tradition.

Would that I might open my eyes on any given morning
and see in first light the individual leaves of the maple.

Might I sense the sparrow's flight first to catch the outstretched
limb of the Norwegian Spruce with its bottle brush needles.

From the corner of my eye the glimpse of a 5-lined Skink
skittering from a spot of sunlight to the harbor of the woodpile.

Friday, July 27, 2018

America and I are breaking up.

After a nearly 65 year love affair America and I are breaking up.

Sure, we've had our squabbles and tiffs.  Many's the time we have not seen eye-to-eye.  I have even  taken to the street a time or two to express my contempt of America.  But America always held out the promise.  The promise of a better day.  The promise of ...

That was then.  Now the proffered promises are like moldy bread.  Sure, in the most dire of times even spoiled food will offer some small measure of nutrition.  Echoing the old quote from Joseph de Maistre: Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite—“every nation gets the government it deserves.”.   So we are to stomach the rotting banquet before us.  Hold our collective nose and let slide the ripe oyster of the day.

If these are the promises of MAGA then I want a divorce.

. . .