I Need Your Input

Howdy loyal and not so loyal reader, I need your help in the form of input. I am organizing and cooking for a one-night only restaurant serving tapas style food in a good friend’s awesome local bookstore. I would really love honest and blunt input on the menu or pictures or you in your underwear. Either one will work. Please note the prices are tentative and in US dollars

The Menu

Steamed and chilled shrimp and red snapper marinated in lime juice and served with onions, tomatoes, fresh herbs and roasted jalapeno(on the side)
Cherry Tomatoes stuffed two ways: homemade pimento cheese and basil and fresh mozzarella
Salsa, 3 ways served with tortilla and pita chips: Pico de Gallo, Salsa verde and Spicy Red Cabbage Salsa
7 year old Sweetwater cheddar with Local Apples
Grilled Antipasto veggies with Kalamata olives and Kool aid Pickles
Potato and artichoke Spears with herbed buttermilk dip
Deep Fried Pickled Okra with Gumbo sauce
The Soon to be Famous Southland Sandwich: Sweet Cuban bread stuffed with roasted pork loin, roasted red peppers, smoked sliced turkey breast, fresh spinach and provolone cheese, drizzled with a garlic citrus oil and grilled (kind of like a Cuban but better)
Bacon wrapped shrimp glazed with a bourbon peach bbq sauce served with sweet chili string beans
Grilled duck breast on fresh salad greens with wild mushrooms ,Benton’s proscuitto and a balsamic vinaigrette
Venison Tenderloin  or Chicken Tender Sate with warm peanut sauce and pickled veggies




Filed under food i've made, restaurants

22 responses to “I Need Your Input

  1. John T. Osorio

    Bacon wrapped shrimp glazed with a burbon peach bbq sauce…drools…served with sweet chili string beans…stomach growls.

    This looks like a well thought out and delicious menu. Good synergy of ingredients without having the flavors repeat themselves.

    Please explain a Kool-Aid pickle!

  2. InsideJourneys

    Love the menu! Getting hungry just reading it.
    Looks good – there’s enough of a selection for everyone. Not sure what part of the country you’re in and how those prices compare.
    Also, since this is in a bookstore, hope the food will be served far away from the books!

    • there will be a retaining wall, fingers crossed…lol…and for the record, the event is in alcoa TN, in the foothills of the great smoky mountains in eastern TN, just 20 minutes south of knoxville…i should probably mention that in the press release huh?

  3. The menu, as far as I understand it seems fine but I have to ask about the idea that this is a tapas style menu?
    The prices seem steep if it is.. we know tapa here to be a range of smaller dishes in several price brackets: 2.50 for bread with garlic butter/ tapenade / pesto , then 3.00- 3.50 for worst/sausage and cheese, little meatballs, small side veggies or marinated olives etc, and then 4.00 -5.00 for fish, cooked meat like mini stew, crab, shrimp, etc.
    But how much you get of each is not big… to get an idea of the portion size scroll down to the second to last photo here:
    http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2009/07/23/restaurant-review-strandtent-lekker-scheveningen/ or, served on one board, Portuguese style here: http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/new-210/ that way you can prepare a LOT in advance such as these (I’d recommend smaller tomatoes) http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/new-278/ and just dish up your “little bits” as people usually order three or four to six little dishes. That for me is how all the tapas I have had works, ergo your menu doesn’t sound like tapa to me.
    Tapas would therefore put the venison or chicken Sate separate to the pickled veggies but a note on the Sate would say that the pickled veggies would be a recommened accompaniment.
    You wanted honest and blunt! LOL I need to warn you that the Dutch do Honest with Blunt rather well 🙂
    Grilled duck breast sounds like a proper full on Main course… I’d also have some high standard vegetarian dishes, maybe even a vegan one, a gluten-free option and a heart-friendly one too, so that you are not sprung last second with 5 vegetarian diners or someone with a milk allergy and no options.
    I’d specify if any recipe was cooked with nuts (or nut oil) since it can be a life threatening allergy. I’d also specify the size of the shrimp, state if they are unpeeled and how many are on offer i.e. “Six Bacon wrapped jumbo shrimp glazed with…” ..at least that’s how shrimp are usually advertised on menu’s here in The Netherlands as they are very expensive.
    Will you be expecting kids at all? a simple kid friendly dish or two may be in order if so.
    Hope this helps! (Kiwidutch ducking and running for cover LOL)

    • ok kiwi, here is the plan..we do not have the capacity for full on tapas plates..we are working without commercial equipment in a bookstore coffee house, so the portions of the plates will be much larger than tradtional tapas…each dish wil be enough for 2-3 people to share…kind of family style tapas, if that makes sense to you…fmaily style dining in america is where platters and serving bowls are passed around instead of individual plating…everyone at the table will share the items, each ordering a few of their particular liking….the grilled duck salad is intended on being a more filling option so, you are right…we are doing this by reservations only, maxing out at 50 people…i should have foreknowledge of food allergies beforehand…as far as vegetarians go, i will offer my own smoked and roasted tofu in place of the meats in the same dish…its very versatile and makes a great substitute…smoking the tofu really gets the texture to an edible state, and i don’t use a heavy smoke so its not overpowering…and, frankly, where i live there are very few vegetarians…vegans can just go eat somewhere else…i’m sorry, but no meat, cheese or butter? no cream or eggs or even honey in some cases? i respect their choice buuuuut i’m not going to cater to it…unless they hire me as a caterer of course…nut warnings are a good thing, thanks for the reminder…peanut butter and jelly (HA!!!) and mac and cheese for kids, maybe…might just ban them for the evening…thanks for the input, it is just what i am looking gor

      • Steve LOL on your reply for vegans! I have to kind of visualize your way of doing things since I’ve never see tapa done that way before, the tapa in the photos I have in the links are for 2 adults ..so clearly your servings would be bigger. (I’d prefer a USA portion size of shrimp to a dutch one though!!!) DO cost out EVERYTHING in advance and sort out how big your portions really NEED to be, otherwise you will have a ton of waste and worse, you might not even cover costs. (Duck and shrimp not usually being cheap).. especially of things like your Cuban sandwich has not one but two meats in it.
        Factor in your time and effort to some extent too and plan to be “ready” with 90% of everything at least two hours before you need to because there are ALWAYS last minute interruptions on the phone, something that doesn’t go to plan etc. DO set the place up the night before, and not “on the day” so that you can give your full attention to the kitchen. Do you have to pay for use of the bookshop? Do you have a strategy if someone who’s reserved turns up with an extra (previously uncounted) guest(s)?
        Do you pair drinks to the menu? Do you have to hire plates etc?
        Make a much as possible beforehand … it always takes longer than you think.. and if you can manage all that, then have fun and enjoy!!!

      • good advice…i will say i am a fly by the seat of your pants kind of guy…i regularly crank out food for, literally a hundred or more folks by myself and on a short or little notice…i run an institutional kitchen at an environmental education facility in a national park…costs will be covered, in part thanks to some brilliant shopping and procurement of some meat from local hunters, i.e. the venison and )hopefully) the duck breasts…we are going BYOB and bringing plates from home to beef up their supply…i may need you to come run the FOH though, lol..FOH being american abbreviation for front of the house, the wait and bar staff in a restaurant…i am partnering with the book store owners and they already have a cafe running in their so im just piggy backing on their resources…i’m going to have a buddy photograph and/or film the event so you will be able to visualize with ease!!!

      • I’d LOVE to run your FoH! (seriously!)
        Sadly the crutches-and-not-yet-into shoes-look, are due to be a reality for several more months and that’s not at all helpful in the typical backwards and forwards rush of FoH.
        I have “catered” in a non professional capacity for crowds for years too, including a sit-down for 60 people of 4 courses that included a choice of four hot Mains and old fashioned dessert trolleys way back when I was 20! Luckily I had a team of friends to help prep, wait and clean, and if you have a good plan and run it with military precision, it usually goes brilliantly.
        Just IMAGINE a foodie get-together of various blogger friends?…

  4. Steve, this menu looks great. Nice mix of pricing and heavier and lighter (cold and warm) food. Sure wish I lived closed enough to try it! I’m particularly interested in the bacon wrapped shrimp, the soon-to-be-famous sandwich, & the cheddar and apples. Please let us know how it goes…I’ll keep checking back!

  5. Jenni

    Hi- I’m a college friend of Lauren Keim’s and had time on my hands to read your menu, which sounds delicious. My only question…

    Are these small enough that they could also be individual items on a sampler plate? An individual might like to purchase an individual sampler of say, a selection of four, whereas a coupleight do a sampler of 8. Maybe there could be a slight price break for a large sampler? This would give more opportunity or folks to try more offerings in the one night time frame. Just a thought…and not really having a visual on plating or size of your initial offerings, this may or may not be an idea to consider. Seeing me, however, in my underwear is definitely one thing you don’t want to consider… Good luck!

    • the plate size and pricing are what we are trying to hammer out…we don’t have the proper resources for proper tapas plating, so portions will be enough for 3 people to share…for example the bacon wrapped shrimp will be a serving of 9 jumbo shrimp…kind of southern american ( as in Tennessee)style tapas: lots of everything!

  6. John i think you can do either with or without sugar, depending on if you want a sweet pickle…stay away from grape kool aid for this though..

  7. Lori

    It sounds fabulous. Food sounds great and the pricing looks good. I love that bookstore, and this looks like another reason to go. Count me in….I’m gonna be all over everything but the kool-aid pickles.

  8. SoapBird

    I agree you have a nice selection. My top 3 favs. Grilled Duck Salad, Steamed and chilled shrimp, Salsa, 3 ways served with tortilla and pita chips. I wish I could attend:(

  9. Did you have the event? What did you decide for the menu?
    What did folks like best? I would like feedback please…:)

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