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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rogues' Harbor's Dictionary of Restaurant Lingo

I've (E has) been in the restaurant business for 23 years, about 18 of those years in the Ithaca area. Every restaurant on earth (in Ithaca, NY and beyond) has their own slang. Rogues' Harbor Inn is no different. Most meanings carry over from one restaurant to another.  Recently, there have been a number of reality restaurant shows highlighting a behind the scenes look at the restaurant world. But, even these glimpses (some accurate, some not so much) don't seem to offer much insight into the restaurant language which permeates the industry. I think the expressions are an interesting slice of life. They offer a peek at the true personality of the hard working, tough as nails, yet light hearted folks that make it all happen.
So, We decided to make a list of definitions for non restaurant folk for educational and/or entertainment purposes. We had a tough time making the list. These are terms we use all the time without even noticing. I'm sure we've left a few funny ones off the list, so help us out if you can. Fun times and hard work in the Finger Lakes restaurant biz. Here goes...

Feelin' It = feels like it's going to be a busy night
Not Feelin' It = feels like it's going to be a slow night
Shifty = the staff meal
Ho' = the non gender specific host/hostess
Ho'ing = greeting and seating
Front of the House = customer service
Back of the House = non customer service staff, ie: kitchen staff
The Line = area of the kitchen where dinners are plated
The Floor = dining  and drinking areas for guests
Line Dog = line cook
Skirt = apron
Specialed = a table who has been made aware of the specials
App = appetizer
Deuce = table of 2
2 Top = table of 2
4 Top = table of 4
6 Top = table of 6
yada yada...
Campers = guests who stay long after finishing dinner
On the Fly = ASAP needed it 5 minutes ago
In the Weeds =  way way behind, buried
'86 = sold out
SOS = sauce on the side
Walkin' = rare
Mooing = rare
Done = medium well
Burnt = extra well done
Upside Down = special order
Upside Down and Sideways = crazy special order
Reggae = as stated on the menu/ regular
Turn a Table = finish one group and re-seat another at the same table
Turn and Burn = finish it and re-seat it incredibly fast
Behind = for god's sake don't back into me
All Day = total count of a menu item needed
Add On = joiner to a table in progress
Regular = a guests who is in a lot
Drinkers = only drinking, not dining, guests
Desert Travelers = water only drinkers

Thursday, June 21, 2012

English Bitter, Our Newest Brewer's Choice

Today (Thursday the 21st) we'll be pouring our next Brewer's Choice beer, an English Bitter. The term bitter is often misleading to American drinkers. While a bitter American beer tends to have intense hop flavors and a bitterness that pushes the malt and yeasts characters to the background, an English Bitter is an exercise in balance between the various flavors. There is a healthy amount of bitterness from hops added early in the boil, but the hop flavor and aromas are only slightly noticeable. There is a firm malt character and some fruity esters contributed by the yeast during fermentation. However none of these flavors play a dominating role in the beer. They compliment each other as a balance is reached.

Bitters have a range of color that is acceptable to the style. They can range from the bright golden color to a beer with some amber highlights. Beers with a more amber or red appearance to them are generally brewed with the addition of darker crystal malts. These malts can lend a touch of caramel-like sweetness to the beer. Of course the beer shouldn't be cloyingly sweet, but in a Bitter the sweetness generated by crystal malts will be properly balanced by the addition of extra bittering hops. Remember, this beer is all about balance.

The next important thing to know about the English Bitter style of beer is that it isn't a strong beer. Often times it is referred to as a session ale. Session ales are popular in England where people enjoy gathering at their local, having several pints over the course of many hours before heading home. Their goal isn't to get drunk, merely to enjoy a tasty beverage in the company of good friends and conversation. The lower alcohol allows a person to enjoy several over the course of the evening without falling out of their bar stool! Our Bitter is just above 3% abv. Don't think that means that it has the water downed taste that can accompany several mass produced lower alcohol beers that are immensely popular. The trick to a good session ale is to have it be full of flavor, and have some body, but without being strong or heavy.

While we may not be serving ours in the traditional cask that is the hallmark of Real Ale in the UK, we like to think that we've honored the spirit of the English Bitter with our newest offering. On the paler end of the Bitter spectrum it has a nice subtle hop character from generous additions of Golding Hops. The hops quickly give way to the malt character - some toasty notes from fine English malts. The beer finish with hints of almost fruit like flavors generated by the yeast during fermentation. So come in today and cool off with a couple of pints of our new Brewer's Choice. Don't forget to bring along some friends and have a proper session over beers and good company!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Finger Lakes' Lemon Herb Scone Recipe

Every good Inn bakes a signature scone, and the Rogues' Harbor Inn is no exception. We love to bake fresh scones for our bed and breakfast guests. Nothing starts out the day better than a big mug of fresh brewed Gimme coffee (roasted right here in Ithaca, NY) and a homemade scone. We always serve fresh fruit, a hot dish like quiche or French toast, but the scones are by far my favorite. We bake blueberry, raspberry, apple...traditional fruits. However, I think the savory scones are best, especially with fresh herbs. Finger Lakes' cuisine is all about fresh greens and herbs, gardeny fare. So, here's our summer time favorite coming to you from the Heart of the Finger Lakes, Ithaca, NY.

Lemon Herb Savory Scone

2½ cups unbleached flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or substitute thyme)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut ½-inch cubes, room temp
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons heavy cream (for brushing)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, zest and rosemary in a bowl. Blend dry ingredients. Add the butter and mix on low speed setting until mixture is shaggy. Reduce mixing speed. With the mixer running, slowly add the liquid ingredients until just combined; do not over mix.
Pour the mixture onto a clean counter/large cutting board. Form the dough into a 10-inch disc, about 1-inch high. Using a sharp knife, cut into 8 even pieces. Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush each scone with heavy cream. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before serving.