Farm to Table: Increasing your Restaurant’s Marketing Dynamic… PAZAZ™ Style!

Through-out my career in the restaurant business I have been blessed to be associated with some of the most creative chefs in the world. They have produced culinary gems that create a montage of memories targeting those savvy guests lucky enough to savor the experience.

Cross marketing of farms highlighting dishes on any menu benifits the farm, restaurant, and the supply chain that accessed and delivered that product. The beauty of this strategy is that it forms a bond between the farm and the end user that is literaly priceless. Whenever that brand is seen by the restaurant guest that person will assoicate that product with unparralleled quality.

For 53 years Snake River Farms is just such a business bringing quality American Wagyu Beef to the tables of many fine dining establishments. “The greatest challenge to any company wanting to produce the highest quality beef is the myriad of considerations throughout a long and complicated process, from the breeding to distributing the product out to the consumer and everything in between.

Before 1988 Wagyu bulls were a rarity in America. Vissionary and founder of SRF, Robert Rebholtz Sr. had been in the cattle-feeding and ranching business for twenty years. He saw something others didn’t and began a breeding plan (after a trip to Japan) to focus on a full-scale Wagyu breeding program that now provides 100% of the Snake River Farms beef.

Snake River Farms originated in American Falls Idaho where they first purchased Snake River Cattle Feeders. Eventually they expanded to breeding the Wagyu cattle and now they have an in-house PerforMix Nutrition System that is prepared by their staff creating strict health standards under humane conditions.

Another rare and delicous treat often associated with the pairing of seafood with steak is the Tristen Lobster Tail from the island of Tristan. The six by six mile volcanic island of Tristan da Cunha (the main island in the archipelago bearing the same name) sits in the remote waters of the South Atlantic. This remote island lies equidistant from South Africa and Brazil about 1,500 milles from its nearest neighbor.

All of the Tristen Lobsters are harvested from a small fishery recognized internationally for its sustainability standards. Having said all that this is the best lobster tail in the world. The pearl-white succulent and remarkably sweet flavor needs no butter as it literally just melts in your mouth. Any menu that places the Tristen tail on its menu answers to a higher culinary standard.

Infusing vegetables onto the restaurant menu from a farm like Golden Gate Organics adds to the sophistication and commitment to excellence marketed by the restaurant. The finest ingredients to accompany or even display as a main dish provide a sense of devotion to the guest that links trust with flavors not usually realized from any dining experience.

Golden Gate Organics brings delicious seasonal organic produce earning the regional trust as discussed in the above paragraph. Corey Tuffs is the founder and CEO of Golden Gate Organics. As they say, “The One Stop Shop For Your All Organic Lifestyle.”

Any menu that is created by culinary “experts” should be designed with an assemblage of name producers to reflect the commitment the restaurant has to an unparralleled dining experience. Any chef that starts with the above mentioned products or other industry recognized producers is miles ahead of competitors that sacrifice quality to make an extra dollar off the unsuspecting guests they claim to care about.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking”, Kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to www.pazazshop.com to purchase these AMAZING kitchen tools.

PAZAZ™ Kitchen Tools for the Discerning Chef

Recipes are the architecture that builds the foundation of a meal. Every recipe contains steps produced in a certain sequence that reveals the most effective and efficient way to extract the greatest flavor and presentation. Through-out this process (as in anything worth doing) the tools you use must be of the highest quality to ensure the greatest possibility of success.

Several years ago I enlisted a company to build my PAZAZ™Kitchen Tools. These tools were built to my specifications using the finest materials available. Each tool was tested to rigorous standards based upon strength of composition, ability to withstand extreme temperatures both cold and hot, and dishwasher safe.

The idea the PAZAZ™ logo would represent was sent out to a design website which contacted graphic artists from around the world. An amount was agreed upon to ensure designers would be interested and so the contest was on. Eventually the contest was won by a person from Bangladesh. The chefs hat and the magic wand, the wording, and ultimate design represent an exhaustive process that took several months to complete.

As I tested each manufacturers tools I realized that one stood out from the rest. That company I enlisted to produce PAZAZ™ Kitchen Tools crafted each tool to my specifications so that the Silicone baking mat would fit snuggly inside the sheet pan with the cooling rack on top of the baking mat. Like a culinary puzzle each piece is crafted to accentuate the even flow of heat to ensure any product placed on the cooling rack will be cooked evenly through-out.

Currently my PAZAZ™ Kitchen Tools are being used by three star Michelin Chef Jean George Vongerichten, Michael Mina, and Dave Adlard (Candle in the Woods, Idaho). These world class chefs understand that manufacturing of product for a multitude of guests requires sturdy, hand-crafted Kitchen Tools. The PAZAZ™ products could have only made it to the kitchens of these world renowned chefs if they stood up to the rigorous test of quality enriched by craftsmanship.

My PAZAZ™ Kitchen Tools can be used to produce the most amazing savory or sweet dishes. As many of us gravitate towards chicken and fish and away from beef we can access flavors that accentuate the nuances of the flavor profile. One such recipe which can feature chicken or fish is a “Classic Lemon Pepper Chicken”.

Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes, calories 221 using four ingredients and serving four people. Simple and delicious in one soul-stirring hot shot.

First:

    • 1/4 cup of flour
    • 1 tablespoon of McCormick perfect pinch lemon and pepper seasoning
    • 1 pound of thinly sliced boneless and skinless chicken breasts
    • 2 tablespoons of butter
    1. Mix flour and lemon/pepper seasoning in shallow dish. Moisten chicken lightly with water. Coat evenly with seasoned flour.

    2. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Pan sear 1/2 of the chicken pieces 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown.

    3. Place chicken on steel mesh rack which is placed over the silicone baking mat on top of the aluminum sheet pan. Oven should be set for 300 degrees and chicken should cook for 4 minutes.

    4. If you’d like to “kick it up a notch” place chicken over mixed greens with avocado, tomato, and goat cheese or blue cheese. A homemade dressing of a mango or peach white vinegar mixed with basil oil 2 parts oil to one part vinegar will be the perfect balance of acid to alkaline.

Included if you purchase all three PAZAZ ™ “Kitchen Tools” at www.pazazshop.com will be a cookbook with original recipes tried and tested by me. Enjoy for yourself or as a gift for the upcoming months when the bounty of the earth is at its peak.

An Up-and-Coming Wine Region

If you love wine as Nancy and I do you will not be surprised that we have literally stumbled upon an up and coming AVA (American Viticultural Area) in the Lewis-Clark Valley located in the central Northwest of Idaho.

There are two main AVA’s in Idaho. First, there is the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA, home to 16 wineries; then, in the southwest, there is the much larger Snake River Valley AVA, home to over 60 wineries (shared in its western part with Oregon).

The Lewis-Clark AVA is the first and only wine region to be nestled in the unique mountainous backbone of the Bitterroot Mountains. With steep river canyons and plateaus, it is home to the lowest elevation vineyards in the state at 950 feet. It’s also unique in that it spans both Idaho and Washington. Nearly 72 percent of the land is located in Idaho, while the rest lies in Washington State. The area is home to wineries growing just 80 acres of grapes which consist of 14 red and 9 white varietals.

Recently in wine competitions judges are consistently ranking Lewis-Clark Valley wines among the best in northwest competitions and beyond. The reason I am bringing this to your attention is because this region has really not been discovered by the average wine connoisseur. This region is considered part of the “new frontier” of wine growing areas in the United States.

It’s interesting that this region actually has a deep rooted history of growing grapes and producing wine. Wine grapes were introduced to the Clearwater Valley in 1872, thanks to the pioneering efforts of three gentleman, Louis Delsol, Robert Schleicher, and Jacob Schaefer. Of the three Schleicher was the most successful bringing home a number of awards for his hand-crafted wines.

To put things into perspective, when I first started going to the Napa Valley the wineries were more farm than winery. The hills were dotted with wineries that produced wines that were just starting to gain national recognition. The first real acknowledgement of wine in the Napa Valley belonged to Schramsberg Vineyards when then president Richard Nixon introduced this wineries sparkling wine “Blanc de Blanc” to the “Toast of Peace”. This was a toast (with Schramsberg sparkling wine) that opened up the normalization of relations between China and the U.S.

Then in 1976 there was the famous “Paris Tasting” which pitted Napa cabernet and chardonnay against the most famous first growth red Bordeaux wines from the southwest of France and the world renowned chardonnay from the Burgundy region located in the east-central part of France. Napa, with its Stag’s Leap Cask 23 cabernet and the now famous 1973 Chateau Montelena chardonnay, won the “Paris tasting” judged by a panel of all French judges. After that, California wines were about to explode.

Its interesting to note that there were really no decent restaurants in the Napa Valley until the early 80’s. That is when restaurateur Claude Rouas founded Auberge du Soleil and began a trend of exceptional cuisine to compliment exceptional wine.

Trends have no respect for people. I see the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA with its unique topography becoming an iconic destination. One such example of this trend can be seen from the Clearwater Canyon Cellars perched on the edge of a large sweeping bench overlooking the Clearwater River on the way to Orofino Idaho. To match its spectacular views is the wine it produces. Last year this winery won the prestigious 2020 “Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year”. Keep in mind that its competition included over 2,000 wineries from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.

Some quality restaurateurs are beginning to come to Lewiston, Idaho, and are  producing hand-crafted dishes sourced from local farms. It is not out of the realm of possibility that within a very short time this region will be associated with some of the finest restaurants, vineyards and wineries in the world.

Two Gems from the Gem State…PAZAZ™ Style!

Remarkable Idaho Restaurants

In the panhandle of Idaho there are two things you can almost always count on. First there is the unbridled beauty around every corner. Then there is the other not quite so positive aspect, which is the service in most restaurants. Apparently training the service staff in most cases is an after-thought.

We were at a very nice restaurant in Sandpoint Idaho called, “41 South”. Before we even got our appetizers the server had dropped two “F” bombs. The GM (a young man from Vegas) was so high, chewing on his lip with his hand shaking from side to side so violently that the wine really had no chance of ending up in the glass. He quickly disappeared while blurting out something about allergies… never to be seen again.

However, every once in a while you stumble upon a real gem with beautifully crafted food, a wonderful wine list and service to match. These are the restaurants you want to recommend and visit the next time you’re in that neck of the woods.

Terraza Waterfront Cafe is just such a restaurant, located on the beautiful lake Coeur ‘D Alene, Idaho.

The cuisine represents a montage of Latin American cuisine. From the Andean peaks, Amazonian rain forest, Patagonian glaciers, Inca ruins, and the exciting night life… welcome to Terraza Waterfront Cafe.

The menu checks the creative box with Elote Cakes made from corn, queso fresco, and cilantro. The Peruvian Ceviche (which is gluten free) is comprised of albacore tuna, shrimp, and rockfish. The Roasted Beet Salad was the best I’d ever had. The dish included tamarindo citronette and spiced pepitas, The Taco Plate which gives you a choice of three different tacos, or the same kind if you prefer, includes Crimini Cauliflower with chili spices, salsa roja, salsa carbon, and cilantro. The Carnitas is infused with salsa verde, shaved cabbage, pickled onion, and cotija. Finally, there is the Chicken Taco with salsa cruda, sweet onion, cilantro, and manchego cheese.

Rounding out the lunch menu is Grilled Fish with a chili lime spice, salsa pina, jicama slaw, and crema. The Carne Asada lights the taste buds on fire while the Aregentinian Chorizo is a sausage lovers dream. I of course have gone vegan so I have to live vicariously through others when it comes to their fish and meat culinary experiences.

As wonderful as the food, service, cocktails, and wine selection are, the location is even better. Easy to access in a very up scale neighborhood (looks like the homes on Balboa Island in California) the peaceful waterfront, boating, and general ambience is captivating. So when your in Coeur D’Alene make sure you set aside an afternoon to enjoy this very special restaurant.

The other must go-to town is Wallace, Idaho and enjoy a meal at the Blackboard Marketplace restaurant. Wallace is the only town in America where every building is listed in the historic registry. This happened because the government wanted to put a highway through the town and the miners and other locals found a way to stop them with the historical registry designation on everything. Another unique aspect to the town of Wallace is a manhole cover in the center of town which proclaims Wallace, “The Center of the Universe.”

The Blackboard Marketplace includes unique shopping, dining, and a relaxing experience which feels like the old west meets the creative new west. One wall in the restaurant has a blackboard with chalked figures of famous movie stars. Other notable conversation pieces include old mining equipment and two televisions that are playing old 50’s and 60’s black and white shows. But its really the quality of the food and the timely service that bring people back again and again.

The dinner menu includes well crafted dishes such as the Beef Tartare. This dish is filet chopped and served raw with capers, bacon aioli/egg/crostini. The Ahi Tuna has an Italian herb crust finished with a white balsamic vinaigrette/lemon aoili/capers. Unusual but equally tantalizing is the Lobster Corn Dog with a corn/saffron citrus aioli. Entrees include a beautiful hand-crafted Lasagna with bolognese, mozzarella and Parmesan. If you love Osso Bucco this is the place with the braised lamb shank served in a red wine demi’glaze accompanied with a potato puree.

On a side bar I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a side tour that was the highlight of our trip to Idaho. The Sierra Silver Mine Tour, Inc. is a must-see tour. Marty takes you inside the Sierra Silver Mine and actually fires up the old mining equipment and explains the procedures for safety and mining the ore. This was by far one of the most informative and valuable experiences in understanding an important part of Western United States history.

Things that Cross Cultures, Touch us, Move us, or Stuff that Just Makes Us Smile! PAZAZ™ Style

Over the course of life there are many things that we love or fall in love with. So lets take each category and delve into the nuances of loving those things that bring a smile to our collective faces:

Flowers across the board mark significant events that highlight everything from birth to death, promotion/acknowledgment, the initiating of a thoughful gesture, or even the beginning of a relationship. To follow are a few of the different varieties of flowers and what they represent:

1. Symbolically roses repesent romance. The red rose is a universal symbol of love across many cultures but beyond that, the rose can symbolise a variety of feelings depending on their variety, colour and number.

2. Daisies symbolize innocence and purity. This stems from an old Celtic legend. According to the legend, whenever an infant died, God sprinkled daisies over the earth to cheer the parents up. In Norse mythology, the daisy is Frey’s sacred flower.

3. The Lily is a symbol of purity and fertility. The sweet and innocent beauty of the lily flower has given it the association of fresh life and rebirth.

4. Orchids are highly coveted as they appear exotic and graceful. They represent love, luxury, beauty, and strenght. The spiritual meaning associated with its elegant style and grace highlights virility and sexuality.

5. The most known meaning for Tulips is perfect and deep love. As Tulips are a classic flower that has been loved by many for centuries they have been attached with the meaning of love. They are ideal to give to someone who you have a deep, unconditional love for, whether it’s your partner, children, parents or siblings.

The next subject that always, subjectivly, brings a smile to the collective faces of many, is music. Whether it’s a song heard for the first time or a song you’ve heard a thousand times, the memories, the artist, the beat, the meaning, all coincide with that inner smile. The appropriate genre explains the perfect seduction for the release of pheromones that translates to a connection rarely accomplished with any other sensory experience.

Groups such as the Beatles, The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, The Who, Earth Wind and Fire, The Doobie Brothers, or Steely Dan, always connect a very special time, memory, event, or people I’ve loved, or currently love. Then there are the artists such as Michael Franks, Peter Frampton, Michael Jackson, Sinatra, and of course Paul McCartney that weave a web of musical phrasing, lyrics, and tonality that captivates the mind and releases the heart to sore.

Along these lines of human connectivity and sensory immersion, we have food. How many times did a meal represent to you more than just sustenance? Were there times that the meer mention of a particular dish brought back a memory of a place, person, or time that ultimately brought a smile to your face? Are there meals based upon the artistic expression, service, and atmosphere that launched you into an experience by which all others would be judged?

We might all not be florists or musicians, but I’m pretty sure that most have prepared a meal. This task reveals a lot about a person’s commitment to themselves and others. The quality of the product is usually more important than the skillset. Why? Because to produce something for others, taking your eyes off of yourself and focusing on the composing of a meal is a repersentation of a selfless declaration to those you love and care about. No restaurant can duplicate the added ingredient of love even though they perhaps have the skill to far outdistance the presentation.

“Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.” Mark Twain

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” Kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to www.pazazshop.com to purchase these AMAZING kichent tools.

Do you Miss the Way things Used to Be?

When I was a little boy I would ride my bike around the neighborhood and beyond. I never worried about theft, hit and run drivers, or any nefarious activity in the small town of Fairfax, California. It was a joy to go down to the creek and watch the skeeters float by while viewing frogs, and even small fish in the cascade creek.

I lived on Meadow Way which was accessed by only one route, a small bridge that was suspended over the creek by large cement pylons. The pylons formed the perfect club house under the bridge for our weekly meetings. Mostly the eight boys in the neighborhood would discus tree forts, playing army, and the latest plastic army men we’d seen at the local five and dime. Life seemed to be very simple as we weren’t bombarded with all the distracting technological devices, social media, disparaging song lyrics, or a community that was divided.

When we rode our bikes or walked to town we actually looked each person in the eye and gave a greeting based upon our personal or distant relationship with that individual. We weren’t staring at our cell phone, or distanced by headphones, or any other musical or communication device that would disconnect us with humanity. We actually loved the connection with others not caring what they owned, where they worked, or whom they new. It was the basis for a strong community that would rally to each other if there were any sad or challenging moments in that person or families life.

Conversely we would extol the virtues and applaud those that experienced the joy of having a baby, giving back to the community, or just being a good person. This selfless desire to promote others through random acts of kindness was the backbone of this small community. Because of this communal connection there were rarely any events that required police activity or any other behavior modification. We looked out for each other, respected our elders, and obeyed the laws in place to protect us.

Of course there were times that I (can’t speak for anyone else) got into trouble. Like when I didn’t come home until 3pm when I was supposed to be home at ll am. Or when I was just introduced to sling shots and shot out the neighbor’s window. But for the most part life was about the simplicity of conversations, experiences for the first time, and the unconditional love from my parents. These attributes I like to think became second nature as we navigated passed the obstacles that occur to different degrees through-out our entire lives.

As we reach our twilight years “we can look back and lament at another day’s useless energy spent” (the Moody Blues), or we can forge through the greatest distance we’ll ever travel… the six inches between our ears. Our lives are entwined with each other as we only have a small degree of separation that leads to the connectivity bringing us our most delightful expression… the love we seek and the unbridled joy we receive from giving to others.

 

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking”, Kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to www.pazazshop.com to purchase these AMAZING Kitchen Tools.