1.26.2009

Closed for a Private Party

Gavin's new zippo

We were honored when we were asked by our friends at Dove Vivi to help host their annual winter party. Lord knows Gavin, Delane, and Memry have devoted themselves to providing as genuine a dining experience one can experience in this city, and surely their place proved to be our shelter from the storm over this past year. We have spent countless evenings tucked within the comfort of their walls; birthdays and homecomings celebrated; year anniversaries toasted; nights off spent swimming in bottles of red wine and Delirium; exhausted, worn-out, and damp Lacklusterness turned warm, memorable, and Bursting-With-Life. Yes, these are the images I conjure up when I think of Dove Vivi, and needless to say, we have an overwhelming soft spot for all of the people dedicating themselves to making that place exist. The thought of being able to repay the favor, if only for a single January morning, was positively appealing.

the amuse-bouche: Irish “Coffee & Doughnuts” French Toast

In the past we've shied away from potential catering gigs, finding them much too arduous to carry-off and with too little pay-off. This time we were working with friends who allowed us to steer the reins and ultimately gave us the final say on what was served and how. It's always so refreshing when you're given that kind of freedom to explore, knowing your clients have complete faith in your taste buds and your efforts. We decided the best thing to do would be to open the cafe on a Monday, the day the cafe is always closed, and normally our day off. We wanted to make sure we had plenty of opportunity to spend time with our friends, that they had plenty of opportunity to celebrate the end of one exciting year, and the beginning of another. And of course that we could attempt to provide them with as quality of a dining experience as they have offered us each-and-every time.

As such, the sign on the door yesterday at the cafe read, "Closed for a private party." An occasion we aptly dubbed, "Dove Vivi Winter Event: Always Down for a Party."

The Menu

Our first goal was to come up with a menu; we were faced with the task of providing a solid taste sampling of what we offer. Given our limited hours, and the gracious fact that we are closed on Mondays (the day that almost every one in the industry seems to have off), many members of the Dove Family had sadly not yet had the "Little Red Bike Cafe experience." Considering the fact that we deal in the meat, cheese, egg, and bread business, we set off to create a menu that was not only fun and creative but one that allowed us to showcase what we do best here:

From the Bar:
espresso, french press coffee, columbia gorge orange juice, bloody mary, mimosa, apple-berry spritzer, tea

Amuse-bouche:
Irish “Coffee & Doughnuts” French Toast:
challah French toast dusted in cinnamon & sugar, served with espresso syrup and whipped Irish cream

-Selection of Fried Egg Sandwiches-
ZooBomb: egg, jack, avocado, caramelized onions, pasilla aioli
Messenger: egg, gorgonzola, apple butter, applewood smoked bacon
Rudy Fernandez: egg, jamon Serrano, olive tapenade, manchego, oregano, roasted red pepper aioli


Baby Green Salad
pink grapefruit, blue cheese, candied hazelnuts

Honeyed Yogurt Bar

yogurt, homemade granola, fresh fruit

Creole Strata
sausage, green bell pepper, green onion, pepper-jack cheese

Pain Au Chocolat Bread Pudding
ginger marmalade

-Selection of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches-
smoked cheddar, tomato, fleur de sel
brie, gruyere, and homemade balsamic fig jam

Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches
peanut butter chocolate chip cookies with toasted coconut cherry ice cream

honeyed yogurt bar

The party afforded us the perfect opportunity to bring back seasoned LRBC veteran and dear friend, Tim Roth for help. Armed with his own tools (Personal tamp? Check! Personal Chef's knife? Check!), his adoration for and insistence upon quality in both the beverage and food department, not to mention his staggering height and non-stop humor, Tim proved to be the best man for the job. With his help, the three of us were easily able to knock-out a mid-morning brunch for sixteen, including an unexpected but certainly welcomed vegan sampler consisting of:

Baby Green Salad

toasted almonds, pink grapefruit, mint, and citrus vinaigrette

Curried Tempeh Salad

coconut, red pepper, golden raisins, green onions, hot sauce

Vegan BLT
smoked tempeh, avocado, tomato, leaf lettuce, and vegan dill aioli

Throughout the morning one could detect contagious bouts of giggles echoing from our kitchen, our smiles reflective in their joy, moments when we would all be caught looking at one another and thinking to ourselves, "man, this is fun." Tim, like many of the people who work alongside us, also has a desire to further submerge into the food world; to feed the hungry; to set his own path; to answer to himself. This is something we fully encourage. As difficult as the job has been thus far, we get a lot back from it. Oh and is it difficult! Something we really never discuss on this space for many reasons, but primarily because we believe in the idea that if we take time to project the bad, that it will come back to us in some shape or form. But take our word for it, this is the most difficult job we have ever had. But as Tim Himself puts it, "I'm ready to be the one who has to deal with the difficult decisions." There is a huge learning curve, and while we personally know we have a very long road to travel, we can't help but feel good about where we stand today, and how far we have come. And during all that time, to have the ability to pursue a dream.

I mean really, it is for moments like these that we live to do our jobs: solid menu, perfect guests, brilliant timing and execution, and a couple of great bloody marys along the way. For us, it is a rare opportunity to prepare an inspired menu that we have created, even more rare, the ability to execute that menu when and how we want to. Initially, when designing the concept for LRBC, we always tried to adhere to the mantra to "Keep It Simple Stupid," but no matter how hard one tries, the business is anything but simple, or even consistent. People always come to eat at the exact same time, as though everyone has set their watches/cell phones/beepers to arrive precisely at 10:47 am on a Saturday, turning an otherwise slow day into an out of nowhere mega rush, which in turn makes our jobs more difficult, and more often than not causes some potential customers to flee the scene never to return, assuming that we must be that busy all the time. We are left to wishing if only they could return in an hour or two, when we know the cafe will be completely empty and we can give them of the attention that they as customers deserve. But that is the kind of thing that you can't control, and you simply or forced to learn to roll with. There are quite of few aspects of the industry that are similar to this, and unless you have ever worked a service industry job, it might be hard to understand exactly what I am getting at. If you have, well then I am just preaching to the choir.

smoked cheddar, tomato, and fleur de sel grilled cheese sandwiches


Which does in fact bring me to my next rant...how amazing it is to cook for and serve a group of industry people. People who know the pains of having consecutive six tops arrive within three minutes of one another, who have dealt with customers who completely disregard the fact that your restaurant has a "menu," and would prefer instead to create their own unique meal not really even using your menu as an ingredient list, people who know how to smile and say thank you when a family with small children gets up from their table to leave, only to find that they haven't even attempted to help clean up their table which now looks like the remnants of a small Crayola nuclear arms experiment. Yes, serving the Dove Vivi staff was certainly a pleasure. The thank yous felt more sincere, they know how to stack plates, they don't require anything out of the ordinary from us. They arrived to our space already happy, and anxious to enjoy what they hoped would be a good meal. They get it. The rest was up to us. Hopefully most of them liked their experience.


Delane's holiday gifts

The party's finale consisted of a classic game of a white elephant exchange and mini ice cream sandwiches. I think both were a hit. Many thanks to Mr. Roth, Delane, Gavin, and Memry for thinking to include us, and to the rest of the Dove Vivi family that made this event possible. We had a blast! See y'all soon for the dankest deep-dish we've ever had the pleasure of devouring. XO

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies with toasted coconut cherry ice cream

2 comments:

Delane Hamik said...

Oh my god! I can't believe it tool me this long take in your account of the "best work party ever"- and I'm soooo glad you concur. We had such a blast. I'm still giddy from it! Everyone was crazy about the food, the space, and the folks. Couldn't agree more. Love you guys. Thank you for helping make it seem that maybe this is reason enough to have embarked on this crazy adventure in the first place, and inspiring us to keep charging to the next pause for reflection, during which, once again, we'll think: "It was totally all worth it." So much love,
Delane

Memry said...

This crush goes both ways. I know I speak for the whole Dove crew when I say we are absolutely smitten. Thank you for creating the Most Amazing Party EVER - and that goes for Tim too.