Floors Are In, Primer is Up
Aside from the restaurant Kim has also been in the country for the last three weeks and just landed back in Tampa this morning (my time). Was great to have her here, but it's unfortunately no longer her favorite place on the planet. Visiting is fun for most people, living here is more difficult and if you can't find that groove than it can become just maddening. For what ever reason Nepal seems to agree with me most of the time, and though it has its challenges it also has some advantages that I find compelling. So while it isn't the ideal situation to be some 8,000 miles apart, we are both essentially where we want to be at the moment, and if the last three weeks proved anything it was that I'm too busy to really do anything fun around here at the moment- at least anything fun outside the valley.
Most of Our Interiors Are Ready Off Site- Such As These Pots
While Kim was here I also had her go over some baking with me, as I am very comfortable with cooking, but desserts and the baking techniques that it requires have never been my strong point. I did manage to put together a kick ass Strawberry Daiquiri cheesecake, so I was good with that. The cosmo tart on the other hand I was a little shaky with, but after some experimenting with the crust, the lemon-lime custard and the cranberry compote (which took the most adjustment) we were able to come up with a product I was really happy with. I was a little concerned about the French tart pans I picked up in the US being too small, but after using them I'm certain they are the perfect size. The key-lime style Margarita Pie may be a bit more challenging, as I still have to work out a crust recipe I like as the graham cracker one I wanted to use is difficult as graham crackers are a little rare here- too many crappy British style biscuits and digestive crackers- gross.
Cosmo Tarts- About where I Want Them
With Kim's arrival we also got a large shipment of the cheeses we intend to use, including Gorgonzola, Gruyere, Jack, Colby, Italian Provolone, and an Oregon Sharp Cheddar.Other cheeses we plan on sourcing locally including mozzarella, feta, cream cheese, and possibly Parmesan though I may have to get that from the US too just too ensure quantity and consistency. While I'm really excited to put some of this stuff on the menu, I find it does drive up the costs of the food, even if it wasn't for the shipping charges, some of these cheeses are almost $30/Kg so after getting all the way to Nepal I have to use them a little more sparingly than I'd like to save people looking over the menu from sticker shock. Still it is exciting for me because I'm rather certain many of these have not been served in a restaurant setting over here yet, and after testing out some of them I can't wait to share them with people here.
Trellises Going Up On Our Patio Area
Which brings me to the menu in general that is also being finalized right now. I'm quite happy where things stand at the moment, though there are still a few challenges. Due to the cost of cheese, I'm a little unhappy at the where I have to cost a few of the appetizers, and that goes double for the Nachos which also have the burden of the high price of tortilla chips here. All six of those dishes still need some tweaking in portioning to get them in a reasonable place. On the other hand most of the burgers and even the steak dishes are right where I want them to be- and after so much feedback from people about wanting steak and so many requests for beef products (something that surprised me a bit- this being a Hindu country and all) I've added a fillet mignon to the menu served with Gorgonzola butter and chives. Since I was already making a red and green pepper sauce we went ahead and expanded our tex-mex a bit to include enchiladas and chimichangas.
While my posts have been more than a little sporadic as of late, I really hope that I'll have a lot more to talk about and more atractive photos once this all comes together- and for the first time since I've been working on it (since May now!) it really is starting to feel close. I can almost see the finish line and I can't wait to get there. Hopefully I'll even be able to watch the Superbowl from my bar- that's my goal now I think.