Two months of catch-up.

New guy started last night. He’ll be here through the Summer.

Smart kid. Honor student. Band. Clean driving record. I like this type. (Yes, I’m profiling. Sue me. That’s why you have to interview for a job and aren’t just given employment over the phone.)

It’s also nice because it gives me a chance to sit:stay for a few minutes at a time, or visit with our guests while the rest of the kitchen crew go through the details of do and don’t.

Here’s my crew, right now, 9 pm on a busy Thursday night, “busting it out” to get the kitchen cleaned up so we leave on time.

It's a very serious job here, folks.

Awwwww, let’s try to smile guys! It’s not America’s Next Top Model auditions!!!

A perfect night with a perfect crew

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My parents came to visit me last week. They were here for four days, and I got to hang out with them for four hours. Two hours with my dad on the golf course as I drove the cart (and halfheartedly took a few swings) , and two hours with my mom walking around downtown. That’s it.

I’m not counting when they came in for dinner twice, though. I was able to sit with them for 20 minutes one night before being summoned back to the kitchen. They gave up on me their last night in town and went to Barley’s for dinner and said it was great. I wish I could have joined them — I haven’t been to our local brewery in ??? I can’t remember, it’s been so long. Half a year?

I miss being able to see my folks as often as I did when I lived in Central Oregon. Stopping by for a glass of wine after work, and every once in a while staying for dinner and just talking to them about the most mundane of things. Wine. That reminds me, I haven’t had a glass of wine in weeks. I bought some, just haven’t opened any.

I was able to get the morning cook to push his tee time an extra 90 minutes so that my mom and I could go hunting bargains on the weekend of the Hell’s Canyon Motorcycle Rally (hosted here in Baker City). There were so many random sales in abandoned buildings, and I scored the coolest piece of art to put above the descending staircase at my home. I need to take a photo and share it. Super scary, but really a great piece.

I also made my parents dinner one evening when they came in to Paizano’s, although the meal wasn’t on the menu. Spinach salad with fresh raspberries, and a couple of the sexiest steaks you’ve ever seen… which made perfect sense considering they were from our local Sexton Ranch. They should market their steaks as “sexy”.

I grilled them and plopped a generous serving of homemade rosemary and garlic bone marrow butter on top. It was a Father’s Day gift of sorts because I won’t see them for the actual day, and I suck at remembering to send a card. Besides, I’m a great cook. I served them with a dry Spanish Rioja from BELLA market, and then titled myself Top Chef. They sucked the T-bones dry and my dad proclaimed it the best steak he’d ever had. Mission accomplished!

I had previously made the same recipe for our crew one night, so I knew it would be mind blowing. If you have a chance to pick up steaks from Sexton Ranch, do it. It’s better than the best steak you’ve had. Ever.

Because I’m a slacker, I’ll post photos of all of the crew meals so that you can be truly jealous and get hungry.

Crew Dinner:

Bone Marrow Buttah Steak

Happy Front Gal!

Second round a week-ish later, with some T-bones:

Grill Love

And another week-ish later, not as photogenic, but just as delicious; NY Strips with sauteed mushrooms & onions, and as a bonus a few different Sexton sausages. Ridiculously good. Splitting a meal this good 7 ways can get difficult, especially when we’re hungry.

Beef. It's what's for dinner. At the pizza place.

Nothing fancy here, just a good ol’ outdoor grill and side burner. We don’t use it for any menu items, just personal meals.

Ghetto Fabulous Grill

It does the job.

Sticky Sweet Pork Chops

Here are apricot chutney marinated pork chops. They melted with a fork; no knife needed. Unbelievable.

Luke hugged me after this meal, saying it was the best pork he’d ever had. Sticky sweet perfection. He didn’t even know what chutney was…. bless his soul!

I forgot to take photos of the Hawaiian kal-bi steaks that I made last week, but they were worthy of mentioning. Kal-bi style steak is one of my favorites.

This last photo is strange, and not set up right, but I had to share.

Bourbon Maple Bacon ice cream

This is homemade Maker’s Mark and Maple ice cream with candied pork belly and pecans.

And yes, it was strange, but very good. Everyone winced when I told them it was bacon ice cream, but the crunch and heat of the brittle with the heat of the liquor and sweet of the maple and sugar? Just trust me.

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Rolled my ankle again a couple of weeks ago. Look at that fatty!

Fat Ankle

Once you twist an ankle, it’s screwed for life. At least it heals faster than the first time you snap it. It’s been happening about once a month now, and the initial POP hurts something awful, but it heals in about a day. I can’t run on it, though, and gave up trying.

Instead, I got a new bike!

Isn’t she pretty?

I’m so looking forward to summer morning rides with the front gals, who each have cute beach cruisers as well. The Paizano’s bike gang! I’ll need to order do-rags.

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We had a pizza making contest last week. It was for employees only, and the employee with the highest score won $100 plus a chance to have their name on the next menu with their creation. We had a total of 9 pizzas that entered, and they were all so creative! I was amazed that even our front gals were coming up with crazy good ideas.

The logistics were difficult to contend with — I had to present all of the pizzas so that there wouldn’t be a bias with our judges, and the front gals don’t know how to toss a pizza dough. All of the regular kitchen crew were busy making their own pies, and Whitey had gone golfing, so I was busy running back and forth between the kitchen and dining room to toss dough and still do my best to keep the judges feeling… well… invited,  and then racing back to help the staff that needed help.

Our judges were composed of some of our favorite customers and friends, and each received a score card to keep notes and points.

I wish that I had found the time to take photos, but it was a bit chaotic.

I did get a few photos of the 2nd place winner — a dessert pie from one of our front gals:

and her dress matched the pizza!

She was so OCD about the whole thing, slicing and lining up her pieces of fruit in little rows before placing them on a cookie dough crust. It was sinfully delicious, and it made sense to make it the last of the pizzas presented.

Berry Good Pizza

Jake made a breakfast pizza, Courtney made a Mediterranean pie, Luke made a Thanksgiving Day pizza with mashed potatoes and turkey, stuffing and gravy and cranberries… there were some really creative offerings.

Our first prize winner was Kristen, and you could tell she was shocked. I didn’t even get to try her pie; something with roasted red peppers and gouda and chicken. The judges loved it.

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Had to dog sit Wall-Eye recently for a long trip that MIL went on. Every morning, the boys would gather and look so flippin’ sad when I left for work.

It’s like they practiced their hound dog look in the mirror in order to really pull on my heartstrings.

My Kids

Max took a tumble while playing frisbee and has been walking with a limp for the last week or so. Bad hips, and a few lumps are hanging under his rump which may or may not be fatty deposits. Barkley is now nicknamed Sir Gray Beard as I watch his fur turn colors, showing his age. He crackles, too, when he goes down the back steps to go outside. It makes me sad watching them get old.

I give them massages. I know that sounds strange but they really love it. I know that they’re sore and I find the joint or muscle that hurts and just rub it out for them. And I know that they are thankful. Max will walk right up to me and thrust his hip into my hand while I’m sitting down, then look over his back at me with these pitiful eyes… and my bottom lip pops out and my heart just bursts. He’s such a gentle giant.

I really want another rottweiler, soon. Dogs pick up habits from other dogs, and I want to clone Max for his loyalty and Barkley for his brains. Barkley is so stinkin’ smart!

I’ve been scanning newspapers online for a rott pup. No breeders need apply.

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Alright. I think that’s it for now. It took me two days to compile the last two months. Not bad.

It meant a lot to me to get so many personal emails regarding my last blog post. I know that it’s iffy to leave a permanent comment online for everyone to see; it relates to why I hit a road bump on my personal posts as well.

I really and truly put a huge thanks out there in my blogosphere. JC always has great advice, KM is my shrink, and JB made me cry. People can be so mean, but you guys are proof that people can also be empathetic and supportive, too. Thank you. I’ll figure it out soon.

 

 

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3 Responses to Two months of catch-up.

  1. Andi Sexton says:

    Yeah! You’re blogging again!!!!!!! Missed your words!

    Thank you so much for those steak comments!!!!! It was sooo good to see you yesterday at your awesome restaurant!

    Piazano’s is our favorite. Kids #1 choice and mine! Do you know how painful it is to drive 20 miles with a beautiful aromatic pizza on the back seat???? Good thing it wasn’t up front with me – probably would have caused an accident! By the time I got home that Pizza did NOT stand a chance (kids get cheese on 1/2, adults get the pesto/artichoke/sun dried tomato – with added Canadian Bacon). I ate my two pieces right away! Everyone else got there’s at dinner time… with Kina’s Favorite Salad!

    Have a great day!!!

  2. Andi Sexton says:

    oops! Here’s an edit to my previous post… ‘theirs’ instead of there’s. Dolt!

  3. claycooper says:

    Welcome back! I love reading what’s going on behind the scenes.

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