S P R I N G 2 0 0 5 N E W S L E T T E R
It's been far too long since we've said hello (unless you're on our email list) and we apologize. Some of you we see regularly and so stay in touch face to face. Others have moved away or live out of the area and miss news from their favorite restaurant on the coast.
The good news is we've been busy. Thanks to all who return to us again and again. Thanks also for your comments. We're always looking for ways we can better serve you. Our website www.mendobistro.com has a new look and over the year will have an expanded recipe section. We already list our special events but we're planning on putting our nightly specials on the site. First let's see if we can get a newsletter to you regularly.
Speaking of email, if you're not on our email list, please come in and sign up, or update your address. We send special offers more frequently via email than by the postal service. In this issue you'll find reports on happenings at Mendo Bistro, dining out of town, the spectacular Coro Mendocino Dinner, a recipe and a special offer.
Our 6th Anniversary
Was a wonderful... The Flynn Creek Circus did an amazing job. We're quite fortunate to have such a talented group of performers here on the coast. The day afterwards people were asking when we were going to do it again. Hopefully this will be annual event. Don't miss it next year.
Six years. Time flies and seems endless at the same time. Six years ago we were scurrying around, making sure our makeshift equipment was going to work, and wondering if our vision for bringing amazing, affordable food to our community would be embraced. We're happy to say it has.
Jeremiah Tower's standard reply to the question what makes a restaurant great was "the customers." We couldn't agree more. We've a proposition for you. Strange as it seems, there are people in our community who have never been to Mendo Bistro, or if they have, came once 6 years ago and never tried us again. If you know one of these people, bring them in for dinner, get them to join our mailing list and we'll give you a gift certificate for a free dessert. When they sign up, they'll receive a gift certificate for dessert sent to the address they provide.
"We love the punk rock Martha Stewart. This is our new favorite restaurant"
You've probably seen some new faces at Mendo Bistro. If you haven't, come say hello to Ilona Anderson, Leonore Hurni, Lynette Norman (bussers), Melissa Attanasio, Sara Liner and Noelle Stone (waiters), Jhovanny & Lazaro Moo-Lira ,who do double duty at Cafe Beaujolais, (cooks), Santos Colli-Dzul (prep) and Wilbert Baeza (dishwasher).
We're happy to have them all with us and we all look forward to serving you soon.
Coro Mendocino is a unique collaborative effort by Mendocino winemakers to create a class of ultra-premium wines that showcase the rich heritage and unique characteristics of Mendocino County. Or so says the Mendocino Winegrower's Alliance. We say hurray.
An initial group of 8 county winemakers got together a couple of years ago and set themselves the task of developing an identity for Mendocino County wines. After much discussion they developed a set of parameters for this unique, blended wine.
This is the first time in U.S. history that winemakers from a region have set blending/aging parameters for a wine distinctive to the area. Zinfandel is the dominant varietal of Coro Mendocino, which also have at least one year in barrel and six months in bottle before release. Made entirely in Mendocino County and exclusively from Mendocino County fruit, these wines share a uniform bottle and label employing a special trademarked logo.
The beauty of this approach is that within these guidelines the winemakers can develop their own voice by using other varietals in their blend. The word voice is particularly appropriate, since Coro means chorus in both Italian and Spanish. Different voices singing the same song.
Last year 8 chefs from the county collaborated on a dinner at Brutocao Cellars in Hopland showcasing the Coro wineries and there are plans for us to do the same this year. I'm thrilled because it was such fun to work alongside my colleagues from the coast. Although we live in the same community we rarely get to see each other (unless we're at dinner at each other's restaurants) and never get to work together. At best we all show up to same event, like Winesong! or the Mendocino Wine Affair in Hopland and are placed at opposite ends of the fi eld. Last year's Coro dinner sold out quickly so when we release the date, get your tickets quickly.
At Mendo Bistro we have been pouring Eaglepoint Ranch's Coro and plan to add the others throughout the year. Come join the chorus.
"Absolutely fabulous service & food. The accomodation of requests is unsurpassed"
Other Tables, Other Chairs
Not that they need any more press but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention our dinners at Delfina on 18th St in San Francisco. It's one of two places Jaimi and I have visited multiple times during our city trips. The focus is on simply prepared, amazing Italian food and exemplary service. Our last meal there was during white truffle season and the risotto with truffles and fonduta was perfect. The room is small, a bit cramped (you may find yourself in conversation with the table next to you) but so are most restaurants in the city. Some people have commented that Delfina is what we would be if we were in the city. Go see for yourself and then come tell us what you think.
The other place we've gone regularly is the Saigon Sandwich Shop on Larkin near Eddy. The banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) are stunning. $2.25 gets you a roast pork, chicken, or Asian meatball sandwich on a crusty French roll, with cilantro, jalapenos, carrots and a sweet dressing. Perfect for a quick lunch before going to the Asian Art Museum down the block.
There are dozens of other places to tell you about, but there's so much going on at Mendo Bistro we need to let you know about we'll just have to tell you in person. Come see us for the latest updates.
Planning a party, rehearsal dinner, family reunion?
With advance notice we can accomodate
groups of nearly any size.
Prices start at $30 per person
and include three courses and non-alcoholic beverage.
Please call Nicholas or Jaimi, or click here
for more details.
The New Organics
While USDA organic standards have pushed the concept into the mainstream, some farmers and consumers think the regulations make it easy to subvert the purpose of organic farming. Indeed, when you see labels like "Dole Organics" you have to wonder.
With organic certification comes a mountain of paperwork to file and fees to pay. Affordable for large corporations but not small farmers. One of our main suppliers, an organic farmer in the foothills, is considering dropping his certification. "Why should I pay fees and fill out paperwork to do what I'm already going to do?" is his argument.
Ultimately, knowing your sources is the best guarantee you'll be getting food that is good for you. Joan Gussow, professor emeritus of Teachers College in New York City, has long been an advocate of eating locally and seasonally. By doing so you support your community as well being able to really see where your food is grown.
How should we define local? According to Gussow the most commonsense principle to follow is that the fewer miles the food travels from the farm to your table, the better. We've done this from the beginning. That's why our wines are all from Mendocino County. We had a recent comment from a customer who said they would like to see more organic wines on our list. What they may not have known is that on that list there were 5 organic wines, 2 of them biodynamic, which goes beyond organic in its principles. We've never been very good about trumpeting our use of organic and locally grown products because it's second nature to us. We both had parents who gardened, farmed and hunted and we grew up realizing we'd rather eat real food than chemicals. Now, however, with more people being aware of organic standards we wanted to be able to clarify our stance.
We try to get our products locally as often as possible. Being in Mendocino County that means many of them are certified organic. Many aren't however, but they would be if the farmers wanted to jump through hoops instead of tending the soil. How about things which don't grow here? Coffee for instance. Ours comes from East Timor, via Big River Coffee Company. It's organic, shade-grown and collectively owned by the Timorese growing cooperative. So when we can't get things locally, we try to deal with local importers and use the best possible products.
"This is the second year we have enjoyed your ambience. We'll be back next year and hopefully, for many years to come."
Braised Short Ribs with Verjus
From the Coro Mendocino Dinner 2004
For short ribs:
4# beef short ribs cut 2” wide
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, peeled & sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic
3 Tbs tomato paste
Mixture of veal, lamb and pork stocks to cover
4-5 ripe tomatoes
3 bay leaves
4 pieces dried orange peel
6-8 pieces star anise
5 sprigs thyme
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
5 sprigs marjoram
1 6” square of pig skin
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 cup verjus
5 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 pieces star anise
1 bay leaf
1 tsp coriander seed
2 cups water
3/8 cup roasted garlic
3/4 cup unsalted butter
11/2 cups mushroom powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 egg whites
Salt to taste
Water to thin to spreadable consistency.
4 cups dried
shiitakes Grind to powder in spice mill.
Season ribs with salt & pepper. Brown well on all sides over medium heat. Remove from pan. Add vegetables and cook until soft. Add paste, return meat to pan and barely cover with stocks. Add tomatoes.
Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low and braise until tender (approx 3 hours). You can also braise in a 400 degree oven. Remove meat and keep warm. Pass sauce through a food mill and defat. Season with salt and pepper. Bring all ingredients except onions to boil. Remove from heat and infuse for 30 minutes. Return to boil and strain over onions. Let cool.
Preheat oven to 350º
Cream together garlic and butter. Add other ingredients up to water and mix well. Add water carefully to thin to desired consistency. If you wish, make a mushroom stencil from a plastic lid (cut out with a craft knife) and thinly spread the batter over the stencil onto silicone baking mat. Bake tuiles for 6-8 minutes, or until brown and crisp.
Try this at home. Then come tell us how it turned out. Check out the other recipes on our website.
"Always impresses us how professional, friendly, and pleasant your wait staff is."
How To Get Your Free Birthday Dinner
You have to come with a party of 4 or larger. Your certificate will be good for your birthday week which we define as your birthday through the next seven days. You have to bring your certificate. If you don't do these things you'll have a great dinner but you'll have to pay for it.
Some of you have said you haven't been receiving birthday cards. A few things could have happened. If we have your email address the card was sent to the email address. Perhaps your spam fi lter kept it from you. If so add us to your list of email contacts. If you've changed addresses, either email or physical and haven't told us, your forwarding order may have expired before your card was mailed. Or we may have somehow garbled your information.
No matter how it happened please make sure we have your correct information, we want you to celebrate with us.
Just a note: Our friends with email addresses on file with us tend to get more special offers than those who don't. Although we'd like to send mailings to everyone when we have special events or offers we just don't have the budget for that. So, if we only have your physical address, stop by and make sure we have your email.
As always, we send email only to those who have given us their email addresses. If we have gotten into your mailbox by mistake, or you wish to be removed from our e-mailing list, please email us at email@example.com
For more information send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org