Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day #7, #5 Jack Robert

The #5 is named after Mark Hamel's nephew, Jack Robert Hamel. Jack is Max's brother (from the #4 Little Maxime sandwich). A lot of family history in these names! Jack worked at the laundry last summer as a busboy and we all enjoyed having him work here!

This sandwich is made with fresh chicken salad, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, and mayo on soft fresh Zingerman's Challah bread. While this is a pretty basic sandwich, it is one of our most popular. I can see why: the chicken salad and bacon really compliment each other well to start off, and then you add the soft Challah delicious. :)

Here's a little information on Challah bread: Challah Bread was a treat for European Jews in the early 19th and 20th centuries living in poverty. After eating mostly herring and bread crust, the
Sabbath Challah was something to look forward to. Challah is made with real eggs, clover honey, and cold pressed corn oil.

This bread is the softest of the breads we sell and I love it. The #5 was a sandwich that I would order again, although I will always be taking half home since it is incredibly large and filling.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day #6, Breakfast- Ron and Deb's Weekender

Today for breakfast I enjoyed my second item off of the breakfast menu- The Ron and Deb’s Weekender. This entrée was named after two employees that worked for us years ago, Ron and Debbie. They both worked in coffee back when the Laundry was still primarily a deli and they only worked on the weekends. Back in the day customers went up to the counter and ordered and then took their ticket to the coffee area to pay. Ron worked the cash register and Debbie worked the coffee and pastries.

The Ron and Deb’s Weekender is scrambled eggs and sautéed mushrooms topped with Maytag blue cheese, and a Zingerman’s croissant. Zingerman’s croissants, also known as all-butter croissants, are a classic Parisian pastry. It is made with multiple layers of butter laden dough, with many caverns and crevices. I loved the croissant, which is an extremely rare thing for me to say about any food that I have not tried before. But, I loved it.

I also enjoyed the scrambled eggs and mushrooms, but the Maytag blue cheese was a slightly different story. I have never like blue cheese, and it is probably something I never will really enjoy. Apparently it is one of those foods that you either love or hate, with little room in between. However, the story behind Maytag blue is interesting. Maytag blue was created at Iowa State University and is made from homogenized milk (rather than traditional sheep’s milk). The process is still used on Maytag Dairy Farms to create this cheese by hand the traditional way. Since it’s creation, Maytag had dominated the US blue cheese market, and won the best hard blue cheese award at the 2005 World Cheese Awards.

This is a great breakfast for those who love blue cheese. For those who don’t, I would suggest substituting our Grafton Vermont Cheddar. :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day #5, #4 Little Maxime

Sandwich #4, or little Maxime, is named after Mark Hamel's oldest nephew, Max. The sandwich was created when Max was still "little" and the restaurant was just opened. The name Max in French is Maxime, such as the famous restaurant "Chez Maxime" in Paris. Many people think that this is a typo on our menu, and that it is actually supposed to be Maxine. Not the case!

This sandwich sounds good; made with fresh home-made chicken salad and spinach on Zingermans' Raisin Pecan Bread. This bread is very dense and has a half pound of pecans and Flame Red Raisins baked into every loaf. Flame Red Raisins are made from the Flame Red Grape, which is large, seedless, and crunchy. When these grapes are naturally dried into raisins, they are still very large and juicy- unlike many raisins found at your local supermarket.

I have a strong dislike for raisins, so naturally I was a little apprehensive about this sandwich. While my thoughts on raisins did not change while I was eating this sandwich, I did think the raisin pecan bread, spinach, and chicken salad complimented one another very well. I can see why this unique sandwich has been on our menu so long, and will be popular for many more years to come.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day # 4, Breakfast- Nancy's California Proposal

Today I started off my morning at the 5:45am. I only work opening shifts about once a week, and it is always a great opportunity for me to be able to try out our breakfast menu.

I started at the top of the breakfast entrees with the Nancy's California Proposal. While the name sounds quite unusual, it makes obvious sense when you know the story behind it. It is named after a regular customer of ours, who came back from California and proposed to Mark the idea of serving a similar breakfast entree to one that she had enjoyed on her trip. This became the Nancy's California Proposal on our breakfast menu.

The Nancy's, (as we like to call it) is a handmade potato pancake topped with Lox, capers, and a salad made of English cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and creamy sour cream sauce. Served with a hard cooked egg on the side.

A common question with the Nancy's is, "What are Lox?"
There are actually a couple type of Lox. There is regular (also called belly lox), which is made by brining in a solution of water or oil, salt, sugars and spices. Another type of Lox is called Nova Lox or Nova Scotia salmon, is cured with a milder brine and then cold-smoked. Our Nancy's California Proposal is made with the Nova Lox.

This breakfast entree is a far cry from the eggs, avocado, and toast that I normally enjoy for breakfast. As I was eating I tried to get a little of everything into every bite. This really helped me get past the fact that I was eating Salmon for breakfast. The Lox didn't have the same flavor or texture as regular salmon, it was a taste completely different from anything I have ever tried.

I am glad to have given the Nancy's California Proposal a chance. Although i did not like the Lox, I no longer feel intimidated by them because I know what it tastes like and is made from. I would recommend that other try this for breakfast sometime, it really is a very unique item on our menu.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day #3, Appetizer- Crab Cake Sliders

Today I decided to try an appetizer off of our Supple Suppers Menu. I started right at the top of the list with Crab Cake Sliders. This was a new addition to our most recent winter 2009 menu. The idea came from previous manager Hank McNally, who had tried something similar on a trip to California.

The appetizer consists of a pair of house-made jumbo lump blue crab cakes on brioche buns, topped with a caper remoulade, served with a basket of Tim's Chips. When making our Crab Cake Sliders, a mousseline sauce is used rather than the mayonnaise in most crab cake recipes. The Brioche Bread is from Zingerman's and it is a traditional French bread made with real butter and fresh eggs.

I was very surprised to learn that I LIKE crab cakes! After not eating any type of seafood for the last few years, I learned that just because it is seafood, it will not automatically have a fishy taste. The Crab Cake Sliders were the complete opposite of my expectations, and I was very happy to have had the experience of try something very out of the ordinary routine of food that I normally choose. Great job Chef Jody on this creation!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day #2, #3 The Downriver

Today I had a #3- The Downriver. This sandwich is made with Liverwurst, sweet red onions, and hot mustard on Zingerman's Pumpernickel bread.

This sandwich was an original creation from Mark Hamel, co-owner of The French Laundry. Its name originated from Mark's childhood, as his parents often fed him liverwurst sandwiches with mustard, in an area west of Detroit, known as Downriver.

The idea of eating liverwurst terrified me, as I did not know what it would taste like or what was in the product. The main ingredients in our Alexander & Hornung Braunschweiger Liversausage are pork liver and pork, with some other additives like dehydrated onions and flavoring. Knowing the ingredients made it a little less intimidating. Liverwurst has a taste similar to bologna, but the texture is softer. The hot mustard and sweet onions complemented the meat well, as well as the pumpernickel.

Pumpernickel was another bread that I had not tried, and I rather enjoyed this part of the sandwich. Zingerman's Pumpernickel Bread is another Jewish style bread that we offer. It is made with real pumpernickel flour and has a dark brown appearance. This bread was not as scary to eat as I had previously thought because much like the rye bread, the flavor was not overwhelming.

Overall, this sandwich was not something that I would order for myself, but I can see the appeal to those that grew up on baloney and mustard sandwiches, but now like a more grown up taste.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 1, #1 BLT

Today I am enjoying our sandwich #1, a Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich. This sandwich is made with Applewood smoked Bacon, lettuce, and tomato on fresh Zingerman's Jewish Rye Bread.

While I have not eaten bacon in a very long time, it was surprisingly crispy and had great flavor. I was also very surprised with the rye bread (Which I have avoided since childhood). The Jewish Rye on this sandwich did not have an overbearing flavor, and it was actually something that I enjoyed.

The interesting part about Zingerman's Jewish Rye is that it is actually made with real rye flour (most "rye bread" sold in America contains very little rye flour), a natural sour rye starter, and ground caraway seeds.

Overall I was very happy to have given this sandwich a chance, especially because the bread was so different than my original thoughts of rye bread.

Introduction to our blog..

Today is the start of a very large project I have taken on as a manager of The French Laundry, in Fenton, Michigan.

The project is to eat and blog about every item on all of our menus: breakfast, lunch and beyond, supple suppers, and pastries and desserts. This will take a considerable amount of time, since our menu is very large and we often have specials and new items added to the menu.

This project comes from the idea that our guests will be able to visit this blog and read the history of our menu items, and receive an honest opinion about them, coming from possibly one of the pickiest eaters anyone has ever met. My current favorite foods are chicken and salad and I rarely stray from this menu and try new foods, hopefully this blog will broaden my horizons as well as those of the readers.

Please feel free to comment and ask questions! We would love to hear from you!