I can usually tell when Alex is going to have a good day in the kitchen. The signs have nothing to do with the validity of his ideas or the ingredients he’s playing with. I can tell whether or not he is going to succeed by his state of mind when he starts cooking. On a good day he is focused and intent. He has an idea in his head and he is absolutely convinced that he can make it happen. The little storm cloud that normally travels above his head is absent and he is actually smiling and rubbing his hands together as he weighs and measures. (I know I make him sound somewhat curmudgeonly but in the kitchen he kind of is.) On these days I know that something great is going to be created. It may not always be the dish that he intended to create but something unique and delicious is always the end result.
The same can probably be said for me although I cannot necessarily predict at the beginning of any given day, which way my tide will turn. Some things are just easier to see in others. There are countless stories about how a cook’s emotions can transfigure the foods they create. Anyone who’s ever spent time at the stove can attest to that. The mind is an incredibly powerful thing. We’ve both been known to eject each other from the kitchen when things get sticky. If one us turns to the other and says “Why don’t you go take the dogs for a walk?” It’s code for “Get the hell out of here, you’re making me crazy.” Lately we’ve both been having a tough time in the kitchen. Not that the food has been bad, it’s just been somewhat uninspired. The limited audience during the slow season has been problematic as the lack of challenge makes us somewhat sluggish and edgy. We’ve been bumbling around trying to find some real inspiration. Cooking for the blog can be very satisfying but it’s not always enough. There’s nothing like a dining room full of people and the hum of a busy kitchen.
This week the owners are in town and we haven’t actually spent much time cooking. We have spent a significant amount of time brainstorming and planning for the year ahead. One of the positive outcomes of these meetings is that we will be spending February in NYC instead of waiting until April. This will allow us to use the slow season to our advantage. By taking our vacation earlier, we are getting out of Pagosa sooner, which is a huge bonus for Alex and I. Frankly, we really need the change of scenery. This will also allow us to more efficiently utilize our time out East because we can spend the period between our vacation and the cruise promoting Keyah Grande. While we are in NYC we are going to try to coordinate some sales calls with our marketing team and do some entertaining of prospective clients, travel agents and media. This allows us to bring a taste of Keyah Grande to people who may not be willing or able to travel West without more information. We’re excited about going back East to eat, drink, shop and cook. It will give us a necessary transfusion of creativity and excitement to get our juices flowing again. Thank goodness for that.
So, we are going to spend the next couple of weeks getting ready for our trip back East. We always have a tentative list of restaurants in our heads, old favorites and new destinations, but we’re always open to suggestions. We’ll be based out of Queens for most of February and part of March and that’s a lot of opportunities to eat out. Who knows, perhaps we’ll even meet a few of our readers along the way.