A couple of triumphant returns, but a couple of new faces as well

Dear Feastlings,

I’ve just returned from the dining room, where I checked in on a guest to make sure she was enjoying everything, and she told me this: “It’s always good. I always have the same thing.” There are really only a couple of opportunities to have the same thing every time here, and I don’t entirely understand it myself. I understand those opportunities, mind you: there are really only two dishes that haven’t left the menu in over twenty years, and that would be the Feast grilled cheese sandwich, and the chocolate truffle cookie.

What I don’t understand is having an ever-changing menu spread out before you each time you come and not being interested in trying something else out. I have a short attention span, myself, and quickly discover myself each month wanting to move on to new dishes we haven’t made before. Sometimes it’s because the seasons change and previously unavailable ingredients finally present themselves- squash blossoms, for example, simply can’t be had here in the winter months- and sometimes it’s because my attention is netted by some shiny new object- a kitchen tool we haven’t had around before, or some quirky liqueur, or an ingredient that can only be had for a moment as fleeting as my shrinking attention span.

Twenty-three years of menu changes has alternately pressed on my head with stress like a vise, and rescued me from ennui and hopelessness. Today, New Menu Day, has cheered me up considerably, and it’s been a compromise. If I had my way, we’d look back to past items far less often than we do, but no small number of you ask for the dishes you’ve missed, and as much as I’d love never to make the same dish twice, I also know which side my bread is buttered on. It’s buttered on the side of people who want to come back for squash blossoms, and roasted strawberry shortcake.

I understand the fondness people have for our more popular dishes, but the argument I’d make to anyone who questioned my preference for moving on is this: if we didn’t change the menu each month, that dish you’ve fallen in love with would never have appeared to begin with. So this month, we bring back the squash blossoms and the roasted strawberry shortcake in the place of a couple of dishes that will never have come into existence, and that, to me, is a shame. Not that I relish having to come up with eight or a dozen new dishes twelve times a year, but I’ll bow my head in a moment of silence for the dishes that never came to be since I didn’t have to think them up lest I be dragged through the streets for leaving squash blossoms by the wayside.

So the new June menu does indeed offer the by-now-traditional squash blossoms and roasted strawberry shortcake,


but it also features dishes we haven’t made before that I hope are destined for your list of future requestable dishes: tamales with huitlacoche, corn and potatoes topped with red snow crab, or branzino stuffed with potatoes, Castelvetrano olives and citrus. And game hen ravioli with buttered whey, marjoram, pickled seeds and gribenes. (To save you the time in looking up gribenes, it’s chicken skin with all the fat rendered out until it’s good and crispy.)

We’ve got another wine tasting lined up for this weekend, a round of Spanish stuff again to get your palates warmed up for the Hogueras de San Juan, a summer solstice celebration we’ll be making special dishes for on Tuesday, June 25th. I’d post a link to that menu, but it has yet to be written, what with all the other stuff we have to ready ourselves for in between: not just the June menu whose link you see above, but the wine tasting,

Another round of Spanish wines

and Primavera Cooks,

Primavera Cooks!

and Father’s Day.

Some special dishes for Dad.

Soon you’ll find a menu posted for the Bonfires of San Juan as well, and before you know it, July. And Bastille Day. And more wine tastings and dinners. And who knows what else we’ll come up with. I just hope it’ll be something we haven’t done before.



Email List Signup

Be the first to know about new and holiday menus, upcoming events like our weekly wine tastings, and other Feast specific musings. Join our mailing list.
You can unsubscribe anytime.