News & Notes from BKB

December 15, 2009

Christmas is soon approaching and this might be a tad late for those of you who get Christmas shopping out of the way early but BKB has some great gift ideas for those who love food and love to cook.

Gift Certificates

Our gift certificates always make a great gift but they are especially perfect for stocking stuffers, teacher’s gifts, secret Santa gifts, or for coworkers because they come in $10 denominations.  Give someone the gift of great food without breaking your piggy bank.  There are ten days left till Christmas so hurry on down and get some.

BKB Cooking Classes

Purchase one of these classes for $30 or a package of 3 for $75.  This is a great gift for those who love to cook or would just enjoy a fun night out.  Buy a certificate and let them choose which class they would prefer.  Our first class coincides with Windsor Eats’ Winter Bites.  What better way to kick off Winter Bites than learning what makes BKB’s soups and stews so special.

On the third Sunday of each month BKB will be holding a series of cooking classes.  These classes will demonstrate the technique used to create the dishes as well as sampling the dishes themselves.  Participants will also get to sample wines that pair well with the dishes being made.  These classes are very informal and are meant to be as social as they are informative.  Cooking was meant to be fun.  Food, wine and friends.  Come alone or book as a group.  Attendance is limited to 20 people so book early.

Sunday January 17th, 2009     6:15pm to 8p.m

Soups & Stews – come see what makes BKB’s soups so memorable.  What better way to warm up on a cold winter’s night.

Sunday February 21st 2009    6:15pm to 8p.m

Appetizers – learn how to make simple yet elegant and impressive appetizers. What you learn will be perfect for any party or family function. Your parties will never be the same.

Sunday March 21st 2009        6:15pm to 8pm

Pastas – one of the most versatile foods than can render endless possibilities.  Learn how to make fresh pasta as well as a plethora of different sauces.

Sunday April 18th 2009          6:15pm to 8pm

Sauces and Dressings – put away the Paul Newman forever.  You won’t need to buy any packaged dressings or sauces after you learn how easy it is to make your own.

Sunday May 16th 2009            6:15pm to 8pm

Vegetarian – while many of the classes will be veg friendly and have many veg options, we will look at specific veg flavours and styles along with a closer look at lesser known grains and vegetables.

Sunday June 20th 2009           6:15pm to 8pm

Desserts – learn some great shortcuts and some easy ways to make healthy alternatives to the heavy decadent desserts you may be used to.  Use of fruit and natural sweeteners with classic techniques can render delicious results without the boatload of calories.

Location: The Black Kettle Bistro – 357 Ouellette Ave

Price: $30/each (taxes included) or 3 for $75

For more info or to book a spot please email blackkettlebistro@gmail.com or call 519.252.4333

BKB Participates in Windsor Eats’ Winter Bites

BKB is excited to participate in Winter Bites.  Winter Bites gives us an opportunity to create dishes and menus that go beyond our regular menu.  Don’t miss this chance to sample some new dishes.  We also have some other fun and unique events in the works for the week.  Our first cooking class kicks the week off.  Stay tuned for more info and our Winter Bites menus.  Visit Windsor Eats for full details and a listings of all participating restaurants.

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Great Catering Options Offered at BKB

February 11, 2009

Since we opened our doors in June of last year we have been trying hard to expand our offerings in every sense of the word.  We have expanded to offer breakfast, lunch and now dinner.  We offer a full coffee bar menu, full menu of organic teas, and organic smoothies as well.  Our liquor license has arrived and we now offer wine, beer, and mixed drinks.  In fact there isn’t much we don’t offer.

What we’ve been working on recently is a lunch delivery system.  There have been many snags to doing exactly what we originally wanted but we have finally developed a system that works well and we are very excited about.  The system is simple.  We offer a special delivery package that includes choice of sandwich, choice of soup, house salad, and bottle of water all for an inclusive price of $10.  That includes delivery and all applicable taxes.  This is a perfect choice for staffs and offices where each person wants something unique and individually suited for them.  We also can cater with many other options.  We have catered events as large as 800 people.  We can sit down and discuss any specific ideas or requests.  Our goal is to get offices or staffs to have a regular delivery day so that they know that every Monday, for example, is BKB day.  They simply fill out the small order form (soon to be available online) and either call it in or fax it in.  We can also arrange to pick it up from the office at a set time.  We would need roughly 12 or so people to make it viable.

If you or anyone you know might be interested in something like please contact me at BKB anytime.  Leave a message here or email us at blackkettlebistro@gmail.com.

This is just another way that we are trying to meet and exceed the needs of our clients.  We are constantly trying to improve upon our original ideas and have taken much time to consult with our friends, and customers alike to see where we can improve and expand.  This is one concept that we feel will be very popular.  It has already had many rave reviews by teaching staffs throughout the city.  We hope many of you will find the value in it and contact us for more details.


Ressurecting the old notion of Family Restaurant

February 9, 2009

Its been sometime since Charlie, my youngest son (4) has been operating a restaurant out of his toy kitchen in our apartment.  It’s a small place, no employees.  He cooks, serves and does all the promo himself.  There have been times where i bust out laughing because of the exchanges we have as he pretends to run his restaurant.  For example…..he approaches me and asks what i want to eat.  I ask for a menu.  He says his restaurant doesn’t have any.  He then lists the four or five things that he does have.  If you ask for anything special he just scoffs and walks away.  The beginnings of a fine chef.  Both of our kids have a great interest in the restaurant seeing as they often come with me to work and hang out with staff in between babysitters or when we just don’t have any babysitters.  Bring your kids to work days are many for me.

This weekend was especially busy so i had many things to prep before Monday morning.  I’ve been baking all our bread fresh at BKB so the amount of prep some days can be daunting.  Sundays are my only day off and that often means i just have to go in for a few hours instead of all day.  On this particular Sunday Anastasia offered to come help and we decided to bring the kids.  When i brought the idea up to them they lit up. Funny but i can see why that would be exciting for them.  Charlie especially was very serious when we discussed how he can learn how to do all the things that it took to run a restaurant not just the cooking.  We drove down to the restaurant and immediately got to work.  I started prepping the dough and Anastasia was in charge of the crew to clean the dining area.  Dave, my partner, had just finished doing some repairs and must have thought it was a weird way to spend a day off with the family.  The kids were unbelievable.  Charlie (4) and Jack (6) cleaned the entire dining area.  They swept, wiped tables, wiped seats, vacuumed, and wiped down all the legs of the chairs.  Even I thought it would turn disastrous after a while and just lead to the boys running around playing Star Wars.  It didn’t.  They were very focused.  I was shocked to see how serious and excited they were doing it.  It was fun.  For everyone.  I’ve decided to make this a regular occurrence and give them an allowance for it.  Aside from it being cheap labour for me, it teaches them a good work ethic, the notion of working for your money and it also give them a true insight on what mommy and daddy do all day when they’re at work.  Being self employed in the hospitality business has its ups and downs but it has does have a unique sense of teamwork and bringing people together.  I so look forward to the day that the boys will want to come work with me when they’re older.  The old school idea of passing things on from generation to generation is not dead.  I love the idea of having a modern day version of the family restaurant.  Maybe one day you will be lucky enough to eat at “Charlie’s Famous Food” restaurant.  Apparently he makes the best frittattas in town.


Finally OPEN for Dinner

February 5, 2009

I’m taking this opportunity to let everyone know that we are finally opening for dinner starting Friday February 6.  The Black Kettle Bistro has had lots of success with its lunch business but we have had a hard time bringing everything together to open later and offer a great product.  We’ve got it all now.  If you’re downtown either night this weekend you should stop by and take a look at what we’re offering.  Aside from our regular menu we have a full cafe menu with roughly 20 organic loose leaf teas, organic coffee, organic espresso based drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos, and organic 100% fruit smoothies.  On top of all that we have a full bar menu.  We have beer, wine, martinis, and a range of mixed drinks.  If you’re feeling creative simply add a shot to any of our coffees or smoothies.  It’s the perfect place to stop in for a quick bite, chat over coffee or have a drink before heading to the bar.  We are also open late on weekends so after the bar stop in for your late night munchies.  Come by and say hello.  Come early, I may not be in such a good mood by 2 am.  We’ve worked really hard in striking a balance between coffee house, restaurant, and lounge.  Please stop in and let us know what you think.  Before you head out to your favorite watering hole come by for quick peak.  Besides, if you’re hungry, the phries you get at other places downtown won’t really compare to anything you have at BKB.   We’re now open from 9am to 10pm Monday through Thursday, open till 3am on Friday and Saturdays, and closed Sundays.   Hope to see some recognizable faces as well as new faces that have yet to experience BKB.


Romantic Gourmet Auditions

February 4, 2009

Just pulling out of union station in Toronto. Well I had my first audition yesterday. (I use first as if I have so many lined up. Not the case.) Not really sure why that’s worth mentioning. I think the word audition carries so much weight and invokes so many ideas of grandeur. The notion of ‘the big break’ inspires everyone for some false hope at a life so special. Well that romantic notion is just a way of elevating the importance of such an event but is not really grounded in actuality. In actuality it was a bland, short, uneventful twenty minutes.

After a brief lunch with my friend Aaron and a long trolley ride west, I found myself at a small photography studio. I walked in, sat down, signed a release form and waited. After a brief wait a woman escorted me downstairs where they had a small studio set up. Within minutes of taking off my coat I was in front of the bright lights and camera mimicking a cooking show. In broken English the cameraman/director tried to explain to me the premise of the show. It goes like this. A chef and a female co-host receive letters from viewers. The theme of the letters revolves around the idea that the viewer would like to cook something special for her/his husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend especially because their relationship is going through a tough time. It’s called The Romantic Gourmet by the way. So we read the letter, discuss how we can help and what kind of dish we’ll prepare and then we split up. The chef, me in this case, goes shopping for the food and the female host goes and meets the couple and talks to them. We then cook a meal with the person who wrote the letter and then serve it to them. They love it, fall deeper in love and everybody lives happily ever after. Interesting premise for a show, it will probably do well. The entire time leading up to it and the entire trolley car ride after the audition, I tried to understand why I came to Toronto and did the audition. I’m not really sure I would like this sort of show. I definitely wouldn’t watch it and I don’t think I would enjoy playing the part. I’m not really a good fit for it. I would be better suited for a show on the spike network where I can be myself and talk about food and cooking with a lot of passion in my own unique way (expletives and all). That being said, why was I here in Toronto trying to get this part? It’s all part of the long arms of promotion. What better way to help promote BKB, Windsor, and any future projects by having a recognizable public persona. When you decide to be self employed and wander the weary world of small business you come to a realization that everything you do is interconnected in one way or other. Like it or not. Do I agree with the concept that it should be like that, not really, but I do realize it as reality and trudge on. If they called me tomorrow and told me I got that part, even with the realization that I wouldn’t really enjoy it, I would gladly accept and then tell the world about it. I might even do a happy dance. As much as I might not like the day to day of doing the show I know that it would be a great benefit to promoting everything else I do. As for how I think I did, well I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a second chance audition, but I would be VERY surprised if I got the part. They liked my camera presence when I mimicked the cooking portion but I think I fell flat when working off the co-host and doing the intro and closing. I can’t just instantaneously get into character and have some funny banter and great rapport with someone I just got introduced to and am standing next to for the next three minutes. I have trouble with the bullshit. I guess that same attitude can be seen in most projects or interests I’m involved in. Not much bullshit, just simple and to the point. BKB is a great example of that. No fan fare, no bells or whistles. Good food, actually great food, served fast and bloody cheap. That simple.


Unique Concept in Sushi

January 31, 2009

I get really excited for friends and acquaintances that are on the verge of something great or are continuously searching for a way to turn their talents into a successful business endeavor.   The most recent endeavor that has really caught my eye and believe is worth sharing is Ted Dimoglou’s Tiki Sushi Cart.  If you’ve eaten sushi in Windsor you have probably eaten Ted’s at one point or other.  Ted has years of experience working in local sushi joints and has recently developed the concept of the sushi cart.  Ted has been pedalling the idea at local wedding shows as well as ones in London.  Its a great idea.  If you have a large function or know of anyboday getting married this would be a great addition to your party.  Sushi has become incredibly popular and I am quite confident Ted will be very successful in this endeavor but I want to help spread the word.  People always are looking for ways to make their wedding unique or different.  Well this is perfect for that.  The only contact info that I have currently for Ted is his email address.  If you or anybody you know is interested in Ted’s services by all means please send him an email.  tikisushi@gmail.com.  Not only will the sushi cart make a big impact on your party, Ted’s personality is perfectly suited to entertain and engage guests all night long.


Buying Local: Ideology not enough

January 31, 2009

The notion or idea of buying local is fast becoming one of the most popular catch phrases of today’s generation. We even hear it in the media with respect to Obama’s stimulus package in the United States. As a restaurant owner I often have a problem buying local ingredients. With time restraints and pressure to find the best prices buying local, when it comes to food especially for a restaurant, can be very challenging. Just yesterday I read a blog post on the my local food blog about a local wheat mill. My first reaction was to find the phone number and get some pricing. I have planned to visit the mill later this week. I hope we can create a working relationship. I am admittedly very ignorant of the local food suppliers that are available. I hope to be using the info from the blog to help me better achieve my goal of using as much local ingredients as possible. In the summer I have the market and/or option to take a trek out to the county and stock up on fresh vegetables. In the winter it isn’t so easy. The idea of buying local reaches far beyond the food that we eat. In Windsor it has meant buy domestically made cars. There is nothing more frustrating than driving behind a car that has a “out of a job yet” bumper sticker only to see them pulling into a Wal Mart, Costco, or Kelseys parking lot. They are so self serving and short sighted. The notion of supporting local must become a widespread full out practice. Believing in the idea is one thing but acting it out is far more important. There are many great examples of local small businesses that offer better services than the chains and come with much more rewarding experiences. I don’t want to make an all out bold statement like you should boycott chains. Some chains have quality as a priority and respect the products they sell and contribute to a better local environment while others just package a product in an appealing way and simply want an easy sale. Decisions should be made on an individual basis. Many of the larger restaurant chains simply disrespect the food and product so badly that it is appalling to spend any money there and support the plastic, bland atmosphere. We are so fortunate to have a multitude of small restaurants and bars that offer a wide variety of styles of food and atmospheres. We also have a multitude of other businesses that are unique and offer so much more than what you’ll find at the mall or out on Walker road. One of my favorite things to do with my oldest son jack is to go for a walk to Rogues Gallery downtown. We’ve been going there since he was roughly 2 or 3. He loves it. We go every 2-3 months. The guys there are great. Jack wasn’t even able to read but was fascinated by the posters, figures and atmosphere of the place. He has since developed a love for reading that has him reading at a grade 4 level. (he’s in grade 1) The place is great. I’ll grab a comic book, a couple of retro Stars Wars figures and it might come out to $10. Its great to go to a place where the people are so passionate about their products and services. The movie theatre downtown is another wonderful example of great value and right in our midst downtown. If I take my entire family to see a movie at the larger boxes out at the mall or on Walker road I would pay almost $60 for 2 adults, 2 children, and a popcorn combo of some sort. That same scenario downtown has cost me $26. INCREDIBLE! Less than half the price. Supporting local businesses needs to be a conscious decision on every level. We spend money on goods and services everyday. When you are getting ready to go out and buy something or have something done for you take a moment and ask yourself if there is anybody small and local that can do that for you instead. Hardware stores, dry cleaners, restaurants, cafes, bookstores, record stores, gift shops, haircuts, groceries, flower shops, shoe stores, etc. The best way to stimulate the economy and foster a great relationship with our local environment is to stop and think on how we can truly live and SPEND in Windsor. It is a continuous challenge but with more and more awareness through mediums like this we can all come to find more and more hidden gems in this city.