Archive | February, 2011

Saturday Night Guests: The Adlers at Kitchen

27 Feb

The other day my roommate Nantina tells me that she went through my Kitchen leftovers in the fridge but couldn’t find any cauliflower. I told her I hadn’t ordered any that day. She was disappointed: it’s her favorite item on the menu and she has been trying to recreate the Dijon Cauliflower over the past few days, unsuccessfully, according to what she says. Did you see, I had some cauliflower the other day? I asked her. Yes, I already ate all of that! She replied.

Most people who order are either still trying out the many dishes available on the menu, or have already decided which few items they’ll be ordering over and over again. There’s one person who gets the West Philly Banh Mi, almost on a daily basis; I have a friend who has diligently gone from the schnitzel to the chicken to the meatloaf; another orders two banana puddings because one just isn’t enough for an evening. I don’t blame them, even if I spend hours in Kitchen, a little dizzy from the overpowering flavors and smells, I’m still the first to ask Jordan, as soon as the ordering slows down for a few minutes, if he can make me dinner. For me, my recent discovery is the couscous. Last night it was prepared with fresh spinach and sautéed leeks…

But I’m digressing. Because the highlight of last night was the company – the guests who stopped by Kitchen for a few hours: Mr. and Mrs. Adler. I walked into Kitchen at six pm sharp ready for service, and as I stepped through the door I saw Nate’s father dressed in a makeshift light blue poncho, peeling potatoes. I could hear Nate’s mother in the back washing dishes. They were both working away at their jobs in a professional, serious and efficient manner. Nate’s father expertly sliced the potatoes for the mashed. And well, despite being hidden in the back, Nate’s mother’s hard work significantly, I repeat significantly!, reduced the load of cleaning. We joked that she had washed more dishes in one night than Nate had in the past few weeks. Everyone laughed, confirming this fact. Nate’s parents had come into town just for the evening, taking a train from New York City to visit their son’s new business for a few hours. They arrived around 5pm, and left at 9pm with a roast chicken, mashed potatoes and an extra biscuit. They had been munching on biscuits and mac & cheese for a few hours. Nate’s father complimented Chef Jordan Miller’s mac & cheese – he prepares it with cheddar and smoky Gouda. There were no complaints as they peeled and washed and watched. Nate’s mother would smile as she peeked into the kitchen, taking a break from the sink and observing the organized chaos (or so we hope!). Nate’s father kept his poncho for the entire night, and I believe Nate might have snapped a few photos of his father in his new attire.

We are starting to get the hang of it, despite the first week of experimenting with who does what, now the Kitchen Operation is feeling a little less rusty. There was no yelling, everyone knew where they were supposed to be, and thanks to the Adler family, the night was a terrific success.

Nate had to leave early, so by 9:30pm, without the Adlers, we were taking our last orders, chatting with our remarkable delivery men (we couldn’t survive without them, that’s the truth). As 10pm came around and we were bagging our final order for the night, Chef Jordan Miller turned on Broken Social Scene full-blast, Daniel delivered the order, and I began to chop apples for this week’s muffins for the TriDelt brunch. This time they’re whole wheat with apples and cinnamon. At 11pm we opened the doors of the kitchen to let the cooler night air into our steaming, fragrant Kitchen. Anyone walking down the street would have seen the glowing open door, and smelled the grilled veggies, roasted chickens, and those sautéed leeks from the couscous.

Penn Current Interview

23 Feb

Check out Penn Current’s (the University’s faculty and staff newspaper) interview with Nate about how he got the idea to begin Kitchen at Penn here. While you are at it, appreciate Nate’s facial expression in the featured photo, inserted below. The smug smile, half raised eyebrow – oozing confidence as he rolls ground turkey. What a baller.

Photo Credit: Mark Stehle

Wild Nights! at Kitchen

19 Feb

Kitchen officially opened last week, but it already feels like a month has gone by. Despite the chaos of the first few days, Kitchen is running more and more smoothly, with the two Miller brothers cooking a storm of tasty food (paced by occasional whistling), Joanna’s fantastic pot pie and salad making skills – but really she can make almost everything on the menu, Daniel’s high-tech expertise, and Nate’s ability to be everywhere at the same time, from wooing customers to washing dishes and chopping veggies.

But today was by far one of the more hectic days: the power kept going out. We’d be in the middle of putting the food in bags, Jordan would be sautéing broccoli and zucchini and bam, the Kitchen would go dark. After a half hour of worrying that we would have to work by candle-light, the light returned, and we were able to get back on track with our dozens of orders flowing from the printer. We had Zach Saltman helping out with delivery and the dishes and tasting our food, keeping the good-humor alive with his encouraging comments, as well as Joey our best biker and friendliest delivery man, geared up and set to efficiently deliver the next order. What a night of running around in circles, at least nothing was dropped or burned, and despite a few mishaps because of our technical issues with electricity, we were able to make it through the night, rather successfully. As I plated the dishes, rolled some biscuits and tried to stay out of the way – which is difficult in the small space, Nate ran back and forth calling orders, fetching ingredients while speaking with customers on the phone, as Daniel with incredible patience and rapidity cleaned pan after pan. The most popular dishes this evening were the meat loaf with a delicious thick sauce, the spaghetti and meatballs which has quickly become a favorite, and of course the tender Brick Chicken. The biscuits were heart-shaped as we could not find the round cookie-cutter. The couscous, stirred with butternut squash and spinach, was a great success as well. Word is on the street that next week’s soup will be butternut squash, so keep your eyes and stomachs alert for the specials of Kitchen’s 2nd week open.

The night ended with Jordan baking walnut-banana muffins for the TriDelt brunch on Sunday morning. To quote Matt Miller, Jordan’s brother, they taste like “banana bread had sex with a muffin.” I tried one and he’s quite correct. They aren’t too sweet, they almost taste like cream, and the crunch of the walnuts, along with the surprising pieces of soft banana, is the ideal combination.

It seems like the Kitchen Operation is running on smoother wheels: the Miller brothers communicate with just a look in perfect symbiosis (yes, I asked them about it), Nate complains less about dishes (at least for tonight), and Daniel has become an expert at biscuit-baking. Our terrific bikers enjoyed a late-night meal of mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and meat loaf.

Thrillist Coverage

12 Feb

Ch-ch-check it out: http://www.thrillist.com/node/205318#axzz1Dmk9PE7r

Front Page of the DP!

12 Feb

Our phones and e-mails were blowing up after front page coverage in Penn’s student newspaper, with friends from across campus commenting on this great article written by Hayley Brooks, who ventured out to Kitchen with a DP videographer to capture the essence of what we do.

Click on this Kitchen Interview by The Daily Pennsylvanian to check out their video about what goes on in our kitchen. Included are shots of shirts screen-printed by Joanna and the lovely Caroline Acheatal. The tag on the hat (not the hat itself) was made by them as well.

Photo Credit: Alexandra Fleischman

OPENING TONIGHT

9 Feb

The (little) big day is finally here : our (soft) OPENING. Last weekend was just a trial run in comparison to what will happen tonight… the phone line will be open, the ordering platform up, and lots of food prepped and ready for tasty final touches to be sent on its way. Finally, our delectable Chicken Pot Pie, tender Seared Tuna, savory Vegan Bastilla, not to mention a whole array of other dishes will be available for your ordering pleasure.

To make the day even better, The Daily Pennsylvanian wrote a great article about us which can be found here for your reading pleasure. This is a photo from their shoot. Photo Credit: Alexandra Fleischman

Hope you are as excited as we are for the scrumptious chaos to follow!

SuperBowl = Wings

7 Feb

Certain days just scream for special foods (be you a foodie or not) and Sunday was one of those. Besides extravagant commercials and a predictably disappointing half-time show, oh wait and a pretty important football game, the SuperBowl demands a plethora of mouth-watering, finger-licking, can’t-stop-eating chicken wings.

And man, did we provide. Despite being a last minute special, Chef Jordan and Nate were able to pull together 400 scrumptious wings for the Beta boys to enjoy while they chowed down and watched the big game. Nate even got there in time to enjoy some of the action himself. All we can say is THANK YOU to days that demand deliciousness.

One Crazy Night and Purple Potatoes

5 Feb

The first semi-official day of service.

We had to get 55 separate orders out in one night for our promotional “dinner parties.”  One entrée, one side and one dessert each.  On the menu, we offered Lasagna, Chicken Pot Pie, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Schnitzel, Vegan Bastilla, Meatloaf and two entrée Salads.  We also had an assortment of sides, including our  vivid sweet potato wedges, a mix of PURPLE Okinawa’s and ORANGE basic sweet’s (pictured below) and Kitchen’s famous banana bread pudding.

We had 4 hours to prep and 4 people in the kitchen.  We were on a timer top-chef style; every half hour a booming announcement by Jordan let us know how much needed to be accomplished, and each time the list became shorter and shorter until everything was ready to be fired (the final touches of cooking).  Then Nate got the containers ready and read out each order, plating them and boxing them to go.  Everything was ready (almost) on time, we got it out the door hot and on its way to the first ever official Kitchen service.

Let’s just say it was a real live practice run, and it was extremely hectic, but we think we executed it close to perfection.  The feedback has been resoundingly positive, and we hope our patrons are excited for what is come on February 16th, when the real deal opens.

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First Weekend in the Kitchen

3 Feb

This past weekend was our first real time in the kitchen, and what a weekend it was. From making fresh, creamy ricotta to searing tuna and brussel sprouts, we had our hands full. Our friends, who got to taste some of the goods, were unanimously positive with their feedback. We have all just about recovered from the exhausting three day trial – only a taste of what is to come – and can’t wait for the fun this upcoming weekend has to offer.

Here are some photos from our test kitchen, taken by the fabulous Miss Susan Kolber. Look, enjoy, and get ready for some delicious food.

Nate, Daniel, Sanaë, Joanna and Chef Jordan in the kitchen

Nate, Daniel, Sanaë, Joanna and Chef Jordan in the Kitchen.

Sanaë making some Pot Pie

Sanaë assembling Chicken Pot Pies.

Jordan Perfecting his Pie.

Jordan Perfecting his Pie.

View of Kitchen.

Dan peeling the Roasted Beets.

Joanna rolling pastry dough for Pot Pies.

View of Kitchen.

Pot Pie ingredients hanging out on the stove.

Sanaë wrapping the Foccacia.

Dan working on the Banana Bread Pudding.

View of the Kitchen.Jordan stirring his famous Bread Pudding.

Pots and pans.

View of the Kitchen.

Extra! Extra! Read All About Us!

3 Feb

A few prestigious publications have written a bit about us (well, we like to think they are prestigious.) Check out all the press we have been getting, and our Press Release – announcing our arrival to the Philly Foodie Scene.

And last but not least, our PRESS RELEASE. Will update with more blurbs/articles/what-have-you once they are written!

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