Reheating Instructions for Town Dishes…

Whether you’ve taken something home from the restaurant, or picked up dinner, or had our friends at GrubHub bring it to your door. If you want your food piping hot, here are a few helpful hints to guide you on your way.

Appetizers

Brussels, The Quesadilla, Crab Cakes, or Edamame. Quick and easy. Heat a frying pan to hot, add whatever you’re reheating straight from the package, give it a few quick tosses or stirs in the pan and serve. (Less than one minute!) Any of these items will get soggy in a microwave so we don’t recommend “nuking” them.

Artichokes should be reheated in a 325 degree oven in an oven safe plate for 2-3 minutes.

Flatbreads and Pizzas.

Never microwave a pizza. The crust will get tough and soggy. Heat your oven to 350, shift your pizza to a baking or cookie sheet, place in the hot oven for two to three minutes.

Pastas.

Most town pastas will do just fine with about 30 seconds in the microwave and a quick stir. (remove the parmesan package before you “nuke” your pasta).

Grill or Entre Items

Salmon. (Salmon will always be boxed separately from the salad, etc. to keep all items as fresh as possible). Salmon or Tilapia will come up to temperature just fine with about 30 seconds in the microwave. Don’t overcook them.

Barbecue Shrimp, cover and microwave for 30 seconds, stir and serve. (Yum!)

Steaks. Steaks are tricky because if you heat them too long you will change the cooking temperature. We recommend getting a dry frying pan very hot and placing the steak in for a quick sear on each side, no more than 15 seconds per side. Reserve the juices in the “to go” boxes and pour over the steak once it’s on the plate.

Fried or roasted chicken. We don’t recommend microwaving chicken as it will get soggy. Heat your oven to 325, place the chicken on an oven safe plate/pyrex/baking sheet/whatever, and cook for 3-5 minutes.

The burger. There is no easy way to reheat a burger, but if you must, remove the patty from the burger and follow the instructions for the steak, above. For a special treat, once you remove the patty from the frying pan add the bacon and the onion straws and give them a quick toss..

Sides

Fries. Either toss your fries in a hot, dry frying pan for 15 to 20 seconds or place them in your hot oven for about 4 minutes.  (You want to keep them crispy)

Vegetables. Almost all town vegetables are quickly sauteed and this is the best way to reheat them. Again, a hot, dry drying pan, pour in the vegetables, toss them quickly (no more than 15 seconds) and serve.

If you have any questions or you’re in doubt call us! 818 248 1881. We’re happy to help.

 

I recently made 25 gallons of this chili for a charity function. It's amazing how well the recipe scales, but holy cow that was a lot of meat...

Jim’s Chili Recipe, A Super Bowl Sunday Treat

We’re closed on Super Bowl Sunday because, let’s face it, everyone’s home stuffing themselves with lots of different yummy stuff and no one goes out to eat. In honor of the day, here is Jim’s chili recipe, which we serve at Town when we offer Chili Burgers and Chili in a bowl which isn’t all that often.

Make a lot. It’s really good.

  • 2 Lbs Mexican Chorizo, Rendered.  (See below) For those who always asked, this was the secret ingredient.
  • 4-6 Italian Sausages, cases removed
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 4-6 Garlic cloves or 3 TBS minced garlic from the jar
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 4 Cups Hot Water
  • 1 cup raw white rice
  • 2 Tbs Sugar (this is another secret ingredient)
  • 2 Tbs Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk (Do not substitute with any kind of skim – if you don’t have whole milk leave this out – but this is another secret ingredient)
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil (not EV) or Grapeseed Oil

Garnishes: (I’ve always smiled when people have told me this is their favorite chili.  Of course it is, they have a pile of their favorite things on it. The chili is good, but the garnishes make it great.)

  • 1 Bag of Fritos (Yes, Fritos).
  • 1 Recipe Corn Bread (If you want to ruin my chili with your cornbread knock yourself out. Yes, I’m talking to my son Mitch and the Farwells here).
  • 1 LB Shredded Sharp Cheddar (or whatever kind of cheese you like on your chili).
  • 1 can sliced black olives (See note on cornbread above).
  • 1 can diced green chiles. (These are essential. A purest won’t eat my chili without them).
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped – green portion only
  • 3-4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 2-7 Avocados (because – come on, can you ever have too many avocados?) Diced (do this at the last minute so you don’t serve brown avocados to your guests).
  • Sour Cream
  • Frank’s, Tabasco or other Hot Sauce

Recipe.

Saute the Chorizo in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes and strain it to drain the grease.  The Mexican chorizo they sell in the grocery store is about 50% fat. You don’t want the fat in the chili.  Reserve chorizo in a large mixing bowl. Don’t worry about cleaning out the pan.  Place the sausage in the pan and continuously mash with a potato masher while you brown and render the sausage. (Rendering is just cooking the fat out of the meat). Strain the sausage (The best way to strain these things is to put the strainer into a large mixing bowl and use the bowl to catch the fat. You don’t want the fat going down the drain.  When the fat has cooled, pour it into paper cups, put lids on them and put them in your garbage.) Place the sausage in the same bowl as the chorizo.  Finally, render the ground beef and add a healthy pinch of salt and a few turns of your pepper grinder while it’s browning. Strain the ground beef and add it to the bowl with the chorizo and the sausage.

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add about 2 Tbs of oil and the onions and another healthy pinch of salt.  Saute’ over medium heat for 6-7 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, 1 minute or so. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste to the pot and stir until it starts to boil. Add sugar, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and stir into the mixture. Add the meat back from the bowl and stir to combine. Add the rice and the HOT water and stir well to combine. Stir occasionally to keep the rice from burning on the bottom of the pot and when it starts to bubble vigorously, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the milk and let the chili fill your house with yummy smells. (Whole milk contains enzymes that tenderize meat and that’s why the meat in my chili – and my bolognese – is always so velvety).

Assemble the garnishes in separate bowls and watch the concoctions your guests make with your chili. Turn your nose up at anyone who uses cornbread.

Footnote… The photo at the top of the page was from a recent occasion when I ‘volunteered’ to make 25 gallons of this chili for a charity function. Holy cow that was a lot of meat!

 

We often say we love our Town team, well we do. We think they're the best, and by your comments we know you do too...

Events that Build a Community

We often say we love our Town team, well we do. We think they're the best, and by your comments we know you do too...

We often say we love our Town team, well we do. We think they’re the best, and by your comments we know you do too…

You’d think we’d just do events like Bourbon on Honolulu for the booze! Well, you’d be partly right. We wouldn’t be in the restaurant business if we didn’t enjoy great food and drink. It’s just that we also love sharing. We love watching people come and sit for an evening and forget about the crazy world outside. We love the experience of being a part of exposing someone to something new and wonderful. We love watching connections created in common bonds of laughter and shared experience.

And last night’s Bourbon on Honolulu was a great example of all of these things.

Michael and Chef worked hard to select the bourbons for the evening. The final lineup included some standout standards, and some fun new spirits. Highlights were an Oregonian from Burnside and a bourbon aged on ships at sea.

Michael and Chef worked hard to select the bourbons for the evening. The final lineup included some standout standards, and some fun new spirits. Highlights were an Oregonian from Burnside and a bourbon aged on ships at sea.

Guests were treated to a five course meal featuring foods inspired by classic southern cuisines. I think chef’s preparations of Shrimp and Grits and Maple, Bourbon Braised Belly (Pork Belly), would have made my ‘southern’ friends proud.

Wild caught gulf shrimp, cheesy, creamy grits and a spicy bourbon glaze. Lots of folks want to see this added to Town's seasonal menu.

Wild caught gulf shrimp, cheesy, creamy grits and a spicy bourbon glaze. Lots of folks want to see this added to Town’s seasonal menu.

Pork Belly braised in raw bourbon and crisped in our 650 degree pizza oven, served over warm slaw with real 'redeye' gravy. Y'all can't tell me I don't have a little Mississippi in me.

Pork Belly braised in raw bourbon and crisped in our 650 degree pizza oven, served over warm slaw with real ‘redeye’ gravy. Y’all can’t tell me I don’t have a little Mississippi in me.

The restaurant was full. Two tables were left vacant, one due to traffic and the other a sudden illness, but more than 80 guests enjoyed the evening, and Michael’s descriptions of the dishes and bourbons offered fun ‘banter-fare’ as the place got louder and louder.

Bar-manager Michael moleskin in hand, holds forth on what makes Bourbon, Bourbon.

Bar-manager Michael moleskin in hand, holds forth on what makes Bourbon, Bourbon.

Everyone agreed that chef and his team really shined on this night. From the salad course, made with sweet Kentucky butter lettuce, mild blue cheese, bourbon-candied bacon and a fresh lemon vinaigrette, to the dessert, Bourbon, Pecan, Chocolate “Bars” with local favorite Fosselman’s Brown Butter Toffee ice cream and bourbon infused whipped cream, every dish offered a unique, perfectly paired foil for its accompanying spirit.

Chef David stands proud with Jose, Isiais, and Isiais. Job well done y'all.

Chef David stands proud with Jose, Isiais, and Isiais. Job well done y’all.

We’re grateful for the opportunity to serve our community and we love nights like this when we can brighten a day, provoke a smile and hear a great laugh, all while serving creative, fun foods and drinks. After all, that’s why we called the place, “Town.”

Keep track of our Facebook page or this site for announcements about upcoming events. We do about 5 of these per year…

Here Comes 2017!

It’s so hard to believe another year has passed. We’re creating a new Montrose tradition in hosting a New Year’s Eve party at Town. This fun, five course evening starts at 10PM. We’ll be serving dessert just before midnight and will ring in the new year with a champagne toast. We keep the cost down because we really do see this as a celebration for us and our “Town Friends.” Please make your plans and reservations early because this celebration fills up quickly.

Something fun just for the New Year. Guests will be able to choose (tell your server) between the wine or cocktail pairings on each course. As usual, we keep the pour sizes down to keep people from leaving here “sideways,” but you can always ask for a bit more.

Chef David’s HAPPY NEW YEAR Menu

First Course, Greens

Poached Pears, Mixed Greens, Cranberry Vinaigrette, Feta
Bell Sauvignon Blanc or a Mini Spiced Pear Martini (Guest Choice)

Course Two, Intermezzo

Penne with Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Brown Butter. Touch of Sage
Sonoma Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay or our Winter Spritz

Course Three, Low Country

Shrimp and Grits, Grilled Shrimp, Creamy Grits, Roasted Pepper Relish
Falcone Syrah or our Bourbon Pimm’s Cup

Course Four, Comfort

Star Anise and Red Wine Braised Short Rib of Beef, Blue Cheese Whipped Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus Spears.
Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or Mini Vesper Martini

Course Five, Guilty Pleasure

Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding. Blackberry and Chocolate Drizzle. House-Made Whipped Cream
Michael’s White Whiskey Egg Nog or Port

Champagne Toast at Midnight.

$85 with Wine/Cocktails
$65 Without

Please make reservations early. Either on Open Table (link available at top of page) or 818 248 1881.

Happy, Happy, New Year!

Online Reviews, and the Restaurant Business

“We love going to Town. The food is amazing. The service is splendid. Such a great experience.”

“We hate going to Town. The food is just awful and the service is worse.”

If I was prone to whiplash, online reviews would drive me insane!

People often ask me if I have seen the latest review. This either occurs when a review is particularly effusively positive, or when it is vitriolic in its negativity. The answer is almost always the same, ‘no.’

Yes, it’s true. I don’t read online reviews. I know. Shame on me. Think of the things I could learn about my business! Here’s the thing. I tell everyone the same thing about reviews. Our reviews happen right here in the restaurant. If we pay attention we know everything we need to know. And, pay attention, we do.

The other night we completely fumbled the ball in serving a customer. It was a no-win situation. We could tell he was upset when he came in. We could tell his companion was doing her best to help him feel better. The universe just conspired against us. We told them when they sat down that they could have the table, but that we had a large party coming in later that would need it. (They were a walk in and just wanted a “quick dinner.”)

It turned out to be the old rule that when you try to do your best for someone, sometimes it doesn’t work out. In the end he felt rushed (because he was) and got mad. His companion was upset. He said angry words on his way out the door. “I’ll get you guys on Yelp!”

Okay.

And that’s the thing. I can’t control what people want to say. I can’t control it when they say inaccurate things in positive reviews and I can’t control it when a negative review doesn’t tell the whole story. In this case the guest’s impression was what mattered. We did a bad job of serving him. No question about it. There was a lot we could have done better. Believe it or not, one of these things was that we shouldn’t have seated him in the first place. No reservation. Not enough time to do it right. So no table. Sorry.

But my team gets upset. The server was shaken. She tried really hard. It didn’t matter. The folks up front were upset about the bad review. I told them to relax. There is nothing we can do to control it when it happens. The best thing for us is to learn.

Another situation happened on the same evening when a party with a reservation arrived almost 40 minutes late. They never called. They receive a text message from our system when they’re late. “Still coming? Give us a call or text us back and let us know.” Nothing. They were incensed when they arrived and found their table had been given to someone on the wait list. “We had a reservation!” The hosts were upset.

How do we make them happy?

The challenge is that it isn’t actually our job to “make someone happy.” It is our job to serve them. It is our job to pay attention to detail. To make great food. To make great drinks. To select great wines. It is our job to care. It is even our job to care when we know someone is not happy. I love that my team cares. But, someone’s happiness is their choice. Are they empathetic? Do they understand their own faults? If not, how can we change that?

People ask if I think reviews are important. The answer is an emphatic ‘yes.’ Reviews, behind word of mouth, have become the 2nd most common way for new guests to find our restaurant. (and by and large our reviews are excellent – a thought that is both humbling and challenging). Then why don’t I read them? Because before the guest leaves the restaurant I know whether they are happy or not, and if not, I am already thinking about how we can improve.

I thank people who take the time to write reviews. I believe they help other diners sort out where to dine in a marketplace filled with choices. I just believe that reading the positive reviews doesn’t really help, and reading the negative ones doesn’t help a lot either.

Onward…

The Fall Menu Debuts, This Weekend’s Specials

I know … It’s been “fall” for about two months. How come we’re just switching the menu now? Honestly, we wait for fall produce and here in California we don’t start seeing consistent quality until the beginning of October, (Remember that just last week it was over 100 degrees up here!) Now that it’s here we’ve debuted some new dishes and brought back some favorites. The full menu is online, here, but here are some highlights.

Returning favorites..

  • Warm and wonderful Bruschetta
  • Salmon Linguine Verde Cream

  • Penne, Parmesan, Prosciutto, Peas

  • Roasted Beet Salad with Warm Goat Cheese

  • The Grilled Lamb Chops!

All new…

  • Brown Butter-Nut Squash Risotto (OH MY!)
  • Crispy Skin Roasted Chicken, sweet potato red pepper hash
  • Seared Ahi Salad

Yum-a-Moondo!

town-19

Reflections of a Restaurant Owner

town-19

I am a restaurant owner. I’m kind of proud of that and I think that’s okay.

What started out as little more than passion, a vision and an ounce or two of guts has become a thriving business. Town’s consistently great reviews testify to our guests’ experience and the words that I always find most meaningful involve warmth and welcome. Pretty amazing when I think about it.

“Owning a restaurant is hard.” I probably hear this comment more than any other when I tell people that this is where I’ve been spending my time. In truth, I’ve never been involved in a business that didn’t have its challenges. The actual challenges may be somewhat different, but as long as you’re continuously paying attention, running a restaurant is no harder than running any other business. You just watch less TV.

My professional photographer friends, more than anything else, were the inspiration I needed to chase my own dream. I had the very good fortune to live and work among so many of these great people for enough time that their passion in their pursuit of their dreams rubbed off on me. Being a professional photographer is a crazy, hard, and when it’s right, highly rewarding vocation. So is running a restaurant.

I couldn’t have done it alone. Angela has supported me from almost the very beginning. (It took about a week for her to decide it wasn’t the craziest idea she’d ever heard, though I know it was close). She has stood by my side through thick and very, very thin. We’ve never worked together before so this was a learning curve for both of us. Now, here we are. Who’d-a-thought?

Richard and Kim Villa have been our strongest supporters. Right from the very beginning, they’ve been involved with everything we’ve done. Without their support we wouldn’t have made it this far. Not a chance. It is said that good friends are hard to find and I believe this is true. Friends who become family are harder to find and we find ourselves grateful to know and love these amazing two.

Kate Rhymer and Dave and Kathy Gallagher have also all been in it with us from the beginning. Their constant support and encouragement has buoyed us through some difficult moments along the way. We continue to celebrate Don Rhymer in the restaurant with the namesake martini he would have loved and while he never got a chance to be here, sometimes when it’s quiet I think he’s here and helping from afar.

Chef’s Corey Kelso, Tiffany DeLeon and now David Prewitt have all contributed mightily to who we’ve become. I always tell my staff that when someone walks through the door they expect the food will be great. That leaves very little leeway for error. Each of these great folks has accepted that challenge and, in their own ways, surmounted it. I remain awed at the skill, patience and fortitude it takes to be a great chef. Chef David does it with grace and humor and when you’re in the thick of it that really stands a test.

A great chef needs a great team and “Seabass,” Francisco, Jose, Isaias, Aniseto, and Alfonso offer cheerful, competent, and amazingly hard working support every day.

With all of this said, we all stand on the mighty shoulders of our terrific front of house team. Being a server, bartender, hostess or buss at Town isn’t easy. We have very high standards. Alen helped us off to a great start and Martha carries us along. But each of our people, Gary, Cody, John, Sabrina, Sam, Kristy, Matt, Michael, Kayla, Dean, Becca, Sara, Brianna, Camilo, Dylan and now, Temok, accept the burden to carry the restaurant (and sometimes us!) each night they appear for work. They are the reason our guests feel warm and welcome. They make wrong right and they make good great. What more could they do?

When it’s busy in the evenings (It’s busy pretty much every evening these days) and the bar is full and the printers are printing and the persistent call of “service” rings out of the kitchen and glasses clink and laughter, conversation and music fill Town, I give myself a moment to find a still place and watch. And I never cease to be amazed.

Thanks to all of you who’ve helped so much to make us who we are. I can’t wait to see what comes next…

Jim

Fall Wine Dinner At Town

Here’s your chance to join us at Town for our fall wine dinner. These sell out quickly and this one is now 60% full, so if you want to come, get your reservations in soon.

Next Tuesday night, October 4th, at 6:30PM.

Rather than feature one winery, we’ve decided to feature some of our favorites. As always, wines will be available for purchase, but only at the dinner. We think it’s a great chance to get started on your holiday shopping!

“Celebrating the Flavors of Fall”

Warm Mushroom Salad
Wild mushroom melange with mixed greens and a dusting of asiago in a persimmon vinaigrette.
Jayson (by Palmeyer) Chardonnay, St Helena, Napa Valley

Seared Diver Scallops
Butternut wild rice, brown butter & sage
Emeritus Pinot Noir, Russian River, Sonoma

Short Rib Agnolotti
Handmade short rib ‘ravioli,’ lentils, rustic sauce, blue cheese brulee’
Gundlach Bundschu Merlot, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma

Beef Tenderloin
Slow roasted, sweet potato & red pepper ‘hash,’ fall ratatouille
Fisher Family Unity, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa and Sonoma

Dessert Selections
‘Seabass’s’ famous pumpkin cheesecake
Dark chocolate fantasia
Late Harvest Dessert Wine. (not yet selected).

$85 Per Person

Recipes from the Summer Wine Dinner

These are just the basics. In the restaurant we cook more by formula, or routine, than with a recipe, so I’ve tried to estimate the quantities, etc., that would work at home. The biggest thing with most of these preparations is the steps involved. Add a little salt and pepper, etc., and these dishes will be great.

The Peach Salad.

Grilling peaches is actually pretty straight forward. Make sure you buy “free stone” peaches so they’re easier to open. Cut them in half and remove the pit and then toss them in some olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper and put them on a hot grill for just long enough to mark them. The salad was tossed with arugula, brie, candied walnuts and the lemon vinaigrette was just 2 parts lemon juice to one part olive oil and one half part dijon with a pinch of salt and pepper.

The Salmon Cake.

There is a recipe for crab cakes on my blog, chickmagnetcookingschool.com. Follow that recipe but substitute smoked salmon for the crab. The corn salad was just roasted corn, (frozen of scraped off of a cob – tossed with olive oil and s & P and roasted in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes), tossed with diced roasted red pepper (as much as you want), about 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, and about 4 TBS of Olive oil and two TBS of honey.

Pulled Roasted Pork.

This one is pretty simple. Buy a pork shoulder roast. When you’re ready for bed coat it with a light coating of olive oil, and season liberally with salt and pepper or your favorite barbecue seasoning. Preheat your oven to 225. Put the pork in a pyrex 9X13 or appropriately sized dish (it will lose a lot of liquid) with about 1 cup of apple cider or apple juice. Cover tightly with foil and roast over night. In the morning take the pork out and try not to eat it all. Remove it from the liquid and then let the liquid cool to room temperature and then refrigerate the liquid. When it is cold the fat will rise to the surface and you can easily spoon it off. When you’re ready to serve heat a frying pan to very hot and drop in an appropriate amount of pork and pour in a little of the reserved liquid. Toss in the frying pan until heated (if you leave it for a bit it will get crispy) and serve with cole slaw and your favorite light barbecue sauce.

Ribs.

We cook both our pork and beef ribs the same way. We season the ribs with salt and pepper or a rub and then put them on a baking sheet with 1/4 cup chicken broth and solid splash of soy sauce. Cover tightly with foil and roast in a 450 degree oven for 1.5 hours for pork ribs and 2 hours for beef ribs. When they come out of the oven they’re already great. Let the ribs cool on a cutting board and defat the liquid (See above or get an Oxo Defatter at a cooking supply or hardware store). When you’re ready to serve toss the ribs on the grill and baste with the reserved liquid at first and then when they’re ready with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Yum …

Closing Lunch at Town

First, to be clear, closing lunch doesn’t mean closing brunch. So that’s out of the way.

We struggled a lot with this decision. In the end we decided it was the right decision. We aren’t closing lunch because we failed. The food is great. It is inexpensive, fresh, quick out of the kitchen, healthy or not (diner’s choice). We love our servers.

We closed lunch for two reasons. The first is simple. The community didn’t feel the need. There are plenty of places to go. Plenty of places with easier parking. Plenty of places with great food. Frankly I love those places. Lupes or Tortas Mexico for Mexican. Everest or In and Out for a burger. Tickle tree, etc., or Seasoning Alley for a salad. Blue Fish for sashimi. I’m looking forward to going to them again.

We also closed lunch because closing lunch makes us single-minded. Town is first and foremost a dinner restaurant. It is where are hearts and our focus rest. We love the din in the evening. We love creating dinner experiences. We love serving a single mom and her children a quick, savory meal on a Tuesday night and we love serving 15 on a Saturday for the occasion of a patriarchal birthday.

Our bartenders love creating cocktails to match specials and new menu items and they love experimenting with new techniques. Liquid nitrogen, foams and infusions. We love the same thing in the kitchen. This weekend’s Pork Belly Kukuni, a triumph of technique and delicate asian, sweet and savory umami flavors. Our Soy-Orange glazed Tilapia over Whole Wheat spaghetti and squash “zoodles,” or our perfect Babyback ribs, and even our perfect, light and crunchy pizzas are all examples of focus and attention in the kitchen.

From here on out dinner will open at 5. On weekends we may open a little earlier and let people come in and enjoy the bar.

We are here for the community. We hope you will understand our thought process and our focus and continue to enjoy the restaurant as you always have.