Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Decay & Diana

I'm really interested in this person's stream on flickr lately. You can read into that all you want and you'd probably be right.

Yesterday my Diana Mini came in the mail. It looks like this. Only without the flash. Which I might get someday. But don't need right now.
I've run about half a roll through it so far, mostly in the kitchen at the restaurant last night. (I'm trying to get a whole roll out that I can have one-hour developed in Missoula before we go to the hot springs Thursday.)

It's tiny and plastic (it's a toy camera) and it takes square or half-frame photos like these:

I can't wait to see what kind of things she'll produce for me. 36 or 72 shots to a roll, I have a lot of time to experiment.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nothing less than our success depends on it

from Indexed, a great site

Oh, December. I can't wait to see the end of you. Nothing personal, 2009--just let's get our 2010 on already, yeah? Yeah.

So many things to do to get ready to change the restaurant over to Adine's. Little or no money. Little or no time. How are we going to accomplish this? Pure will. Blind luck. Toss a coin.

This last week we had an epiphany about our menu and decided that instead of offering a few we-took-the-meat-out-of-this-for-you vegetarian dishes, we're going to offer several high-quality purely vegetarian options on the menu. Then advertise in local venues that we have a real bona fide vegeterian menu. Yep.


That is not really done in rural Idaho, not 'round these parts anyway. So we hope it pays off. I think it will. For example, cous cous with roasted vegetables and various sauces, spaghetti squash with avocado and Parmesan cheese... Seasonal ingredients, of course; in the summer we can offer a fresh herbed sweet corn and tomato salad. Et cetera.

This is very exciting for me, as a vegetarian who generally has to choose between grilled cheese or a green salad when I go out to eat.

The snow is melting as we get steady rain. Everyone else is complaining about this, mostly about the resulting slush. But we're happy to think the river might be thawing and hoping for increased business from fishermen. Whatever it takes to get us through December. We have faith business will pick up in January.

Keith and I are (and have been) officially in Countdown Mode. We're leaving early Wednesday afternoon for Missoula, spending the night at a friend's house, then Thursday to Lolo Hot Springs for a gluttonous 24-hour mental vacation.

Hoping to reproduce, or exceed, the relaxation level our last experience there:

way back when, planning the future
May '05
just finished the semester, went to Lolo Hot Springs to unwind
cooked up a crazy plan to go to Mexico after graduation

Shouldn't be a problem. Probably won't be cooking up any crazy travel plans that will be executable in the near future, but it doesn't hurt to dream.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

180º pano from the driveway of the restaurant

It started snowing at about 7 a.m. and hasn't really let up. At least it's warmer!

If I was a skier/snowboarder, that's where I'd be. But my husband is sick, I've been here since 6 a.m. and my mom's coming in to relieve me, so I'm headed home. Happy Saturday!

Friday, December 11, 2009


I'm just going to state the obvious upfront: it'd g.d. cold! And not the kind of cold I was complaining about before. That was mild cold. This is 14°-in-the-house-when-you-wake-up cold. We got it up to about 75° last night with our little stove, before I fell asleep. But by 7:30 this morning, when Lazlo was whining to go out, I was completely under covers trying not to breathe in dog farts, debating whether or not it would be worth it to get dressed in something warm.

The cold is really preventing people, it seems, from going anywhere they don't need to go. Restaurants included. We're considering how to reduce some of our un-fixed costs and one way to reduce costs is to reduce payroll. Keith is basically already working for free (though he does get a paycheck), but he's taking on the line Sat-Mon nights. But only TWO WEEKS until our mini vacation. I remind him every. day.

We're running lunch and dinner specials every day for the next week.

Today's lunch special - grilled steak salad for $7

Hopefully that will draw people in and, if not, at least it gives us some distraction. Something to do other than stare out the window wishing for customers. Making it through December is going to be hard, we know. Getting on the other side of it will be a relief.

Considering what decorating changes we can make while it's slow, we're already using our new Leave a Penny, Take a Penny dish/holder/thing.

If only someone would leave a grand or two in it. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Acting like adults

Yesterday my mom and I decorated the windows and dining room at the restaurant for the holidays. And we didn't get mad at each other once! In fact, it was pretty fun!

That's saying a lot considering our styles are about as different as you could imagine. I am all about less-is-more, back-to-nature and my mom is all about blinking lights and dancing santas. She made a comment about how our lack of arguing meant we were "both growing." ha!

Friday we moved my great-grandparents' dresser into the restaurant (Keith's idea--a great one) in place of the salad bar. I had collected some things that I thought we could use for a seasonal display (craft stores and thrift stores a few months ago) and I think everyone, my parents especially, where a little anxious about how it would all come together. I think it looks awesome. They admitted it's pretty nice. And the feedback has been great.

Yesterday we went shopping for holiday tchotchkes and found a good deal on some second-hand ornaments and hit the hardware store for some garlands. It was slow after lunch, so we took the opportunity to take the fall decorations out of the windows (popcorn and pumpkins) and we ripped off an idea I saw on design*sponge, I think. Or The Kitchn? Oh, wait, it was The Kitchn.

This is actually not a good representation at all, but I didn't get a good picture during the day (dead batteries and blah blah blah). I will try to get one next week. Ornaments hanging on branches supported by gold ribbon.

Things are slowing down for us. We've expected this. People are saving their money for Christmas now. Hopefully fishing season will help us out. And we're going to start running budget-friendly specials instead of steaks, etc. Though we still have steaks every night.

It's a little stressful to have slow days (or weeks) and Keith, being in charge of the food costs, probably feels the most pressure. He keeps joking (in that not-really-joking way) about how we moved here to slow down and relax and what happened to that plan? That plan was ... put on hold? I told him I dreamt of pulling the Aloha down the coast of Mexico. He'd be on that in a second. Really.

I'm trying to brainstorm the aesthetic changes I want to make for the new restaurant and then prioritize those and factor in budget (minimal to nil)... One thing I am not sure about, maybe I should take an informal poll: chalkboard vs. whiteboard menu.

I really love the idea/look of a well-done chalkboard.
How fantastic is this?! VERY.

But my concern is that white (or colors) on black is harder to read than red/blue/black/green would be on a whiteboard. One waitress said chalkboard is definitely better, especially if you clean it with a damp rag to get rid of the ghosties. So I am leaning that way. Ideally I would be the one doing the lettering and art for these because I'm picky like that and not everyone on staff has A+ spelling and grammar skills. But that's not relevant to the chalkboard vs. whiteboard argument, I guess.

But I think a chalkboard just goes with the theme more. The theme being Family Cattle Ranch.
(Maybe a cow-shaped chalkboard?)

My grandma dug up some photos from her parents' ranch and I started scanning them to use on the website. And maybe blow up a couple on Rasterbator for dining room art?

Here's a great one where you can really see the X brand on that black cow.

I think this one said "dehorning" on the back. Eeeek. That's my great-grandpa on the right.

We're close to getting a sign for the building and possibly magnetic signs for the vehicles. I will be ordering business cards soon, with the name of the new restaurant... December's going to go by fast!

I told Keith we are taking a mandatory mini-vacation and that I was picking the location and he could pick the days. He picked Christmas eve and Christmas day (since we're closed on Christmas) and I picked Lolo Hot Springs. Cabin with satellite TV, micro/refrig/coffee pot. Hot springs and pool across the street. We'll take our own groceries. I'm very excited about hot springs in the winter. Keith is thinking about the possibility of sleeping the entire time. I told him he could---it's his vacation. Although I'm a little disturbed by the idea of a 36-48 hour vacation. Isn't that just a normal person's weekend? We'll take what we can get.