Last night we had a thunderstorm. This morning we took a drive down the river road to Presidio and saw some of the years first blue bonnets. We also saw numerous two foot tall flowers on the yucca as well as these gems clinging to a cliff face. These are all signs that spring is not far away, well, for us it isn’t as we have already had days in the mid seventies. For those of you who live in cooler climes come and visit. Work on your tan and take in the sights.
Last week we made good progress by starting the excavation for the new septic system, the huge pile of accumulated building debris was cleared and the walls were receiving castellations to position the vigas securely. The new wall (that replaces the one that fell down) is within inches of completion and to crown the weeks achievements, I heard from RGEC that they will be here Monday to set the new poles for the upgraded electrical service. That’s at least two week sooner than they promised so we are well pleased.
The photograph above does not do justice to the work that has been done by William in recreating the original tent campground, but at least you can see that it is a work in progress and already looks vastly improved. I was in conversation with William and reminded him that the area he was working was reputed to have been an Indian campground. I had just finished by admitting I had seen no artefacts of any kind when my eyes lighted on a grinding stone or metate of typical Mayan design. Wow. I have a real artefact, dug from the campground at La Kiva. I was quite perky for the rest of the day.
This week we are starting equipping the kitchen, or at least ordering the equipment that goes in the kitchen. We have got 90% of the kitchen walls done and so now we have to think about the big equipment.
First, we need to decide on the menu and what we can anticipate for the future, by way of new menu items. In recent years the American food scene has changed. Gluten has become a big deal and more and more people are learning that the IBS they have, is exacerbated by gluten. Thyroid failure can be caused by gluten exacerbating Hashimotos thyroiditis. The list goes on and on. We are planning to be a restaurant that can provide low gluten options. Promising to be gluten free would require that no items containing gluten be permitted in the kitchen, but that may be a step too far. We can certainly dedicate one of our fryers for gluten free and absolutely forbid the frying of breaded items in it. One of our pizza ovens will be dedicated as gluten free and we intend to provide a gluten free crust as well as gluten free breads as options. In fact most of our menu items could have gluten free options. The new kitchen will be large enough to make it possible to have a separate preparation area for gluten free thus reducing the risk of cross contamination and, of course. we will provide EXTENSIVE staff training on the problems of gluten intolerance. I have family members who are seriously gluten intolerant and we were caught out by an omelet at a well known pancake house. The omelet contained pancake mix to make it fluffier but that meant it also contained gluten. Who would have thought that an omelet would contain gluten? Not me for one. We plan having low gluten meals served on a different color plate than the other food. If we decide that it will be red, you order a gluten free meal and it comes out of the kitchen on a plate of any other color, then it is not gluten free, so send it back. With just a little thought and care we could make all our BBQ offerings gluten free. If you or someone close to you is gluten intolerant please share the problems that you have and let us know how you have been caught out in the past. Suggestions for gluten free menu items will be appreciated. If you have never commented before, then now is the time. We will take all comments very seriously and your feedback will help us structure the kitchen to provide food that you can have confidence in.
It will not end with gluten free, we plan to have offerings for a number of diet plans such as low carb. and vegetarian. I doubt if we will be offering much for vegans initially, but if you are vegan, then please let us know what we could do to satisfy your needs. We are even looking at FODMAPS. Yes, not long ago I had to look it up as well. If you are a Vogon then you are totally out of luck so why don’t you go and read some poetry, quietly, to yourself.
In coming weeks and months we will be looking at various menu items and options. I have already talked about gluten but that is just one tiny part of what is ahead. As we deal with each class of menu item I will be asking for comments from you. Let’s kick this off with a relatively new item to the La Kiva menu but non the less important.
My partner for twenty years was the founder of Tombstone Pizza.
One of the lead investors in my first company in America was Rose Totino of Totinos Pizza. Despite her diminutive stature she was a force to be reckoned with and she loved to entertain. I have had a long association with pizza makers.
I would love to be able to say that they taught me a lot about pizzas but they didn’t. They became successful by making frozen pizzas for a mass market but I never saw either of them put a frozen pizza on the table in their own homes. We are planning to make good pizzas available on the menu (not frozen). I did learn from both of the pizza empire founders that if you want good pizza you had better start with good ingredients or you are wasting your time.
We are installing new Pizza ovens with much larger capacity so we will be able to turn around pizzas at a much more rapid rate. We would like to offer more than just Margherita pizza and brisket calzone. What would you like to see? Six inch Margherita personal pizzas or sixteen inch super supreme with everything on it, eat in or to go, what tickles your fancy? Small, medium or large and what toppings? Do you want a white pizza (no tomato sauce). Thin, crispy crust or deep dish? Vegetarian? What about a dessert pizza in the desert? Apple, cherry, pineapple, pecan, lemon meringue. That could be fun. After what I said earlier you had better believe that we will be offering a gluten free option and test cooking has already started. I have had some really good gluten free pizzas where it was difficult to tell the difference from non gluten free so I am excited to see where we end up. It should be good.
We need lots of feedback on the menu items, so please don’t be shy. We want to hear from you.