It is not too late to re-examine your outdoor patio/deck to ensure you maximize this space well into autumn. If your patio needs some love, here are fun ways to add excitement and appeal to your outdoor patio space.
Give your guests a taste of something new they can only get on the patio:
Turn your patio into a unique attraction by offering your guests something new that they can't get inside your restaurant. Lighten up your menu with a special patio menu, such as summer salads and sandwiches, small plates and refreshing cocktails featured only on your patio menu.
Turn your patio into a pet-friendly retreat:
Guests love to bring their pets along with them and the patio is the perfect place to open up your restaurant to their four-legged friends. Of course, you'll first need to understand your local ordinances pertaining to pets and secure any necessary permits. For more information about the rules surrounding pets and restaurants, here is a good Pet-Friendly Restaurants Guide to check out.
Liven up your outdoor scene with regularly scheduled entertainment:
From music to games, the patio is a great space for entertaining your guests. Make special entertainment and events a regular part of your patio repertoire to keep your guests coming back for more fun throughout the spring and summer months.
I cannot tell a lie. I was in Chicago for four days. Two hours of which, Saturday, were spent at the NRA show. It was complete sensory overload, with the exception of a chefs' panel. I listened to chef Mindy Segal speak about her hiring practices: hire a great attitude. Skills can be taught and poor choices redeemed. Afterwards I told her how much I loved her restaurant, Hot Chocolate. She said I made her day. Meeting her made mine.
I go to the National Restaurant Association show to spend time with customers and to look for what's interesting at restaurants. This year was no exception.
Pitmasters often advise that barbeque ribs be cooked "low and slow," meaning for a long time at low temperatures. A dry rub containing salt can be added to the ribs a few hours before cooking or massaged onto the meat just prior to placing it on a heated rack. Once cooking begins, the heat and water vapor from the barbeque smoke release moisture dissolving any water-soluble ingredients in the dry rub, including salt and sugar. The heat causes fats from the interior of the meat to move up toward the surface, dissolving fat-soluble ingredients. Because of this the dry rub becomes slurry-like, creating a complex layer of flavor.
When a baker combines flour, water, yeast and salt to make bread, chemistry begins. Despite its small volume, salt splays a dynamic role in determining the taste, texture and color of the bread.
What chefs notice
The first thing chefs notice about bread baked without salt, is that it tastes flat. Unsalted dough also feels stickier and shows little resistance when stretched. When salt is added the dough tightens and becomes more resilient when stretched. Chefs need to find the right balance because too much or too little salt affects the rise of the bread, and ultimately its texture.
Salt's main function in bread is to enhance flavor. According to the Bread Bakers Guild of America (BBGA) adding approximately 2% of the flour weight in salt to the average bread formula changes the perception of bread's flavor and elicits the full spectrum of complex flavor notes, including a sweetness that would be otherwise absent. Yet, salt's role in baking goes beyond flavor.
In a recent issue of Bon Appétit, Chef Stuart Brioza from San Francisco's State Bird Provisions restaurant explains how he is using a variety of "Sour Salts" to provide a unique flavor burst.
Anyone with a dehydrator and a decent blender can make these unique salts, which when paired with the right dish can really set your dish apart from competing restaurants!
Essentially, here is how Chef Brioza does it: