“In cooking, as in all arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection"

-Curnonsky

PASTICHE BISTRO & WINE BAR
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Pastiche at the Metro
411 East Mason Street

Pastiche Brown Deer
4313 West River Lane

Musings from Years Past

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2014

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2012

2011

2010

2009

 

Musings of a Chef

 

Summer went by so fast…
November 17, 2014

Summer went by so fast. Nick has gone out to Denver and is now working his way up a new ladder, Angela’s moved in with me and the dogs, and Kerry’s gone to England. Andrew has a new job back home in Delafield, but still has plans to move south when he’s saved enough for a good start. Bobby is doing well in college and still working at Pastiche, and Henry and Hannah have adjusted pretty well to life with Angela and Princess. Itza has joined us to replace Kerry, and Jerome is studying law at Marquette but still working Tapas Tuesdays and filling in for others on occasion.

The restaurant has continued to be busy and evolve; we’ve stopped using the old punch cards in favor of a really nice program from Small Shops United which gives even more to our customers who use it, and we just finished two days of Wine & Dine “Critic’s Choice”- the Journal-Sentinel “foodie” show downtown. Cindy’s scheduled several tastings are over the next few months in the wine shop, and for $7.00 it can’t be beat as a fun way to taste good wine and hang out with others who appreciate new and different things.

One new thing we’ve done is to begin charging $2.00 for special orders. It took a long time, but I finally felt it was in order. Special orders really slow service, especially during the most critical busy times, which has a negative impact on all the diners. Observing how people order, I saw that many seemed to just rattle off that they wanted different potatoes, sauce on the side, and so on, without giving any thought to it. We all want our customers to be happy so it’s very hard to just say no. Yet, something needed to be done, I felt, to at least make folks aware of the impact. So, after giving it a lot of thought and discussing it with Angela and Rachael, it was implemented (making an exception for allergies). We all agreed that it seemed fair without being punitive, and that seems to be the consensus so far.

The flip side of this is that we donating the money to a good cause. Animal shelters, cancer research, local food programs, you can name any one that you want; they all need support. My choice was the Wisconsin Parkinson Association. Last month we sent $152.00. No one has complained about the charge, and most importantly, the number of special orders has dropped significantly, making it possible to serve all of our customers that much better. I like it when everyone wins.

Lastly, people have been asking about the “big hole” in the ground behind Pastiche. My landlords are in the construction phase of a new building that will be three stories and house at least one or two new businesses. I’m excited about the prospect of having it done and being able to see how nice it’s going to look. I’m talking to them about the possibility of putting a bakery/café in the space, which I think would be a nice addition to the neighborhood. I’ll keep everyone posted as things progress.

As always, thanks very much for your continued support and enjoyment!

 -m.

 


Sleep is hard to come by these days…
June 25, 2014

Angela and I brought a puppy home a couple of months ago. Hannah is a six-month old little border collie girl who has a ton of energy and a knack for getting into trouble. Up with the first birds every morning, she runs around barking until one of us gets up and lets her out to chase them. Henry has been getting into the act, too; we’d hoped he’d be a good influence on her but it seems to be the other way around so between the two of them they’re a handful.

The positive in the situation, or one of them at least, is that by the time 6:00am rolls around, I’ve been up long enough to have had coffee, showered, and taken care of everything around the house, leaving me free to head to the golf course. Nick is living with me this summer, before heading out to Colorado for a new job, so he’s there for the dogs until I get back. They love him so it works out well.

In fact, everything has been working out pretty well for the last couple of months. As tough as last winter was, we’ve put it behind us and business has gotten back to normal. Andrew is doing well at Lazy Susan, and pops in the restaurant every now and again to tell us about his latest creations and how they’re being received. I’ve been having fun working the line with Nick, a talented cook in his own right, and with Bobby holding down the cold station, what Dad could ask for more? Angela has been working on the beginnings of renovating some of the outdated things around our house, and Frank has been working hard and enjoying spending the summer with his friends, especially now that he’s turned 21…

We have some new faces around the restaurant, too. Kerry and JoAnna joined us at almost the same time a couple months ago, and have been responsible for bringing Pastiche about three notches up the positive scale. Both are very knowledgeable, experienced and happy all the time. It’s genuine, and it’s contagious. Even after a long day on four hours sleep, they get me to smile and have fun at work. Rachael continues to be an inspiration with her dedication and creative talents- she’s developed our cheese menu and has been getting a great following for her tapas nights. She’s been the main reason I’m actually able to have a little bit of balance in my life between work and, well, everything else.

So life is good. Really good. I hope it’s good for you too, and that you’re enjoying the nice weather we’ve been having in between the rainstorms. Summerfest is right around the corner, the Farmers’ Market is kicking into full swing, and the seats in the restaurant are full again.

Merci.

 -m.

 

 

 

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