Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NO Blood oranges

Okay, this will make more sense to those who really know Cheffie and I . He got an idea for a recipe using blood oranges - which I love as they are much less acidic than other oranges. He was going to try it out on the family before any customers . Problem is , it called for blood oranges,grapefruit, tangelos , shrimp on a bed of baby spinach. ( I think that I have said it before , being married to a chef is" love, respect, passionate hard work and honey,  taste this" in the vows.) Not for cowards. I learned some new words of the nonrepeatable variety this week.

First we could not get them locally, always a bad sign. Then he thought as they were for the Yule week, this one time , he would special order from Diamond Organics (Moss Valley , CA) . They are very reasonable for overnight delivery. But...They stopped taking orders in June. No explanation. Blood oranges are usually only available from Nov/Dec to March/April.

So he looked online. Eureka! He found them. It was a short lived Eureka however- he only needed 2-3 . They only offered them in 10 lb bins for $125.00. That's when I learned the new words. That is 12.50 per lb. It wasn't cost effective to even think of putting it on the menu. Not ever,even if wrapped in chocolate  covered edible gold foil.( I could help with the overage of chocolate.)

Our notebooked customers took great interest in his unhappiness with the lack of blood oranges.  I caught a glimpse of a page before its owner closed the notebook. Henri is the planner in our house. He executes menus and nights out with greater expertise than one would expect from his age and training.
I usually am the contact person , arranging meetings, watching the bottom line. But unless they are writing a book about chefs, why the interest in the blood oranges?

I hate to say it but its all so Wild Kingdom.

Bon Soir et bon apetit,

Arina Copain
Office  Manager

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cafe is closed again today

Sorry but we were very late getting back from the meeting last night. Henri, indeed, all of the men , are not in the best of moods right now. So its probably a good thing that we aren't open. Patience is so thin you could read a newspaper through it. I have never seen my father law in such a black mood either. None of them have any faith that the police will do enough if anything.

Ben and Daphne were just starting out. They had very little of any real value There were a number of theories as to who and why. Some of them were pretty wild.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


If I seem a little down this evening, its because I am shocked. A lovely young couple , graduate students at Cranberry State College, suffered an invasion robbery today gone bad. Both Ben and his wife ,Daphne are dead. Daphne was expecting twins.They are also dead. I didn't know either one of them but their father is a friend of Jean Paul's . The family is devastated.

Ben worked at the local Walmart. The invaders did not know that he was there. They shot him when he opened the door. Sothwold is a small community . We are cautious but not paranoid here. After shooting him, they stuck a thick pointed wooden dowel into his chest cavity. I mean , who does that? The medical examiners think that this sent Daphne into premature labor. She gave birth to her children and took their lives away minutes later. She had fought with the invaders who slashed her with box cutters. It would have taken over ninety stitches to put her back together. She was too badly injured. She smothered both of her children rather than leave them to the mercy of the invaders. One of the intruders was so frustrated with her last act , that he slashed her throat -and still she hung on. She died in the hands of the campus police . She reportedly said that the second baby was easier to kill then died herself. The community is appalled by the act that sparked this. Daphne threw her dead babies out of an open window as she fought one last time.

The intruders fled and left the home  unrobbed. Henri and Jean Paul are meeting with the victims' families tonight so the cafe is closed. We gave Katy a paid day off  . I am going along for the ride. I don't know any of them , being the new kid to this life -but Henri didnot want me home alone. I don't think this is a good time to remind him that Daphne had not been home alone.

Our hearts go out to their families. Hopefully , i will have better news next time.

Lighting a candle for a positive light in four meaningless deaths,
Bon Soir,
Arina Copain,
Office Manager

Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer's Gone!

Whereever did the summer go? We are now at Labor Day which makes us weeks from the ugly cold and damp. The tourist drop off after this weekend - I'm glad that we have a core die hards of locals to sustain us through the winter months. Actually, it was Henri who reminded me that I had not blogged in several weeks.

New things at the cafe are a stew made of Italian (mild) sausage, mixed beans and ,tomatoes. It is served with slices of rustic bread and fresh creamery butter. I tried it this week and it was wonderful.
He also has introduced a sandwich on an everything bagel of turkey pastrami, cream cheese, dijon mustard and dill gherkin pickle, They sold very well last week . One visitor said she wished she were hungry enough to have ordered it too as it smelled delicious.

We did not participate in the Sothwold bbq cookoff two weeks ago. Neither of us do very well in all that sun, we don't do a lot of bbq any way, and we thought it insulting that the price was $15.00 just to get in the gate. They were charging $60.00 for all you can eat on Saturday , if you stayed long enough , you got to see Marshall Tucker Band perform. Yes, the $60.00 included the gate fee. I don't think that the three of us , including Jean Paul would eat $60.00 work of bbq between us. Henri said at that price , there had better be alot of gold leaf in the food. It was an outside company running it, and I feel that they would have done better if they had just charged $10.00 a head .

Henri is debating if we will particpate in the Bourbon, beer and bbq show at the the Playhouse in November. Its from noon on but is indoors, he is considering starters and desserts ,letting others do the actual bbq. Katie and I can handle the early day with he and his father doing the evening. Its a Sunday so we are usually closed anyway. Its locally run and the profit goes to charities in the area.

For the small amount of time that we've been together , I am surprised at the amount of stuff we have accumulated. I have been going through our books and found there are sixty two that are duplicates. I've put them up for sale on Amazon. Both of our families have a long history of  frequent moves and I don't feel like hauling all of it with us.

I hate seeing Summer pass. I like Fall and Spring. We've had a great summer, lots of time to catch a bite up near the Braintree Mall or over by what used to be Baker's Chocolate Mills in Milton. The condos there even still smell of chocolate in the revamped factory on the warm evening air.

This reminds me . Never tell your husband that you don't know what something is . I admitted last week that I didm't know what a MOF was in France. So,yesterday,we watched a documentary called "Kings of Pastry" which explained the competition. But the creations ! Wow! you should have seen the sugar, chocolate and blown sugar work. It was heartbreaking when one of the best that had made it from the States to Lyons , France without breaking , broke the day before the final judging . The chef recovered, reinvented and did win his MOF . Out of 16 candidates only about 8 won the MOF which declares them to be a master craftsman in pastry. I loved the blown sugarwork- similiar in process to blown glass. The flowers that they made!

Here's wishing you a Happy Labor Day !

Bon soir et bon apetit,

Arina Copain,
Office Manager

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bikini tops, new dressings , beefcake and turtle cheesecake

So many tourists this summer. Just a simple walk to the beach normally a ten minute jaunt from our backdoor to Cove Beach,has turned into a thirty minute ordeal. Owners of vacant lots are raking it in , renting space as parking lots. Jean Paul has taken to taking Katie home to her parents at night. She takes the bus in the morning. She insisted that it wasn't necessary but was overruled by both men , Jean Paul and Henri.

Lots of tourists at the Farmer's Market. I suspect that many have rented hotel rooms with microwaves and fridges. But we're busy . The women seemed charmed by both Jean Paul and Henri, more by the older and somewhat less the younger. He smoozes less than his father, not having the patience for it. But Cheffie is redeemed by the fact that once you have his attention, you have all of his attention. I have seen more than one tourist woman melt not only under the humid heat that we have been experiancing this month but the intensity of his gaze. I am surprised we haven't had to get the mop out to clean up melted female tourist or at least the dripping from their tongues as they hang out. The husbands don't seem to get it. Look away , Ladies, I don't mind a bit. He is a sweet piece of something as he moves while cooking. Its almost a dance. (Hint: there is a radio on near his work station ).  Lots of energy in that man , with a mind to match.

Two women almost got into a fight over a well positioned table that gave a full view of the kitchen . Katie and I got that solved and the woman who lost the table to the cutie in the bikini top and jean shorts (coin toss) called him over and had him tell her what kind of tomatoes (Roma) and cukes (pickling ) he had used in her salad. It put his back to Bikini Top. Was she ever angry! Short of taking her top off, standing on the table and whistling, which she didn't do, she was sadly lacking in how to get his attention.

This was complicated by Lola , an older woman of indeterminate age and residence , bringing in her stash of hand made jewelry and hair fobs to trade for a meal. He sat with her for about ten minutes while they negotiated . Lola is about 4'11" , is muscular and if she has nothing to trade, she washes the outside windows and the glass door. She is dependable and honest.  I hear that her husband is disabled. She buys up broken jewelry and findings , and works at turning them into something better.
She has the most beautiful coil of long white hair that  compliments her wrinkled freckled face. Life's dealt her hard , she is active in her church , she is almost always happy.  She is one of the few that we allow to hug us, as we are not really touchy feely with strangers unless we initate. We let her use the bathroom when she is hustling her wares on the beach , she is clean. If we are too busy , she has been known to bus tables and expect nothing for it.  .

I see her during the holidays ringing the bell for Salvation Army outside of Walmart. Last holiday season , she gave us a present, home made cookies, holiday pencils and some Nestle chocolate minis. Henri told her to be careful because the teen boys are sometimes a problem up there, We watch out for her if we are out and about at night.

Anyway, I ended up with the prettiest rainbow jeweled ponytail holder , which is lovely with a pair of dangling earrings to match. He gave her double portions on almost everything as it was the end of the day , then added more when he packed up her leftovers to go.

Pissed Bikini Top off , as Henri put the ponytail holder into my hair. Katie reported that she sulked when she paid her bill. Henri shrugged, and told me that Bikini Top tried too hard which set off alarm bells in his head. She was too desperate for his attention. So he did what he always does in these situations, ignore her.

 I heard him run the ice crusher , placing about half a cup of crushed ice into a mixer container, he matched that with almost a cup of blood orange juice and orange sherbert which he blended , I watched as he poured the concoction into pair of soda glasses, filling the glasses the rest of the way with club soda which fizzed it, raising the creamy contents to the top. He handed me one of the glasses garnished with a cherry and whipped cream. Bikini top couldn't get out the door fast enough. I looked at the glass , the colors in the glass matched her top . So much for being immortalized.

We found out  about  the men who sit with the notebooks. They work for a cosmetic company called PTY which is a subsidiary of Remlov Chemical LLC. They have been working on an antiaging formula among other things. I saw the ads for a new product of theirs to be released before the holidays. They are intending to take on Avon to start. Blessed with good genes, I won't be needing their formula. Still they are a little too clinical in their observations of us . The last time that they came in , the  men waited on them as Katie was off. I was ordered back to the office. They are the only ones that I have been prevented from serving. One of them tried to talk to me in the office, only to find my husband in his path. He was directed to return to his table. At 5'8" , my solidly built husband can be a formidable unspoken threat.

We have a new salad dressing that I love to death Its a cross between buffalo wing sauce and bleu cheese dressing. Its running neck and neck in popularity with the bacon ranch that was introduced after Memorial Day. And to finish it off, Cheffie has been making turtle cheesecake. I am going to weigh a ton if he continues making that.

We are going to do the evening session of Taste of Sothwold on the beach on the 4th. Jean Paul signed us up so we are committed to being there after sunset. All of the area restaurants are splitting the take from presold tickets ($15.00 per adult, $5 per kid) . Its an all you can eat buffet on the beach. The vendors switch off throughout the festival. We have to check handstamps before giving them a tray. Its a loss leader but will drum up business, we hope, in the form of increased business and catering contracts. I hear that the bands are supposed to be great . A huge party. Beer and alcoholic beverages are available from other vendors but not included in the price.

Hope to see you all on Cove Beach on the 4th.

Bon Soir et bon apetite,
Arina Copain
Office Manager

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

We had the cafe closed on Sunday and Monday this week so it was a special treat. I persuaded Henri  to take the city bus with me last night to hear our local Pops play on the bandstand at Cove beach. Better yet, it was free as due to lack of parking space , residents of Sothwold had only to show their id or license which waived the fee for the bus.

Cove Beach is our finest white sand beach surrounded by huge boulders and a set of caves set like a horseshoe. I have never followed the caves though they are said to be connected, but rumor has it that people have drowned in them at high tide, It was just getting dark when we arrived and he found us good seats where we could see the band. I was excited , just like a little kid, I like showing him off . I know the feeling is mutual, even if he is sometimes overprotective.

Vendors had done lobster boils and I could smell the quahog stew .  Hot links, popcorn and the aroma of hamburgers filled the air mixing with the smell of the surrounding humanity. There was so much input to be felt, heard and tasted, that I felt as if my head were on a swivel. I could smell the salt water as it dried off of the swimmers who joined the crowd and the heavy scent of sunscreen. Little boys playing on the bach gave off their own special scent as they ran by us. He put his arm around my shoulders and whispered that if got too much, we could leave. I shook my head and laughed saying I was fine and enjoyed the overload for now.

The program started with a colorguard of our local vets marching onto the beach, the captain asked us all to stand for the National Anthem . We stood, it played and the colorguard was dismissed to join their families on the beach. The tapping of the baton on the deis alerted the musical ensemble that it was time to begin the program. They started with a newer selection " An American Symphony" which had been featured in Mr Holland's Opus. From there , they went on to "The Billy the Kid Suite" , Cole Porter and later "Rhapsody in Blue" . I especially liked the Glenn Miller . They played " American Patrol " which was always played in my uncle's house after I came to live with him and before I married Henri. To look at my uncle, you would never guess that he was a World War Two vet. We Worths hold our age well but then so do the Copains, a lot of it due to good genes and diet.

Several couples stood and started dancing on the white sand . It was nice to see some of the younger people dancing in the old ways , it blended the generations nicely. I watch the conductor's face as he glanced at the crowd, this was the desired effect. When they played "Moonlight Serenade" Henri pulled me to my feet to dance. I loved the way he guided me , and felt he was the best dancer.It was nice to relax like this. I felt myself sway into him as we waltzed in the sand. I heard a woman say to her husband that it was nice, I smiled at her.

" You got one of the good ones" she whispered as I sat back down .

" I know " I smiled back at her. Henri pretended not to hear. Her husband tapped his shoulder, " Hang on to your pretty girl, she thinks you're something special. "

" I think that she is pretty great too," he replied. " How long have you and your wife been together ?"

"Sixty one years come August" he boasted . "She is still the prettiest girl on the beach."

 Maude punched him in the shoulder in jest. "Oh, you with your lies" she laughed.

" Maybe not a lie, maybe he sees you in a light that no one else does. He sees you for who you really are."

" Exactly " preened her husband.

" That is everything," my husband continued.

Maude had to agree . Her husband haltingly stood and held out his hand for her to swing dance with him to "Pennsylvania 650-0000." Maude beamed and they showed the younger generation how it was done.

" Summer people or are you residents?" Henri asked them.

" Leaving in a week," Maude said.

" I own Cafe Copain on Alcott and Hawthorne. I would like to invite you to be my guest for an early aniversary dinner before you go," he handed them his card and signed it so Katie would know if they came in too early for us.

 Maude leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. " Thank you, its getting late. Come ,
Warren." Her husband shook Henri's hand , asked him if he might kiss my cheek . Henri nodded.

" We would be honored." We watched them gather their things and shuffle off toward the parking lot through the sand.

" He has a bad heart problem, complicated by diabetes. He isn't going to make the 61st. They know
it. "I looked at Henri. He had been paying attention to their physical signs.

I looked after the departing couple who had loaded their car and were just pulling out of the parking lot. "She will be devastated."

"She won't be far behind him. They usually aren't.They are so breakable. "

 I snuggled in closer to him,"Well, I am glad that we are not. "

"Me too. "

"You're a Grand Old Flag" piped up.Henri looked at the crowd. " Let's beat the crowd out of here,okay?"


We dusted off our jeans and headed for the bus which was waiting under the street light at the corner of the parking lot. It would run every fifteen minutes until midnight when the program ended. The driver looked at our ids and waved us through. We took the first seat in front. There was no one else on the bus .

" I need you and Katie to guinea pig for the cafe tomorrow, " he began. " I have been offered a good price for some sausage, but have not decided how to use it yet. I think that most of it is the sage stuff, and I was thinking maybe a waffle quiche , maybe some sandwiches. I know some good toppings for the Italian stuff . But I am not sure how those toppings will go with the sage sausage. So we're going to play with the sample in the afternoon. "

"That would be fine. Sausage can be heavy but might be alright. Are you thinking like grinders or the meatball sandwiches that you bought at the drive in on out first date?"

"Maybe" he thought a minute , then looked at me in surprise." You consider that a date?"

"Sure, it wasn't a normal date by common standards but you did dress like a date, so did I . You spent the evening teaching me things that I needed to know but it was a date. Much as I have tried to convince myself it wasn't , that it was only a training exercise , it was a date. "

"Damn, I thought that I had covered up better than that. I tried to keep it professional. "

Two young men got onto the bus and went to the back.

"One minute and we leave folks.,"pronounced the driver.

A heavy set woman with bottle red hair huffed her way onto the bus complete with beach chair, picnic basket , towels, blanket and two plastic totes . Henri and I continued to talk about the cafe and the menu for the upcoming week. She folded up the chair perpendicular to ours, announcing loudly that she needed our seat to hold onto her things. She put her dollar sixty fare into the box.

Henri looked around. The bus held 130 seats , there were four other people in the bus and the driver.
"Try across the aisle , its the same. " She glared at him.

" Look , Honey , Move your ass. Out of the seat.  "

"I don't think so ." He settled deeper into the seat. I looked shocked at him as he waved her off. He was raised with manners, and if the bus had been crowded , he would have moved. He had turned into a 155 lb lead weight,

" You move and the lady can stay , " she hissed at him .

" You have 126 other seats from which to choose. This one is occupied, I didn't see your name on it." She wound up as if to grab or slap him. I glared at her.

I rubbed his shoulder. " Buzz off Bozo" I chimed. at the intruder."Or I will call the sheriff and you can spend the night in jail. Nobody but you is moving."  The driver smiled at us but did not intervene.

" I'm telling God , " she shouted as she grabbed her things and slammed down into the seat opposite ours, plugging her earbuds into her ears.

Henri surpressed a laugh " Evil woman, now you're in for it," he whispered . "She's calling in the big guns."

I grabbed his hand , looked at him and said meaningfully,"I take care of what is mine."

I took great joy in her continued sulk like a spoiled child during the ride home. As we were leaving,
I stood in front of her , gestured broadly toward the vacated seat.She pulled an earbud from her ear.
"Knock yourself out , Bitch. You can have our leavings anyday." She looked as if I had slapped her.

"And you do this all the time when you ride the bus?"

"No, she's a nutbar." I smiled at him " You had a lot of control with her. "

" Actually, I like you when you're agggressive, " he replied.

"I see the whole package and like what I see, "

"Well done," he replied as he unlocked the door.

So that was our eventful Memorial Day. Do stop by and help with deciding how the sausage will be used- I am sure that Chef has more ideas than Katie or I could possibly stand.

Bon soir et bon apetit,
Arina Copain
Office Manager

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I have figured out finally why Gordon Ramsey jumps up and down when he yells. Let me explain , Gordon , who we do not know, used to be a soccer player. He is waiting for someone to lob the ball in his direction . I don't think I have ever seen a relaxed chef. They are a little hyperactive.What causes that ? Maybe the time that it takes garlic to burn and turn bitter? I don't know. But they all are including my ever loving, who is wonderful when he is in control. Ask him to wait and see, and you have a mad man on your hands cooking enough to feed a small army .

Do you know what a farce is ? I thought that I did until this evening when Jean Paul called and asked that we postpone our evening plans because there was an urgent matter that he had to discuss with Henri. He had an errand to run but would call us before he came over.

The first hour went by okay , then Henri began to fidget, pacing between the door and the kitchen , I told him to call his father and tell him that tomorrow night would be better. But does he listen? Ha! No, he pulls his knives off the magnetic strip amd begins mincing shallots, carrots and thyme . He put some oil into a heavy saucepan and sweated these for 5-6 minutes. Then he took it off the heat for it to cool,

He pulled the halibut from the fridge and tortured some innocent scallops into slices. But was that enough ? Of course not. He drops the chopped up fish into a food processor adding the cooled mixture from the first pan ino the fish and processed it until smooth adding cayenne and white pepper. He put the processor bowl into the fridge and set the timer for an hour.

All the while glaring at the telephone. I tried to draw his attention to the television in the living room instead of redirecting his anger toward some unfortunate shrimp and salmon which he cut up into pieces and added it to his farce which was the mixture in the bowl, He piped this mixture into presoaked sausage casing and tied it off.

For the next quarter of an hour , he poached these in boiling water. And it looked like the hapless phone might be next. He packaged these up after they had cooled and took them upstairs to serve for lunch tomorrow with a sauce made of butter, shallots, white pepper , vinegar and saffron. It smelled good enough but not what we had planned for the evening's meal.

The phone squeaked once when he was upstairs and he jumped from cafe level to flat level (about eight feet straight down) . Of course , it didn't make a sound once he was on the same level  as the phone. and the caller's number was blocked. This did nothing to improve his mood.

I settled in to watch tv , starting to change from the low cut black  dress that he had chosen for our evening out, into my Tinker Bell pajamas so that I could work on a baby blanket while watching RuPaul's Drag Race.

" No, No ,No " he shouted at me " Papa will call ,then we can go out . If you wash your make up off, we have to start again. " Half picking me up , he shuffled me back into the bathroom where he proceeded to stuff me back into my dress. In the midst of this, he got the baby yarn tangled around his left ankle and ripped out about a block and a half of crochet. If that weren't bad enough , he got his right sleeve stuck in the zipper of my dress and we struggled gymnastically to get him free without ripping my dress. He wasn't listening to anything that I was saying, until I reminded him that the dress fit so much better when not over Tinker Bell Pajamas. He unzipped the dress again, leaving me to dress myself for the second time that evening. I emerged better than ever.

Exhausted, he collasped into the overstuffed chair in the living room . He was hungry, angry and he hated the way that the evening had gone. There was a major sulk going on. I sympathized, neither Christopher Lee nor Frank Langella had ever had this problem .  I went over to him , pulled his head onto my shoulder. I whispered the words to him that I had wanted to say to him all evening.

" Henri, sweetie, lets just go out and get a bite. We can come right back. "

He glared at me as if I had betrayed everything that he believed in. " Papa said that he would call."

" You're right, " I agreed, " Your father always calls before he comes over ." My beloved husband gloated silently at his victory.

" But, Sweetheart, its a cell phone," I smiled " We can get the call wherever we are and he has a key."

Thunderstruck, my horrified husband regarded me " I hate you" he muttered.

I handed him his jacket. " The night awaits ," I smiled.

" Yeah, yeah, shut up" he said as he checked his pocket for his  keys.

So I hope that you all enjoy the Seafood Sausage with Saffron Beurre Blanc at lunch tomorrow.

Remember to turn your cell phones off before you order.

Bon Soir et Bon apetit,
Arina Copain
Office Manager