Irene and M. Wells

Hurricane Irene has come and gone, and though I am thankful that everyone I know was kept safe, I am praying for those who were not as fortunate.

Irene also happens to be the name of a dear shopping buddy of mine, a fellow lover of good deals and good eats. We’ve wanted to go to M. Wells since last fall, but it took M. Wells vacating its current location to compel us to go for dinner recently. Now, I’ve been once before with food blogger friends The Eaten Path, The Feisty Foodie, and Law & Food. I had a wonderful lunch then, and I had a delicious dinner the other week.

Their food has already been highlighted by many of you out there, so I’m writing to talk about their hospitality, just like Alan Richman and Jess from Food Mayhem did.

Along with the newly launched design comes a slightly modified focus for this blog. More than just baking, I want to highlight hospitality and the role it plays in my recipes, events and dining experiences.

I already said I had great food at M. Wells. And I agree with Alan and Jess about one thing: bad service even with great food makes a bad meal. Where this blog post differs from theirs is the experience.

The service at my first meal wasn’t memorable, meaning it was neither outstanding nor horrible, but my second meal at M. Wells brought great hospitality. Sure, I should mention that my dinner was the day after Alan Richman’s harsh article went out. But that signals to me that they do care about their customers, and they will change if given the chance to. As busy as they’ve been since word got out that they’re leaving the current location, I saw they were taking names and numbers from walk-ins and told them they could come back after half an hour or so. About 10 minutes before our reservation time, I told Sarah Obraitis we were waiting on one more person, and she later checked back with me and said she was rooting for my friend to come soon so she didn’t have to give away my table. And Deven DeMarco gave us great service to accompany a wonderful, non-rushed dinner.

While I received satisfactory service, I realize others were not so lucky. I really hope that by re-opening in a new location, they’ll be able to consistently provide good hospitality to all future patrons.

Now, I’ll end with a quick show of the food I had there and loved:

Mushroom Soup with Seared Foie Gras

Velouté de Moules with Seared Foie Gras


Caesar Salad with Smoked-Herring Dressing

Irene and Radishes

What’s on everybody’s mind right now? Irene. Just like the Californians are proud of their expertise on earthquakes, I guess I’m the same way with hurricanes. Oh come on, I was almost named after Alicia because she hit Texas while I was in my mother’s womb. (Thanks, Mom and Dad, for not naming me after a natural disaster!)

In preparation for the storm, I brought my little container garden indoors and decided to harvest some radishes that I’ve been growing since late spring.

But.. what was this? Why did my radishes have to turn out so weird-looking? I chose to grow radishes because everyone told me how easy they were to grow. So easy that they’re a popular choice for children’s gardens. Well, they sure grew easily, but I suppose I should have followed instructions better. I must have not spaced them out properly because they obviously did not have room to grow to be fat little radishes.

Oh, but it was still tasty. Sliced, on buttered toast with a touch of salt.

Here’s a shot of some Australian rock candy that the radish reminded me of. (Thanks for the candy, Tan!)

Times like these make me glad I’m part of an awesome CSA like Holton Farms. I know it’s too late this season to join, but if you’re looking for a flexible CSA (not ironic, this one is!) then definitely consider them for next season. It’s been a real treat this summer to get farm-fresh vegetables of my choice delivered close by my office.

Wherever you are this weekend, I pray you and your family stay safe through the storm. I also pray that it doesn’t turn out as bad as we think. Usually that’s the case, but that’s one bet I’m not willing to take. Stay safe, friends!