I was forced to take a bit of time out from the daily travails of La Bucca recently & found myself laid up for a few days with little to think about other than ways to get more bums on seats & different ideas to entice customers into the restaurants. One of the unfortunate things about being self-employed is that even when your body comes to a halt, your mind never really stops working, even when you find yourself on a myriad of intravenous drips in the salubrious surrounds of Blanchardstown Hospital.
Having said this, the cocktail of painkillers & antibiotics combined with the seemingly infinite amount of time in between visiting hours allowed my mind to wander near & far. So much so that on the fourth morning, when my dosage had been reduced somewhat, the nurse asked me which ship I used to work on. I enquired as to why she would ask such a question, she explained that for the previous three mornings I would wake up, look out of the window & ask her which port we were in today? The wonders of morphine!
Wherever possible I carry a notebook with me, which I refer to as my ‘memory’ & when I have an idea I write it down, without this just about every thought I have would simply disappear without trace. The only place I try not to bring it is the Pub as there’s nothing worse than getting home & realising you’ve left your memory in the pub, trust me it’s happened to me a few times & is very disconcerting.
I have to admit that many of my ideas, once transferred from ‘memory’ to reality, are completely unworkable. Fortunately the majority are dismissed out of hand before they see the light of day. Every now and then, however, I stumble on an idea that does work. The most successful idea to come out of my recent incarceration in Blanchardstown is the new format to our wine tasting evenings.
The idea is simple: pick two countries, take three wines from each country, serve them alternatively, matched with traditional dishes from their countries & then ask the guests to vote after each round which country’s wine/food combination is their favourite. To make it more interesting, the staff are split into teams & given a small financial incentive.
We have had two very enjoyable, close run evenings to date, Spain v Italy & New Zealand v Australia. Both nights have been sell-outs & have been one round a piece going into the final round. Spain beat Italy 2-1 & New Zealand beat Australia 2-1.
The next Wine Tasting evening is Friday 27th July and will be an all South American affair with the more established wines of Chile up against the emerging wines of Argentina. I haven’t yet had time to research the menu, but can feel a lot of googling coming on to ensure the dishes are as traditional as possible. After trying both crocodile & kangaroo at the last event the pressure is on to find a selection of equally exotic dishes for the next menu.