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Culinary Corner, week of May 27th

"Heroes never die. They live on in the hearts and minds of those who would follow in their footsteps." - Emily Potter

Happy Memorial Day weekend. As we take this time to relax and enjoy the spring weather, let's not forget why this day is set aside and those who are honored. Those of you who have been here any length of time already know that we celebrate all our major holidays early in the day allowing our staff to spend time with their families as much as possible. Having worked at Vi for twenty years now I can say with some authority that our company values the work-life balance that we offer our team members.

As mentioned, we will be serving our Memorial Day feast from 11 to 1:30 in the Tent -assuming the weather forecast doesn't change drastically. We are still taking reservations and so I encourage you to sign up with Liza for either the 11 or the 12:30 seating. We have found that there are often seats open as people fail to show up for their reservations and so I suggest that if you are worried about getting in come anyway and we will try to accommodate you. Of course we are serving classic Memorial Day fare: Barbecued Pork Ribs, Burgers, Hot Dogs and more. I have found over the years that you don't really want to get too fancy or too creative with Holiday menus. By the wa: we are still planning on holding the Culinary Corner in the Art Room on Monday at 10 am.

For the rest of the week, the menus are a lot more basic than last week. Yes, there is a day with Mongolian Beef that might get a bit crazy but for the most part it's pretty straightforward. Personally I am going to try the Almond-Crusted Walleye, but I recommend the Braised Chicken (Coq au Vin), Beef Pot Roast, Ravioli with Vodka sauce, Beef Lasagna, and especially the Brazilian Shrimp and Scallop Stew.

Menu for the week of May 27

I want to thank you all who attended the Food and Beverage Forum last Thursday. I always like an audience and as most of you know I will always be honest with you. One topic that was discussed was expanding the menu and hours of the Tent dining. I hope I was clear, we will be considering all suggestions and I don't disagree with this one at all. My concern is that we still have challenges with the logistics of this thing-- as many of you pointed out. In my experience, expanding a menu, adding more options, extending dining times won't make things go more smoothly. Is it a good idea to make it more complicated if we are already not meeting resident expectations?

It's important to remember that we are serving in a Tent. As fancy as that tent is it is still maybe two or three steps from camping in my opinion. I am very cautious about expanding-especially with a kitchen renovation coming up-see below. We did discuss some of the suggestions and agreed to try the no reservation idea on Sunday to see how it goes. I'm sure we will be discussing the results Monday morning. Trust that we will work hard to keep you all as happy as we can. Good news is that the Care Center Dining construction may be complete soon, as that has been a big adjustment as well. Much thanks to our own Victor Reyes who has been working overtime to solve problems and smooth over supply issues.

Another thing that came up on Thursday is the Game Room. Kendall and I have both been working hard to try to get this space available as a dining room since before the Tent ever went up and we are still not one hundred percent sure that it will happen. The idea is that once the Game Room is finished, we can go back to our original plan of dining indoors in that space. The problem is that not everyone concerned is convinced that this is a great idea. I get it. You spend millions of dollars on a new space, including a brand new carpet and then it gets ruined in a few weeks by using it as a Dining room. Kendall however, is a remarkable diplomat and much better than me at getting what he wants. I have faith in him and hope that by the time the really hot weather is upon us we will be sitting in air conditioned comfort. No promises of course, even charm has it's limits.

Friday morning I got confirmation that we will be doing some kitchen floor work beginning in late June. This work will continue off and on throughout the summer involving different areas and different phases of construction. Parts of the kitchen will be closed off, equipment will be inaccessible, direct paths to The Hive and the Tent will be blocked. Hopefully this will have absolutely no effect on Resident food or availability. Chef David has shown himself to be a real whiz when it comes to finding solutions, and the current iteration of our dining should still be easy to accomplish. The Hive may be difficult to manage for at least a few days and we may have to make an adjustment during that time. The Food and Beverage manager offices will be closed for a big part of that time and so we may just keep the tent for operational purposes no matter what happens with the Game Room. Time will tell.

Don't forget to join us on Tuesday at 2 pm for a Guest speaker at the Sip and Savor. Chef David Meraz will be leading us in a tour of Mexican spirits and accompanying food. Yes, I will be present, but I am going to try to be as silent as possible-only heckling him lightly. Checkout the menu at right. Yes, I know that seems like a lot of tequila but we will endeavor to keep this civil.

I hope to see you all at Culinary Corner on Monday at 10 am in the Art Room, if not I will see most of you in The Tent for a burger and a dog.

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