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Weekend update from the Tent...

Hi everyone! so we got through another week of Dining Al Fresco with only minimal weather interruption. Things are running more smoothly these days as we settle into a routine and the staff is enjoying the fresh air so far.

So in culinary Corner I have been keeping residents up to date on my weed situation at home. here is the background; I am a beekeeper. Bees need flowers and Dandelions and a great source of food-often the first to bloom in the area. I had heard from a beekeeper that Dandelions were deliberately introduced to Colorado by beekeepers as a source of bee nectar- of course this was before a solid green lawn became mandatory for every house and the establishment of the Highlands Ranch Community Association. I happen to be pro-Dandelion. Dandelions are really useful too, the roots make a great addition to coffee, the leaves are great in a salad, and the flowers make a delicious wine-not to mention they are pretty. So why would we try to get rid of them, I asked myself a few years ago. Fast forward to this spring, my lawn is more yellow than green because of all the blossoms. The seedpods flutter away to the neighbor's lawns with every breeze-increasing my popularity immensely. I have seen people slowing down as they pass my house to stare at the proliferation of bee nourishing dandelions. It's pretty bad. A few pointed comments from the wife helped me decide to take care of this bounty of riches. As I don't like herbicides, pesticides or anything ending in "cide" how should I address it? The answer of course is fire. It's so obvious. I purchased a weed torch from amazon, and went out one sunny morning to do battle armed with propane and full of black coffee. What I found out was that those pretty white seed pods are actually really really flammable as well as lighter than air. As I progressed through the backyard I was leaving behind little airborne flames that began to spread across to the dry leaves and grass. The dog was barking, the neighbors were looking over the fence with concern, and yet the wife was blissfully unaware that I had nearly set the yard on fire. After dashing to the hose and rescuing the house from the encroaching flames I decided that maybe these tools were not really made for my problem and I will have to find another solution. The bees from my backyard hive however are very excited and think I should just let the flowers alone. I will keep you informed.

On to more important things.

This week we have Striped Bass, Amish Beef and Noodles, Bison Burgers, and Parmesan Tilapia. The menus are on Touch town or in the Mail room.

Some people have asked me about Memorial day. The plan is that on that day- the 27th we will have a buffet very similar to years past. Hamburgers, Hot dogs, traditional cookout foods will be served in the daytime-we will have 11:00 and 12:30 seatings the same s a Sunday. Of course the Hive is still open until 5 if you can't make it. I expect basically the same on July 4th. Some people have asked about the Traditional Tuesday Barbecues on the Pool Patio that usually begin after labor day. We are still settling in so give us a little time before we decide that, ok? It does seem like overkill to have something like this the same day as we have a tent with food set up though.

I wanted to discuss meal credits for a moment. So each resident gets thirty meal credits a month to use as they please, basically one meal a day. now with the current system, a resident may use that credit in three places-The Hive, The Tent, or on Brown bag meal. I'll walk through these choices to make sure everyone understands.

The first thing to understand is that a meal credit in itself has no cash value in Dining. If you don't use all your allotted credits, the accounting department will refund $6 each. That really has nothing to do with dining at all, a meal is a meal credit. A person eating in the dining room is a meal credit-unless they make the choice to use a resident charge-such as at breakfast.

In the Hive market, we had established in the beginning that a Meal credit would be one entrée and three sides. This was simple enough and worked well but didn't give the residents much of a choice. When we closed the dining room we realized that residents would have much fewer choices in general and so we decided to give them a choice of what they could use in The Hive. We took the maximum amount that a meal credit would cost if a resident ran out of credits-$24 and that became our baseline. We arranged the pricing in the Hive so that this amount would more or less equal a meal for an independent resident. Entrees are $12, sides are $3. that means that you could have an entrée and four sides, for one meal credit. Or you could simply have two entrees for one meal credit. Or you could have eight sides for one meal credit. This means that yes-the entrees are all the same price. A steamed lobster tail and a portion of meatloaf are priced the same-just like in the dining room for the last 16 years.

Yes, I know that Breakfast was available a la carte-so is the Hive. If you don't want to use a meal credit go get a slice of pie for $3. Maybe you already have a refrigerator full of sides from yesterdays dinner-buy a single filet mignon and save the meal credit or buy two and use one credit for two entrees. Whatever works for you.

Breakfast is the same-yes it seems expensive to pay $12 for a breakfast sandwich-but that is not the intention. I really don't want you to do that. A breakfast sandwich ($12) an oatmeal ($3), a parfait ($3), and a pastry ($3), all equal one meal credit- no charge. Coffee is free, enjoy.

Wine, honey and candy can not be purchased with a meal credit at this time however.

Another option is The Tent. I know I said I would come up with a better name but somehow that one has stuck. We are serving dinner three nights a week, and brunch once a week. The other days we are supplying plenty of food with no meal credit necessary along with free wine every night. You simply need to make a reservation with the hostess. What this means is that you can have a meal and free wine every single day of the week and still only use four meal credits. That leaves 12 meal credits a month to spend in The Hive or get $66 back from the Accounting department-whichever you choose. Pretty good deal isn't it?

Finally we have the Takeout or Brown Bag as residents like to call it. Basically the same setup as The Hive but with fewer choices. One entrée and four sides equals a meal credit. The advantage is that it is packaged and ready for you at 2 pm sharp, no reheating necessary.

I hope all this helps, I hope to see you all at Culinary Corner on Monday, and at the Food and Beverage forum on Thursday.

Have a great day!

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