Intemperate testoterone

Today, I washed stuff. Pots, pans, bowls, utensils, and counters. It was all about recovering from the great Feastival event, where  I put off doing the dishes until today. I figured it would be a typically slow Sunday, so I’d get lots done in that department. I was right all around. Sometimes, it happens.

One very odd note of the day that I thought I’d share: as I was setting up today, someone looked at the bright orange cone delimiting the “this cable is covered” section from the “this cable is not covered” section, and decided to just run over the uncovered cable.  An odd decision, in my opinion, and one that unfortunately hits a sore spot given how much I spent on cable protection for this location, and how much damage my power cable has taken over the summer from people ignoring cones to just run over the cable as I’m setting up or taking down.

To my chagrin I was perhaps somewhat intemperate in my wondering why someone would choose to damage an expensive cable rather than drive over the protected part of it. Frankly, I can’t remember exactly what I said other than it (a) did not include any swear words, (b) was not “shouting”, and (c) was probably quite sarcastic. The male passenger in the car took exception, and in what I can only describe as “do you live for YouTube?” moment rushed out the car and immediately started threatening me. He even physically pushed me at one point. There was no harm done, but it’s still considered battery in Canada, and his words and attitude would possibly be considered assault as well.

To her credit the woman made some pertinent points about more signage over the uncovered cable, and I apologized to her for my outburst while I put an extra cone to protect the uncovered bit of the cable. She did have a valid logical point even if I questioned her judgement. But the guy really needs some serious anger management classes!! She did initially try to restrain him, but he wasn’t having any of it. It was a very odd moment for me, one when I started to question if some humans have really evolved much past the chest-beating plains apes we used to be. The only real conclusion to the altercation was that I think I need a good security camera with sound for recording events around the trailer. Just because.

Apart from that little bit of excitement that morning, the rest of the day was very, very quiet.  And productive, in a “Marc gets a lot of cleaning done” way. Oh, and I think I created another convert or two to my “salted butter caramel” fan club. Which means I’d better have a new batch ready by Wednesday!!

Feastival review

It went well. The weather was nice, and we sold a fair amount. Nothing overwhelming like the Nanaimo Harvest Festival, but it was still a good day. Met a couple of potential local suppliers for meat and vegetables, which should also be useful in the long run. Local and fresh is good.

Even the billig more or less cooperated, although it looks like they’re not quite as robust as they should be yet. Still, I managed to have all 3 running at the same time for a while, which is a first.

It’s a pity that we can’t do the food truck & market thing on a more regular basis here in Nanaimo. This one seemed to work quite well.

We’re open again!

Hey fans, looks like we might have partially resolved some of the problems, and we can open again. Today we’ll be replenishing stock, replacing batter, and generally making sure everything is fresh after a week of being closed.

We’ll be at RONA tomorrow, Friday the 25th, testing things out to make sure they work, and stay working.

Then if everything stays working we’ll be at Feastival on Saturday the 26th. That’s Gordon Street, Nanaimo. Be there, or be hungry.

Interim update

I’ve been re-seasoning (in French: culottage) the griddles regularly, trying different techniques, trying different oils and products. Still no success. It either sticks, or flakes immediately, or other signs of “failure”. What used to work when I started isn’t working at all today.

Much research has been done. There doesn’t seem to be a published consistent “science” of cast iron seasoning. Only hints and opinions based on anecdotal “evidence”. None of which seems to work for the conditions I’m currently working in. However, I probably have enough research and data for an article on the subject at this point, but I’ll hold off until I have a consistent successful surface to work with on the cast iron griddle. There’s an amazing amount of chemistry involved, from oil polymerization to the amount of carbon residue from various oils and other products used for seasoning. There’s a lot of variables. I need to do a lot more research in a variety of fields before I’d be happy with publishing anything, even as a blog post.

The current hypothesis is that high humidity interferes with the bonding of the polymerized oil to iron. Unfortunately I don’t have a low-humidity location I can use that’s also capable of drawing off all the smoke created.

So that’s the current status. Billig are still out of order, and I’m still not able to get back in business. But I’ve learned a lot.

Confirmed: we are closed.

Until the billig situation is sorted out, Bistro Breizh is closed. We won’t be at RONA, we won’t be at My Street Nanaimo. I’m hoping that I can sort this out in a few days to attend Feastival, but I’ve already HAD a few days and nothing yet.  Work continues on trying to resolve the issues.

On the plus side, I guess this gives me a bit more time to find some staff.

Status: closed until further notice.

Good thing I tested the newly seasoned billig. Within 2 galettes, the surface was already flaking off. Something went very wrong. I’ll be doing a closer analysis of the products I used, as well as contacting “le chef” back in France to see if he has any suggestions.

So back to the drawing board. Until then, Bistro Breizh is closed. I still might be able to do something by Sunday, but it’s not looking good at this point.

billig update

So, still working on the “culottage” (seasoning) of the billig (crêpes griddles). With the various issues from broken wires in a plug to updating the trailer to just “other stuff”, I only got started mid-afternoon. It takes a lot of time to scrape off the old seasoning then carefully lay in the next one. Microscopic layer after layer.  I hope to be done just the culottage by 21h00 (9 pm), and the entire operation, including cool-down, re-heat to cooking temp, and testing by making a few galettes, by midnight. We’ll see.  Only if that last test is successful will I be able to say “ok, it works” and get on with business.  If it doesn’t work, then … I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll definitely have to close for a while as I research other options.  So I’m hoping it works.

In the meantime, the trailer is now heated and I’ve got a de-humidifier running as well. That should help make sure the seasoning is only degraded by use, not just by being left overnight in a trailer with fluctuating temperatures and high humidity.

Hunt for pork lard – success!

So, apparently if I’d asked for “rendered lard” in German then I would have obtained it more quickly. Live and learn!  “Schmalz” is sold by my local butcher (Nesvog), and they claim it’s “pork schmalz”, also known as “pure rendered pork lard” in English or “saindoux” in French.  In the freezer section, which says to me “not full of additives”, because the stuff with additives is kept on a shelf.

So, here we go again with yet another attempt to season the billig. However, as it’s quite late I won’t be able to complete everything tonight. Which means that unfortunately I’ll also be closed on Friday as I complete the task then run the griddles through some actual tests to make sure the seasoning is sound. Instead of setting up only to find that all three billig are inoperative, as happened this morning.