Sunday, September 15, 2013


Here we go again.....some "research and development" for some future Salty endeavors....a trip up to Monhegan Island, Maine...a long over-due trip that was gifted to us 2 years ago......Laurie and I finally picked a time we thought we could get away, a time that would be perfect.  We picked early September, which typically is a slightly slower time at Salt...a kind of transition time.  The weeknights  slow down a bit with school starting, yet right on the cusp of getting our asses handed to us with catering.  So what better time to try and take advantage of a few days.  Total bullshit!  The night before we are to leave is the night we host Shockenaw Mountain Boys for an awesome night of music and fun...which it was.  Then the power went out.  Not during the show, thanks to the music god's...but sometime during the over-night, something right before we are to leave for the weekend.  We get word from Mike at 8:44 am, "Powers out at Salt"....I think to myself, "Ok, this has happened numerous times, power goes out for short periods of time quite a bit, hell it is JCP&L...this is to be expected.  We did have quite a heavy rain and some wind last night".  Not in my wildest dream did I expect it to kill our Friday lunch business...but it did.  So now on our way north towards Maine we are texting and calling Salt and our team there, friends, the town offices, councilmen, the mayor and JCP&L.  Feeling eerily like something that happened in the not to distant proved to be not much different.  JCP&L knew nothing, nor did the town...but I can tell you, our Salt team knew!  No power, and no answers...from anyone!  So as I trek my way north towards Maine, with a knot in my stomach, but thinking all along there is no way this can be like last time.....after all it was a fucking rain storm.  No tornado. No hurricane. No fires. Not much of anything out of the ordinary. The trek towards Maine continues after talking to JCP&L and feeling pretty sure that power will be restored by mid-lunch. Yeah right...  Word we keep getting to us that 6:30pm latest...then midnight latest, then Sat. by noon, and definitely no later then 8pm Saturday night.  At this point I am throwing up outside the car, not really, but mentally....By the time we hit the Maine border we are both sick with anxiety and guilt for not being at the restaurant during such a crisis, a crisis we had no idea that was upon us.  As we enter Maine and the sun has fast set...we hit the black highway and get slammed with  sheets of rain.....the kind of rain that makes you feel as though you are entering Hell itself.   Sight is about 3 inches from the windshield, the wipers can't keep it off fast enough.  No lights on the highways up here, nothing open past 8pm...the highway is deserted, dark and fucking creepy.  At this point I am waiting for the car to careen off the road, land in a ditch and the wife and I have to meander through the Maine woods hoping to find life, only to be found by some three eyed, twelve fingered beauty to invite us in to get dry.  Or perhaps a "Brad" moment in the Rocky Horror, which may have been fun, but anyway....
  We keep forging North....finally coming upon our  exit..."Port Clyde"  and the rain slows....but man, we are in the midst of nothing.  We drive around everywhere, looking for anything in the midst of nothing...and we found alot of nothing and not a clue as to where to turn.  Running in circles and dead ends we see a sign for "town". Literally a broken, wooden, hand painted tiny sign...what the fuck right? To "town" we go....sure as shit, thats where we needed to be, kind of.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

THANK YOU.......for 5 incredible years!

Big, Big Thanks to all of you for getting us to the 5 year mark!
Here are some of the things we have been able to accomplish in our short time here, again, thanks to all of you for your help and support.......

   *Salt has been able to raise or help raise upwards of $100,000 dollars for everything from PTA's to local police department's...From victims of crimes to breast cancer screenings....From local sports teams to victims of Hurricane Sandy.... From Boy/Girl Scouts to local Churches/Synagogues. We are proud to be able to help when help is needed, and it is our philosophy to give back.
*Salt, with help of our Salt Stage Program we have been able to keep the shelves of local food pantries stocked.
*Salt has been able to help those needing a helping hand through the holidays, be it meals, gifts or clothing.  Through all of your generosity with food and gifts our local community has been a better place to be in hard times.
*Salt was able to, with a huge donation by Hudson Farms, get the Roseville Community Garden started and on its feet.  With the help of a great group of volunteers this has turned into such an asset for our community and we are proud to have been able to launch it as well as to continue to be a part of it.
*Salt is able to employ numbers of local residents and hopefully provide a great place to work and an extended Family to be a part of.

*Salt has been able to do it's small part in supporting the local farming community by both using their produce/meats, but also to being a part of the local Foodshed Alliance in bringing awareness to "local" as well as raising monies through benefit dinners.

*Salt has done our part to try and keep people fit- with the help of a couple of "OS"'s (Original Salties) we have formed the Salt Movers and Shakers.  A group of runners and walkers who take off from Salt every Tuesday to hit the trails behind Salt, only to end up back at Salt and toasting their run with a cold one.  The membership has multiplied over the years, catching the attention of the NY/NJ Trail Conference, who this year agreed to grant Salt "Trail Head" status and our own connecting spur to the trail system.

*Salt put Byram on the Maps of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Food Network!
*Salt has been able to bring to sleepy Sussex County a music scene that makes clubs in NYC jealous. We have been able to put on our stage "Grammy Winners" "Grammy Nominees" "Gold & Platinum" selling artists "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" Members "MTV " darlings, members of the original "Woodstock" festival and numbers of Legends of the Music industry......We've been able to bring them here because of your support of our music  There isn't an act that we have had that didn't dig the vibe of the room, of the audience and would hesitate to come back..Thank You!

And lastly....we hope we have been able to provide a place for people to gather- be it to celebrate or to mourn...for that first date or that first drink.  A place to get a good meal, a good drink and to be able to just enjoy....

WE are celebrating our 5 years, but it's because of YOU and your support of what we do here that  we are able to continue what we do......So again a BIG "Thanks" to all of you for "Getting" us!!

Bradley and all of the Salt Family!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

.....and in my closing argument

           * 22 counties
            *34 Days
            *6 Houses
            *3 cars
            *2500 miles (4000 km) all done on the "wrong" side of the road, on the "wrong" side of the car, one with a stick shift.  Where the speedometer is only in km, the speed limits and mileage on signs only in km, which left me to just drive aimlessly not knowing when I would arrive anywhere.  Oh, but to throw a twist into it, Northern Ireland thought it would be fun to switch there sign postings into mph and mile distances...which is great for me to figure out how far something is, but I have no idea how fast (or slow) I am driving.
            *Countless "O" and "Mc" Pubs throughout the country
            *Dozens of Ireland's best and most talented cooks, chef's and food people.  All passionate and loved talking and sharing their knowledge and stories.
            *372 perfect pints of Guinness
            *1 pint of Murphy's stout
            *dozens of good meals
            *a few "not so good" meals
            *Fish & Chips at least 10 different ways in pubs, restaurants, "chippies" and roadside "diners" for lack of a better term

             This really was the trip of a lifetime and was amazed at every turn..whether it was the food, the culture, the scenery or just the people, it was a great trip.  That being said, I can't wait to get back, to get to work, to see everyone and to share what I bring back.  Most of what I have learned and experienced really isnt something you can replicate...most of it was thoughts, seeing things in different ways, working with different people, experiencing different things.....though you may see some things pop up here and there and say..."wait a minute, I know where he got that idea", and of course there will be studio dinners and parties planned soon after I get home.   So anyway...those are my thought this morning here in Ireland...not sure if this will be my last post or not, I will probably get one more in before I head back home....for now it's off to say my "Good-Byes" to my new friends at The Tannery....


Friday, April 19, 2013

Tannery Tasting....

Last "official" at The Tannery was yesterday (though I am still in Dungarvan until Tuesday) I finished off with a nice night in the dining room with a Tasting Menu.  Everything was perfect!  The soup starter was a *wild garlic broth with local mussels, scallops and roe and fresh vegetables.  The beet cured salmon, I could have eaten an entire plate of, with its tiny pickled vegetables and raisins...really good.  The country terrine was *Guinea fowl and pork with spring onions and sage fritter, sprinkled with pickled turnips and carrots...... The monkfish is seared and roasted on the bone on what is called a tortilla but is kind of a cake made of turnips and potato, kind of like a tiny fritatta...awsome!  Then the smoked duck which just kills it, so rich....I don't use the word decadent to often, or at all actually, but its the word that comes to mind for this dish.....between the smoke, the duck skin, the richness of the duck breast...then with kale dressed with a bacon hazelnut dressing...over the top.  The warm chocolate mousse was a great way to finish the meal and the winter fruit compote at the bottom below the mousse was perfect as it cut through the richness of the chocolate and lightened it up a bit and the tiny sliver of pistachio and dry cranberry biscotti....a nice finish.  But then the cheese course came..  Wedges of each, Knocklarra semi-soft sheeps milk cheese, Coolea aged cheddar and Wicklow Bleu....with oatmeal cakes and house made walnut bread.  And then the coffee, black as night.....perfect.                 this wasnt supossed to be any kind of review, thats not what started this post to do, but the meal was excellent and worth talking about!     I am now, since it is 10am here, on my way down to Kinsale, about 1.5 hours south of here (I think) to drop off a delivery of books from Chef Paul to Chef Mitchell Shanahan, the chef/owner of the restaurant "Fishy Fishy", they collaborated on a book together "Surf N Turf", which apparantly was also a tv series over here.....anyway, I was heading there anyway for lunch today so Paul asked me to do him a favor.....Very much looking forward to lunch, everything i have read about it says its a "don't miss"...then on the way back I hit Michelin Starred "Cliff House" in Ardmore (?) for a drink and a tasting of their bar menu.....I just hope everyone knows the suffering I am doing for my art...the sacrifices I am making here to bring back new Ideas and to broaden my knowledge of I am not being a martyr or anything, but just remember what I am putting myself through here as you read these..It is no easy task to be eating and drinking like this, to have to travel from each beauitful village/town to the have to sample Guinness at each pub along the way, just to compare, to talk with chefs and butchers and shop taste cheeses and sausages.  The things I do .....Next......

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Last Leg of the 2013 Tour.....

So here I am in my God Damn car again.....Its 6pm on Tuesday and I am looking at my last week here in Ireland.  What a trip it's been so far....  This past week was great working at The Tannery...felt like back at Le Cirque back in 88, there was a good buzz in the air with the Waterford Food Festival going on all weekend.  The dinner on Saturday night with re-nowned and Michelin starred guest chef Fergus Henderson from St. John Restaurant in London was a blast, a snout to tail dinner...was just great fun to be in the kitchen.  A couple of days off from the restaurant meant more travels and catching up on "stuff"....some salt menu's some shopping, needed laundry and being a tourist.  Today I spent the btter part of the day traveling south west to the city of Cork.  Stumbled into "The English Market", which
"Donegal Joe" told me was a not to be missed while here...  He was right.  The English Market is one of Ireland's oldest working markets....a closed market right in the heart of the city with a dozen of each, butchers, fish mongers, bread bakers, pastry stalls, produce, cheese mongers, specialty goods....all in one market and a working market....butchers breaking down meat, fish mongers cleaning fish....the farmers, the cheese makers..all there and wanting to talk....I spoke with the wife of the Irish Gentleman Fisherman "Barthy" (I hope that spelling is right, he is the brother of my Aunt Terry in Staten Island) and we are set to head out on the waters on Saturday, weather permitting...the weather has been absolute shit for the past 4 weeks, give or take a day....the winds have been fucking typhoon strength, literally blowing old ladies to the ground, drunks against walls and little kids out to sea....crazy winds here on the coast.  I have to say though, as I look up from the computer and take it all in today, on a beautiful sunny day and I see the mountains, the rolling green fields, the ocean, the cliffs, the oyster beds, the grazing cows, the sheep..and this is all in one look, all literally right before is amazing, and its no wonder why they are such a happy people...because at the end of the day, life is good....

Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 2...

So day 2 of The Tannery has come and gone......Today was prep day, right onto peeling shallots that were the size of a small mans head, I don't know where the hell they grow these things, but they are enormous and will be roasted and served with split pigs head....speaking of pigs heads, the next job, I am handed a knife, a blowtorch and a case of pigs heads, to be torched and shaved clean for Saturday nights dinner. So cleaning pigs heads I did, 20 of em....not for the faint of heart.  The rest of the day I pretty muched worked with Paddy from Belfast.  We were making Oat Cakes and Walnut/ Date Bread..then Muffins and these really cool creme brulee' made in a canning jar filled halfway with compote of apples, plums and pears, topped with the mix and baked...(coming to a "Studio" near you). Paddy and I had some really interesting conversations about Belfast, from what I could understand anyway....So get this, I am trying to understand Paddy with his Belfast accent, I am trying to measure out recipes in grams and litres, I am cooking at temps in celsius and using timers on a 24 hour clock......can drive a guy a bit mad.....  Then it was an introduction to another cook.  "Hi, I am Brad, nice to meet you.  Hi Brad I am Gray Hem....Hi Gray Hem.  I sounded like a complete idiot as it came out of my mouth, he was obviously saying Graham.....I need to process quicker.  Graham is from South Africa and a hell of a cook, lots of fun to work with.  So at this point most of the prep is done and it's time to set up for dinner service.  Thats when I get the tap on the shoulder from Paul..."Lets go out for a pint!"  Never to turn down a pint, its off to the pub we go.  Now as everyone knows A pint is never A pint.....and this is when the night got really fucking weird and fun............

Day 3....

So Friday night dinner service has ended (Just as Salt's dinner service is about to start kicking in) and this puts a close on day 3 at The Tannery.  I have to say, after 3 days of working here and working with Paul and these guys in the kitchen...I am really impressed with the professionalism and integrity they all have and how they have all really taken me in...Chef Paul Flynn is just a perfectionist, and has and is still turning Irish Modern Cuisine on its head....he is not re-inventing anything, he is just doing everything perfect, and he will work on flavors endlessly to get the result he is looking for.....really truly impressive.  Thats really all I have today, it was a long day, and its all leading up to tomorrow.  The restaurant will be closed to the public for a special "Snout to Tail" dinner by Chef Fergus Henderson from London...Hence the cleaning and roasting of pigs heads......and these are just a bunch of photos taken throughout the day here......and dinner?  Well dinner cosisted of two items off the starter menu....An Osso Bucco Ravioli and then a warm pork cheek salad with beets and goat cheese with a steaming its just time to drag my bones home and get to sleep....tomorrow should prove to be a fun, yet long day.....                                             

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Start of Round Two....

Blood Pudding, Head Cheese and Guinea Fowl Terrine here we go, round two of the Ireland Journey 2013.....As I sit in my car typing because I don't have fucking internet at the cottage I am staying in, and it is a huge hassle!  When I went to the local internet/phone people, they never heard of AT&T or Verizon and when I asked about a hot spot I think they thought I just landed from Mars, we are so damn spoiled in the US.....anyway....  Today is the first day of a stint at The Tannery in Dungarvan, one of Ireland's finest restaurants.  I am working with a great kitchen staff......Paul Flynn, the chef and owner and a renowned Irish Chef. Stephen, his chef from Co. Clare.  Joe from Co. Donegal and Paddy from Belfast...a really funny bunch of guys.  I have to admit, as I drove up to the restaurant this morning at around ten, I was way out of my comfort zone.  Walking into an unfamiliar place, not knowing what I was to be doing, not knowing anyone from Adam, going into a renowned kitchen..... For me this is the ultimate in uncomfortable for me.  That being said, with knives slung over my back I opened the door and jumped right in.  We started with some handshakes, some "getting to know each other" and off we went.  Right into prepping and pickling fresh local veg that had just come in, next it was on to some scottish eggs, some chick pea polenta fritters...all the while watching, tasting, talking about everything that was going on.  It was really refreshing working alongside these guys, hearing different perspectives on things, seeing different techniques.....and trying to both understand their accents all the while calling things different names, measuring in different increments, cooking at different temps (celsius).....quite a trip.  After all the prep was done and the staff meal was eaten it was on to bigger things.  Paul grabs me and says lets go over the menu for the weekend.  There is a special guest chef coming in from England to do a "snout to tail" dinner on Saturday as part of the "Waterford Food Festival"...there will be reviewers, and press in, other chef's..a big to-do.  Well, one of the courses is Ox Heart Salad, so we are going to clean and slice 16 ox hearts, each about the size of a small adult head....and the first time I have actually had to prep an ox heart.....good fun.  So I have to keep this short since it seems as though I might be attracting some attention from the local police force, being that it is 10pm here, I am one of the only cars in the lot and I am sitting on my computer.....which can only mean one of two things.  I am planning to bomb something, or I am really into porn, neither of which the local police would be happy with I am sure.  So tomorrow will be a new day with new fun as we prep for the Food Festival.  The pics below are of what I was doing today, a pic of Paul and Stephen, some of their small garden out back and of their "cookery school" next door....  good night!

prepping appetizers

twice baked cheese soufflé with bleu cheese sauce and sweet pot chips

Chef Joe

Tagine with chick pea polenta croquettes

Chef Paul & Chef Stephen

crab brûlée with pickled cucumber and croutons

Rib eye


Monday, April 1, 2013

Vacation Time......

So the blog is on vacation this week......this part of the
 journey begins in Baltimore Co. Cork, leads up to Galway, then up to Cross Co. Mayo.  From Cross it is a long journey to Knock, Boyle, Carrick on Shannon, Cavan, Monaghan, Armagh and dumping us in Belfast.....From Belfast it is down to Balbriggan, then on to Lusk and finally ending in Dublin, where I kiss most of my family Good-Bye...then 2 days in Kells Co. Meath.....then the rest of them are off and it's down to work.
    I will be attending the Waterford Food Festival with Chef Paul Flynn of The Tannery in Dungarvan Co. Waterford and working with Chef Paul for the duration.....
      So come back and follow the continuing culinary journey through Ireland with me starting on April 9th......until then, it's vacation, eating, drinking and enjoying family!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Culinary Tour...

Sally and Joielene
 I have to introduce you guys to Sally Barnes of the Woodcock Smokery who has been showing me all over Cork County, introducing me to butchers, cheese-makers, chefs and shop owners, markets and fishing docks...This is a trip that could not have happened with out her and just met through happenstance....
   First off is The Woodcock Smokery with Sally and her daughter Joielene where they do this incredible smoking....tuna loin, kippers, mackerel and haddock....incredible artisans, this small shop, which pumps out literally TONS of smoked product to all of the small shops and cafe's right up to the Michelin Starred places throughout Ireland!  You talk to the chef's here and everyone knows Sally, and not just for her product but for her knowledge of the pulse of Irish food, both land and sea and the work she puts into creating the west Cork Food scene and bringing together chef's, artisan food makers and people that love it.  I will just run through quickly what and who she has introduced me to so far.
Starting with her own place "woodcock Smokery" we start with a little tour and intro to what they are doing there.  Then its for a quick impromptu lunch in Sally's kitchen of some brown toast, smoked salmon and warmed smoked kippers.then it was off to Glebes to meet Peter and Jean Perry doing fresh garden/farm to table local stuff...then off to O'Driscoll's Butchery to talk with Paudy O'Driscoll and see his shop, pick up a few things and its off.  Outside we run into Sally's friend Sacha Puttnam...a local yet world renowned, classicly trained musician here who does all of the film scores for his Dad's films, award winning producer David Puttnam...oh, and he was a member along with friend Gavin Rossdale of the group Bush.  From there it was off to Spar, a grocery that is "run" by local farmers.  A regular grocery, though small by our standards, that the local farmers have shares and say in.  Chatting with the butcher, checking out the produce, having a fun talk about whiskey and beer and it's off......From there to the pub for a quick pint and a to West Cork Hotel to meet up with GM Neil Grant and Chef Christian Pozimski.....a nice long chat with them about everything and off I was, leaving Sally behind for a Local Food meeting for the Celtic Culinary Competition.  Next day its up early, into the car and off to the smokery....Joielene packs some order to be mailed and delivered to local shops.  While she was doing that, the snow started and Sally too me for a walk to the top of her property, which sits on a hill.  We get to the top and have a view, though snowy, of then entire bay, a small lake and hoses and sheep dotting the countryside.  Then a few step up further is the "Ring" and ancient ceremonial spot, a ring of stone wall, some carvings some standing stones and tunnels beneath...noone is quite sure the meaning....just incredible..just standing in a spot that was used for some sort of ceremony during monolithic times....crazy
 So into Sally's car and off to Durrus....a small town in West Cork, about 40 mins away.  Off to meet Jeffa and Peter of Durrus Farmhouse cheeses.  A quick tour of the cheese facility and seeing the fresh/aging cheeses....its another impromptu lunch of Durrus cheese, fresh fruit and toast with jams..of course tea.  After a really nice conversation and some great eating it was back in the car for a drive through the country to head to Clonakilty to make a few drops and a few hello's.  First to Lettercollum Kitchen Project to meet Karen Austin the chef/owner, where they have a small shop of incrdible sweets and savory's...where I had to pick up a just made Quinoa Burger to try out, some bread, some cured meats, some cheese some fun chat, and off.  Next up is Richy's bar and bistro, make a drop off and its a sit down with chef/owner Richy Virasawmy, who also happens to be the private chef for Michael Flatly of "Riverdance" fame... it's another coffee (which by the way is espresso over here, I am Wired!) finding running a restaurant is the same challenge in Ireland as it is anywhere else....yet the driving factor is passion and the love of what we do.  Then quick tour of the kitchen and ding rooms....a really fun and refreshing talk with Richy about both of our views on food and what is going on in the industry....Things are winding down for the day, but we get an invite to stop over Chef Caitlin Ruth's house for a chat.  She just made some home-made English muffins and wants us to stop by to chat.  Caitlin is a 22 year transplant from New Hampshire, through way of California and Belgium.  She is the chef at Deasy's Pub and Fish Restaurant in Clonakilty, and from what I hear, is one of the best around!  She had made the fresh muffins and tea for us.....and what a great host....the conversation was just a blast....I could have spent hours, but after a couple of hours it was starting to get dark and late.  It was back to Sally's and the Smokery to pick up the car and off to Baltimore...It was in incredible day of meeting incredible people...It's what tis trip was all about....Here's to good people, good talk, good food, good friends and coffee.....

Jeffa from Durrus Cheese

Sunday, March 24, 2013

gotta share the good and the bad...... I go to the local grocery to find some "local" meat, wanting to try and compare food/meats from here to what we have at home.   I am perusing the butcher counter, checking it with great intrigue and care.  I see a cut of pork...a nice pink/red meat, not that pale milky pork we find in most of our's labeled as a "pale back joint", but looks to me like a "center cut pork loin"'s got a nice fat cap on it that I think I can really sear and melt off.  I go outside and cut some fresh rosemary and thyme from the little herb garden out back and pierce the pork and lace the herbs through it.  I season it nicely with some sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.....see where I am going here?  This is gonna be an incredible dinner that I wish I had someone or someones to share it with.  I start browning off the fat, carefully basting the loin, melting the cap.  In the meantime i cut up my baby potatoes, season them up with some olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper along with some minced herbs from the garden.  To finish this off I finely slice some leeks and local mushrooms to just throw over the top.. This is gonna be a good dinner...     I throw the pan with the pork and the potatoes in the oven while I saute the leeks and mushrooms on the stove top......20 mins in the oven and all seems perfect.  I pull it, let it sit for 10 mins to firm up and finish cooking....start slicing it, but it looks a bit strange, though not sure why.  i cut and end piece and taste it.....damn, super salty....wayyyy salty.  Now I had a couple Guinness, but I still know how to cook and season, could I possibly have thrown that much salt on it?  I plate it up, as you can see...and cant wait to eat......damn, this shit is wayyyyy salty, what the hell did I do?  I can't figure it out at all...there is no way I could have added this much salt, and it tastes like it was brined........I don't get it.  I saw the pork, I held the pork, I cooked the pork...I have cooked pork loin a million times.....finally, after putting it aside, waiting an hour or so...I come back to it.  I look on-line for Pale back joint....nothing....i dig deeper, looking at Irish Pork sites....finally I find "Pale Back Rashers"'s fricking bacon....Irish fricking bacon!!!!  The same goddamn thing I ate the other day in the pub, though it was boiled and served with cabbage.  I am an idiot!