On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me a review in the New York Times, four magic cookie bars, three shots of eggnog, two pieces of peppermint fudge, and cute little gingerbread bundt.
Back in April I moved home to Connecticut from South Carolina. The hot humid weather year round had gotten to me, the fleas had gotten to Tig, and we missed good old New England where we grew up. So we once again packed up the Mini and started out on the fifteen hour drive home.
I had a job all lined up for when I got back to Connecticut, it was at a chocolate café in southern CT. I had staged there a few weeks before and learned that I would be making European pastries and chocolates, and it had sounded perfect, but things aren’t always what they seem. After my first day and a two hour commute in both directions, I knew it wasn’t going to work out. It was then that I was back at the drawing board looking for a job! I searched Boston, Connecticut, and New York and had job offers in all of those places, but I decided that Connecticut was where I wanted to be. I wanted to be close to family and friends that I had missed while I was down south.
In May I found myself interviewing at a restaurant that was under construction in a town close to where I live. The chef/owner described the place as a gastropub, a fine dining-like restaurant with an array of microbrews and small batch bourbons. The base dessert menu was already made but I would be able to decide the desserts for sweets under glass (mini desserts served on a cake stand), plus I felt like it would be an environment where I would be able to learn from those around me.
I’ve been at RePublic since the day it opened in June. Like every new restaurant there have been ups and downs; like our first review in the Hartford Courant, and the week we lost power because of Hurricane Sandy and lost ALL of the food. But one the most exciting things that has happened so far was when photographers form the New York Times came in for a food photo shoot. Until that point we didn’t know that NY food critics had come in, tried an astounding number of dishes, and were going to write a review! A week and a half later the article was in the Sunday addition.
Overall the restaurant received a good review, desserts on the other hand……. “It was no surprise that desserts were uniformly excellent, whether a luxurious dish of warm banana-bread pudding, or the pumpkin crème brûlée — cutely presented inside a hollowed-out tiny pumpkin, with a candied apple, propped on a stick, standing sentinel alongside.” I have to say that I was pretty darn excited!
We’ve gone through a few menu changes since then, each one being stressful but ultimately making the menu more complex and exciting.