Most mornings I can’t wait to wake up. I’m annoyed that I need sleep, and honestly feel cheated by modern medical advancement that there isn’t yet a pill capable of replacing the rest a few hours of sleep will provide. Sleeping always feels like its getting in the way of getting something done. If this pill does actually happen one day it will be interesting to see what made up word will be used to name it; as well as, the quickly read list of potential side effects and disclaimers. I leave those ideas to your own imagination.
This last Saturday morning I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. I couldn’t get dressed and into work fast enough for my liking. I did contemplate getting up an hour earlier, but knew that last hour of rest was going to be a precious ingredient to zing me through the great day that was in store for The Craftory.
Saturdays are the pinnacle of the week for us. This week, the foundation had been set, and the weather forecast was going to make for a special Saturday for our business.
Tuesday we hosted a local home school group for a private tour.
Kids learning about where their chocolate comes from is just good stuff. We are working towards being able to do more of these.
A chamber of commerce week was in store for Tomball according to the weather forecasters. Wednesday morning was only frosty where the sun didn’t shine. A stellar day happened.
Wednesday was ribbon cutting day. The Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce came out to congratulate our endeavor and wish us success. The community of Tomball is second to none.
Major Gretchan had some fun with the group.
On Thursday and Friday our outdoor seating areas were inviting. Eating outside on a nice day is barbecue enjoyment at its best as far as I’m concerned.
We introduced new chocolate truffles this week.
Chambord is a intense dark chocolate with raspberry liquor in the ganache. Mardi Gras is Michelle’s creation inspired by King’s Cake. This chocolate truffle with cream cheese and sour cream looked festive.
Nothing says dessert at a barbecue joint more than banana pudding. Tricia, our primo confectioner, said to me “hey, I have a banana pudding white chocolate truffle recipe that is great”, and all the wheels got to turning. We used ripe bananas in the white chocolate ganache, set the truffle on a vanilla wafer (Michelle’s idea), and coated the whole thing in our house made white chocolate. Like all of our truffles, these were done by hand using the best ingredients we can find.
Tricia killing the truffle production in The White Room.
Banana Puddine truffles sold faster than burnt ends and beef short ribs. This fun twist on a classic barbecue dessert was quite delicious.
The peach cobbler truffle is in the lab. Watch for it.
Friday we took delivery on 10 dozen eggs from Whitehurst Heritage Farms for our Saturday morning breakfast tacos. The flavor of these eggs from pastured hens that are fed on a USDA organic non GMO diet is on a whole different level. After a nice chat with farmer Michael, the idea of using this ingredient is what had me waking up like a kid on Christmas. In the coming months we will be working with Whitehurst farms on pasture raised chickens and their yet to be introduced forest raised hogs. We’re gonna make some killer barbecue with some locally raised ingredients soon. I’m stoked about it actually.
I like breakfast tacos a lot, and so do you.
Watching Chef Greg combine these eggs with sliced smoked pork shoulder and brisket burnt ends was a treat.
Saturday was our busiest day yet thanks to the weather, the place, the food, and most importantly our customers helping us spread the word. We had doubled our cook amount and sold out at 2:30. We’re feeling pretty fortunate to have this kind of support (perhaps The Craftory’s most important ingredient of all) you guys. Thank you.
Feel free to pass over the next few paragraphs while I vent for a bit.
There was a moment about an hour or so before selling out that the kitchen was deep in the weeds. The ticket rack was full and the printer had another 3 feet of tickets hanging off of the cutter. The kitchen was getting more orders than the space is capable of handling, so I put the ordering on hold for a short spell so the kitchen could get caught up. This is when Chef Greg’s experience in busy kitchens kicked in. It’s one ticket at time until the rack is clear. Never panic, stay focused.
It was at this time a person suggested a sample of sausage. Our sausage is in 1/4 lb links that we slice for sandwiches and meat orders. We essentially sell it a link at a time, and there were about 6 links left. This person didn’t care how the no answer was delivered. I didn’t see it. Perhaps it could have been answered more gracefully. We were trying to preserve as much product to sell as possible. People get annoyed when we run out. This person later took to social media to complain about the value of our food, and being told no on the sample request. This person went on to say our “kitchen manager” who is my brother and business partner needed to “pull it together”.
We had a good time with that line at the end of our day.
I frankly don’t understand the expectation some people have for free samples. We work 15 – 16 hour days to provide the highest quality barbecue and chocolate we are capable of producing. Someone expects to sample it for free? Sometimes we do sample food because we have time or there is extra. We offer samples at times as part of the experience. On some days special things happen. It’s completely random. Our general policy is we do not sample unless we are doing something special. If someone is not satisfied with what they’ve purchased I will refund their money.
Then I’ll shoot them some stink eye…I kid of course.
We took a very old house and converted into a commercial chocolate production facility and restaurant. The kitchen is tiny and we get about as much out of it as the space will allow. The equipment set up is expertly done by a seasoned kitchen professional (Chef Greg Moore). This isn’t a building that was built from the ground up designed as a retail food factory with a seemingly limitless budget. Fortunately, most people get it and that’s who will enjoy what is Tejas Chocolate. I never had the expectation that we would please everyone. People are welcome to not like our food or question the value, but when the comments turn personal regardng our staff’s qualifications, skills, or desire I’m going go off about it.
We owe a significant amount of gratitude to several foodie groups on facebook. It’s like word of mouth on steriods. People having great experiences and sharing it there has put a lot of customers in our front door. I’ve mentioned this many times, and am grateful to have received such good reviews. I was taking this negative review in stride realizing that I must accept the bad with the good when it comes to social media. Today it seem to take on a personal nature so I decided to stick up for our business and my reply was promptly deleted from the thread. Nothing hateful, vulgar or degrading was said. I took exception to Michelle being called a snob. Michelle is possibly the kindest person I know. She was provoked by an impatient person wanting her attention while she was giving it to someone ahead of them in line. She told him she’d be with him when she could. That wasn’t good enough for this person.
Well, this is my blog, I get the last word, and I get to say what I want here without being edited off the thread.
That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Moving right along…
We have a little more room in our cooker, and expect we will be at or near capacity next week in hopes we can serve more barbecue later into the day. It’s a frustrating thing to turn people away, but that’s how it goes with barbecue and hand crafted chocolate sometimes. I just have to get used to it I reckon.
As Saturday afternoon wound down, Houston Chronicle barbecue columnist JC Reid brought a group touring barbecue joints for the day. We were the final stop of 5 places they visited on Saturday as a benefit for Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Fortunately, the group was already in barbecue over load as we were sold out. It was chocolate, adult beverage, and coffee they were looking for anyways. Chocolate Panna Cotta, Truffles, and Champagne were enjoyed on the deck.
In the back ground was their ride “El Diablo”. It’s a sweet looking flame throwing barbecue chariot.
We enjoyed chatting with these great fans of good barbecue and crafted foods.
Thanks to all the came out to see us this week. You keep humbling us with your support.