Ingredients

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.

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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.

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Photo By DK Photography

Major Gretchan had some fun with the group.

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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.

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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.

Banana Puddin

Banana Puddin

 

Tricia killing the truffle production in The White Room.

Tricia observation Deck

Tricia observation Deck

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.

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I like breakfast tacos a lot, and so do you.

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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.

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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.

Cheers! Scott

 

 

7 Responses to “Ingredients

  • Love your chocolates Scott and Michelle! Are you shipping any of your new truffles or are they available only in store right now? As pecan growers and an Avon saleslady I’ve noticed also people expect free samples and free shipping which I can’t afford to ship for free without dramatically raising prices and Avon doesn’t offer sample sizes of all products nor could I afford to buy all of them. I’ve found that most people don’t understand that small family owned businesses can’t offer all the same freebies and perks as large national chain grocery stores without raising all the prices unless they’re entrepreneurs too.

  • Chris Clements
    1 year ago

    3%…that used to be the model…trust me, I know…I go into peoples homes and try my level best to provide excellent client services. Fairly recently I’ve come to find that that percentage has grown exponentially. I’m thinking it has to be at least 10% of people that no matter what you do, how you say it or how accommodating you are they will never be satisfied. Not until a full apology with a pound of free sausage is provided. I love you guys…kinda want kisses next time I come in and I do my best to let people know just how special you are, in my opinion. My best advise to you is, and Im sure you already know this is that responding to the 3 to 10% is never something thats really going to work out in your favor…you will get more business just letting it roll off your back duck style and never thinking that what your detractors say has any basis in reality! Because they are crazy. And crazy people can never understand that what they want and what they receive are two separate things! CANT WAIT TO SEE Y’ALL NEXT WEEK SOMETIME!

  • Naphtali Carlson
    1 year ago

    I read that negative post on the Tomball Vintage Park FB group and it really bothered me. I didn’t comment there but thought this was a better place to show my support. You guys get up in the middle of the night to check on your BBQ. You don’t have the buying power of a huge chain. You don’t have an unlimited budget, so if you make too much food, you will be stuck with waste that you can’t use. If you lose too much money from having too much food, then you will go out of business and we need small amazing restaurants like yours in Tomball!

    It’s rained so many weekends the last few months, but Tomball was hopping this last weekend! People were out everywhere, which I’m sure was part of the reason yall ran out. We personally think your food is creative and amazing, and of very high quality. We support you in your efforts, your place is awesome. We absolutely loved our breakfast tacos that we had on Saturday! So it cost more than a fast food place, but that’s not who you are competing with! And I personally think the free sample request was unreasonable. If you want to try it then just buy it!! I wish you all the best in your efforts, your place is unique and creative and the food is amazing!

  • Barbara Henley
    1 year ago

    I had a little chuckle about someone calling Michelle a snob. She has never been anything other than friendly, sweet, helpful and no matter how busy ya’ll are – she is smiling. You know, that kind of customer doesn’t deserve to be in your establishment. I hope that jerk doesn’t come back – it just leaves more for me. Signed, your turkey customer. 🙂

  • Doug Green
    1 year ago

    Nice vent, I do find it funny they wanted a sample when its really busy. They may have just left Costco, and thought everyone gave out free samples. But when you dont need to thaw out your food, the samples are on the back burner so to speak.. 🙂

  • Awesome recap! I got to read your reply before it got deleted and I thought it was spot on and professional.
    All of your staff is friendly, genuine, and hospitable – true salt of the earth.
    See you this coming Wednesday!

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