Help Us Celebrate Our Sweet 16 on Wednesday, October 31
Hey Y'all. Sweet 16 - I can't believe my little restaurant is turning 16 on Wednesday. And, I am finally sitting down to write my first blog entry - it has been on my to do list for many years. I wanted to share with y'all some of what I have learned over these amazing years....and I am including a recipe y'all must try! The "Midday" (as we call it in the kitchen) is truly my happy place. I am beyond grateful for all my years in business - thank you Athens, I love you! xoxo Marti
Customers ask us all the time "Where do y'all get your fruit?" We serve three kinds of fresh fruit in almost all of our lunch baskets and it is all hand cut every morning. My produce company, Marketfresh, travels to Atlanta very early each morning to select all of our produce - fruit has different "grades" - ours is the highest grade you can purchase.
We prepare every single item our customers' enjoy from scratch, baking our bread, our muffins and our cookies each morning, shredding our cheese for pimento cheese, poaching hundreds of pounds of chicken breasts, making all of our salad dressings and sauces - all with love, all with fresh quality ingredients.
Quality matters - it may take 2 days to make a batch of our chicken and sausage gumbo but it is so worth it to put all the flavor into it for y'all to enjoy. "Cooked with a kiss" - has been my tag line since I opened and is true to this day - all of our food is made with joy and love. I hope y'all can taste it!
Accept Feedback with Gratitude and Learn From It
I do not do everything right - no one does. Starting the restaurant on my own at 31 was such a challenge. I remember my first day open - my dear friend Rinne Allen was the first customer. She came in and bought a blueberry muffin and a cup of Jittery Joe's coffee and handed me a $5 bill. I didn't have change to give her back - I didn't think about having to have change for my customers! Oh - all the things I have had to learn.
In the book "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz one of his agreements is "Do not take anything personally." This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn and continue to learn. Marti's at Midday has been like my baby - who is now a teenager - as the business matures so does the owner. Just know that I want my customers to love my restaurant as much as I do - and it is okay to let me know when we aren't doing as good of a job as you would like us to. But, would you please send me an email or give me a call instead of posting on Google.....:)
My Wonderful Staff
I can't say enough about my staff - in fact "staff" is really the wrong word. My kitchen family is a much better description of the hard working women and men that make Marti's at Midday such a special place to enjoy lunch. Dean has been with me since I opened, Scott and Urbano both for over 10 years, Kim, my catering manager and as I like to call her, my "brain", has been with me 9 years, Hannah, Herb, Susan, Vicky and Dell have a collection of years and months working with me between them. Without these incredible people in my life - and all the great folks that have come and gone in these 16 years (y'all know who you are), my little restaurant would have never succeeded.
It is such a honor to work everyday with my kitchen family - people that I respect, admire, and love. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
When I moved back to Athens, my hometown, at age 25 I thought I would be here a short while and then onto bigger and better. That was 27 years ago. I honestly do not think I could have picked a better place to live, work, and call home. Athens is not just a city - it is a community of wonderful people, people who care about each other and support each other.
One of my favorite things about Athens - the one I share the most with folks who do not live here - is that just going to a grocery store, walking through downtown or getting a cup of coffee I am met by friendly faces, a smile, or a hug - always seeing people I know and care about throughout each day. This is what a community is all about.
I am so grateful for the love Athens has shown my business over all these years - and it has been my pleasure to always try to contribute back as much as possible. The more you give the more you receive holds true and is the greatest lesson I have learned in these years.
I hope y'all can join use in celebrating our Sweet 16 on Wednesday, October 31. I will be giving out Cecilia caramel birthday cake all day and look forward to seeing my friends and dear customers in my lunch line!
a few more tablespoons....
A grateful heart makes such a difference.
Please and thank you are lovely words.
Be kind - for the most part everyone is doing the best job they possibly can.
Absolutely Fabulous Pumpkin Cheesecake with Dark Chocolate Drizzle
1 hour before you would like to make your cheesecake pull out your cream cheese, eggs and butter to let sit and get to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1 cup pecans - crusted in food processor or blender
1 cup ginger snaps (I use Trader Joe's cinnamon school book cookies!) - crusted in food processor or blender
2 TB sugar
5 TB butter - melted
Combine all ingredients in a big bowl. Press firmly into a 9 inch spring form pan. Wrap the spring form pan with two layers of aluminum foil (covering the bottom as well).
4 - 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon (see note about spices)
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
In electric mixer combine all above ingredients. Scrap down sides of bowl with a plastic spatula.
1 - 15 oz can pumpkin
Add pumpkin to the cream cheese mix and blend. Scrap down sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula.
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
Turn on mixer and add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Turn off mixer and combine one last time with spatula.
Take a paper towel and gently blot off any excessive grease from the top of the cheese cake crust. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust. Place the spring form pan into a large casserole pan and fill with a water bath to cover 1/2 way up the sides of the spring form pan. Place in oven.
Bake cheesecake 1 hour and 30 minutes, Check with a skewer or butter knife inserted into the center to see if it has set (if it comes out clean your cheesecake is done). Depending on your oven it may take another 15 - 20 minutes.
Be very careful removing the cheesecake from the oven - the water bath can burn you! Once removed from the oven take the spring form pan out of the water bath and let the cheesecake cool. Run a butter knife around the edges of the spring form pan before releasing.
1 1/2 Cups Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I use Ghirardelli)
Melt chips in a double boiler (or the old fashioned way - a large metal pan over a pot). Once melted drizzle the chocolate over the cheesecake with a fork.
**A note about spices. I buy my spices in bulk. What does this mean? I do not buy my spices at the grocery store - spices that sit on shelves for long periods of time do not have much flavor. If you can seek out places in your town for bulk spices it will make a world of difference in your cooking. In Athens you can purchase bulk spices at the Daily Grocery Coop (my personal favorite spot) and Earthfare.