WE MADE IT! From the bottom of my part-neanderthal heart, thank you all.
I got made fun of at work yesterday for smiling too much. I can't help it! Every time I look at my phone there are new positive messages from people all over the world. I feel like we've stumbled onto some hidden corner of the internet, where everyone is nice and encouraging all the time. I feel so lucky to be part of your community. When people are compassionate to themselves by taking care of their bodies through healthy living, they have even MORE energy to be compassionate to others. The love and generosity poured into our silly little kickstarter page is a perfect example of that.
With Cultured Caveman, I want to have the healthiest food and the nicest service in Portland, full stop. It's totally within our reach, but there's SO much left to be done. Some updates on our progress:
Early this morning I met with Erin, owner of Independent Mobile Kitchens. She is very experienced and knowledgeable, and has a ton of passion for spreading 'weirdness' by creating custom food carts all over the country. We're joining a team of projects that includes a Kosher food cart (with a flipping, dual-sided counter to separate foods), Thai food cart, and a vegetarian charcuterie cart (???). About two hours ago Erin rolled off, our purple and green cart in tow, to begin upgrading Cultured Caveman HQ. They will be adding all new plumbing and electric, new interior wall material, new countertops, and a new dishwashing station. It will almost certainly cost more than we initially planned but c'est la vie, such is the life of a small business owner!
This morning I also spoke with Cory Carman from Carman Ranch about their grass-fed beef products. Her ranch was the first in Oregon to earn grass-fed beef certification from Food Alliance. Their cows are never fed grain or grain by-products, nor any hormones or antibiotics. Carman Ranch supplies other totally cool restaurants in Portland like Dick's Kitchen, Beast, Chop Butchery, and Paley's Place and I so hope we can work together! Cory's going to call me back after she's talked to their new beef processor about trimming beef cheeks and making tallow.
Last weekend Heather and I bought an industrial Pressure Fryer. It's also called a 'broaster', and is part of the reason KFC's chicken is so super-crispy and delicious [http://www.kfc.com/about/pressure.asp]. I think it will give our chicken an excellent crispness without any flour or traditional breading. The pressure fryer is not a common piece of equipment and should set us apart from standard fried chicken. That, and the fact that we will be frying only in grass-fed beef tallow. KFC uses soybean oil. Ewww.
I've been testing recipes like a MOFO. The beef cheeks need a bit of brightness, so I added a bed of simple jicama slaw that gives a totally rad crunch and acidity. Excited to get in a new batch of cheeks from Northwest Grass Fed Beef to do some more testing (read: eating so much delicious beef). I like the texture I've gotten with the egg frittata muffins, and need to tweak and improve the combination of fillings and spices. Last night was my favorite so far: Curly Kale-Bacon-Cherry Tomato with onion, garlic, shallot, and chipotle. Portland peeps: hold tight! I'm a couple of weeks away from inviting you all over to try some of this food :D
Today Heather and I are going on a hunt for used commercial cooking equipment. We're looking for convection ovens, slow cookers, refrigerators, freezers, potato cutters, and more. I can't wait to use all these kitchen gadgets!
I work for a tutoring company here in Portland called Tutor Doctor. Last night I met with an 8th grader and her family to help match them with one of our tutors. The father has been on the paleo diet for 8 months, and has lost 30lbs. Not only that, but he'd already heard of Cultured Caveman and asked if we'd gotten funded yet!
I'm so humbled by everything that's happened this week. This is our dream, and it's becoming more real every day. Thank you so, so much. We are working our asses off to make this food cart a wonderful little part of NE Portland. Can't wait to have every single one of you over for some delicious, healthful food.
More updates to come!