The Power of Pickling

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Written by :  Ben Cole, Lead Line Cook @ Native Coffee + Kitchen

Growing up in New England with a passion for food, I quickly learned to appreciate the abundance of local produce in the warmer months.  As a chef, it is inspiring and refreshing when the deliveries from local farms begin in the spring.  Our walk-in coolers are filled with vibrant colors and we can infuse these fresh flavors into our menu.

A common saying in New England is if you don't like the weather, wait a minute. The climate and changing seasons require cooking techniques to use the bountiful harvest without waste.  A great option is to whip up a few gallons of brine and fill the mason jars to preserve the ingredients.

Pickling is an age old technique (est. 2030 BC) to hold on to our hard earned harvests.  To preserve fresh ingredients for use during the colder months allows a chef to keep interesting flavors on the menu year-round.  A common misconception is that pickling is only for creating sour pickles using cucumbers.  In reality, the technique can be applied to a variety of ingredients and has infinite amount of possibilities.  One of my first experiments with pickling involved daikon radish.  With only a limited breadth of knowledge, the result was so pungent that it couldn't even be served on the menu.  Thankfully, I had the pleasure of learning from a person who was passionate about pickling.  He knew how to control sourness and incorporate aromatics.  After many late night conversations about fermentation, brining recipes, ingredients, and storage options, I started my own journey experimenting with pickling.  I discovered the importance of ratio, time, and heat.  In order to save cash on food, I was quick pickling food scraps like watermelon rinds and purple cauliflower.  Eventually, even the infamous pickled daikon was making customers smile.

The many late nights and hours of practice allowed me to truly appreciated the versatility of this technique.  Cutting up vegetables and locking them away in meticulously flavored brines, carrying forward the fresh and flavorful seasonal ingredients.  At Native, we are all about local and seasonal ingredients combined with sustainable cooking methods.  We pickle cukes, carrots, daikon, kale, chard, beets, green beans, and peppers.  Although the pickling options are endless, we are still proud to offer those good old sour pickles on our Native Burger.

Our Review of the Rocket R9 Espresso Machine

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Written by :  Meghann Louie-Heintel, Lead Barista @ Native Coffee + Kitchen

On the approach, the Rocket R9 is sleek and modern in appearance.  It's eye-catching in much the same way that a foreign car is eye-catching. There's something familiar about it, for those baristas who are used to Nuova Simonelli Aurelias and La Marzocco Lineas, from the straight lines, chrome finish, and lever-style steam wand valves. The construction is clean and straight-forward, and the R9 boasts a moderate height from group head to drip tray, allowing for a 12oz paper cup to be placed under the portafilters without the shot having to fall too far.  Individual PIDs for each group head and pressure sensors allows one to pull consistent consecutive shots during high volume times with reduced recovery times.  Temperature and shot timers display on a clear, digital readout.  The steam wands are cool-touch at the joint and have considerable pressure when fully engaged, meaning that milk frothing will never lag behind the pulling of a shot.  For baristas who are good at timing their drink queue, every second in sync counts, and the levers, though they require some playing with and getting used to, give quite a lot of control over how quickly one wants to bring their milk to temperature.  Everything about the Rocket R9's operation has been streamlined, as Italian design is so good at doing, without being dumbed-down. La Marzocco has long been industry standard for workhorse machines, and the R9 keeps pace with some of the sturdiest models I have used at high volume stores in the past. To keep with the car analogy, I'm at the level of comfort in using this commercial Rocket that I am with using my Audi (a 2016 A3).  What I require from both machines is reliability and handling. Getting used to the automatic features does have a learning curve, but therein lies the beauty of making the machine yours.  I can set when and how my automatic functions kick in, or I can take control back entirely and ride in a manual mode.  In regards to getting me from point A to point B, both machines do so quite handily and with plenty of power, but they get me there in style, and with features designed to assist me in efficiency.  Perhaps the best thing, in my opinion, about the Rocket is how easily it can be put into stand-by mode. When cleaning the machine, each group head can be turned off and back on with a single touch, allowing for ease of break down at the end of the day. Holding the program (P) buttons for 20 seconds turns the machine to stand-by mode without having to turn off the power switch, saving energy and making start up the next morning extremely quick (about 10-15 minutes, at the push of a button).  

The drawbacks of the R9 are few, and mostly cosmetic. The first is that the control panel of the machine can get quite hot to the touch. Resting one's hands there is ill advised. The second issue, which may not be an issue for some, is that chrome is notoriously magnetic to fingerprints, dust, lint, and coffee residue.  To keep the machine looking its best, Rocket graciously provided a polishing cloth, and believe me, you will use it a lot. The last issue is that the R9 steam wands are not quite as free in their range of motion as a La Marzocco, though this is more a matter of getting used to the particular angles of the machine.  In observing several baristas play around with the R9, all have said the steam wands were the most challenging aspect of the machine.  

All in all, the Rocket R9 is a great addition to the cafe and one that I have grown to love using on a daily basis. Its automatic features make it accessible, reliable, and consistent for baristas of all levels of experience, while preserving manual functions for more skilled baristas to custom tailor their product, if they so choose. My experience with the R9 makes me quite excited to see Rocket release more commercial machines and see what else they'll be able to do in the future. Grazie mille per l'opportunità!

What is Scrapple?

What is Scrapple?

This is the million-dollar question that we receive from our guests on a daily basis.  Some people seem perplexed with the option of Scrapple alongside traditional favorites like sausage and bacon.  Our guests may anticipate a complex explanation for this dish, but in reality, Scrapple’s origin and purpose was one of simplicity and necessity.

Scrapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name panhass or ‘Pan Rabbit’, is traditionally a terrine of pork scraps and trimmings, combined with cornmeal, buckwheat flour and spices. At Native, we use the same technique to create the delicious, savory, crispy, creamy pork cake.

You can’t have Scrapple without pigs feet. The pigs feet give Scrapple a wonderful rich flavor, and the bone collagen helps bind the whole terrine together. We also add in pork shoulder which adds savoriness and a familiarity to the dish. It’s really quite a thing of beauty (for meat lovers).

We simmer the pork for hours on the stove and then shred the meat. Next we add aromatics, like onion and garlic, and marry the flavors together over a low and slow heat. Then we add the pork stock back into the mix, and whisk in flint cornmeal from Maine Grain and Canadian buckwheat until we’ve made what we refer to as ‘God’s polenta’. We pour the mixture into molds and let it chill overnight. The next day it is cut and fried to perfection for our Work n’ Class bowl or breakfast sandwiches.

We encourage you to try our Scrapple and see why it remains a simple necessity!

28 Days Later

We have been open for 28 days and finally had our 1 st all team meeting. The meeting was a good chance to reflect on our journey and plan for the future. An opportunity to take a deep breath, and once again start with a clean slate. Most importantly, to discuss how can we adapt and evolve but stay true to our ethos.

Who are we?

Native was built on the concept of 3rd wave coffee combined with a chef-inspired menu, blending the creative side of both food and coffee with the goal of finding synergy between these two different worlds.

Native is for the community. We designed a space and menu to bring the seacoast community together, a place that would make every guest feel like a local. A comfortable spot for families, where kids have a space of their own and parents can relax and enjoy high quality food and drink.

Native is local. We source almost exclusively from local vendors. This not only gives us access to the best products available, but allows us to build strong partnerships.

Native is powered by our employees. We have a talented staff who love what they do and are always excited to collaborate. We don't underestimate the value of this. We believe in paying a living wage and providing work-life balance. Easier said than done, in this industry, especially when trying to provide value to your guest. But we value our employees and return to this value constantly.

Native is focused on exceptional service. We want to have great communication with our guests. We need to show guests that we appreciate their business and support. We also have a need for speed, we owe it to our guests to be a QUICK service restaurant.

Native is accessible. We never want to come across as pretentious, but rather humble. We can’t always please 100% of our guests, but we want everybody to have an option to choose from and to feel comfortable with us. Our food and drinks are intended to be simple, using the best ingredients possible and preparing them with care.

Native is transparent and focused getting better each day. Our mantra is continuous improvement, making mistakes and learning from them. Feedback is appreciated, whether it be enthusiastic or constructive. The details matter! A good operation can turn quickly and we remain focused and determined to get better.

Native looks ahead to the long term. We will not sacrifice service or quality for short-term goals. We are building a foundation for something bigger.

I hope you will visit us soon! Keep checking our blog for updates. You'll want to catch next week's. It will be delicious!