photo-4This is our shake machine.  For years folks told us to make shakes, and I thought; 'We already have a soft serve machine, who needs shakes?  Besides,  we'd have to change so much to the front of the shop to fit it in anywhere. '  Then, about a year ago the ice cream machine bit the dust.  Ice cream is that 'thing' that has always been a nice addition to the sweet mix, the cold dessert always on tap in the hot summer, and ready for a quick, icy pick-me-up in the afternoon.  There was a void.  A cold, cold void.  And again, we started dreaming of shakes. After doing all of the oh-so-fun mini business plan, return on investment, architectural scheme and contractors plans, we decided to do an overhaul and prepare for a new beginning; a shake menu.

I won't bore you with details of endless afternoons filled with chocolate, spice, and pint after pint of ice cream.  I won't tell you about the sugar high, the weight gain, and the peanut butter fudge shake that was so thick no one could get it through the straw.  I surely won't tell you about the cupcake shakes that are so shameful we had to taste them with the lights off.

I will tell you that our shake menu and recipe list is growing out of control.  And with the frozen insanity that is So Delicious, these shakes are richer than we ever could have dreamed.  With our liquor license approval and cocktail menu launch only days away (think boozy shakes, coffee drinks with a nip, and a Bloody Mary loaded with whiskey) we can't stop the shake.

Here is Ilana's latest crav-ention; apple pie ala mode shake, inspired by our very own recipe for Apple Pie.

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Apple Pie Ala Mode Shake

9 ounce vanilla ice cream (So Delicious Coconut or Soy Frozen Desserts)

4 ounces non-dairy milk (So Delicious Coconut Milk)

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ cup organic apple sauce

Garnish with cinnamon or apple wedge

1.5 ounces Dark Rum (optional)

In a blender or shake-maker, add ingredients and blend until smooth.  Garnish with an apple slice or cinnamon stick, and enjoy immediately.

 

 

 

Ruben_mobileThere are times when you can analyze the sales, crunch the numbers, make the most educated guess based on the information before you and still make a mistake.  That is what I did with the Ruben. I though that the sales going to drop during the summer months and that salads would be more of a draw.   With our kitchen being as tiny as it is, it was impossible to expand offerings without refining some as well; the Ruben has 4 ingredients that are only offered in that sandwich as there isn't much else to creatively make with Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and rye bread so it was removed from the menu, albeit temporarily.

What I learned is that vegans hate change and have an extreme passion for marinated tempeh.  And they get really mad when you take away their comfort foods.  So, it's back.  At least for now, and through the cooler months.  Until the numbers prove me wrong...

How to Make Your Own Ruben (makes 4 sandwiches)

2 pounds tempeh (makes 4 slices per pound)

8 floz apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp black pepper

½ cup brown mustard

½ cup Worcestershire sauce

2/3 cup hot water

2 cups of sauerkraut or slaw

Combine all ingredients (minus kraut/slaw) in a mixing bowl and stir until combined.  Slice tempeh in half and longways.  Place tempeh in a shallow glass baking dish or container. Pour marinade over tempeh and let marinate overnight.

Russian Dressing:

1 cup Veganaise

1/2 cup Ketchup

2 tbsp relish or capers

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Place in airtight container or squeeze bottle.

You can grill, pan fry or bake the tempeh;

Bake at 400 (f) for 20 minutes

Grill or pan fry on medium heat 12 minutes

Build; The Two-Faced Ruben

Toast two slices of rye bread per sandwich.  Cover one side of each piece with Russian Dressing, approximately 2 tablespoons total.

Place 1/4 cup or your favorite sauerkraut or slaw on top of each dressed slice

Place grilled Tempeh slice on top of slaw, and serve hot.

*Cheese option; Daiya slices or shreds

 

wedding cake, vegan baking, I thought it would be fun to give a description of what it's like to run our business. You know, a little insight into the day to day, the technical details of the book-keeping and analytics, operations, management, budgets and goals.  You're salivating, right? Nothing more delicious than pie charts and profit and loss statements.  Top that with some cash flow and a sprinkle of costing, yummmM!  How often do you think about the details behind the kitchen doors, the structure that we build upon and the employees that keep it together?  My guess is that once you bite into that sandwich, sip that shake, crush tat cupcake or dig into that donut you don't think about the details.  While it was severe sugar cravings that got me baking, it's the business details that keep me busier in a way that I've never imagined, and completely fascinated, in love, and thirsty for more.  What started out as simply offering food options that happened to be vegan has blossomed into a quest for more information, more knowledge, and more impressive options. Originally I thought; 'if we make sure that vegan counterparts taste as good as non-vegan, then surely folks will eat more vegan food, therefore reducing the suffering of animals everywhere'.  Yes, a business built with good intentions and a mission.  This is still the original mission and why we do what we do.  However, in the business world times are changing.  Simply having a reason, passion, and goal is not enough to keep it running and keep folks interested.  What I'm trying to say is that if you want to own a business that is ethically based, you better know how to run that business according to industry standards.

There are exactly one-cabillion apps available to measure stats, social interest, purchasing trends, and public perception, your inventory, who purchased with a visa card, demographics, and flavor trends. What has stayed pretty consistent is that if you are going to run a business that has staying power then it better offer something that people have constant interest in.  And in our case, it better taste good. Don't forget cash flow, book keeping, budgets, pricing, costing......