Friday, March 16, 2012

Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore

Judy Garland
nobody's version beats hers

Can you imagine the emotional roller coaster of my last 24hours? For a week I'd been pumped to help Chef Alex cook at SELMA breakfast cafe. What an opportunity for me?! On Thursday, about an hour before I was supposed to go to the restaurant to help him prep for 200 people hungry for Friday's breakfast, the weather started to concern me. 81 degrees on March 15. Thunder with no rain. Super dark skies. Typical storm pattern for a hot late summer afternoon-- only it's not summer.

I left the house keeping the children behind for ten minutes since Daddy was on his way home, got about a mile away, and realized that no, this was not AT All typical. Doubled back to the house after calling Alex to apologize that I thought I indeed needed to stay home with the little ones. When I turned the car around and headed back home, I saw the beast: a tornado, an honest-to-goodness funnel cloud. Seemed really close to my house-- probably more like a mile away, based on where the current damage is. Forty miles per hour instantaneously doubled to eighty, so that I could get back to the house before the twister. If the ship was going down, or up as it might be, the captain was going up with it. Scrambled everyone into the back room; they were already in the basement because of the original severe thunderstorm warning.

The bottom line is that by some miracle we were spared. Some who live close to me were not so lucky. At this point officials are reporting that there are no injuries or fatalities (!), but that 60 houses were damaged or destroyed. Part of my afternoon today was spent bringing lunches to the volunteers cleaning up the disaster zone.

That being said, this tale was not supposed to be the blog post for today. Being Alex's sous-chef was.

I adore SELMA cafe, love the vibe, the food, Lisa and Jeff. Ann Arbor is lucky to have a couple like them. This is not my first post about the nationally renown "breakfast salon". For me being given the opportunity to cook with Alex, number one, is out of this world. A true honor for a nobody like me. But number two, to do it in that venue! Wow. Do you understand why I did not sleep last night? Adrenalin of tornado coming too close for comfort, and anticipation of such a morning.

It went wildly well, served breakfast to just under 200 hungry people. And ah, the chaos. Normal for a restaurant kitchen, I'm sure, but my kitchen tends to run a little bit quieter. Not much. I thrive on chaos like that of cooking at SELMA. I suppose that part of the reason it feels so right is that for just a few moments, the chaos inside my head matches the outside chaos. This definitely served as confirmation to follow my instinct into the world of cooking.

Alex's menu this morning:
1) Johnny cakes (made of heirloom cornmeal from Rhode Island) cheesy eggs with local ricotta, sausage patties from Cornman pigs.
2) potato and squash latkes with eggs florentine, topped with roasted Cornman peppers and Parmesan. Also served with Cornman piggie.

Other regular options that Lisa always provides are: bread pudding with fruit, waffles, tacos sanchos, or vegan granola.

We're still without power so I apologize if this comes across as sloppy because I'm writing from my phone. But I just had to get my thoughts down before the buzz disappears. Will edit and add links later. After I find Toto.

Lisa's blog post about the morning: on the Selma Blog
for posterity's sake, I'm including this phone photo taken by someone behind Busch's in Dexter


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you might live in Dexter, like me, and you might go to Selma often, like me. I am there early usually. Have someone introduce you to me there - my name is Cynthia. I was there this morning.

Christine said...

Scary!!! Glad you are okay! And I'm pretty impressed you wrote all this on your phone.

sweet sukha said...

Allison! First, i love your blog. Second: I had NO IDEA you had actually seen the tornado, or that you lived in Dexter! THANK YOU so much for coming thru as sous chef for us the very next day. You are amazing!! It was a thrill to work with you in our kitchen, and I hope you will come back again. Great photos too. Big hug,
Selma Cafe

Mary in A2 said...

Breakfast was outstanding!! We enjoyed it tremendously. Thank you!!
Mary in A2

A2GastroBoy said...

Now I'm even more bummed I missed Selma Friday! Good on you. Be well.