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But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingéd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
We know; there’s time. But it doesn’t always feel like there is. You open your doors and ideas come at you like bees. So much stuff just itching to be done. There are people up every dirt road around here harbouring amazing skills, doing astonishing things; and more often than not, they do it quietly, without the narcissist’s acute yearning for applause. Perhaps that’s why they’re here, not in Brooklyn or Berkeley. It has been the singular most consistent reward of Table on Ten’s first year: the prodigious opportunities we are daily afforded to collaborate with people who really know what they are talking about.
The dilettante’s curse is to wax knowledgeable on a galaxy of matters without being steeped in any. There goes Renaissance Man, culling wisdom from half-digested morsels in The Guardian and New Yorker. Regurgitating it in well-turned phrases speaks to a erudition that turns out – after the third bottle of Rioja – to be a bit on the flimsy side. It’s when you wake up in the morning with the foggy remembrance of having confidently held forth on Netanyahu’s breathtaking performance in Parsifal that you reach for your forehead and feel the mark of the Impostor.
We opened the doors with baguettes and coffee. We hoped we were planting a flag for a bigger idea; but who knew? Then one-by-one people started turning up with stuff. The foraged chanterelles. The arcane understanding of how to make sausage from blood. The hand-turned porcelain pots. The heritage goat rearing, artisanal cheese-cave constructing, yellow-dock braid weaving, authentic kimchi fermenting, sourdough metabolizing, timber hewing, dulcimer plucking, kiln curing, ping pong playing, nettle ball sculpting. In the span of a season we found ourselves part of a kind of living tapestry, an ongoing narrative of what it means, minute-to-minute, to be alive and kicking in Delaware County.
And now, with the recent conversion of one of the second floor rooms to a bodywork studio, we’re presented with the unique opportunity of incorporating Victoria Lundell’s 20-years of modern dance training, 15-years of personal fitness experience into the expanding menu of services at Table on Ten; in the form of a bodywork adjunct – hands on work, yoga, Pilates, personal training. Vicky’s our neighbour and friend and one of the original Table on Ten community alumni, from the days when the café was barely a glint in its mother’s eye. Having Vicky practice her amazing amalgam of services further augments our efforts to expand the scope of Table on Ten – initially through the menu, specials, food-based collaborations, workshops, then through gallery and magazine projects and more recently by offering rooms upstairs for people to come, stay, be part of the community. With Vicky on board, we’ve added the following persuasive sheaf of arrows to our quiver.
– relaxing bodywork
– deep-muscle bodywork
– private/semi-private yoga
– private/semi-private mat-based Pilates
Bodywork can be tailored to specific needs, in terms of time, content and approach. The schedule is as follows:
– fridays – between 1.45 and 6.30
– saturdays – between 3 and 6.30
– sundays – between 11.15 and 5.15
– mondays – between 10 and 1.30
It’s $65 an hour. Or you can add a couple of disciplines and make an hour-and-a-half or more, at the same ratio.
Please email us at email@example.com and we can either start a conversation or simply book you in.
Another reason, we hope, to stop by, venture up, wander in, come on down.
And so it was that Italy Week at Table on Ten came thundering to a climax, barnstorming up River Street like a charioteer in Ben Hur.
Or maybe more like Raphael, so consumed with his obsession for Margherita Luti that he was unable to concentrate on painting; had her installed in his house so he could drop his brushes every fifteen minutes and go barreling upstairs for a bit of black-eyed, nipple-tweaking tomfoolery. There won’t be much of that on offer this Sunday in Bloomville (unless there’s a sub-plot we’re unaware of). But – whilst momentarily disappointing – it’s probably not such a bad thing; Raphael was dead by the age of 37, of a fever brought on by too much sex. With a big grin on his face, mind you.
So whilst it’s unlikely anybody from the Table on Ten will be manipulating their areolae as though trying to find the World Service on a short-wave radio, we will be turning out fine, hand-cut fresh pasta to anybody who fancies a forkful of Italy in Delaware County on a Sunday evening. We’re going with a robust, toothy semolina-and-all-purpose mix, bonded with Last Harvest Farm eggs and just a drizzle of Frankie’s. And this time we’re going to spare us the cutter and do it by hand, so we can put a bit more girth on our noodle. More pappardelle than tagliatelle with creative wiggle-room contingent on how far down the bottle we are when the knife comes out.
There’ll be three ways to eat it:
• a rustic, pork-shoulder ragù: slow-cooked on the bone in the tomato base, cooled, then flaked back in afterwards. Pork from Stone & Thistle in East Meredith. Chunks and shards. Something to bite. Can’t be eaten with a straw. Maybe this one’s got sort of a Tuscany thing going on? Like wild boar ragù from over there, except we don’t have as many wild boars over here, at least not with that spelling.
• dandelion and hazelnut pesto. As it sounds, with parmesan and Frankie’s. Great for herbivores, this one’s a bit more Puglia: like a warm evening in Lecce, but with frostbitten clapboard instead of honeyed Baroque limestone. Dandelions by Lucky Dog Farm, Hamden.
• simple, long-cooked marinara. A huge pot of it steeped with 60 cloves of slow-melted garlic. This is Naples: Così fan tutte and death by Vespa.
Then we’ll have these:
• eggplant caponata crostini. Eggplant, pine nuts, currants, a little marinara simmer together with whole mess of spices. On toast. A quick bite in Palermo while waiting for the ferry to Stromboli.
• chicken liver mousse on bacon; on crostini. Horton Hill Farm chicken livers, bacon by Catskill Food Company, Delhi.
• mashed fava bean crostini. Beans by Star Route Farm, Charlotteville.
Oh, and these:
• fresh citrus salad: oranges, grapefruit, meyer lemons, green olives, tangerines, pistachios, hot peppers and parsley. Capri. Having tea with Graham Greene.
• green salad. Greens by Burnett Farms, Bovina, and Lucky Dog. Let’s say a cave in Matera.
Followed by these:
• affogato. A shot of espresso sluiced over Table-made fennel ice cream. On the wooden boards at Rialto in August with a second spritz and a cigarette.
• pure lemon ice cream sandwich, all made right here. So many lemons we’re puckering just thinking about it. All zest. Ischia.
• espresso. You could mess about with frothy milk and stuff. But after lemon ice cream? The railway station in Florence, freshly fragrant from Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.
We will, of course have our full list of wines and beers. But y’know, that Sangiovese, Paterna Il Rosso might round out the pageantry?
And – weather-and-darkness permitting – we’ll be silently projecting Fellini’s Satyricon from the tree onto the side of the building. Which means it’ll bend around windows and the chimney and be shadowed by branches. But that can only help, right? You can insert yourself into the action! Perhaps your last chance to be a hermaphrodite demi-god.
We’re starting a tiny bit earlier – 5 – to accommodate those who would like their slice of Italy before beginning the Long March south. And we’ll go on till about 8 or so, for the rest of us. The usual deal, same as pizza night, just turn up. If there’s a bunch of you, maybe let us know and we’ll be armed and ready.
A dopo, amici!
August 8, 2013. Posted in Events, Journeys, Producers, The Menu. Tags: Burnett Farms, Federico Fellini, Frankie's, Last Harvest Farm, Lucky Dog Farm, Raphael, Sangiovese Il Rosso, Santa Maria Novella, Satyricon, Stone & Thistle Farm.
We’re in the Daily Star. Or rather, on it. Full-page and 4-colour. Inez (on stilts?) either muffling a bashful Dutch smile or aching to pee, alongside Katrin giving it her best Miami Steve Van Zandt; they stare back at you from the cover of August’s O-Town Scene like a couple of proctology nurses trying to make colonoscopy look fun. Hell, there’s even a bit of background elbow (in luminous lobster-pink) for decapitated Caitlin, slaving away like Caliban in the kitchen. And then – as if that wasn’t enough – wade inside and discover a full, naked-from-shoulder-to-fingertips double-page centrefold. We’re right there – Table on Ten – in the thick of the action, just before ‘West Davenport Man Loses Pencil’, shortly after ‘Unadilla Gerbil Pulls Funny Face’. Another smörgasbord of photographs – wildflowers, cookies under mesh, obligatory chalkboards, more Inez – then the story of the first year retold in précis. Couple of minor hiccups; we can’t quite claim the 10-mile producer radius (too much amazing stuff falls a short distance over the line); the Egg in a Glass is now part of Table folklore; the chocolate-honey-ricotta pizza has been around since the inauguration of the pizza oven; the downstairs ‘laboratory’ sounds like something from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or a sideline in locally foraged methamphetamine. Other than that, it’s another glowing tribute for which we’re extremely grateful. Unfortunately the Scene section doesn’t make the online edition, so we can’t offer a link. But here’s a couple of trademark renderings of how it looks, and the text reproduced in full. Run, don’t walk, to the stand for your copy. And if you’re passing, bring us a few; we’re up to our elbows in red rice salad and double-chocolate raspberry ice-cream over here.
EATERY OFFERS SOPHISTICATED, HYPER-LOCAL FOOD WITH HEART
It’s easy to drive right past Bloomville’s Table on Ten. There’s no flashing neon and no garish red arrow. There’s just an unassuming tan house tucked into a hillside, and state Route 10 runs a few feet from the front door. but any eater – especially one who loves this region and all of its bounty – would be poorer for not having stopped. On friday and saturday evenings, when owners Inez Valk-Kempthorne and Justus Kempthorne fire up the wood-burning pizza oven, the place is easier to spot. Crowds gather at the picnic tables on the side lawn. Live music plays. The smell of smoke fills the air. The restaurant itself just celebrated its one-year anniversary. Valk-Kempthorne and her husband have been in Bloomville a few years longer. They moved up from New York City, where she worked as a model and he as a carpenter. “I don’t want to make too much of a model becoming a baker – but that is what I did,” Valk-Kempthorne says. Her accent is hard to place until she mentions that she is Dutch. “The idea of Table on Ten kind of came to us. We wanted to have a communal space with no dynamic of ‘your place’ or ‘my place’. A place which was open to everyone who could get together to get inspired, to collaborate,” Valk-Kempthorne says.
The bulk of the raw ingredients come from within a 10-mile radius of the restaurant. Supplier Lucky Dog Farms, of Hamden, is one of the few exceptions. But the idea of locals helping locals is never far away. “People literally come in and have a crate of cherry tomatoes and ask ‘Can you do something with this?’ Valk-Kempthorne says. “Because we have such a small menu, we usually can.” While, yes, the menu is small, the taste of the food is mighty – so much so that the restaurant was profiled in the February 2013 issue of Martha Stewart Living and in a recent issue of The Wall Street Journal. Current breakfast offerings include treat like ‘eggs in a glass’, which is local eggs soft-boiled and dusted with herbs, or meyer lemon marmalade on toast, or house-made granola. Lunch features a crispy and airy baguette stuffed with Tilsit, pickled onions, arugula and safflower mayo, or mozzarella, prosciutto and basil pesto. The weekend pizzas draw from old favorites like smoked pepperoni and soon-to-be new ones like ricotta cheese, local honey, chocolate and Maldon sea salt. And there are always specials, which spring into existence based on what looks best in the local market right now.
What excites Valk-Kempthorne most right now are “the ice cream sandwiches. Every week we’re coming up with flavors inspired by what’s around.” These aren’t the frozen novelties you’d buy off of a truck. A few of the recent Table on Ten combos have includes balsamic-roasted tomato and basil, strawberries macerated with vodka and rosemary, and honey lavender.
Not every idea makes it out of the kitchen, however. “There’s definitely things that didn’t work. We post (on Facebook) a lot about what we’re doing and at 5.30 we’re making the first test pizza. You make it up in your mind – but sometimes you are completely wrong,” Valk-Kempthorne says. “We’re always learning and improving.” The changes to the property haven’t stopped with the spare but cosy dining room. Table on Ten just received their beer and wine license. Building improvements continue as well. The couple transformed the top two floors of the house and rents out two guest rooms as well as two offices. Next, they may head down the stairs. “We still have a basement, for example, than can be completely renovated and turned into a sort of laboratory,” Valk-Kempthorne says.
Beyond the food and the gracefully spare interior design, what feels most striking about Table on Ten is how much it feels like a part of the community. From the flyers for events pinned to the front door to the nearly all local back-of-house staff, that sense of connection is no accident and has been nurtured by Valk-Kempthorne. “We have gratitude for being able to work with local farms and know the importance of supporting the local economy,” she says. “It’s great.”
It’s pretty tasty, too.
(words and pictures: Adrienne Martini/Oneonta Daily Star)
August 2, 2013. Posted in Inspirers, Overnight, Press, Producers, The Menu. Tags: Adrienne Martini, Bloomville, Caitlin Jones, Chocolate Honey Ricotta Pizza, Egg In A Glass, Ice Cream Sandwiches, Inez Valk, Justus Kempthorne, Katrin Schmid-Shelmashuck, Lucky Dog Farm, Martha Stewart Living, Meyer Lemon Marmalade, Prosciutto Mozzarella Baguette, Table Granola, Tilsit Pickled Onion Baguette, Wall Street Journal.