What happens when the lowly 960 kb Table on Ten iPhone image is prescribed a course of steroids? When you ask to some of the best printers in New York City to unfurl rolls of archival Hahnemühle 310 gsm William Turner fine art rag and ink up their engines? When you struggle out of a Volkswagen Golf in Delhi Main Street – a woman wrestling wallpaper – and challenge Rachel Polens to tame your beasts into frames? This is what happens.
Spanking new in the Table on Ten dining room, above the bed in the second floor room, and as close to four feet by four feet as we could go. It’s artwork as real estate. We had a fourth one slated for the attic room, but amongst the kaleidoscope of garrety triangles there wasn’t actually wall-space enough to accommodate it. Each original image is steeped in our storyline, crystallized into a Delaware County moment then exploded: quiet hymns sung with feeling. They are grazing on the walls like gentle mammoths and are also for sale. These are the first five, in limited editions of 6.
Now the leaves are falling fast,
Nurse’s flowers will not last;
Nurses to the graves are gone,
And the prams go rolling on.
Someone told us, a couple of years ago, that summer ends on the last day of the Delaware County Fair. That elegantly shaved Holsteins are ushered into trucks even as the beeches begin to drip with browns and duns. Well, not in 2013. This year the Gods of Summer looked kindly on us, easing apart the parentheses of the season to accommodate the remainder of August and much of September, allowing schoolchildren to return to their lessons still sporting chestnut knees. But there’s no stemming the march of time. The chill is in the wings, like an attendant servant waiting to come on and announce ‘the Queen, my lord, is dead’.
Now friends come through the front door briskly, shutting it behind them. Ice-cream sandwiches linger longer in the refrigerator. And the first glimpses of a conversation that will punctuate the coming months like a thousand commas – how to stay warm – are sighted at the register.
But the turning of the seasons affords new opportunities: to break out that Harris tweed hacking jacket and deerstalker, mothballed from an unlucky May; to twist the menu between finger and thumb, ushering in items that warm the belly and bolster a sense of community. It’s time for Soup. To roll in at lunchtime, pull up a chair, a hunk of baguette and mop up something that distills the goodness of its ingredients into a restorative and sticks sweetly to the ribs.
First up: New Brushland Clam Chowder (with Cowbella Croutons)
2 lbs or so fresh chowder clams (these don’t need to be fancy)
1 cup Star Route Farm creamy potatoes, peeled or not, cubed
2 teaspoons Cowbella butter
3 good slices Catskill Food Company bacon, cut crosswise into small pieces
1 Lucky Dog onion or 2 shallots, diced fine
2 or 3 garden thyme sprigs, stripped
1 Burnett Farms celery stalk, diced fine (we wonder if a palmful of grated celeriac would do the same thing; we haven’t tried)
A little salt (careful, clams are salty)
Fresh cracked black pepper
1 cup Crystal Valley milk
Half a cup of cream
Ripped Table on Ten bread and Cowbella butter for croutons
Put the clams in a heavy pot with 3/4 cup of water. Cook on medium-high until they open. Let them cool (scalded fingers) before removing them from their shells and chopping (or not chopping if they are small). Strain the broth through cheesecloth or a clean tea-towel (more on that in late November) and store the clams in the broth to avoid them drying out. Cook the cubed potatoes in salted boiling water until nearly done, set aside. Melt the butter, fry the bacon pieces till just short of crisp, set aside. In the same buttery/bacony skillet, gently cook the onions and thyme for a few minutes before adding the celery. Continue to cook till the mixture is soft and golden. Season with pepper and (easy, there) salt. Transfer to a saucepan, add the potatoes and bacon, cook briefly. Add the clams and their broth, boil then simmer for a couple of minutes until the potatoes are soft. Add the milk and cream, bring up to heat but don’t boil. That’s it.
The buttery croutons are easy. Melt butter, add rough, big hunks of crustless bread, spin ’em round a few times, bake in the oven till done.
Cold, impossible, ahead
Lifts the mountain’s lovely head
Whose white waterfall could bless
Travellers in their last distress.
Justus Schwab was an Anarchist. Didn’t know what he wanted but he knew how to get it. Or perhaps knew what he wanted but wasn’t sure how to get it; an end to wage-slavery; the abolition of the concept of private ownership; the right to wave a red flag and sing the Marseillaise in the street. But most importantly for us – in this case – the right to sell beer on a Sunday.
Reputedly a towering Teuton of a man (he might have been played by Viggo Mortensen in Gangs of New York), Schwab sported a moustache worthy of Frida Kahlo whilst fronting a saloon at 50 First Street on the Lower East Side frequented in the 1880’s by the likes of Emma Goldman, Johann Most and various ornery Communards (not in this case the 1980’s duo formed by Jimmy Somerville after Bronski Beat). The very same 50 First Street now occupied by the gallery of our distinctly not towering, Tuetonic nor moustachioed friend and collaborator Cay Sophie Rabinowitz. Osmos. Table on Ten’s food-conceptual home-away-from-home, where Cay Sophie and Christian afford us the opportunity to momentarily don the beret and hauteur of the self-proclaimed artist.
Last time it was a century of individually numbered hand pies, echoing Henrik Knudsen’s How To Make A Pie photoessay in Osmos Magazine, which featured Inez meandering through the iron teeth of a Delaware County winter looking like she’d mislaid her oxycontin stash. This time our brief was directed toward the gallery itself and the strains of protest and rebellion etched into its walls. As a tribute to the colourful history of the building, to Schwab and his place in the Social Revolutionary movement of the late nineteenth century, Cay Sophie had inaugurated the ‘Beer on Sunday’ series, featuring a performance by Brooklyn-based artist Keil Borrman, an exhibition curated by Jovana Stokic and conceptual foodish contribution by, well, us.
Which meant coming up with an idea. Between baking Chocolate Nudge Cookies and garnishing pizza with Poor Man’s Pepper.
Schwab was a provocateur and proselytizer; a man of action, but also of words. In keeping with the rococo style of the age, his political gestures were embroidered with polemical proclamations as notable for their grandiloquence as their sincerity. A celebration of Schwab seemed to call for his voice to be heard. Or in our case, eaten. In 1886 Schwab’s saloon was the subject of a boycott by the Johann Most faction of the Freiheit movement. A group of Most-aligned anarchists had taken to burning down their buildings in order to collect on the insurance; a course of action Schwab determined to be morally reprehensible. In a letter to fellow anarchist Robert Reitzel, he famously protested that “the means must not desecrate the end”.
Then it came to us. Whilst pushing an egalitarian vacuum cleaner round the attic AirBnB. Why not take Schwab’s words, dissemble them into their constituent parts, repurpose them into a meal and have everybody eat ’em? Subject his manifesto to the rigours of peristalsis! We’d been on a pasta-making bender at the time, so a few hundred 1″ letters fashioned in semolina, 00 and Last Harvest Farm egg yolks seemed within our reach. We’d rewrite his letter to Reitzel in fresh pasta, toss it into a giant pot of house-made Minestrone (nostalgic trappings of the Victorian soup kitchen) and cook up soup for all. And beer for all too! Our friends at Brooklyn Brewery responded to our call-to-arms with the enthusiasm of a greyhound making off with a pork chop; by bathing the event in beautiful beer. With this in place, smuggling a tank of propane, giant burner and several loaves of crusty bread across the Triboro Bridge was simply icing on the cake.
And so we ate Schwab. And Schwab was good. And we washed him down with many a case of Brooklyn Summer Ale.
Hamlet: A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
Claudius: What dost thou mean by this?
Hamlet: Nothing but to show you how a king may go a-progress through the guts of a beggar.
In case anybody doubts what it’s all about.
So the posters are in. Limited Edition of 100, on rare double-weight french newsprint. The story of a year-and-a-bit in 196 nearly-squares. It’s all there; the frozen deep-winter trees, the first ever batch of numbered pies, the short-lived map theme for the ball jar lids (time to revive that), the blood and brussels sprouts, leek and potato (secretly shot in Hampton Court Palace), the one-and-only time we used clams, the soups, pizzas, pasta, the chalkboards and children, details from Katrin’s kitchen, the saffron monk habit (secretly shot in Phnom Penh), the birth of Osmos, Dan’s farm, Annemarie’s farm, farms and fields and hills across the county, so many tables and surfaces, the words and hands and signs and letters that speak to a febrile compulsion to communicate, so much pastry, circles-within-squares, trees, trees and more trees. And beneath it all, great heaving tectonic plates of Love, ceaselessly groining a miniature landscape of mountains, plateaus and chasms from the human granite that coalesces at Table on Ten. Without that, we’d be making sandwiches and pizza.
Undertaken by Delaware County transplant Mark Ohe, the poster is the latest in a 16-year line of collaborations as long and hairy as Banquo’s issue. It includes several books, posters, album covers, pamphlets and websites, along with all their attendant plot twists; being escorted out of a Las Vegas souvenir shop for having filthy trousers before being offered tinned cat food as a snack on the street (‘really, man, it’s pretty fucking good’); an alfresco ascent of Mount Washington in the deepest sarcophagus of winter; building a bonfire Edward Woodward would be proud of in the middle of a hayfield at the height of summer and trying to manage it with a garden hose. Mark Ohe is the original Man Who Fell To Earth. He receives all information with the quizzical gaze of a Venusian still trying to work out what these Earthlings are rattling on about half a century after having landed here in a stray space-pod. He is responsible for pretty much the entire catalogue of seminal Matador Records’ album covers, from Pavement, through Yo La Tengo, Guided by Voices and Cat Power, via Pizzicato Five, Liz Phair, Mogwai and Interpol: a body of work that saw him recently lionized in T: The New York Times Magazine, being commissioned to reproduce the Times’ emblematic T by way of a Matador-era collage of tiny hand cut T’s. We’ve thought we’d lost Mark Ohe a few times. Up Mount Charleston, in the Atacama Chile, to the peyote-bourbon mashup of Endless Boogie. But he always turns up, along with a cluster of Spock-like reflections on life refracted through the Ohe Prism.
And now he is here among us, lending the crooked pin of his eye to all things anti-fracking and (we hope) Table on Ten related. The chronicle of our parallel journeys is far from over. We have collaborations brewing, bigger and bolder than a pot of PG Tips. Further proof of Donne’s premise that ‘no man is an island’. No, nor Venusian either.
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!
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)
Stuff is growing over here. We’re looking for a great Short Order Cook. To start right away.
Table on Ten is a cafe in rural Bloomville NY. We work with local producers, offering a seasonal and experimental menu with strong week-to-week emphasis on great ingredients and what’s being harvested right here, right now. On weekend evenings we serve brick oven pizzas, with a full wine and beer list. The microshop carries local and specialty items, some of which are made in-house. We also host workshops, events, pop-up dinners and collaborations with guest chefs and occasionally cater events locally and in New York City.
It’s a small, close-knit, exciting, vibrant, creative environment. We work hard as a team, share responsibilities and have high standards.
We’re looking for somebody who can:
• participate fully in the day-to-day operation of the kitchen, follow food production schedules and ensure highest level of food quality, taste and presentation.
• participate actively in actual food preparation, maintain consistently high standards of food quality, taste and presentation.
• manage food cost through intelligent practice of food preparation and handling.
• in conjunction with the proprietor, establish goals for the kitchen, anticipate and resolve issues, anticipate trends, undertake approved profit-oriented and cost saving ideas.
• understand and adhere strictly to Health Department and food handling guidelines.
• in conjunction with the proprietor, develop menu items, create and ensure adherence to recipes and product specifications. Train interns and seasonal workers on new menu items.
• conduct regular inspections of the kitchen/dishwashing area, workspaces, storage areas and coolers, and act promptly to correct deficiencies found during inspection.
• ability to work in a close-knit team environment.
• ability to work calmly and effectively under pressure.
• must have problem solving abilities, be self-motivated and organized.
• show commitment to quality service, food and beverage knowledge.
• intermediate understanding of professional cooking and food preparation skills.
• proven interest in food prepared with sustainably farmed, locally sourced ingredients.
• knowledge and understanding of safety, sanitation and food handling procedures.
• previous kitchen experience required.
• professional, personable communication skills.
• flexibility in assuming different roles within the life of the café; front-of-house skills, helping to prepare and maintain the dining areas and microshop, being aware of stock levels, serving food in the café and at the counter.
• ability to take direction.
• must be able to work evenings, weekends and some holidays.
• must have own transport and housing.
+- 40 hours a week
Please send an introduction with contact details, resumé and any supporting information to Inez at firstname.lastname@example.org