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English polemicist Hobbes,
Took to bigamy in between jobs,
“I’d do less perspiring
And much more inspiring
If I had me four balls and two knobs.”
We’ve reached that bloodshot, coke-addled point in the political polemic when the Carnival of Assholes has become functionally unbearable. Last night the hours between 2.30 and 4.15 were spent gazing at the ceiling like Munch’s The Scream, sleeplessly contemplating the horror of being governed by a giant, bloated incubus muppet: whatever happened to the old chestnuts of financial destitution, lovelessness, cancer, infant mortality and the bomb?
We all need a break.
Friday night we register our protest at #peakdrivel by running screaming from our houses in pantyhose and fishermen’s cable-knits, wrapping the entire interior of the Table on Ten in newspaper and inviting Nate Smith and Sophie Kamin (from Bar Bolinas and Allswell) and Emily Elsen (from Four and Twenty Blackbirds) to man the existential barricades alongside Inez in a steadfast one-night cookathon which will employ every last scrap of vegetation remaining in Delaware County. Star Route, Berry Brook, Burnetts and Hellers will be rendered desolate wastelands. Further supplies will be pillaged from Key Training Farm, Cowbella, Bovina Valley, Greenane and Marguerite, along with the rude knobbly bits from fridges, shelves, sides of the road, Ollie’s matted flanks and the trunk of the Subaru. Scorched earth harvesting. What’ll remain when we’re done is rocks, stumps and grubby-handled toddler’s pull-toys, each missing a wheel.
No tickets, no invitations, tastings or pairings. No french linen sheets repurposed as tablecloths or backwoods banjo-string-quartets. You don’t have to simper like a poodle or prance like a dressage-pony.
No need to hashtag, like, follow, lie, cheat, namaste or lol. Neither to choreograph kittens or petals, crush persimmons, nor scatter ground-cherries onto beds of milkweed fluff. Leave your prohibition-era assless chaps, pomade and rolled-up cap-sleeves at home, there’ll be no biblical ram-slaughter. Hell, you could even contrive to forget your iPhone.
Call us up to tell us you’re coming, then come. Or swing by. Like any other pizza night.
The only difference is the whole damn menu.
And no pizza.
Chewin’ the Cud with Nate, Emily, Sophie and Inez
Friday 4th November, Table on Ten, 6 to 9
Menu will Quite Probably Include
SOFT BOILED EGG – $5
spruce aioli, garlic chives, tarragon
URSULA KALE AND APPLE SALAD – $12
Alderney cheese, armagnac prunes
WINTER CHOPPED SALAD – $10
beets, cabbage, celeriac, cumin koji maple dressing, cilantro, mint
CAST IRON SOURDOUGH WITH PRESERVED TOMATOES – $10
ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH RED MOLE (the sauce, not the insectivore) – $12
potatoes, cardoons, turnips
SPICED LENTILS AND NETTLES – $10
tomatoes, yogurt, mint
ROASTED BROCCOLI RABE – $12
TAMARIND PORK – $18
Cortland onions, pickled peppers
SALTED CARAMEL APPLE MINI-PIES – $7
maple syrup, fresh frozen yogurt, bee pollen
bring your own children and cigarettes
November 2, 2016. Posted in Events, Inspirers, Producers, The Menu, Underpants. Tags: Allswell, Bar Bolinas, Berry Brook Farm, Bovina Valley Farm, Burnett Farms, Cowbella, Emily Elsen, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Greenane Farm, Inez Valk, Key Training Farm, Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower, Nate Smith, Ollie the Dog, Sophie Kamin, Star Route Farm, Thomas Hobbes.
For anybody who missed it: in celebration of All Hallows’ Eve, the floor of Table on Ten was turned over to renowned Commedia dell’Arte troupe – La Famiglia Touché – who brought their oversize personality, dubious gender disposition and filthy Grandma to Bloomville for two consecutive nights, inaugurating:
TERROR ON TEN | FRIGHTFUL HALLOWEEN PIZZA
~ An Utter Farce, in Two Acts ~
Players (in attacco)
Madame Goodie Touché – Mr Scott Neild
Miss Sally Touché – Mrs Lacy Johnson
Master William (Billy) Touché – Mr David Van Vorst
Master Philip McCrevice – Mr Jason Lindow
Nurse Barry Bates – Mr Josiah Johnson
Nurse Bessie Bates – Miss Winifred Richards
Sister Brenda Bates-Warbler – Miss Val Dudley
Master Brian Bates – Master Seth Johnson
Doctor Pierrot Bates-Dronkenvrouw – Mrs Inez Valk
(su per il culo)
Grandma Mabel Touché-Berchtesgaden – Mr Perkin Lovely
• The Fresh Roadkill
• The Bloody Wound
• The Strips of Flesh
• The White Cadaver
• The Slugs
• The Drowned Man
• The Burnt Capsicum
• The Dead Man’s Sausage
• The Don’t Ask
• Fresh Salad of Greenies
• Salad of Roast Pepper Flesh
• Baked Apple Corpse
• Wound Ice Cream
• Gore of Grizzled Cranberry
Expunged from her long-term residency at The Novelty Lounge in Oneonta (following an incident with a Merino sheep and two pounds of asparagus) Madame Goodie Touché has bundled her family into a 1996 Subaru Forester and gone south, hoping to make it to her sister Daphne’s Blue Moon Topless in New Paltz before nightfall. A mangled head gasket, however, finds her marooned in the quaint, tumble-down hamlet of Bloomville New York, with an empty purse and Halloween on the doorstep. Ever the opportunist, Mme Touché offers her services at the only bulb burning for 20 miles around – the notorious Table on Ten, bastion of all things salvaged and glutenous. The proprietress, a shadowy Dutch woman of irregular height, has taken to roaming the dirt roads in her undergarments, swigging from a bottle of Chivas whilst communing with feral goats. The single remaining member of staff – Phil McCrevice (handyman, Speedo model and Master of the Dark Arts) – is tending to an ever-dwindling coterie of absinthe-addled customers, stretching month-old pizza over a badminton racket and baking it over an old toilet bowl filled with Kingsford briquettes. He quickly accepts Mme Touché’s proposal – to take over the restaurant and run it through the holiday weekend – won over, in part, by the sultry charms of her teenage daughter Sally, who imagines herself the younger sister of Scarlet O’Hara and behaves accordingly. Borrowing McCrevice’s pickup, the Touché family go in search of decor, plumping for Late-Century Salvation garnished with dead Japanese knotweed. Billy Touché – 28 and still recovering from a frontal-lobe injury sustained whilst repairing a leaky lavatory flapper at a gas station in Roscoe with his teeth – is put in charge of the wood-fired oven. Sally does the drinks, Goodie runs the show. Grandma Mabel, wheelchair-bound and serially incontinent, is consigned to the basement where she delivers salads and pizza from the ever-widening gap between her waist-high hemline and descending pantyhose. Kitchen staff are culled from the recently defunct operating theatre at O’Connor Hospital Delhi. They arrive having just undertaken a failed prostate transplant on an alpaca farmer from South Kortright. Sister Brenda Bates is on dough-stretching, Doctor Bates-Dronkenvrouw on pizza prep, Nurses Bessie Bates and Barry Bates on salads and dessert; and Brian, Master Bates on the dishes. The lights go down. The customers assemble …
November 4, 2015. Posted in Events, Inspirers, The Menu, Working at Table. Tags: Bloomville, Blue Moon Topless, David Van Vorst, Goodie Touché, Halloween, Inez Valk, Jason Lindow, Josiah Johnson, Julian Richards, Lacy Johnson, O'Connor Hospital, Oneonta, Perkin Lovely, Roscoe, Scott Neild, South Kortright, Terror on Ten, The Novelty Lounge, Val Dudley, Winnie Richards.
On one of those those mornings when you got up at 5.30, set a fire in the grate, sat at the table and did two hours of planning and ordering, drove to Delhi, pushed a cart round the Chopper, shouldered 100 lbs of chicken feed, lingered by the slow pump at the Sunoco watching those Aadvantage points whittle crumbs off your life … all before an 8.30 start in Bloomville … it’s rewarding to open your computer and find somebody else’s take on what you’re doing. Thanks to Daniela at Bearleader Chronicle for this beautiful piece, the entirety of which can be found here.
October 25, 2015. Posted in Inspirers, Press. Tags: Bearleader, Brushland Eating House, Daniela Stallinger, Emily Elsen, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Inez Valk, Lucky Dog Farm, Melissa Elsen, Phoenicia Diner.
“On a familiar route between my cabin and friends’ houses, the property always stuck out—towering on the corner, yet nothing appeared to be going on so it was somewhat of an enigma,” says says Inez Valk of what would become Table on Ten. “I made some inquiries, and it turned out the property was for sale, at which point an enigma became a mission,” The Catskills-dweller — by way of Brooklyn, by way of Holland — reminisces on the once crumbling property situated on Route 10 in the tiny town of Bloomville, New York — a place she transformed into a thriving restaurant and inn.
On the weekends, Table on Ten is filled with guests and restaurant patrons from the city, who not unlike Valk, seek out this secluded area of Delaware County. “There’s a complexity to life up here that belies the cliche of puttering along dirt roads, cultivating vegetables and chickens. Quietness and isolation mean there’s a lot of yourself to deal with. There’s no hiding, no retreating into the perpetual adolescence that the city offers,” says Valk. Her rustic inn, meticulously designed using raw materials and clean lines, furnished with handmade beds, a refurbished freestanding tub in the attic, and a reading nook complete with a collection of records to get lost in. At 60 miles west of the Hudson, those seeking peace and the low-key buzz of a local community going on about its day, find their place, and Inez is the gracious host that makes all feel right at home.
We at The Window had a firsthand account of this hospitality when we set out north to capture Inez in her element. The Pas De Calais collection was a clear choice for wardrobe. The luxuriousness of truly functional, comfortable clothes and sumptuous natural textiles reflect the harmony of running a modern grassroots business amongst the striking, pastoral setting. Unlike most shoots, our crew was treated to homemade meat pies (guinea hens from a neighboring farm), local wine, and cheeses on arrival. Not ones to refuse a hearty delicious meal, we chalked it up to research, and settled in to Table on Ten to experience Inez’s world.
“Delaware County is in a unique orbital when it comes to New York City. We’re not Hudson; we’re not Woodstock; we’re not the State Park. It was settled for tenant agriculture, and its roots are still in homesteading and farming; solitude, hard work, deep country, quiet,” Inez explains of the region’s lure. “Tourism is gentle and subtle. There’s no long list of glittering attractions, big festivals, mega antique roadshows… But an amazing collection of people have settled here, on the outer ring of New York’s gravitational pull. It’s unique. And it offers an opportunity for visitors to slip into the rhythms and cadences of the people who live here. It’s very personal.” The mentality of becoming one with not only the land but the small, hardworking community is part of what makes the Table on Ten restaurant a success. As part of the community, Inez caters to her fellow locals as much as she does her out of town visitors.
The love for turning out a delectable, shareable meal is illustrated in the success of Table on Ten’s pizza nights. Pizza—a modular, made-from-scratch, and quite simply, fun food has been a hit at the restaurant. After experiencing homemade pizzas from a wood-fire oven her friends built, Inez recognized the meal as the perfect melding of opportunity and need. “We’ve been doing pizza night for three years now and really it worked well right from the start. Strangely, for something so seemingly basic, there’s a lot of nuance and tweaking involved and it’s replete with possibility. Like a well-crafted haiku.” And her favorite pie on the menu? “I’d have to say the weekly special. Simply because it’s an opportunity to craft something emblematic of what’s here and now. In that sense, it’s the summation of the week on a sourdough circle,” says Inez, spoken like a diplomat to the land’s bounty but more importantly, to the guest at the table, the right answer when expecting a piping hot meal made with fresh, thoughtful ingredients.
While The Window team did not get to experience pizza night (we will be back to enjoy it this fall), we were treated to a skillet of eggs and fresh bread at our shoot call-time of dawn. The sound of roosters roused us first, then the scent of the above dish. Please note again, this is an anomaly on photo shoots, but one we could certainly get used to.
We like it here. It feels like home for our crew, if home equals wide open spaces, smells of fresh baked bread, and the comfort of a seasoned businesswoman in her fourth year of hospitality, functioning with ease and elegance. But for Valk, Table on Ten is not a place to get lost in time, but an open door for possibility. “Just when you think you know what’s around the corner, something barrels through the door and you’re off on a new tangent. There’s solid structure which appeals to my fundamental pragmatism richly veined with the unpredictable. It keeps me awake and learning.”
“I’m moving closer to a balance of life, work, and place that feels strong and energized, whereby they complement each other rather than gnawing at the edges,” contemplates the woman who describes her role as business owner, innkeeper, chef, and community nourisher as “always here.” It can be hard to not get consumed by what you do, especially without the distractions of urban life but Inez seems to be learning and growing with her business, surrounded by supportive friends and happy patrons who cheer her on.
The end of our day with Inez brings us to a pressing question ever since we noted the impressive record collection situated in the attic suite. Which ones would she choose for an hour of solitude? “Maybe something redolent of the area, romantic but hardscrabble. John Prine’s Bruised Orange, Townes Van Zandt’s Live at the Old Quarter. Or maybe the Chopin Nocturnes if you fancy something less site-specific.” A solid lineup to interrupt everyday life for a bit of meaningful calm.