Posts Tagged ‘Fenton’

Art work for the new cafe.

These pictures were some of the first things that I picked out for the new space. I didn’t really think about it when I was picking them out, but I guess that in an abstract way they describe my cooking style: Midwestern roots mixed with California Fun… and a bit of a quirky sense of humor.

“Papaw on the Farm”

This is my Grandpa Ping (Papaw) on one of the farms that he managed. My Dad grew up in Milan, IN on a cattle farm. My Dad’s bragging right is that he went to the high school that the movie “Hoosiers” was based on. We have passed by this farm many times on the way to visit my Grandparents, but I’m told that the old pictures do it the most justice.

My Grandma (Mamaw) was the cook, and known for her biscuits. This was the fried chicken, bacon fat on the stove, loaf of white bread at every meal kind of cooking to sustain the farm crew at lunch every day.




“Peterson’s in Palm Springs”

This is my Mom’s family on a trip to Palm Springs in the 1960’s. My Mom grew up a few miles from the beach in Southern California. A pool in the backyard and avocado orchards close enough to pick and mash on your toast in the morning.

My Grandparents (Grammy & Grandad) were always entertaining. My Mom & Aunt would help Grammy cook for days before big parties. My favorite story is when my Grandfather placed a bottle of champagne at the bottom of the pool… whoever gets it out keeps it. I can’t remember all of the details, but it ends with a guy in a full suit diving in the pool for his prize. I can just imagine a scene out of Mad Men, a guy in a black suit & skinny tie taking a dive.



This is our dog Muggins. This picture just makes me laugh. For those who think that this is a mean looking mutt, know that he is more of a Ferdinand The Bull in true life.





“Pigs on a Roof”

This is a picture of one of the houses on the way to the beach from my Grandma’s house in La Jolla. These pigs have been perched on the roof of this bungalow for two generations of walks to the beach. Everyone in our family has some form of “pig on a roof” in their home.





“Chicken Wire Napa”

This is from a trip to Napa that Em & I went on last summer. After a few days of eating great food and drinking great wine we were ready to pack up and move there. We took a couple hundred pictures of scenery, food, etc. but this was one of our favorite photos from the trip. This is the chicken coup at Frog’s Leap Vineyard.

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Well if we had any doubts about moving into a new space, our current space has politely been telling us to get the heck out over the last two weeks. Last Saturday started out with an early morning call from my morning baker, “Um… I just walked in and the thermostat say’s that it’s over 90° in here.” Followed by a second phone call from Diane (Kitchen Manager) as I was on my way in to asses the air conditioner problem.

“Hey Russ. Have you had your coffee yet?”

“No, I’m on my way in. Is the air conditioner working yet?”

“No, and now the grease trap is backing up.”


Over the last two weeks the air conditioner has frozen up, the grease trap & drains have backed up twice, the espresso machine has died, a refrigerator died, and the freezer went into cardiac arrest but was revived by the repair man.

I am convinced that the ceiling will fall in before we officially move out of the space. Luckily, we have a great team that realizes that the show must go on. All of this has happened and everyone adapts to the situation and makes it work without a hitch.

It will be a little sad to move out of our original home, but I’m sure whenever it starts to get sentimental the toilet will erupt, or the walls will cave in and I will get a quick kick back to reality.

OFFICIAL OPENING DATE (If the inspectors are nice) – June 4th!

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Dark Chocolate Dipped BerriesChocolate Turtle Mini Cake Whipped Cream & White Chocolate Strawberry Cake

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Let the work begin! I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to see a dumpster.

It took about 3 weeks to get the “ok” to start demolition, and about 30 minutes for the construction guys to destroy the old drop ceiling in the space.

I got word this morning that we have permits from St. Louis County so now it’s just up to the Fire Marshal and we can get started on the next phase of construction.

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Things are finally underway with the new space. We are now at the mercy of St. Louis County to approve all of our permits & liqueur license… maybe we should try gooey butter bribes? As soon as we get the go from the county, I want the first swing of the hammer when demo begins.

I cannot wait to get into the new spot. We will have 2X the seating and a great kitchen to play around in. We will be expanding our hours in the morning and evening and incorporating beer & wine into the mix. I have some fun ideas for an interesting Happy Hour “snack” menu and some other surprises up my sleeve.

I finally feel like all of this is official after making my first large purchase this week. A brand new shiny hood system… This is the most boring, but most expensive piece of equipment in any commercial kitchen. Next week I will be looking at ranges, refrigerators, furniture, and lighting for the new space.

Keep your fingers crossed that the permits will be approved soon!

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If you have been wondering why Fat Kid has been a bit skinny on posts for a while, here is the first official announcement: We are moving Russell’s Café to a larger space!  A few months back, an opportunity came up for us to take over a larger spot a few doors down from our current location, and we have decided to make the leap. If you read the last post and were wondering why you were keeping your fingers crossed, this is it.  We hope to be in the new space by late spring/early summer and are excited to expand on the concept we’ve been developing these last five years. Russell’s Cafe will still have the same homespun menu and bakery offering, but the new space will accommodate twice the seating and will give us a bigger kitchen to have some fun in.  I can’t give away too many details yet (I need to sort through all of my FKAH A.D.D. brain spill first), but we are all excited to get moving on construction.  I will keep the progress posted here as we go so everyone can see what’s new.

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Hello to the world. It’s been a while since my last Fat Kid post. Things have been busy, crazy, and exciting in my world over the last month or so. I have a few posts in the lineup regarding the holidays at work, another fantastic trip to California, the New Year, and possibly exciting news for the cafe…. for now just keep your fingers crossed for the café thing.

Anyway, all of these ideas and a few thousand recipes remain mushed in one large pile in the back of my brain. I was just about to pack up my laptop for the night and get to blogging later when I heard the following quote in the background on TV… “A week without caviar, that would be too depressing to even contemplate.”

Hmmm… fairly sure that I can think of a few more depressing circumstances, what’s this about?

I evidently had butt-changed the TV channel (same thing as butt-dialing) when I sat down and was now watching the Wealth Channel. The show was entitled “Planet Luxury” and the program was listing all of the must haves for wealthy living. I guess I should have taken notes for when Russell’s Café & Bakery makes it big. The person being interviewed was a self-entitled “caviar connoisseur ” and was enjoying a $14,000.00 caviar tasting lunch. Funny, he seemed to be the only guy in the restaurant at the time. Long story short, the only reason that I wrote this blog entry was to state that this person should be found and punched in the face.

That’s all for now, promise to have some real content up soon.

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