By Isaac Cantu :: Photography by Mark Humphries
“Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.” – Auguste Escoffier
In today’s ever-evolving food industry, how you place your order can be done in many ways: a digital table computer, a phone app or by traditionally telling a smiling server what you will be enjoying during you visit. The one component that sets the tone — that is so often underestimated — is the menu. Sure, it’s a means to sell the offered bounty, but at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch, the menu is a representation of the establishment and thoughtfully designed by the food and beverage team.
1: The Menu Cover and Body
When choosing the menu cover, size, color and material are considered. The team enlisted the help of Impact Enterprises, a group who specializes in cutting edge, high quality menu covers. They provided the ability to custom design and select the look, weight, feel and textures that say Cordillera Ranch.
The body — the paper which displays the offered food items — must be of quality as well. The paper cannot tear easily, it must match the cover and must be formatted for our printers. Different colors, textures, or lack of textures, and thickness are all calculated when selecting the right menu cover and body.
2: The Ranch Menu
The menu and its content are a calculated collection of options that help to create memories for members, guests and even our chefs. Our culinary team creates menu offerings that stem from members’ requests, seasonal flavors, classics and creative food art. Sections on the menu, such as the “Monthly Features,” help to alleviate menu fatigue. They help to provide a way to give variety from a core of menu options that are comprised from member demand. What would the Ranch Menu look like without our Texas-sized Ranch Burger? How would it feel without the ever-so-popular Doc’s Trio (Crispy tortilla chips with house-made guacamole, fire-roasted salsa and queso — named after beloved Club member Doc Merritt)? Strange at best.
Menu dishes that come and go need to be explained. When selecting dishes for the menu, the team uses a product sales report. This report gives the number of item sales in a set amount of time. Here is the fun part: Monthly Features that receive a great response take the place of weaker selling dishes in the core menu. This keeps the menu evolving. This keeps the menu strong.
The culinary team is busy conceptualizing new dishes for the upcoming fall menu, with features largely based on seasonal influences. A few selections to tempt your taste buds include:
Green Chili Smothered Steak Sandwich with sliced Akaushi sirloin, roasted poblano green chili, pepper jack cheese and crisp Cordillera Ranch onion straws, all held between a toasted and sliced cornbread loaf.
Pepper-Crusted Salmon Caprese, a lighter entrée with hand-selected, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh Mozzarella di Bufala, an aged balsamic vinegar reduction and fresh-picked basil.
Slow-Smoked “Buffalo” Ribs which merge the best of two worlds with tender, fall-off-the-bone smoked baby back ribs and the nice butter–spiced Frank’s Red Hot® buffalo sauce.
3: “Order Up”
Take a deep breath, clear your mind, select a dish that most appeals to you at that given time and place your order. The menu has served its purpose and has set the stage for excitement and satisfaction.
The food and beverage team’s thoughtful selections, beginning with the tactile sensations when holding the menu to the font choices, spacing and brief yet enticing descriptions of the foods chosen have all brought you to this point. All of the small things do count. Your food is on the way.
Come to The Club and Order Up!
Isaac Cantu is the Executive Chef at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.