Monday, October 31, 2011

Cue the DVR!

Rhino and I wanted to shake up the blog this week, so below you will find a new blog format. K means written by Katie, and R means written by Rhino (obvi). Let us know what you think! 

The Purple Cole Slaw
K: A few weeks back, a new Bloomy’s friend e-mailed us to share his prized coleslaw recipe. Now, if you can recall, a few weeks back was also the time during which each of the following things happened:
  1. Rhino asked for my hand in marriage
  2. I was struck by a massive four-debilitating-day head cold
  3. I was promoted at work (I know I don’t talk about my day job a lot, or at all, but I was promoted and alas this caused some delay with the coleslaw).

So, in any case, these fairly significant life events have challenged our ability to try new recipes in the Bloomy’s test kitchen. However, the timing actually turned out to be quite well – timely, and the first official taste tester of this coleslaw just so happened to be an Emmy award winner! (See “Hosting an Emmy Award Winner” section below).

R: Now that my Katie has given you the entire history of how we came to prepare the coleslaw recipe, I feel that it is due time to get to the point of this topic.  Dan’s recipe was wicked good.  However, during the “flair” that I truly enjoy putting on any recipe, my version turned out purple.  Wicked good, wicked purple.  Fortunately, we loved the purple results and neither of us had ever seen purple coleslaw, so we are keeping it (any correlation to the MN Vikings, Purple Pride, The Purple People Eaters,  I Bleed Purple, Purple Lovers Anonymous, or Purple Rain is completely unintentional and irrelevant to any content of this blog). Thanks Dan! Katie and I truly appreciate your contributions to Bloomy’s.

Hosting an Emmy Award Winner
R: As a result of Katie’s phone conversations with our visiting Emmy Award Winner, I was pretty excited to meet him and not so nervous about the whole being interviewed thing.  However, the immediate shock of discovering that your house is not only going to be on HD television, but that you also have to prepare sample food for HD television, was slightly more intense (by slightly, I mean immensely.) Now, in all fairness, Katie and I knew that we had an entire weekend of cleaning ahead of us as soon as we found out that we were going to be interviewed by Kare11’s Emmy Award Winning Reporter Boyd Huppert on the “Land of 10,000 Stories” last Monday.  Although we should have probably been the ones to bring it up, Boyd asked us if we would have samples available to shoot.  The answer to that question was so obvious that we were instantly making a list of necessities needed to make an accurately slamazing representation of the Bloomy’s Menu and factoring the cooking schedules into our weekend plans. 

K: So, I think the Rhino does not accurately describe how FREAKING INTENSE this whole “have a local celebrity over to your house to eat your food and tape you for tv” process is. In any case, I think that we both held it together pretty well. This is also evidenced by the fact that we didn’t fight ONE time and I didn’t have even ONE whack attack. (Apparently, we are adapting to increased levels of stress – aka two full time jobs, each.)

Getting back to the subject. When we found out that Boyd was going to head over to casa de Bloomy’s for the taping, I immediately went downstairs to dig out our industrial strength cleaning product bucket and requisite superpower cleaning gloves. Beginning Friday night and ending Monday pre-11am, the Rhino and I cleaned every square inch of Bloomyland. And I mean: Every. Square. Inch. In addition, we found time to do each of the following things:
  1. Stop at the grocery (we actually had to go to two places because the roast beef at the first place wasn’t up to Rhino quality and he felt “like there was some sort of trickery involved” with the deli so we had to drive 25 minutes to find the perfect cut – which we did and it was worth it)
  2. Get welcoming budget-friendly flowers (see pic below)
  3. Prepare a full menu (this required my “taking one for the team” and getting up at 3:30AM to put the roast beef in the oven so it could begin its evolution to pure roast beef perfection)
  4. Plate said menu, and
  5. Host the Kare11 crew, make them laugh at least four times, and feed them a delish Bloomy’s lunch
Ps – I also forgot that we totally went to a super bonfire during this whole deal too! But the bonfire-hosters are our close couple friend, and we needed a mental break from Bloomyland. We met a new cool dude at this bonfire too who is now a future Bloomy’s customer. I love how the world works!

>> The Rhino and I also have to take a serious moment to sincerely thank Boyd & Jonathan for taking the time to come over, share our home, and learn more about Bloomy’s. It was an awesome experience for us, and we’ll never forget it. <<

For those of you who wish to view our TV debut “live and in action,” please tune into Boyd’s “Land of 10,000 stories” segment this Tuesday (as in TOMORROW, November 1) at 10pm on channel 11.

Ok, back to it then!

Bloomy’s Gear
K: The Rhino has been tasked with identifying the perfect Bloomy’s gear that will be given to our slamazing 26 (and counting!) Kickstarter Backers  who have helped fund Bloomy’s to the tune of $3350! 13 days to go. Can we do it? Yes we can! As fate would have it, the Rhino used to work with a guy who just so happens to do screen printing as a side business. Aric (I wanted to call him “Mr. Tee” like tee-shirt but Rhino wouldn’t let me) graciously mocked up not one but four Bloomy’s logo prototypes to select from. After review and input from our talented Creative Director, Miss Jamie D., we decided to go with a washed out vintage-style color logo for our backers and a classic washed out vintage-style black and white logo for our official sponsors. Dope! I’m currently working with Jamie D. on finalizing our t-shirt and hoodie styles but I can promise you that they will be out of this world comfy cozy.

R: Aric is truly hooking Bloomy’s up for our apparel needs, and I would be doing an injustice not to recommend him for custom screen printing and embroidery needs to anyone.  You couldn’t have wiped the sh*t-eating grin off my face with paint thinner when I saw our logo on those T’s.  I realize that some business owners put too much stake in their logo and website, but let’s face it; this is a part of our dream coming true and epic to Katie and me.  I immediately put one of the sample shirts on for the rest of the evening (partially because Katie hadn’t seen them and I was ultra-elated for her to see them when she first walked in) and proceeded to strut my way around the house like a proud father of sorts.  A TV interview and our OWN clothing in one week was quenching my thirst for Bloomy’s success.

Buying a Food Truck
R: We get a lot of questions about the Food Truck itself.  The good news is that WE have fewer questions about our “soon-to-be food truck.”  For starters, we know that Bloomy’s is raising the bar for food truck requirements.  Our desire to have a true Mobile Food Truck does not follow the traditional method of “Food Trucking.”  A lot of food trucks currently either prepare their wares ahead of time in a brick and mortar kitchen or utilize a more “freezer to customer” approach to cooking.  Since Bloomy’s makes our food from scratch and won’t have a kitchen to use, we require a unique set of full kitchen equipment on our truck.  This ended up being an ultra-awesome project for me that has also been a bittersweet brain teaser.  “To be continued,” as we have a very good idea of the who’s, where’s and how’s involved in our ongoing custom food truck design, and we are fully expecting to place an order in the first week of December.

K: I don't have anything to add to that as the food truck is a vehicle and therefore something I know absolutely nothing about. 

So, In conclusion, these have been some serious days filled with serious planning and serious cleaning. But, in spite of it all, we still find time to laugh and love - and isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

Remember to tune into Bloomy’s tomorrow night at 10pm. Kare11 baby!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Truckin’ Along

First order of business, Bloomy’s Beef Stew:
Seeing as this is a foodie blog and sometimes even a business blog, I figured I would start off by telling you about the Rhino’s latest achievement: the creation of the Bloomy’s Beef Stew!  So the Rhino has made lots and lots of stew before in his life, obvi, but he decided he wanted to take it to the next level (this is a hobby he has. This is partly why I love the Rhino. He can do tough guy things during the day like fix the broken thermostat for the defroster system in the fridge and do awesome stuff at night like create the best tasting beef stew EVER and other creative things with his er- hands).

In any case, let me share with you the story of the Bloomy’s Beef Stew.
So first the Rhino simmered some soup bones (that we got from this cow we bought last year from a farmer friend) for like ever along with some spices and bay leaves and such. Then he threw some round steaks (from that cow again) on the grill until they were almost done but let them finish cooking under this tinfoil hut he made. Then he strained the broth into a new pot and then added a bunch of potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, anything else that looked good, more spices, etc and simmered for another long time. Then he added the meat and let it go just a little bit longer. Then it was done! I’ve eaten exactly 5 bowls in the last 7 days. It is that good. Slamazing. His secret ingredient? Lot’s o’ Rhino love. Awww…..

So I had this great photo of the Rhino's beef stew that I was going to post but my smart phone is being stupid, so that will have to wait for next time. The excitement!

Second order of business, 15 second Kickstarter update:
I know, I know, I know. Give me 15 seconds and then I’ll be done. We have exactly 22 SLAMAZING sponsors who have backed Bloomy’s to the tune of $3,000! I don’t want to say again how much this means to us, but you guys ROCK! We are so excited to celebrate with ya’ll at the sponsor-only tasting event in March. The Rhino and I are also contemplating an annual celebration event just for our sponsors so we can continue to recognize you for your amazing support and also to give you an excuse to PARTY!!    

For those of you readers non-sponsors, our Kickstarter project will close in 26 days so act now or forever hold your peace.

Third order of business, Bloomy’s International:
We are pleased to announce that our blog readers are popping up all around the world! Check it out yo!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “Holy smokes! Why would someone in Malaysia or the UK want to read about Bloomy’s, so far away in chilly MN?” I’ll tell you why. Cuz Bloomy’s ROCKS THE GLOBE! It’s slightly better than reading Perez Hilton or MSNBC. You don’t have to quick click off it if your boss walks by because I don’t put up scandalous celeb pics (yet… ), and you also don’t leave worrying about such things as recessions, the stock market, or what Justin Bieber is going to do next with his hair (Will he grow it out again? Will he cut it? We don’t know! It’s crazy!) In any case, here’s a shout out to our international readers. We hope you have delicious roast beef where you live and, if not, what better reason to head to MN and visit Bloomy’s?

Fourth order of business, Bloomy’s Update:
On Thursday, the Rhino and I met with Sysco to discuss a potential partnership. You may know that Sysco has launched a new Sysco Natural brand that offers people like us access to local, natural products – from onions to beef to the eco friendly serving dishes we are planning to use. The part I am most excited about though is the trip to the SYSCO TEST KITCHEN! Yayyy! All my dreams are coming true! This is a fantastic little spot where we can test all of Sysco’s delicious natural products and finalize which local producers we wish to partner with. Of course, the Rhino and our food truck manager (who I will call J even though that is not his real name, it’s just a nick name that I gave him just now, but I’m not too sure who all reads this blog so you can never be too careful given all that’s happened on CraigsList). So anyway, where was I? So the Rhino and J will be the culinary experts discussing things like flavor balancing while I stuff my face and contribute with great and helpful insights like “yummy!”

Also, the Rhino and I are on the tail end of this business loan process and I can tell you that, if we didn’t have each other to vent to, we would have gone bananas a long time ago. I told the Rhino yesterday that I wouldn’t be surprised if our bank dude e-mailed us and said that, in addition to all that he now has on file - which includes everything from every single shred of personal, professional and financial information we’ve ever had to an actual blood sample from yours truly (don’t ask, I have a bruise) - he now also needs <DO NOT READ THIS NEXT BIT IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED> Rhino’s left nut <OK, YOU’RE GOOD> and he just can’t approve the loan without it. <Sigh> But hopefully that won’t happen and the Rhino can keep that area intact. Stay tuned.

Fifth order of business: Bloomy’s in the news:
If you haven’t already heard, Bloomy’s had its first bit of press the other day! The local celeb BT of the Cities 97 morning show plugged us on his website!!! And you can read about it here!
Cities 97 Morning Show

AND, I received a call on Wednesday from a very slamazing individual who just so happens to be an Emmy award winning local reporter and wants to do a story on Bloomy’s Kickstarter efforts! Now, it’s still in the works so I can’t tell you guys any more details because I don’t want to jinx it, but keep your fingers crossed and you may see the Rhino & me on actual, non cable television in just a few short weeks! Hopefully I can fit in my skinny jeans by then!

Seventh order of business, random closing thought:
I’m wondering if anyone else has just started mistaking Owen Wilson for Ellen DeGeneres (see evidence below)? Apparently this has been going on for quite some time, but it has just started happening to me and it’s been cause for some confusion.
What the…?

I got this from, which is a very entertaining and
somewhat educational websitefor those who have some down time.

Alright folks. We’re off to put the finishing touches on the Bloomy’s apparel and start studying for our foodie certifications. Until next time!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Post VBQ Scene - Some Stuff Goes Down

After watching the Vikings lose their 4th straight game yesterday, I could hardly muster the proper attitude to sit down and write this week’s blog. But, alas, I got over it as do the rest of us Minnesotans, and inspiration has officially struck smack dab in the middle of eating my $5 footlong from Subway. In case you haven’t seen the commercials, it is “Anytober” at Subway which means you can get ANY footlong for just $5! No, they didn’t pay me to say this (although I did have the idea to advertise in the blog in exchange for sponsorship dollars but then I decided that would be annoying on numerous fronts). I was just excited to share the cost savings implications. I get excited these days by such things as cost savings, and I said to the Rhino – look, I can get that $5 footlong and eat half for lunch and half for dinner! Seeing as we didn’t have our Sunday cookathon yesterday due to the fact that I failed on going to the grocery, I needed a cheap Monday lunch and look what happened! A $2.50 solution c/o Subway sandwiches. Another colorful example of our cost-savings capabilities is highlighted with the fact that I came home from the grocery last time with a family size jumbo value package of… wait for it…. wait for it…… wait… for… it….. Chicken Flavored Ramen Noodles. Agh! The shame is so great my cheeks are pink just from writing it. And worse – Rhino ate these very ramen noodles for dinner last night. Aghhhh! We’ve gone too far!

Anyway. Moving on. So last week, after the VBQ episode went down and had some days to sink in, I woke up on Thursday with a freaking massive head cold. And by freaking massive, I mean extremely incredibly insanely ginormous freaking massive head cold. It was so bad I actually called in sick to work on Thursday AND Friday, which is something that has only happened once before in 29 year Katie J history. Then I promptly built a little house on the couch - complete with blankets, pillows, large quantities of tissues, remotes, and smart phone (for adding Netflix movies to the instant queue, obvi) as well as a constant flow of hot tea, orange juice and cold meds. Then I crawled in, hunkered down, and didn’t move out until Sunday night. So I was full-time busy fighting off death, blowing my nose and making little mewing sounds so everyone in range of the couch knew how awful I felt, and the Rhino was spending his time providing me with warm, yummy cold-curing rations (like his made-from-scratch chicken noodle soup complete with homemade melt-in-your-mouth dumpling style noodles and fresh garden veggies and mmm hmm, just writing this is making my mouth water like mad and my footlong doesn’t seem so great now), battling that evil cabin fever that tends to arise when one goes too many hours without fresh air or natural light and trying not to barf from my constant nose blowing. PS - this story is also a.k.a. the reason why we didn’t make any cole slaw like I promised we would and under delivered, seeing as we didn’t.

On Sunday, I finally felt well enough to remove myself from the couch, venture outside and take a walk from the house to the end of the garage. Then I got really tired and just sat there gulping in natural light and non-tainted-by-sickness air flow as the sunshine burned my retinas. After that, I was pretty much on the mend.

The Commencement of the Nasty Terror Dreams
After I started feeling better, I was looking forward to some nice, non-interrupted-by-sickness sleep. I’m fairly sure that the Rhino was also looking forward to not waking up from getting coughed or nose-dripped on. So we went to bed on Sunday and both the Rhino and I began what ended up being a multi-night marathon of nasty terror dreams.

The Rhino’s terror dreams included the following:
- demonic cats, claws (including claws embedded in skin), sharp teeth, fish, hooks, and scary black figure spirits that needed chasing

My terror dreams included:
- super-cute and fluffy evil birds, claws that sliced my skin apart, razor sharp bird beaks that could only be removed from my body if I yanked the bird off and my flesh in the process, and weird empty houses with scary too-low lighting.

By Thursday, we were both incredibly beat-down and fed up with this plague that had obviously drifted its way into our house and dreams, and we convened in the Bloomy’s test kitchen to decide what to do. After much deliberation and intelligent discussions, we decided the best course of action was to conduct a very serious smudging ceremony.

The Bloomy’s Household Very Serious Smudging Ceremony
For those who don’t know, smudging ceremonies are used to clear out negative vibes and other weird things like monsters and dream demons that can apparently find their way into people’s homes. It appears that we have watched a very scary movie called Insidious and have opened our home to ugly dream spirits as a result (if you haven’t seen this movie, it is by far the scariest movie in the world. The Rhino, who is a bigger-than-normal fan of scary movies, got so scared he had goose bumps. I, who am a not-at-all fan of scary movies, got so scared that I nearly barfed into the Rhino’s lap, twice).

In any case, we decided to do a serious smudging ceremony to clear out the negative vibes from watching Insidious and restore our home to its usual positive self. This ceremony basically included us walking around the house and saying such powerful statements as: “ONLY GOOD THINGS ARE WELCOME HERE!” and other things as suggested on the Internet while waving around sticks of burning sage from our back yard sage bush. The weirdest part about it is that both of us were very serious about this and didn’t laugh or smile one time. Also, placebo effect or no, the Rhino & I have been blissfully terror-dream free since the ceremony took place. I did, however, mistake the downstairs steam machine for an evil spirit figure last night as I was preparing to steam my Monday workday dress. But it ended up just being the steam machine, obvi.

Bloomy’s Regular Update
Now on to the real purpose for the blog. The Bloomy’s update!
Our friends over at Anchor Bank are working diligently on putting the final touches on our business loan application, and the Rhino and I are also working diligently on putting every penny into our penny jar so we can fulfill our end of the financial bargaining. We’re about T-60 days from getting the loan, after which we will be moments away from purchasing the food truck and starting the really fun process of installing equipment (including the dream machine double decker ultra-dope Bloomy’s super slow roasting oven) and getting all of our permits. Yay in advance. Not. We are also <this close> to uploading pictures of the stylish apparel that our sponsors will soon be wearing and that we hope will soon be profiled in the 2012 fall fashion lineup and will also appear in Glamour or some such magazine.

Bloomy’s Sponsorship Update
We’re excited to share that we’ve had 14 wonderful backers pledge $2,115 toward the launch! This means we’ve successfully reached 21% of our sponsorship goal and have just $7,885 left to go! However, we have just 41 days left to raise the remaining funds. If we are successful, we’re having an exclusive sponsor-only pre-launch tasting event in March to celebrate our sponsors and all the support you’ve provided. If we’re not successful, well … let’s not think about that quite yet as it will mean several horrible things including another whack attack from yours truly. For those readers-non-sponsors, we continue to ask for your sponsorship support. We are so close to making Bloomy’s a true Twin Cities staple and are excited to build a community of supporters without whom this beefy dream would not be possible.

Go Vikes! - er... um... <cough> I mean MN Lynx?


Katie J

PS - to anyone who received an odd scandalous link from my hotmail account, that wasn't me - it was a hacker. Sorry about that. Thankfully no one was in my contact list except everyone I know and ex boyfriends.