Monthly Archives: July 2015

Your Guide to Carefree Outdoor Summer Entertaining

Summer entertainingSummertime is meant for carefree entertaining.

Uptight is out. What’s in is delicious food, refreshing drinks, upbeat music, and family and friends to share it all with.

At Dressler’s Restaurants, we know a little about entertaining. In fact, it’s a passion for us. Making our guests feel comfortable and relaxed–and then serving them the very best food and drinks possible–is what we’re all about.

Whether we’re at work with our guests and coworkers or at home with our family and friends, the fine art of entertaining is one we take very seriously.

Here’s to unforgettable Summer memories!

Stock the Pantry—Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with basic supplies for those times when friends stop over for unannounced visits: crackers, nuts, tortillas, salsa, roasted red peppers, garlic, olive oil, jam, pasta, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables. Party Essentials Checklist

Keep Party Essentials Handy—Stock a cart or dresser to hold items devoted to carefree dining: plates, platters, serving trays, bowls, glasses, utensils, and napkins.

Cold Drinks—Make sure you have a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages to offer your guests. A drink station allows guests to help themselves. Stock a bar cart with the necessities–glasses, ice bucket, cocktail shaker, straws, and stirrers.

Tasty Snacks—A cheese plate is always a crowd-pleaser and easy to put together. There are a lot of simple and delicious appetizers that you can make ahead of time and serve when your guests arrive. Check out these 20 Summer Appetizers and 50 Easy Summer Appetizers.

Prep the Grill—Have your grill ready to go at a moment’s notice. Your grill essentials are simple: tongs, a grill brush, and a basting brush. Remember the grill basics: Get it hot, clean and oil it, don’t flip your meat more than once or twice, and let the meat rest before serving.

Sit Back and Relax—Provide plenty of comfortable seating for your guests. Benches, chairs, ottomans, and poufs give your guests a variety of seating to choose from.

Made in the Shade—Give your guests a break from the sun with umbrellas, pergolas, canopies, and pop-up gazebos. See 6 Patio Cover Types to Shade You in Style

Create Privacy–Shield your backyard from the rest of the world with outdoor curtains, tall container plants, lattices, pergolas with hanging vines, and hanging plants. Smart Privacy Solutions for Outdoor Spaces

Get Fired Up—Everyone loves gathering around a campfire. The warm glow and crackling sounds are soothing to the soul. It’s the perfect place for winding down at the end of the night and making s’mores! For more information on building or buying a fire pit, read Types of Outdoor Fire Pits.

Lighting–Take your party into the evening with paper lanterns and string lights. Set floating tea lights on tables for added light and ambience. 28 Outdoor Lighting DIYs to Brighten Up Your Summer

Keep Bugs at Bay—Don’t let the bugs ruin your good time when the sun goes down. Place citronella candles, torches, and fans around your dining and lounging areas. 5 Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Dinner Party Pest-Free

30 Tips for Easy Outdoor Entertaining

Essentials For Creating a Beautiful Outdoor Room

Summer Party Planner

Best of Summer Entertaining

10 Refreshing Ways to Enjoy Your Favorite Summer Fruit

things to do with fruitIt’s no secret that we love fresh food at Dressler’s Restaurants.

That’s because we believe that fresh ingredients are the difference between food that is humdrum and food that is extraordinary.

Fresh, local fruit is nutritious, affordable, easy-to-prepare, and delicious.

Listed below are 10 fun and tasty ways to make the most of this Summer’s fruit. Enjoy!

1. Start the adventure at your local farmers’ market. Check out the Atherton Market for fresh, local produce and Local Harvest for other farmers’ markets in the area.

2. Go berry picking. This is a great family activity and a wonderful way to teach children where their food comes from. See PickYourOwn.org-NC

3. Make fruit pops. Kids love helping out in the kitchen and fruit popsicles are an easy activity for even the youngest children. Simply blend ingredients, pour into molds, and freeze.

4. Here’s an interesting idea from Tim Buchanan. Buy liquor. Buy a watermelon. Cut a hole in the watermelon. Fill with liquor. Wait–cut up the watermelon and enjoy in the backyard kiddie pool with the sprinkler running.

5. Make some jam. Jam purchased from the store cannot compare to the homemade kind. To learn how, read How to Make Homemade Jam-Easily!

6. Experiment with kid-friendly beverages. Add fresh berries, bananas, pineapple, and peaches to smoothies, lemonade, and sweet tea.

7. Make (and eat) pie. Your home smells amazing when there is a pie cooking in the oven. Making homemade pie dough takes a little practice but is still fairly easy. Basic pie dough requires only 4 ingredients (flour, salt, shortening, and water). The crust is the most difficult part. Filling the pie couldn’t be easier: Combine your favorite fresh fruit with just a few added ingredients like sugar, butter, salt, and spices. See How to Make Pie Dough.

8. Create a fruit parfait. Parfaits are fun to create and look fancy without a lot of work. Start with glass jars or clear glasses so you can see the colorful layers. Then simply layer your favorite fruits with whipped cream or yogurt. 9 Irresistible Parfait Recipes

9. Add fruit to your Summer salads. Fresh fruit brings flavor, texture, and color to salads. Traditional fruit salads are another Summertime favorite because they are light, refreshing, and healthy. See 7 Fruity Summer Salads, 9 Fresh Fruit Salad Recipes and Add Fresh Fruit to Green Salads. 

10. Don’t forget the adult beverages. Summertime adult beverages beg for fresh fruit, both as a garnish as well as the main ingredient. Sangrias, mojitos, margaritas, piña coladas, and daiquiris taste best with fresh fruit. Check out these Summer Fruit Cocktails and Summer Drinks & Cocktail Recipes.

15 Fun Things To Do With Fruit

8 Fun Ways With Fruit

The Ultimate Summer Fruit Guide

Crazy About Grilled Meat? So Are We! Check Out Our Favorites!

favorite grilled meatsWho doesn’t love the smell and taste of tender, mouthwatering meat cooked on the grill?

Here at Dressler’s Restaurant, we are crazy about meat that’s cooked on the grill.

Of all the amazing foods to cook on the grill, our all-time favorites include flat irons, skirt steaks, and ribs.

STEAK

Hanger: also known as butcher’s steak; rich and full of flavor; marinate, grill, and serve rare to medium rare to avoid toughness; check out the Food Network’s Marinated Grilled Hanger Steak Recipe

T-Bone/Porterhouse: a strip loin and tenderloin connected by a T-shaped bone; have it cut 1-2 inches thick

New York Strip: this steak comes from the short loin; moderately tender with good marbling and rich beef flavor; check out The Best Way to Cook New York Strip Steaks on a Grill

Ribeye: taken from the rib section of beef; high marbling; tender, juicy steak with rib bone still attached; because of the high-fat content, grilling can be difficult due to flare-ups; pan searing is another option; see How to Cook a Perfect Ribeye Steak

Flat iron: this well-marbled steak cut from the steer’s shoulder makes for great grilling whether marinated or seasoned simply with coarse salt and pepper; take a look at this Flat Iron Steak With Red Wine recipe

Skirt steak: thin, long strip of beef cut from the plate; not as tender as other cuts because it is lean, but loaded with flavor

Tips for Grilling Steak

  • season with coarse salt, olive oil
  • get the fire hot
  • let meat rest for several minutes after cooking to redistribute juices
  • serve thinly sliced across the grain (which shortens those tough stringy meat fibers)
  • when buying steaks, remember to look for generous marbling throughout (this fat is what gives the steak its flavor)
  • have steaks cut 1-2 inches thick

CHICKEN–a tasty and economical crowd-pleaser; see Barbecued Chicken on the Grill and the Food Network’s Great Grilled Chicken

RIBS–cook low and slow on the grill for mouthwatering ribs; see Southern Living’s How to Grill Baby Back Ribs, Mastering Ribs, and Taste of Home’s Top 10 Recipes for Grilling Ribs

FISH–done right, fish on the grill should be moist, tender, and flaky; How to Grill Fish on a Gas Grill, Fish on the Grill-It’s Easier Than You Think, and The Only Technique You Need to Know for Grilled Fish

3 Simple Steps for Grilling Beef

Top 10 Inexpensive Cuts of Meat

The Best Cheap Cuts of Meat

The 4 High-End Steaks You Should Know

How to Grill the Perfect Steak

Have a Safe Summer and Follow These Important Water Safety Guidelines

water safety guidelinesSummer is all about spending time with family and friends, enjoying delicious food and drinks, and cooling off in the water.

And while water activities provide us with countless hours of refreshment and entertainment, they can also pose a serious threat to adults, children, and babies.

Dressler’s Restaurants wants you to be safe this Summer. Follow these lifesaving tips from the American Red Cross and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  • Even a few inches of water can pose a serious danger to children and babies, so use extreme caution when youngsters are near even small bodies of water.
  • Surround your pool with a fence that is 4-feet high and has a self-closing, self-latching gate. Place a safety cover on your pool/hot tub when not in use and remove any ladders or steps used for access.
  • Install a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool.
  • Supervise children at all times. Stay in arm’s reach of young kids. Designate a responsible person to watch the water when people are in the pool.
  • Never allow anyone to swim alone–even if they are a good swimmer. Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Enroll children in swimming lessons.
  • Keep your pool/hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes, or more serious diseases.
  • Establish and enforce rules and safe behaviors in the pool area.
  • Enroll adults and older teens in first aid and CPR classes.
  • Use caution with portable pools and baby pools–young children and babies can and do drown in them.
  • Keep children away from pool drains to avoid entrapment. Use approved drain covers.
  • Keep your cell phone with you by the pool for emergencies, but don’t be distracted while children are in or near the water.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first.
  • Adults and children alike should wear coast-guard approved life jackets when boating.

Besides these basic water safety guidelines, it’s also important to stay hydrated on hot Summer days and protected from the heat and sun. Read Staying Hydrated and Healthy from the American Heart Association and Sun Protection from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Pool Safely

Home Pool Safety-American Red Cross

Pools and Spas-Consumer Product Safety Commission

Dressler’s Spotlight: Kent Voss

Kent_vossMeet Kent Voss, server (as well as captain/key/sage of service/trainer/sensei) at Dressler’s Metropolitan.

Kent, how long have you been with Dressler’s? “5 years, 4 months, 2 days.”

Please describe your responsibilities at the restaurant. “Ambassador to the kitchen, culinary guide, reading our guests’ auras, and, most of all, anticipating needs and providing service that appears seamless and graceful,” explains Kent. “To win friends and influence people.”

What is a typical day/evening like for you? “Clean nails and bright eyes to start, clean and polish the arena, take in new information and review old information, and mess with my fellow coworkers, and then off to shake hands and kiss babies.”

What do you like most about working at Dressler’s? “That list is long for sure,” says Kent. “I can’t speak for the other two locations but I can say for sure at the Metropolitan that I feel lucky and excited to be able to spend 6 nights a week around some of the most interesting, eclectic, and dynamic people that I have ever seen in one place. I feel so lucky to be exposed to the massive variety and flavors of people (guests and staff included) that I rub shoulders with in a typical work week,” says Kent. “And Jon Dressler is pretty nice as well,” jokes Kent.

What’s your secret to success? “Nothing slick here, just the inner child looking for approval. The more difficult it is to gain, the more interested I become.”

Any funny stories or people that you encounter in your position?  ”There are so many,” begins Kent. “I close my eyes and review the last five years, and the two that pop into my head first are bearing witness to Tim Buchanan running a half marathon and then working almost right after and conducting the restaurant meticulously–brilliant. Then, I think the same year, observing Erik Draheim apply the Heimlich maneuver on one of our guests, possibly saving their life, then going on to expertly perform his superior table visits like nothing had just happened.”

What are some of your favorite foods to eat at Dressler’s? “The Brasstown sirloin is awesome as well as local. The salmon is stunning. The Gnocchi with blue cheese sauce, green apple, and prosciutto is life changing. It’s disturbing how many wines you can pair with it. Of course, Joan Dressler’s cheesecake is remarkable, each bite begs for another–good God!”

 What are some of the customers’ favorites? Halibut, heart of ribeye, rack of lamb, and our signature calamari presentation,” says Kent. “Our signature cocktails that Jeff Keiser, Bar Manager at Metro, have put together are the best I have seen. Our guests have really taken to them. You can tell it was cultivated by someone who genuinely wanted something there for everybody–from a rum pineapple basil cocktail to a hearty premium bourbon old fashioned,” explains Kent. ”He still manages to be creative and charming (all the while he has a newborn baby that cries 12 hours a day). God bless you Jeffery Keiser!”

What do you do when you’re not working? “I go to a local studio and practice Tai Chi. A little-known fact about our Executive Chef Scott Hollingsworth is that he has trained Krav Maga and combat sports for a spell. We have trained, drilled, and sparred with each other.  I (he) ruined my meniscus. So I thank him for that. I feel so satisfied to be spending 6 to 7 1/2 hours a week in a sport appropriate for my rapidly-aging 44-year-old frame.

“Having my kids (17, 16, and 10 years old) invite me into their worlds and letting their guard down for whatever time I can grab is the highlight of my life,” adds Kent. “I’m also very excited to see my daughter (with Kent in photo) go off to Appalachian State in the Fall.”

What is special about Dressler’s that keeps people coming back? “There are no right words, catchy phrases, and/or eloquent mission statements to answer that. To be honest, I really feel like it is all that intangible stuff–the vibe. Come in and feel it for yourself!”