The extra mile

I was all set to post a recipe today for this yummy honey mustard chickpea and potato salad… I’ve tweaked it two or three times now and it really is a good recipe.  Good, but not great.


I found a new blog recently called Rambling Renovators and I was inspired by their “plus” motto –

“In this world of do it quick, get it done fast, temporary fixes, we like to slow it down, think carefully, and add the +The difference is in the details, and the details make all the difference.”

I couldn’t agree more.  The difference really is in the details and going the extra mile is worth it.

I take pride in providing in-depth research to help you make informed decisions about the food you eat.  I love sharing tried and true recipes that I hope inspire you to get in the kitchen day after day.  I believe in quality, not quantity, and today that means not sharing a recipe because the dressing is good, but not great (yet!).

So here’s to slow down in this fast-paced world and going the extra mile – after all, aren’t the best things in life worth the wait?

Iron Gate Vineyards – Mebane, NC

What’s not to love about a good winery? My mom and I love finding new wine tours/tastings – it’s so much fun to explore the beautiful properties, hear the stories (I find winery owners almost always have a good story!), and of course… try a few wines 🙂

When we were looking for something fun to do over Labor Day weekend, we decided to take a little drive to visit Iron Gate Vineyards in Mebane, NC.

I went to college not far from Mebane, but only knew of the outlets – I wish I had discovered Iron Gate while I was still in school! The winery is located on beautiful farmland not too far from the highway and it is well worth the drive (about an hour from Raleigh).

Iron Gate Vineyards

Iron Gate Vineyards

When we arrived, we joined a tasting/tour that had already started (instead of waiting another hour for the next tour). The woman who gave the tasting was wonderful. She was extremely knowledgeable about the wines and oozed Southern hospitality. We tried several wines (at least 12) in about 40 minutes or so – you can’t beat that for $5! She gave a brief tour at the end… not much to see, but still fun. My favorite part of the tour was seeing the holiday blend that was almost ready to go… it smelled like Christmas in that room – amazing!


After the tasting, we settled in for the “Music in the Courtyard” which they offer every Sunday afternoon in the late summer/early fall. The outside “courtyard” is really what makes Iron Gate so special – the whimsical outdoor area has ample seating of all kinds (rocking chairs on the porch, cute Adirondack chairs with umbrellas, and a large covered area with fun lights). Mom and I found 2 rocking chairs on the charming front porch and settled in. DSC_0386


It was a hot, hot day – but the front porch had fans and we made the best of it. The live music was amazing and the outdoor area provided the perfect ambiance.

Everyone there seemed to be “regulars” and we clearly weren’t prepared. I highly recommend bringing a picnic lunch, buying a glass (or bottle – they have both) of wine, and making an afternoon of it. The music runs 2-3 hours and if we had food with us, we definitely would have stayed into the evening. There is nothing quite like rocking away on the front porch and listening to amazing music on a beautiful day out in the country.

Iron Gate Farms

Since we didn’t bring food, mom and I hung out for about an hour after our tasting and then headed out. I wish we could have explored the grounds a little bit more, but the owner was extremely stressed (rightfully so – the air conditioning broke that morning!) and didn’t seem interested in showing us the property.

Overall, we had a great afternoon at Iron Gate and hope to go back this fall with a picnic lunch (maybe some pasta salad?). The ambiance at Iron Gate is hard to beat on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and they have some great wines. I highly recommend their Sauvignon Blanc – it was one of the best wines I’ve ever had (and I’m pretty picky!) and part of the proceeds from my purchase went to the Conservators’ Center… win, win!

Roasted Lemon Potato and Arugula Salad

Today I will share with you roasted lemon potato recipe if you like the pie’s recipe you can eat them with the pies.

Roasted Lemon Potato and Arugula Salad


  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon (or grainy) mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Tablespoon dried thyme (less if you don’t love thyme)
  • Black pepper (preferably freshly ground)


  • 25 – 30 small creamer potatoes, halved (any sort of small, tender potato will work)
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper (preferably freshly ground)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 2 – 3 cups arugula


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Whisk together dressing and set aside.  Add halved potatoes, diced shallot, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet.
  3. Coat potatoes with all but 2 – 3 tablespoons of the dressing (reserve a few tablespoons to dress the arugula later).
  4. Roast potatoes for 40 minutes or until golden brown, tossing occasionally.
  5. While the potatoes are roasting, put the walnuts on a small oven-safe pan (I used a cake pan) and toast in the oven (alongside the potatoes) for 5 – 6 minutes; don’t let them burn!
  6. Remove the toasted walnuts from the oven and let them cool completely.
  7. Add arugula and bell pepper to a large bowl and toss with the reserved 2 – 3 tablespoons of dressing*.
  8. Add the roasted potatoes to the arugula salad and top with the toasted walnuts.


*Note: The dressing has some pretty powerful flavors that are nicely diluted when roasted with the potatoes.  If the “raw” dressing is a little strong for you, just use it on the roasted potatoes and toss the arugula with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper!

Leftovers:  This recipe makes a great packed lunch!  If you’re planning on packing it for later, I suggest not dressing the arugula/bell pepper mixture until you’re ready to eat (though arugula is a heartier green and can handle a little dressing if you don’t feel like packing it separately).

Six Major Types of Kitchen Faucets For Your Restaurant

Planning to buy a Kitchen Faucet for yourself? Looking for the perfect fit for your kitchen?

Buying a kitchen faucet for yourself is not a simple task as you have to look at various factors before you decide on the perfect fit for yourself. There are so many styles of kitchen faucets available that it becomes quite confusing on which faucet should one even consider so you should definitely consider reading some faucet reviews before you make the buying decision.

So, we decided to check out the different Kitchen faucet types available and have listed down the 6 major types of faucets that you can consider for yourself:

There are so many styles of kitchen faucets available that it becomes quite confusing on which faucet should one even consider.

So, we decided to check out the different Kitchen faucet types available and have listed down the 6 major types of faucets that you can consider for yourself:

Kitchen Faucets For Your Restaurant

Pull-Out Kitchen Faucet

  • One of the most commonly found kitchen faucet in most homes is the Pull-Out kitchen faucet where one can pull out the spray wand towards themselves to clean their utensils.
  • This type of kitchen faucets are used in a lot of restaurants as it is easy for a lot of people to handle and due to its flexibility, you can also use it to clean your sink.
  • Another great advantage of using a Pull-Out kitchen faucet is that it can reach your target cleaning areas with its 360-degrees turning capability.

Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet

  • This is another kitchen faucet style which is often used by people at their home as it resembles the functionality of a Pull-Out kitchen faucet but instead of pulling its wand out, you pull its spray wand in the downwards direction.
  • This makes it easy to clean and wash and you can use it to water whichever area that you want. This type of kitchen faucet is particularly useful in a deep-end sink where you have more space to cover while cleaning.

Wall Mount Kitchen Faucet

  • As the name suggests, a wall mount kitchen faucet is installed on a wall and not a sink, as is traditionally done. This helps in saving a lot of sink space and makes it easier for you to clean the countertop.
  • This type of kitchen faucet is usually installed on the wall behind the sink and helps in providing a contemporary look to your kitchen.
  • However, it is not easy to install this kitchen faucet and you would require the help of a plumber or a mason to accomplish this task.

Fusion Style Kitchen

Fusion Style Kitchen Faucet

  • The perfect kitchen faucet for a commercial kitchen, Fusion style kitchen provides a professional and smart feel to your kitchen, regardless of its position.
  • You can install this kitchen faucet in the middle of the sink to provide your kitchen more appeal and attractiveness.

Disc Kitchen Faucet

  • Another commonly used kitchen faucet type if the disc type where you are offered only one handle to both control the water temperature and the water flow.
  • This type of kitchen faucet uses two discs which tend to open and close to control the flow of hot and cold water.

Two-Handle Kitchen Faucet

  • The last, but not the least, is the two-handle kitchen faucet which is perfect for people who want to handle their hot and cold water separately.
  • This type of kitchen faucet makes it easier to control the water flow and temperature and is less likely to obstruct your work when one of its handles stop working.

Two-Handle Kitchen Faucet

Stay tuned on Restaurant Vallier for more kitchen tips.

7 Ways to make your pie finger licking good

Pumpkin Pies are delicious and the most craved desserts during holidays and special occasions and sometimes on normal days too.

Everyone loves pumpkin pies and those who deny this are just fooling themselves. They are quite straightforward to make and if you have the process right, you are bound to end up with a perfectly baked Pumpkin Pie.

Want your Pumpkin pie to be the most delicious pie ever? Just follow these simple tips and you are bound to get the desired result.

Preheat your oven

Make sure you always preheat your oven before baking your pumpkin pie in it. It takes just 15 minutes so while you are mixing up your ingredients, switch on the oven and let it get warm and nice so that when you do put your pie inside it, you will get a nicely baked golden-brown pie crust. Never skimp on this step, preheating is the key to a perfectly baked cake.

Add a little shine to your crust

Everyone wants their pie to look great and shiny and you can achieve just that with the help of a little milk or an egg wash. Just cover your pie with some milk or egg wash before baking and then put the pie in the oven.

Lightly coat your pie crust with a pastry brush and ensure it doesn’t get soggy and when you take out your pie you will notice that it has a golden shiny look to it which will make it more appetizing to look at.

Pre-bake your crust

One of the best ways to make sure that your pie is crusty and not soggy is by pre-baking your pie in the preheated oven before you add any filling.

This will make sure that your pie doesn’t get all soggy when you cook your pie with the pie fillings inside.

Use fresh whipped cream

Make a fresh whipped cream for your pumpkin pie and then add it as the topping. Store bought whipped cream has a lot of elements which do taste good but not as good as a homemade whipped cream. Your homemade whipped cream consists only of sugar and cream and that is exactly how it is supposed to be.

Use a little spice

Spice things up in your pumpkin pie by adding a little amount of cinnamon or nutmeg. It will provide your guests with a surprising taste and will definitely add more flavor to your pie.

But make sure you don’t put too much of a spice because that would definitely end up ruining your pie for good.

Add a little whole milk

Don’t be one of those diet conscious people and ruin the whole pumpkin pie in your calorie counting. Pumpkin pies are supposed to use whole milk as it provides a proper flavor to your cake and if you use a poor substitute for it, you can say goodbye to your perfect pumpkin pie. So don’t skip out on the whole milk, it is worth the extra calories.

Give it some time

It is good to make your pie one day before and then let it sit overnight. In fact, it would give the flavors to develop in your pie as this is one of those pies which taste better when at room temperature or cold. So save some time and bake it the previous night.

Still having trouble? Here’s how the experts make the crust


Information post :Types of Espresso Machines

Are you looking for a new Espresso machine for yourself? An ardent coffee lover will tell you how delightful an espresso is when you are feeling stressed or tired but buying an espresso every day could prove to be hectic and could burn a hole in your pocket. So, the better thing to do here would be to buy an espresso machine for yourself.

There are several types of Espresso machines that you can consider based on your needs and requirements.

Manual Espresso Machines

As the name suggests, in this type of espresso machines, the user needs to perform all the tasks manually which includes grinding coffee, applying water pressure, handling the amount of water being dispensed and so on. This type of espresso machine is a little more hard work than the other types as you have to take care of everything to get a quality cup of espresso. With this espresso machine, you need to be quite trained to produce a consistently delicious cup of coffee. Check best espresso machines under 500.

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

One of the most commonly used espresso machines which handle the water dispensing task itself and only requires the user to manually grind the coffee and tamp it down on the portafilter. Once the portafilter is attached back to the espresso machine, the user can relax and just press the switch on the button to start the brewing process. The machine will regulate the amount of water itself and will use an electric pump to produce the desired pressure which is required for brewing the espresso. This type of espresso machine is really popular in households as the users don’t have to perform a lot of tasks and it gives you a consistent quality espresso every time. Ninja coffee maker bar is one of the best examples of semi-automatic machines.

Fully Automatic Espresso Machine

This type of espresso machine is similar to a semi-automatic espresso machine but there is a slight difference between the two. In this type of machine, the user doesn’t need to perform any task manually. All you have to do is press the switch on/off button to start the machine and it will take care of everything like pressure, water volume, dispensing water, etc. This type of espresso machines are quite useful in busy households and can be effectively used for commercial purposes. Since the user only needs to push the button to brew an espresso, it allows you to take care of other tasks while it makes the perfect espresso for you. You are bound to get a consistent quality espresso with this espresso machine.

Super Automatic Espresso Machine

This type of espresso machine comes with a built-in grinder, automatic water filling capability and capability to dispense frothed milk which makes it popular in a lot of restaurants and hotels. As this espresso machine requires the least amount of human effort and all one has to do to get a nice, hot cup of espresso is to just switch on the machine. With this espresso machine, you would be relinquishing control of your espresso quality and taste and would be provided with a standard cup of espresso every time you use it.

6 customer service crimes destroying your restaurants reputation

If you run a restaurant you would know how important is a good customer service in making your customers happy and ensuring that your restaurant is popular and well-reputed.

One mistake from your staff could end up ruining your reputation and it would be a long time before you are able to earn it back. So make sure that you and your staff don’t make these following customer service mistakes:

Improper Greetings

One of the most common mistakes made by your staff is to not greet your customers properly and sincerely. It doesn’t matter how busy the staff is or if the restaurant is in a complete mess, always make sure that the customer feels welcomed and doesn’t feel like they are being ignored.

This goes a long way as the customer will only return if they feel that they were respected and cared for. So make sure that your staff always take the time to greet the customers warmly before doing anything else. A warm smile and a short “Good evening” or “Good afternoon” goes a long way.

Unable to help the customers

This is another of the most frequent mistakes made by your staff. When customers ask your staff for help, they trust their knowledge and would like them to help them out with their query.

It is important that your staff is able to answer every question that the customer asks to make them impressed by and more confident in their abilities.

So make sure you train your staff to be able to answer all the basic queries which also includes which food item and dessert to recommend. If your staff is unable to help the customers, customers won’t feel comfortable in returning.

Not providing with the Bill quickly

One of the most frequent things that customers complain about is the bill taking too long to come. Your customer is busy and doesn’t have all the time in the world, they might have somewhere important to return to so always make sure that they get their bill as quickly as possible.

Make your staff more efficient and quick in handing out the bills so the customer doesn’t have to wait a long time to make the payment.

Rushing to clean the table

One of the most frequent mistakes made by a staff member is to rush to clean the table even before the customers have properly finished their meal.

This action is highly rude and insulting and might end up offending your customers deeply. So make sure your staff knows that they need to wait and see and ask the customers before clearing the table.

Not providing refills to the customer

You might think that this isn’t an important task to keep in mind but let me tell you, the customer notices everything.

So if your staff doesn’t provide the customer with frequent water refills and doesn’t ask them if they want their drink to be refilled or not, the customer might become irritated with your service and choose not to come a second time.

Not able to handle difficult customers

One of the most important thing that your staff should know is how to deal difficult customers and their special demands. Many times in your restaurant career you would come across customers who are obstinate and demand the most impossible things but the key is how you deal with them.

You cannot be rude to a customer so you need to ensure that your whole knows how to deal with your customers politely and ensure that they keep all customers happy, no matter how difficult they are. 

Here’s a detailed guide to the technique and etiquette to be maintained when dealing with customers

If you liked this article, and want us to share with you more tips like this. Feel free to share your feedback here.