3.24.16 Shooting Stars

Bounty bowl 790 xxx
photos by Steven Randazzo & Bette Blau (@whatbette found); food styling by Eugene Jho

More than a year ago, a beautiful and mysterious Frenchwoman asked me to partner with her to open a business in Narrowsburg, NY, a centuries-old hamlet on the Delaware River in Sullivan County. Juliette Hermant had a vision of creating a food destination that would showcase the bounty of our Catskill farms, fields and forests. Together, we dreamed up Fish & Bicycle, a bar, cafe and small grocery meant to serve as a gathering place for the community and a place to learn about our region, not only through the food but through workshops with local artisans, botanists, foragers and gardeners. For months, we have been sweating blood to bring this venture to fruition. My friends, this is a big mountain to climb. We have had to raise the finances to make this happen, and that's still a work in progress. We have had to learn about architectural plans, liquor licenses and LLCs. We had hoped to be open by May, but it's looking more like August...or even September. This is one of the hardest things I've ever done and, trust me, I've done some hard things in my life.

Tonics 790 xxx
toasting our future

Along the way, we have been incredibly fortunate to have the support of so many friends, old and new. People have volunteered advice and given services for free or heavily discounted. Established restaurateurs—here and here—have invited me to "trail" in their kitchens and bars. (I'll share detais in a separate post.)

Guinea hen1 790 xxx
a bird in the hand

And, as these astoundingly beautiful images attest, we were able to work with an extremely talented team of professionals on our first Fish & Bicycle photo shoot. The husband-and-wife team behind the gorgeous blog What Bette Found, photographer Steven Randazzo and prop stylist Bette Blau, along with frequent collaborator food stylist Eugene Jho, spent a couple of days holed up with us in a little cabin upstate to document a few dishes and drinks we plan to serve at our bar/cafe. We used as many local ingredients as we could find at this time of year, including the guinea hen seen above.

Guinea hen2 790 xxx
roast dinner

Between Juliette's collection of antiques from Maison Bergogne, and the vast options from Bette's prop treasury, the shots took on the sort of richly detailed abundance we hope to offer our customers.

Mushrooms 790 xxx
mycology today

These wild mushrooms were from the store, since they are not yet in season, but we hope to serve them when possible and also educate customers about how to forage for them.

Trout 790 xxx
fish tales

The fish came from a local trout farm and the horseradish spiking the beet crème fraiche was grown in my own garden. The lemons? They'll never be local...unless we build a greenhouse...

Burgers 790 xxx
burger fest

Fish & Bicycle will be offering a local grass-fed beef burger, the Narrowsburger, as well as a Plantburger. I'm still finessing the recipe for the latter, but so far it features black beans, red rice, sweet potato and lots of secret spices. My spicy tomato jam will be served alongside.

Burger 790 xxx
a real whopper

The Narrowsburger means business. And, no, avocado is not local either. (But the bacon is!)

Chocolate 790 xxx
sweet ending

We have miles to go before we sleep. I am anxious and excited in equal measure. To be this far outside my comfort zone is sometimes exhilarating but more often just plain terrifying. Failure is a definite possibility. But never to have tried at all, that would be worse. Please hold a good thought for us as we slouch toward Bethlehem.

 

Join us on our journey! We'll be going into construction soon on our 1920s industrial building in Narrowsburg and documenting the process on instagram (@fishandbicycleny) and Facebook.

 
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45 Comments

I can't wait to see more - it all looks and sounds fantastic. xo
Jennifer Hess on March 24, 2016 at 10:37 am — Reply
Thank you so much! xo
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:16 am — Reply
Thank you for taking the risk and bringing much of your creative spirit to the forefront to share with the community.
Eric Steinman on March 24, 2016 at 11:01 am — Reply
I am grateful to you for being part of that!
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:17 am — Reply
Spicy tomato jam ?? I'm there !!!! Rooting for you all the way and will help in whatever small way I might be able to. xo
BB on March 24, 2016 at 11:30 am — Reply
xoxo
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:17 am — Reply
I am certain that your combined vision, grace, authenticity and true love for what you do will make Fish & Bicycle a magnificent success. Good luck on the daunting journey! How marvelous and exciting!
natascha demner on March 24, 2016 at 11:51 am — Reply
I look forward to serving you!!
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:17 am — Reply
excellent, just excellent xo
stephanie on March 24, 2016 at 12:20 pm — Reply
Thank you, madam xo
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:17 am — Reply
Congrats Laura. It will be spectacular.
Nhi Mundy on March 24, 2016 at 1:03 pm — Reply
Thanks for the vote of confidence - you are an inspiration to me!
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:18 am — Reply
Beautiful photos—and the food looks awesome! Good luck with everything.
Barbara on March 24, 2016 at 1:45 pm — Reply
Many thanks!
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:18 am — Reply
Laura--I am so proud and excited for you--you are such an inspiration! Keep the faith--you will be amazing at this! xxoo nikki
nikki on March 24, 2016 at 2:41 pm — Reply
Thank you, sweetness! xo
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:19 am — Reply
I think a taste testing of the Narrowsburger is in order, and I will gladly volunteer.
Eric Wilson on March 24, 2016 at 3:39 pm — Reply
Aha, look who comes out of the woodwork for this one! ;-))
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:19 am — Reply
Laura, if the photos here are an indication of the fabulous delights awaiting the visitors to Fish & Bicycle, I have no doubt that this will be a rousing success! Stay focussed. Eyes on the prize. You can do it. :-)
Rob on March 24, 2016 at 4:10 pm — Reply
I think I can I think I can…xo
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:20 am — Reply
Good luck with everything Laura, I definitely believe you can do it! XO
gabe on March 24, 2016 at 4:17 pm — Reply
Thanks, Gabe! Hope we can lure you up for a visit. xo
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:20 am — Reply
It's thrilling to see your vision come to life, Laura, and to watch you make this spectacular dive with such grace.
David on March 24, 2016 at 5:16 pm — Reply
Thanks, David! Maybe you and Rob will make it down here…xo
laura on March 25, 2016 at 1:21 am — Reply
Bravo to all! Looks and sounds like a dream team; that and your talent, passion and handiwork with serve you well. I am sure it will be a huge success, cheering you on from NYC.
Alex Bates on March 25, 2016 at 9:30 am — Reply
This looks lush and luscious, Laura. Blessings on this extreme passage. xoxoS
Suzi Banks Baum on March 25, 2016 at 10:30 am — Reply
I need those blessings! xo
laura on March 25, 2016 at 12:24 pm — Reply
"You go,girl"....best of luck to you! Adah
adah nicklin on March 25, 2016 at 10:59 am — Reply
Ha ha - thanks, Adah!!
laura on March 25, 2016 at 12:24 pm — Reply
You're going to be just fine, dear friend. To quote the Duke, "courage is being scared to death ... and saddling up anyway". Always with love and my very best wishes, Susan ❤️
Susan on March 25, 2016 at 11:35 am — Reply
I'm in for a wild ride! xo
laura on March 25, 2016 at 12:24 pm — Reply
Dear Laura You cannot fail. Your talent alone takes my breath away/ and paired with Juliette's vision and style, fish &bicycle will be a success. It was an absolute pleasure working with you and we love the images we created together. We look forward to more collaborations and watching and helping you any way we can along the way. xoo
Bette on March 25, 2016 at 7:08 pm — Reply
How did I get so lucky?? xo
laura on March 26, 2016 at 2:31 am — Reply
Wonderful sounding plans.. Lots of good luck & energy toward it!
Julie Gross on March 25, 2016 at 10:40 pm — Reply
Thanks, Julie!!
laura on March 26, 2016 at 2:32 am — Reply
How exciting...what a great name...and those shrooms...oh la la they look out-of-this-world. Lots of luck (and some sleep.)
thefolia on March 26, 2016 at 12:13 am — Reply
Zzzzz…;-))
laura on March 26, 2016 at 2:32 am — Reply
So much looking forward to visiting Fish and Bicycle, and inspired by your stories of hard work and reinvention, and energy and determination -- as someone only a scant few years behind in age... thanks for your chronicle!
Mara on March 26, 2016 at 8:44 am — Reply
See you there, Mara!!
laura on March 28, 2016 at 10:35 am — Reply
Brilliant! What an incredible undertaking Laura. I love your whole concept, I believe the best businesses need to offer reasons for community to gather beyond good food and coffee, because those can be such personal, introvert experiences. Thank you for your honesty too, opening a restaurant is an overwhelming and exhausting venture, you are truly BRAVE! I feel a road trip is in need come September. Xoxo
Tamika on March 28, 2016 at 9:27 am — Reply
I really do hope you come visit, Tamika! At last we'll meet in the flesh. xo
laura on March 28, 2016 at 10:35 am — Reply
the images are exquisite and the food looks and sounds incredible! looking forward to having an extraordinary meal and cocktail sometime soon!
rebecca on March 28, 2016 at 7:10 pm — Reply
We look forward to welcoming you!
laura on April 3, 2016 at 9:19 am — Reply
The best spicy tomato jam in the world! I can't wait to visit. I am totally impressed with everything I've seen you done in the short time I've known you. I know this will be supreme. xo!
Julia on April 1, 2016 at 11:40 am — Reply
That's a very kind endorsement! xo
laura on April 3, 2016 at 9:20 am — Reply