I first met Deepa Shridhar a few years ago at Hausbar Farms. I had an excess of roosters in my backyard chicken flock and Dorsey was kind enough to show me how to slaughter and process humanely (and psyche me up enough to go home and do the job myself - still so grateful for that day!). Deepa was there picking up eggs and to talk herbs and veggies and edible weeds. We looked at each other and one of us, can't remember which, said something like, "We need to get together." We've been partnering up ever since. Deepa was constantly coming up to me with some new idea for a dinner or a brunch or a cider infusion or a cider cocktail, and depending on my frame of mind my response was either, "Yes!" or "Ugh, that sounds hard...okay...Yes!" Point being, I've learned that when Deepa comes to you with that glint in her eye, your answer should probably just be, "Yes." So when she called me to propose Puli-Ra should come out full-time to the Cidery, I could hear the glint in her eye, but it didn't sound hard at all - rather, I think I said something like, "Oh God, please, YES!!!!"
One of the main reasons we wanted to open a taproom out at the Cidery to begin with, was to have a place where we could demonstrate how beautifully cider pairs with foods of all kinds. I've gone so far as to suggest that it pairs with many foods better than beer or even (eek!) wine. The taproom's only been open for, going on two years now in March, and like everything we've done with Texas Keeper, it's grown pretty slowly and organically. We've always had some kind of food out here but the arrival of Puli-Ra is, in my view, a kind of capstone for the taproom's cider-food program.
You should know that every bite of food from Puli-Ra you'll taste - a huge amount of love and care and thought will have gone into it. How to use every part (and I mean, every. single. part) of the produce, eggs, cheese and meat she's picked up that week from all of the beautiful farms around the area. How to use the ciders in the food, how the food will work with the ciders you're drinking. If I could, I would tell you what specific items you could expect from Deepa's menu out here, but the reality is, I don't know except to say that it will be great. Even when we put up a menu ahead of time for an event, you should know that this is a rough description to whet your appetite, but that the proviso, "subject to change" very much applies here. Partly that is because, like the farmers she relies upon, Deepa's just as beholden to the weather and season and every other factor that impacts food availability when you're operating within a local food system and not so much a global one. It's also because Deepa may have just come up with a completely new idea since she last told me what she was making. That's how geniuses work, don't you know?
No, the menu will not be consistent in the sense that you will always be able to count on the same particular items in the same particular ways. But it will be consistently complex, honest, and delicious.
Anyway, I'm so chuffed to have Puli-Ra out here (can you tell I'm chuffed?), and I feel so invigorated by their arrival and the freshness of a new year, that I've started this blog. -LP