Archive for June, 2011
If you’re reading this blog, then chances are you have reason to recognize Social Media Day…which happens to be today! As defined by Mashable, this holiday is meant to “celebrate the revolution of media becoming social.” We at Morton’s want to join in on the celebration, so we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on what Social Media has meant to our company over the years.
We’re currently active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and our blog. The combination of these Social Media channels has proved to be an effective method of staying connected to our guests in real-time around the world. Our goal is to listen first, and talk later. As it turns out, our guests have a lot to say!
Currently with almost 2,700 tweets and 7,000 followers on our national Twitter handle, we’ve come to appreciate it as a way to hear what our guests are saying before (@StudyAbroad101 The entire Abroad101 team is headed to @Mortons for dinner tonight, hope everyone is jealous! #Steak&StudyAbroad, what could be better??), during (@jeremyrn @Mortons Philly for dinner. & going to take advantage of the gift card special) and after (@jpschust @Mortons I was at a wine tasting event in Indianapolis with @SommelierSara as the teacher- she’s pure awesome) their Morton’s experience. We also use Twitter to reward our followers with occasional contests, most recently leading up to Father’s Day and asking our guests to tweet in 140 characters or less why their #PrimeDad was the best (@evico @Mortons thank you so much I got my #primedad prize awesome cookbooks and signed to boot!!!! http://twitpic.com/5hrmio).
Our Facebook page is a great way to keep our 19,000-plus ‘Likes’ informed and engaged with our brand. Early on, we were fortunate enough to cross paths with Peter Shankman, a social media entrepreneur, and we’ve since taken copious notes. He’s been a great resource, and we’re always appreciative to see him in our restaurants or online.
From Peter Shankman:
Could use some help – My friend Caroline Brobeil Nassan is telling me that a Dirty Martini doesn’t exist, because it doesn’t have gin in it. I say that if it doesn’t exist, Morton’s has been making me lies for years, which I know isn’t the case. Settle this for us: A “Martini” doesn’t have to be strictly a gin-based drink, right? A “Vodka Martini” is just as acceptable to carry the name “Martini?” We shall stand by your answer.
The Social Media team has such an appreciation for the largely positive posts we see on Facebook, and we don’t take a single comment for granted. Here is a sampling of what we see:
From Derek Trombetta:
Had a GREAT time at Morton’s Denver for my Girlfriend’s Birthday! They even made her a special Birthday Menu! Thank You
From Leah Waddell Cross:
Can’t wait for my hubby and I to celebrate our 1st anniversary at Mortons on Saturday night!
From Julie Robinson:
We spend every anniversary (and other special occasions) at Morton’s in Sacramento. Our wedding anniversary date is the same our very first date… which was at Morton’s in Vegas. That night, I think my husband’s bone-in ribeye was genuinely the best we have EVER tried in our lifetimes (and we’ve tried quite a few!).
From Anna Etchin:
I came to Mortons in Boston this weekend with my boyfriend who’s deploying with the Army soon and it was the best restaurant experience I’ve ever had! Thank you=)
Facebook is also a great way to introduce those who ‘Like’ us to our incredible staff, as well as some of our most loyal guests.
Cheers to Dr. Dan Christensen in completing the Quest… visiting all 77 Morton’s locations! All our teams – from San Jose to Shanghai – send their best wishes and look forward to seeing you on the next round!
Check out our blog as we touchbase with 30 years of Morton’s experience… Jim Monaghan, White Plains General Manager and Raul Adorno, Regional Director of Operations. These 2 former New York bartenders are celebrating their 15 year anniversaries with us this month. That’s a lot of steaks and martinis!
Meet Chris Rook… Morton’s Corporate Chef and our ticket to a great meal! We’re big fans of anything that comes from his kitchen… particularly his chili and cornbread! Enjoy a few fun facts as well as the video for Chris’ Beef 101.
And we appreciate that our guests are busy and looking for quick and easy answers to their questions (Do you have any specials for the Cleveland marathon runners on May 15th?? or Does anyone know if the Palm Beach Morton’s is open for lunch?) , so we’ve found Facebook to be an effective way to do just that, replying to questions within the same business day whenever possible.
We also post contests and polls on our Facebook page (Happy Teacher Appreciation Day! A bar bite on us for the first 100 teachers to register online or Happy Pi Day! Join us today for $3.14 Key Lime Pie with your meal! Your high school math teacher would be proud! or What’s the most odd food you’ve paired with wine?)
…and sympathize with the guests who mourn the removal of their favorite menu item (Went to Morton’s last night for dinner ~ YUM!!! However, was really upset they got rid of the macaroni and cheese, WHY????? It was so good, I can’t believe you got rid of it. But don’t worry, I still love Morton’s!! Our dinner was fabulous.).
Our YouTube channel, with over 28,000 channel views, has a variety of video clips…such as wine pairing suggestions, grilling tips, cooking demonstrations, clips from special celebrity events, golfing tips from our partner, the PGA TOUR, or suggestions on how to navigate your way through a wine store.
Lastly, our blog has over 215 posts of recipes, tasting notes, employee stories and celebrity sightings. The goal of our blog is to provide compelling and relevant content, as our guests tend to be very savvy with a thirst for knowledge…not only about steak, but about wine, spirits, cooking methods and other topics. There’s no shortage of information online these days, so we want our blog posts to be worth our guests’ time and worthy of their interest.
While you’ll most likely see multiple mentions, blogs, tweets and posts about Social Media Day today, we appreciate you taking the time to learn more about what we see as the true value of Social Media for our business. We’re a company whose success has been built on creating brand ambassadors to spread the word about our steakhouses…and for us, Social Media is all about hearing from you, our Morton’s ambassadors, and igniting the dialogue about our brand. Feedback from our guests has always been crucial to Morton’s evolution as a steakhouse company, and we’re so grateful that these communication channels only expedite and encourage more of it. So we ask you to continue to stay connected with us! Your comments are not only appreciated, they are vital to our continued growth and success!
We’d love to hear your feedback on our Social Media efforts. Is there something you’d like to see more or less of on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or our blog?
As we head in to the Fourth of July weekend, I thought today’s issue of ‘Wine Wednesday’ could instead offer a couple of festive cocktail recipes that capture the excitement and beauty of the quintessential fireworks and sparklers that so many of us enjoy during this holiday. But be warned…these recipes call for oil and matches, and therefore need to be handled with the utmost care and concentration.
It’s fun to watch someone make these drinks (providing you’re lucky enough to talk someone in to it), and the drinks get a nice, rich flavor from the caramelized citrus. So, here’s how create your flaming cocktail:
- You should have fresh, ripe fruit with thick skin, ideally lemons or oranges. Use a knife or a peeler to get a piece of the peel that is about 1 inch wide by 2 inches long with just a touch of white pith on the underside. The fruit should be firm and fresh to ensure there is enough oil present in the skin.
- To flame the oil, hold a lit match in one hand, and pick up the twist in the other very carefully…like holding an egg shell.
- Hold the twist by the side (not the ends) between your thumb and forefinger, skin side down, and about four inches above the drink. Don’t squeeze the peel, or you’ll lose all the oil before you flame.
- Hold the match between the drink and the twist, closer to the twist. Warm the peel by gently passing it close to the flame 2-3 times.
- Snap the twist sharply, propelling the oil through the lit match and onto the surface of the drink.
Here are some classic American drinks you can create as flaming cocktails, and they also happen to be in the order of red, white and blue!
2 oz. Belvedere Vodka
½ oz. Cointreau
2 oz. Cranberry Juice
Flamed Orange Peel
Pour Vodka, Cointreau and Cranberry juice into a shaker. Shake 15 times and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.
2 oz. Beefeater
1 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Liqueur (this is a clear liqueur)
3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Flamed lemon peel for garnish
Pour Gin, Cherry Liqueur and fresh lemon juice into a shaker, add ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with flamed lemon peel.
1.5 oz. Absolut Vodka
½ oz. Cointreau
1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
Dash Blue Curacao
Flamed Orange Peel for garnish
Pour Vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice and Curacao into shaker. Shake 15 times and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with flamed orange peel.
Again, please exercise caution when making these cocktails. Your eyebrows are too precious for you to be careless! But if you’re entertaining over the holiday weekend, you’re sure to impress your guests with these flaming creations. Have a safe, happy Fourth of July!
James Patterson is an accomplished author who holds the New York Times record for most hardcover fiction bestselling titles by a single author (63 total), which is also a Guinness World Record. Today he releases a new book for kids, “Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life.” (Click here for a review from ABC News and the Los Angeles Times.)
Patterson is also a frequent guest at Morton’s and a fan of one of our recipes from Morton’s The Cookbook… our Roasted Prime Rib with Shaved Fresh Horseradish. So in honor of his new book release today, we thought we’d release his favorite Morton’s recipe, too!
Morton’s Roasted Prime Rib with Shaved Fresh Horseradish
Serves 10 to 12
One 12 – 14 pound seven-rib aged prime rib
½ cup seasoned salt
1 pound fresh horseradish, well washed
¼ cup Au Jus (optional)
- A day before cooking the roast, season it on all sides with the seasoned salt. Transfer the roast to a pan. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
- Position the over rack in the lowest position possible and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Remove the roast from the refrigerator about 1 hour before roasting and allow to come to room temperature.
- Set a rack in a large roasting pan and set the roast on the rack. Roast for 2 ½ to 3 hours for medium-rare, or until the roast reaches the desired degree of doneness. The meat will be more well-done at the ends and rarer in the center.
- Lift the roast from the pan and set it on a cutting board. Loosely tent the roast with aluminum foil to keep it warm and let the meat rest at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the horseradish root.
- Remove the lip of the roast – the portion on top of the bones in front of the eye – and discard.
- Starting with the small end, carve the roast into thick pieces. To serve, spoon some of the au jus onto a plate, if desired. Put a slice of meat on top of the sauce.
- Using the vegetable peeler, shave 4 to 5 thin slices of horseradish on top of each serving. The horseradish shavings should be as long, thin and dramatic looking as you can make them. Serve with more jus spooned over the meat, if desired.
Makes about 1 generous cup
I cup reconstituted store-bought veal demi-glace
2 ½ teaspoons commercial beef base
1 ¼ teaspoons commercial chicken base
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1 ¼ cups water with the demi-glace, beef base, chicken base, peppercorns, garlic powder, thyme, bay leaf and white pepper. Whisk well.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook at a boil, uncovered, whisking occasionally, for about 25 minutes, or until glossy and smooth.
- Strain through a chinois or fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Discard the solids
- Let cook, then over and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until chilled. Scrape off any fat that has congealed on the surface.
- Use right away or transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
NOTE: If you decide to double or triple the amount of au jus you make at one time, cool the strained sauce in a bowl set in a larger one filled with ice cubes and water. This is the best way to cool large amounts of hot liquid. For the 1 cup we make here, it’s not necessary.
OCCUPATION: Assistant Manager, Morton’s The Steakhouse in Macau.
THREE WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE ME: Straight forward, genuine and honest.
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: The land of a thousand smiles – Thailand.
POWER SUIT: Tuxedo.
WHEN I’M NOT WORKING, I’M…: spending quality time with my family or friends.
FAVORITE DRINK/COCKTAIL: Classic Snowball (made with Advocaat, lemonade and limejuice). Tried one for the first time when I was 15 and I was hooked.
I STAY HOME TO WATCH: How I Met Your Mother.
FAVORITE GADGETS: iPhone. I feel totally insecure without it.
FAVORITE PLACE TO CHILL OUT: Home Sweet Home!
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER: Jet Li.
PRIZED POSSESSION: My health.
ADJECTIVE TO DESCRIBE MY MOOD: Unpredictable.
WHO I MOST ADMIRE: Former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew.
PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Being promoted from Executive Chef to Assistant Manager at Morton’s in Macau.
FINISH THIS SENTENCE…The best part of my job is…: meeting different guests from all over the world and letting them feel what we called the Morton’s experience.
Are you ready to take your career to the next level? Consider a rewarding restaurant and hospitality job at Morton’s The Steakhouse! Be More. Be Morton’s.
In recognition of summer’s official start yesterday, I thought I’d focus today’s issue of “Wine Wednesday” on some sipping recommendations for the warmer months.
For fun summer wines, just remember the three “R’s” …Rieslings, Roses and Rhones. Within these three categories you’ll find amazing diversity and value — something for every palate, mood and dish!
Riesling is a grape varietal that is in the category of what we call “Sommelier’s Friend.” It can be described as flowery and perfumed with bright, crisp acidity. It loves a wide variety of foods and can easily be sipped on its own; from fresh fruit to barbecue you really can’t go wrong. Any dry Riesling with crisp apple or lime-like acidity will pair well with any type of salad. Some really great varietals are coming out of Clare Valley, Australia and Columbia Valley, Washington.
Roses, roses, roses….don’t be afraid of them! It’s not all sweet, and some of the most amazing wines in the world, including some of the finest champagnes, are made in a rose style. So here’s an idea…get a red grape—any kind will do— peel it, and what does the inside look like? It’s clear! So the way we get red wine from the clear insides of the grapes is to let the pressed juice sit with the skins, which is how the juice picks up all sorts of good flavors, tannins, colors and other characteristics that make a wine really, really good! So if we pressed red grapes and took the juice away from the skins, we would immediately have a white wine. That said, Roses—really good roses—are made from some of your favorite red grapes, like the very fashionable (and decidedly not sweet) Cabernet Franc. When the juice is pressed, they let it sit with the skins for just a bit so it picks up that pinkish hue. These wines vary in style and price range, and most have a very sturdy structure and mouth feel to them and can handle everything from ribs to pizza to lean cuts of beef. If you are a red wine drinker and want a cool summer selection, pick a Rose from France…and you will not be disappointed! Charles Smith, a winemaker in Columbia Valley, Washington is making a Rose that is currently one of my personal favorites as well.
Now for the Rhones. Rhone is a region in France where you find red grape varietals like Grenache and Syrah, and white grapes like Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. These grape varietals can be grown almost anywhere, but the best examples come from the Rhone Valley. Condrieu makes some of the finest examples of Viognier (Vee-on-yay), and it’s like crisp green apples mixed with earthy mushrooms and has a great balance of acidity and body. Marsanne has a nice mineral edge with a hint of peachiness and fragrant white flower…perfect for some fresh seafood or all on its own. Roussanne is the most intense of the three and has a ripe pear flavor balanced with a little nuttiness. All three make great summer sippers.
Again, the best examples of these grapes do come from Rhone, France; however, there are a few California producers working magic with them as well. Randall Graham of Bonny Doon makes some wonderful examples, as does Bonterra Vineyards. One of the best surprises I ever experienced in a wine was a Grenache Blanc…and while it’s not a true Rhone varietal, it’s very good and worth mentioning as a great summer wine. The one I had was from Epiphany Cellars (how appropriate!).
Summer is here, so I hope you enjoy some of these summer sippers! Cheers!
Click here to learn more about Morton’s wine selections, including some refreshing summer wines.
Earlier this month, in celebration of National Steakhouse Month, I introduced you to one of my colleagues, Greg Thompson. He’s an incredible chef that helps keep Morton’s on top of our game and among the best in the industry. Later this month, you’ll meet another force to be reckoned with, my colleague Tim Soldat. But in the meantime, I thought it was only fair to answer the same questions that were being asked of them!
2. Three words that best describe me
Fun, teacher, dedicated
3. When I’m not working in Morton’s kitchen, I’m making ___________:
BBQ ribs and vegetables on my grill
4. Favorite kitchen / grilling gadgets
Pepper mill, good sauté pans, steamer
5. Favorite BBQ joint:
That’s a tough one…but Uncle Joe’s in South Carolina is pretty good.
6. Who I most admire
My mother, for all she has been through with her health, and she still thinks of everyone else first.
7. Proudest moment… inside or outside of the kitchen
Outside of my children all earning straight A’s, my 20-year anniversary with Morton’s!
I hope you’ve been able to recognize and celebrate National Steakhouse Month at some point over these last few weeks, because we all know the summer grilling season goes by quickly! But if you haven’t yet busted out the charcoal or turned on your gas grill, because you’re feeling too intimated, check out this blog or video where I provide some “Beef 101” tips. Everyone has to start somewhere, so I hope this information gives you the confidence you need to get grilling.
“Amazing, it seems like a lifetime ago…Peter got implanted at 11months old just before his 1st birthday. It was an amazing time making this important decision and going through all that was happening with the movie Sound & Fury.”
Last night at the Hyatt Convention Center in Washington D.C., Morton’s President and CEO Chris Artinian provided the Keynote Address at the national conference for the Hearing Loss Association of America. 750 attendees of the hearing loss community took the journey with Chris as he told their story of when his son Peter received the Cochlear Implant at 11 months of age. All of the subsequent family and community controversy that surrounded he and his wife Mari’s decision is chronicled in the 1999 documentary Sound & Fury which focuses on Chris, Mari, Peter and the Artinian family. Deafness is prevalent throughout their family and they had to make a difficult decision to go forward with Peter’s Cochlear Implant surgery.
“Deaf people are very connected to one another. I think the deaf community, long before FACEBOOK and TWITTER, created a valued sense of community. This is really special. It truly shows the support they have for each other and it keeps this culture strong.”
Chris went on to speak about the inner strength of the deaf community, and what that particular culture is about. Later, he spoke about major technological advances that continue to emerge for this community, including digital phone technology and a surround sound device that works in conjunction with the Cochlear Implant.
Throughout his presentation, Chris reminded us that back when Sound & Fury was being made, there was still quite a divide between the deaf community and those who chose the route of the cochlear implant. Much of that had to do with false promises in years past when supposed new technology proved to be very faulty and misleading…that was, of course, until the Cochlear Implant emerged center stage in the mid 80′s and was able to make a major impact on the lives of young children like Peter Artinian.
“What you make of your deafness, what you make of your life choices is your decision. How you want to achieve happiness, love and success is up to you! How you choose to decide for yourself or for your children, I am a strong believer that it is absolutely your choice!!”
At the end of his keynote address, Chris brought his son Peter up to the podium to introduce him to the sound of a huge standing ovation… one that Peter would never have heard otherwise. Peter bravely addressed the large audience, ”Thank you everyone. I think we made the right decision to get the Cochlear Implant. Thank you all for having me here today.”
Father and son moments don’t get any better than this. This wasn’t lost on Chris and Peter, especially this Father’s Day weekend. We asked our guests to tell us about their relationships and memories with their fathers on Twitter, and you can read some of their touching entries by searching the hashtag #PrimeDad. Whether you bond with your dad at home, at Morton’s or somewhere else for this special holiday, we wish you equally meaningful and quality time together.
For more information and to follow the 4-day HLAA National Conference, please go to Twitter #HLAA2011.
Last month we kicked off our “Sommelier Series” and featured DeAnna Perry from our San Francisco location. For today’s “Sommelier Series” and “Wine Wednesday” edition, I’d like to introduce you to someone on the other coast, Mr. Jason Hodnett, General Manager and Morton’s Sommelier in our Richmond restaurant.
1. What’s your favorite Morton’s food/wine pairing?
Tuna Tartare paired with a Reisling or Gwurztraminer
2. What are you drinking now?
Sessions Lager Red Label, by Full Sail Brewing
3. What’s your favorite wine that’s less than $20 a bottle?
Trapiche, “Oak Cask,” Malbec
4. What’s the most common question about wine/beer/liquor that you get from your guests?
What do you do with bad or returned bottles from a guest? or… If it is not bad and they just did not like it, do you get to drink it?
(For the record, and for inquiring minds, these wines will typically be flawed in some way and returned to the wine distributor.)
5. What was your favorite ‘fun fact’ that you learned during your Sommelier training?
That wine is grown in every state in the US, and that Virginia would quickly become the 3rd largest wine growing state.
Stay tuned for future issues of our “Sommelier Series” and learn more about this incredible group of professionals.
As summer really starts to heat up, I thought it would be a good time to share one of our lighter recipes from Morton’s The Cookbook. Making it an even more timely recipe…it’s recognized in the cookbook as Fran Drescher’s favorite!
Her biography on Wikipedia describes Drescher as an “American film and television actress, comedian, screenwriter, director, producer, author, singer, talk show host, political lobbyist and health activist.” And starting tomorrow, she’ll be adding a new TV series to her resume when TV Land premiers Drescher’s new project, “Happily Divorced,”of which she’s both creator and star. Based on her own marriage and eventual divorce, the show’s pilot is getting good reviews, as is her tenacity, strength and resiliency !
I hope this refreshing summer salad gets equally good reviews from you and your guests. Enjoy!
Tomato, Mozzarella and Prosciutto Salad
4 romaine lettuce leaves
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, cored and each cut into 4 slices
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 slices
8 to 10 paper-thin slices of high-quality prosciutto (about 1 ounce)
8 large fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Line each of the 2 salad plates with lettuce leaves.
- Shingle the tomato slices over the lettuce and top with mozzarella slices and prosciutto, shingled also so that they overlap.
- Tuck the basil leaves between the cheese and ham.
- Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar over the salad and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer, you can serve the oil and vinegar on the side and let your guests dress their own salad.
Even Gary Brackett, the popular Indianapolis Colts Linebacker, was amazed at how many of his teammates showed up to help him serve hungry and thirsty guests at “Celebrity Server at Morton’s” event at the Indianapolis restaurant on June 6. About two dozen Colts’ players and celebrities from local radio station 1070 The Fan helped Brackett raise $100,000 for his charity, The IMPACT Foundation, an organization that helps local children.
Morton’s had quite a buzz once all the players and guests were mingling. (If you think these guys look big on the field, try passing one of them carrying a large tray of wine glasses or appetizers in a crowded room!) They really took over the restaurant, and the guests were charmed.
Two of the top TV stations in Indianapolis set up shop and broadcast from the restaurant. They took turns interviewing Brackett, Jacob Tamme, Colts Tight End and Jamie Silva, Colts Defensive Back. Marlin Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles Safety, Jeff Saturday, Colts Center, Robert Mathis, Colts Defensive End and Ryan Diem, Offensive Tackle were also in demand by the media. Another TV station, Fox 59, roamed the room with a camera grabbing players and guests for interviews.
When Brackett was asked if he’d pursue a career at Morton’s as a server should the lockout continue, the Rutgers grad quickly answered with his typical wit and humor that he was “more management material.” Brackett also sincerely thanked the celebrities and the guests for coming out and spending the evening with him at Morton’s to help benefit his foundation.
The big surprise of the evening was the appearance of Peyton Manning, Colts Quarterback. He was not on the celebrity guest list and was not even rumored to appear! Carla Monroe, the Sales and Marketing Manager for Morton’s in Indianapolis, witnessed Peyton get out of a “mystery SUV” at the valet stand and later quite literally bumped right into him! He shook her hand and actually asked her if it was okay for him to be here (he was worried about taking away from Brackett’s event and did not want to cause too much of a stir.) Even Brackett seemed surprised to see him, and the guests quickly lined up to make his acquaintance. Organizers of the event immediately auctioned off photos with Manning and were able to raise an additional $8,000 for Brackett’s charity.
It was yet another successful and memorable “Celebrity Server” event, and we look forward to our next event featuring Jim Furyk, 2010 FedEx Cup champion and 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year.
If your favorite athlete wanted to make a surprise appearance and join you for dinner, who would it be?