Running A Restaurant Is Not Easy

by billgrimes on October 3, 2014

"lomo saltado"

Dawn on the Amazon Cafe's lomo saltado is not your mother's recipe; with a splash of pisco

I knew running a restaurant would not be easy, but this is ridiculous. We spend hours, days, and weeks researching, planning and practicing our recipes. Sometimes our recipes evolve over time. Our lomo saltado recipe is a good example. Our lomo saltado recipe started out as typical of the region, bite size chunks of beef tenderloin stir fried with chopped red onions, ahi dulce, (sweet peppers local to the amazon region), and a few slivers of a spicy hot pepper, a few slivers of tomato, served with rice and french fries. This is typical. We wanted ours to be better than average, we wanted it to be the best, as we want for all of our recipes, knowing that “best” is subjective.

We worked with it. We added a splash of Pisco. Good! A year later we were eating at one of the best restaurants in Iquitos. They added a new item on their menu, lomo saltado. I ordered it, and it was delicious. We eat at that restaurant every couple of weeks. I ordered Lomo Saltado three times in a row. It had a spicy tomato based sauce. My wife Marmelita and I analyzed their dish, recreated their recipe, fixed it a few times, added our splash of pisco, and TA DA, we have the best Lomo Saltado in Iquitos…according to me:)

Then a woman from Tarapoto Peru gave us a 2 star, poor TripAdvisor review because the lomo saltado was too saucy and because we don’t peel our potatoes before we slice them into french fries. I considered it and well, maybe the lomo saltado was too “saucy” so we cut back on the sauce.

A few days ago, two women from Lima sat down at one of our tables outside and both ordered Lomo Saltado. When the waitress served them, they looked at their plates and did not eat even a bite. They did not taste it. One of the women lectured our waitress on the proper preparation of Lomo Saltado, as if we were clueless, and got up and walked off with out paying. THEY WHAT??? They left without paying!!!

Operating a restaurant is not easy

Bill Grimes, president of Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises and host of Dawn on the Amazon Cafe;

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CNN Reports the best fish in Iquitos is at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

"CNN, Best Fish In Iquitos, Dawn on the Amazon Cafe"

CNN photo, Best Fish In Iquitos, Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

“Recently I was in the Amazon River frontier town of Iquitos, Peru getting ready for a riverboat trip to the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. I had dinner at the Dawn on the Amazon Cafe and ordered the chef’s choice of fish dishes, Patarashca de Dorado, con Papas Gratinadas. It was the best fish dish I have ever had. I liked it so much I had it again for lunch. The fish, lightly seasoned with aji pepper, garlic and cilantro, is baked in a bijao leaf and served with au gratin potatoes. I requested the recipe and will try to duplicate it with banana leaves. Sadly I cannot duplicate our table at the cafe on the Malecon, looking out over the Amazon.”

CNN Reports, Best Fish In Iquitos at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

By J Fenson, for CNN

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-945832

Bill Grimes, host of Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

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"Dawn on the Amazon Cafe, number 1 in TripAdvisor"

Dawn on the Amazon Cafe is number 1 in TripAdvisor

I remember three and a half years ago when we first became # 1 on TripAdvisor, and I mentioned our new status to a customer from Lima, he said, “It should be easy to be number 1 in Iquitos.” I thought, what an insult to me, my hard working staff, my customers, all the restaurants in Iquitos, and to the entire city of Iquitos. I replied, truthfully I think, “Sir, nothing is easy in Iquitos!”

Dawn on the Amazon Cafe, Number One In Iquitos, TripAdvisor

Bill Grimes, host of Dawn on the Amazon Cafe;

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Dawn on the Amazon Cafe Fourth Year Anniversary

by billgrimes on February 1, 2014

We celebrate Dawn on the Amazon Cafe fourth year anniversary

Today, February 1st, we celebrate Dawn on the Amazon Cafe’s fourth year anniversary. I am so proud of Marmelita and our team. They are wonderful hard working honest Peruvians. I love them. We have been through a lot together. We are family.

Some of what we have done to improve this year;

  • Hired a Spanish Chef for 5 weeks, who taught us new techniques and helped us develop new recipes.
  • Developed and put in practice our theory of Bigger Portions, Better Ingredients.
  • Published a new menu reflecting the previous points.
  • Started sprouting seeds, legumes, and grains.
  • Recieved a positive write up in The Lonely Planet Travel Guide.
  • Purchased an espresso machine.
  • Received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award.
  • Received the Caltur Certificate of Good Practices.

Dawn on the Amazon Cafe ranked #1 on TripAdvisor most of the year, receiving 67 reviews since our third anniversary, 45 of them excellent reviews, 15 very good reviews for a total of 157 reviews, 105 excellent, and 90% recommendation rate.

If you read this far and you like Dawn on the Amazon Cafe, please take a half hour of your time and review us on TripAdvisor. I’m pretty sure we deserve to be #1. Thank you!

Dawn on the Amazon Cafe Fourth Year Anniversary

Bill Grimes, host of Dawn on the Amazon Cafe.

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Certificate of Recommendation for Good Practices

by billgrimes on January 15, 2014

Certificate of Recommendations for Good Practices

"Caltur certificate of recommendation for good practices for Dawn on the Amazon Cafe 2014"

Caltur certificate of recommendation for good practices for Dawn on the Amazon Cafe 2014

The crew of Dawn on the Amazon Cafe are proud to announce that for the third year in a row we have been awarded this certificate of recommendation for good practices from Caltur, a national governmental organization that provides training to restaurants and hotels in hospitality, hygiene, and service.

"Caltur recommendations of good practices for Dawn on the Amazon Cafe 2013"

Caltur recommendations of good practices for Dawn on the Amazon Cafe 2013

Caltur provides classes, which we attended, to help raise the standards of hospitality, hygiene and services of hotels and restaurants providing services to tourists in Peru. We learned, and initiated many improvements based on Caltur’s recommendations.

"Caltur recommendations of good practices for Dawn on the Amazon Cafe 2012"

Caltur recommendations of good practices for Dawn on the Amazon Cafe 2012

The first year we past Caltur’s test we were one of only 91 hotels or restaurants in Peru that received their certificate of recommendation.

Certificate of Recommendation for Good Practices at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

Bill Grimes, host of Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

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Cappuccino, Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

by billgrimes on January 14, 2014

"Cappuccino, Dawn on the Amazon Cafe"

Enjoy a cappuccino at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

Cappuccino at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe in Iquitos Peru

We are pleased to offer espresso and cappuccino at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe. Would you prefer cinnamon or 100% cacao on your cappuccino? Or both?

We have wi-fi. Stop in and say hi.

Cappuccino at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe in Iquitos Peru

Bill Grimes, host of Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

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TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2013

by billgrimes on December 26, 2013

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2013 Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

"TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

Dawn on the Amazon Cafe Certificate of Excellence 2013 from TripAdvisor

Dawn on the Amazon Cafe won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for Restaurants in Iquitos Peru again in 2013. We also won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2011 and 2012.

"TripAdvisor Certificates Excellence 2011, 2012"

Dawn on the Amazon Cafe Certificates of Excellence 2011 and 2012 from TripAdvisor

Other notable achievements for Dawn on the Amazon Cafe in 2013; we went over 100 excellent 5 star reviews and over 150 total reviews in TripAdvisor.

If you enjoy a meal or drink at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe, join over 150 of your peers and post a TripAdvisor review describing your experience. It takes less than half an hour and can help ensure we win the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2014.

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

Thank you, Bill

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Espresso Here Now

by billgrimes on December 24, 2013

Espresso Here Now

"Bill Grimes drinks espresso at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe"

Bill Grimes gets his espresso

New at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe, espresso and cappuccino

Yesterday we made 18 shots of espresso practicing cappuccino. I think we got it pretty good. Today, Christmas Eve, we went live. Stop in and let us know how you like it. What do you think?

Free hot chocolate with any order at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe on Christmas Eve. Enjoy.

Espresso Here Now

Merry Christmas,

Bill

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Espresso, Coming Soon

by billgrimes on December 19, 2013

Espresso, Coming Soon

"Bill Grimes, breakfast, Dawn on the Amazon Cafe"

Bill Grimes needs his espresso

You asked for espresso. I listened. Marmelita and I went to Lima shopping for an espresso machine. We bought one. It’s on the way to Iquitos by plane.

Espresso, Coming Soon

Merry Christmas,

Bill

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How A Restaurant Can Be Like An Orchestra

by billgrimes on September 27, 2013

How a restaurant can be like an orchestra.

When we have a full crew at Dawn on the Amazon Cafe, and an appreciative audience, you can understand how a restaurant can be like an orchestra. The owners and chef create and compose the arrangements, the kitchen interacts with the servers who interact with the audience, our clients. When everyone plays their part it is possible to create a masterpiece that has the power to change peoples lives.

If one of the cooks call in sick, a waiter decides to take a day off, or the audience does not show up, the music suffers, and becomes work instead of joy.

I was inspired by this article, Misty Xicum Sets the Tone;

“Serving people when you have a lot of knowledge to impart is amazing. Things fall into place on a restaurant floor when it’s crazy and insane, and there’s this beautiful moment, like an orchestra almost—each part is playing what it’s supposed to be playing, creating this masterpiece that’s changing people’s lives. There’s joy happening.”

…from my new favorite website, Medium, which I highly recommend for an informative good read.

How A Restaurant Can Be Like An Orchestra

Bill Grimes, host of Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

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