Monday, January 24

Cough cough.

I'm still miserably ill. I think I'm losing my voice. Sure, I sound awful sexy, but when you're hacking up yellow chunks between sentences, well... there ain't anything sexy about that.

Matt F started today. He seems very nice, has a little to learn behind the counter, but I think he will do well.

Web store should launch in the next day or so...

UUUUUGH. I feel like shit.

Sunday, January 23

Here's a tip...

Chain your tip jar to your counter. Those Meth addicts are pretty good with the slight of hand. We caught it on camera. Pretty amazing...

According to scientists,

January 24 is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. Mine was on the 22nd, when I balanced my checkbook.

Sigh.

Cough.

Blizzard + Flu = Me at home for two days straight.

By this time, I should have been coming home from a weekend away with my friends, a weekend I have been looking forward to for a few weeks now. Instead, I'm wiping my nose every 3 minutes and trying not to breathe too deeply as it would cause a coughing fit that just isn't pretty at all. My body finally decided to give up on me on Friday morning, forcing me to be bed ridden for the weekend, and mother nature made sure I didn't even try to leave the house by dumping about two feet of snow on the ground. Fortunately, Matt covered by taking care of business for the last two days, which apparently has been good, even with all the snow.

We have been getting alot of positive feedback from people, but I always remember the one or two negative comments we get. One anonymous person said our bakery looked like an Austrian enema clinic (whu?) and another commented on how we (the baristas) were talking about the size of cake slices behind the counter... Too small a slice vs. too large... The person does have a point, I admit, but it is truly amazing the lengths people will go to to criticize you and your work.
In my defense, all I can say is that I put myself out there, put my life savings into something I believed in, and hopefully had a little part in making a neighborhood a better place to live in by offering it something it was lacking.

But you'll still get a customer who says the chocolate cake is "too dry."

So you fret.

Then you take a deep breath.

I have to remember that we can't be everything to everyone. I can do the best I can, offer the most I can, and hope that the overall response will be positive. You're never going to please everyone.

I think I'll need a thicker skin for this job.

On another note, our baker was in the Times today. She said something about CB, which got the owner a little up at arms. Matt flipped a bit. But in all honesty, we really had nothing to do with this article being written, it was put togehter without our knowledge, and if CB does indeed have an issue, it should be with the baker, not with us. We will see how this plays out as well.

Wednesday, January 19

NY MAGAZINE...

...wrote a nice little paragraph on us! The magazine has a nice big picture of our malted cake too!

NY Magazine



I knew this would be hard...

I have tried half a dozen times to write an entry on this here blog, but am always thwarted by one thing or another. This bakery/coffeeshop stuff is time consuming! who knew? I do have a few moments right now and I just wanted to y'all know that Sven is back after a two week stint in Germany (bearing gifts, no less!) and so I think my home life will return to some degree of normalcy (dinners being made, dog being fed, bills being paid, plants being watered, laundry being done, support being given... all of which I was sorely lacking over the last few days... which were some of the most stressful I've had in a while.)

Friday, January 14

Day 3...

I'm exhausted. I have been meaning to write for the past three days, but I can honestly say that I haven't had the time. Even if I did have a few moments to blog, I ate and slept instead...

Quick thoughts: It has been amazing. It doesn't even seem real. Sure all those annoying little problems that we couldn't solve pre-opening are still in there in the ether, flitting around my head, but being open and offering something to customers makes it all worthwhile...

I'll post some pix tomorrow, as I will force myself to publish another entry... Stay tuned for my run in with Florence Fabricant and many more exciting adventures!

We've also been blogged!
curbed
redhooky
amy langfield

Tuesday, January 11

Dark Roast.

I'm not in love with our drip coffee. I have to make a decision by tomorrow...

Nate.

Hired my first barista today. Nate. He's a nice guy and he lives around the corner form the bakery. He programmed the cash register. I have to admit, it's nice to delegate!

D.O.H, D.O.A...

What is the point in making an appointment with the Dept. of Health TWENTY ONE DAYS IN ADVANCE when they do not show up? What does one do when they are WAITING ALL DAY for someone to come by and give them an inspection that they would need to open for business? Does one call the D.O.H to see where the inspector is? SURE! Does the Dept. of Health apologize for the delay and say they will send someone there right away? NO! Does the D.O.H reply to one in a surly voice "It's aftuh five, you cawl back tomorrah aftuh ten." OH YES, YES! A THOUSAND TIMES, YES!

Caulk.

As I was trying to get everything in order today for the D.O.H inspection, I was on a ladder in the kitchen caulking a little area between the wall and the cieling. I needed to grab a sponge, so I left the caulk gun on top of the ladder, descended the ladder to go get the said sponge, shifted the ladder slightly to adjust my caulking angle, and the caulk gun came a-tumblin' down onto my head. I have a nasty bruise/bump thing happening that I am sure will not go away by opening day.

Sunday, January 9

T minus 3...

More finishing touches on the space today. The front was finally cemented up by Neil. We fired up one of the ovens and tested it by making scones. The bakers, Matt and I came up with a baking schedule for the opening day, We hired an assistant baker and an assistant finisher, I hired my first barista, hopefully hiring my second tomorrow, Ken came by to finalize a thing or two, and Melanie rocked the place by cleaning up a storm.

Tomorrow holds much more cleaning, emergency runs to Daroma and a preliminary inspection from the D.O.H.

There is still so much to do, I don't think it will all be done in time. I have more punch lists than I would like to admit.

I'm exhausted. but we are almost there...

Saturday, January 8

Pending...

We were approved by the Dept. of Buildings. We need to get our paperwork finalized, but I think we are in the clear as far as the gas situation goes. Until tomorrow at least, but more on that later. Maybe in a couple of weeks.

I was visibly shaken when the inspector arrived. I just couldn't handle any more bad news. When I found out we were approved, I really didn't believe it. I felt like it was a mistake. How could we have been approved, when nothing has gone our way yet? Was it because Melanie was playing raggae music on the stereo system, and the inspector was Jamacian, and he and Melanie were talking about classic danceahall bands? Was it because we were the inspectors last appointment of the day and he was too tired to fill out the paperwork to not pass us? Whatever the case, we passed, and I couldn't have been more greatful.

The rest of the day brought a few more pleasant surprises... Mike the plumber turned the gas on so we could finally have hot water, we were listed fourth in the Rosengarten Report for Best Chocolate Desert in the US (the spicy brownie) and we found the perfect sized club chair for the space at the Door Store. Who knew? Finally, New York Magazine came by to shoot our cakes! Looks like we will be in the Jan. 22 issue!



Mini Heart Attacks.

I think my plumber, my architect and Keyspan are in cahoots and trying to kill me.

I feel like I'm in a movie. The way things are unfolding are so clockwork, it seems that there is a higher power overseeing it all... making sure the drama is at fever pitch and there is never a dull moment. Maybe its Jerry Bruckheimer.

The architect is dealing with the city, allegedly trying to file the revised plans, and for some reason, it is taking an infinity.
We obvioulsy need the approved plans and revised Schedule B to get the final permit for plumbing and gas, and our inspection is today at one. This obviously isn't going to happen.
The plumber calls me yesterday in a panic telling me that Keysoan got in touch with him telling him that they were upgrading the gas on Monday morning at 7:30am. If we don't have our 'Blue Card' (which we do not, since we would need approved, finalized plans for that) they will put a lock on the gas and not turn it on until we have the blue card. This process can take about two weeks from this point. So, even if we turned on the gas today, it would promptly be shut off on Monday morning.

Stay tuned to see what develops...

Oh yeah, NY magazine is coming today. This would be a very exciting thing if I weren't so very stressed.

Thursday, January 6

Rice-A-Rono

It seems our plumber changed his mind about the ease of attaching three gigantic rice cookers to our gas lines. Of course, this is after we bought two of them (non-refundable, you know...) So, we then broke through the wall to remove the gas lines. It really broke my heart to see him chip away at the tile and make a mess out of our kitchen. With every tap of his chisle, the thought of opening day drifted farther and farther away from my reality.

However, after all was said and done, it seemed the damage wasn't so bad. The plumbers are coming tomorrow to cap off the pipeline, and then, after the inspection on Saturday, we can tile it right back up.

Tomorrow should be another busy day. More setting up, more placing of products, more cleaning...

our chairs...


Wednesday, January 5

Oh deer...

Here's a shot I took earlier this evening. Just a little teaser of whats to come...

Gee, Officer Krupke...

Went to Schnack for dinner tonight. I had the Mac & Cheese with smoked chicken and Sven had the burger, which I had a bite of and thought it was pretty good.

Afterwards, Sven and I took the subway home and I jumped into the turnstile with him at the Caroll St. station, thusly using only his metrocard. A police officer appeared out of nowhere and we both got tickets. He was kind enough and basically told us how to talk ourselves out of being fined. I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation. People were walking by and staring, Sven was pretty embarassed, but I really found it funny. I just thought "This is just the perfect end to my day."

Rice Pudding.

These People can bite my ass. After alot of hopeful and wishful thinking, reality came screaming into the bakery today in the form of the Dept. of Buildings. As much as I thought we wouldnt pass inspection, I had a slight feeling that we would. We did not get our permit because we had three gas pipes (that were capped off and LOCKED, mind you) that were not connected to actual appliances.

Thats it.

However, the inspector suggested that we can attach anything to them and we would be approved. Any appliance that requires a gas line, of course. OR we can bust into the wall and totally eliminate the pipes. This would all have to be done by Monday, which is our Dept. of Health inspection. We opted for finding a cheap appliance that uses gas and wouldn't involve adding another hood or a grease trap, etc...

Rice cookers.

Huge, industrial, gas powered rice cookers. Three of them. They arrive tomorrow.

Mike the plumber comes back tomorrow to hook them up, and then we have a plumbing re-inspection on Saturday.

What happened to the days where you could just grease a few palms and everything would be approved and signed off on?

Anyhow,

We decided to return our club chairs to ABC. They were just too big for the space. We will see if we find anything else by Monday...

We got the glass replaced for the front window.

We also got our new table legs sent off to be powder coated.

Melanie came in today and was a huge help, she set up most of the kitchen and got rid of alot of the garbage that was floating around.

Aside from the mania, the space is looking pretty fantastic. We are still on schedule for a Wednesday opening. Its going to be a whopper. A big, juicy, whopper.

Tuesday, January 4

almost there...

Busy one today. Got alot done. Still nowhere near where I think I should be, tho. Scrubbed the floor and cut up my hands in the process. I'll live. Tomorrow: INSPECTION. Please, God...

Monday, January 3

ESPRESSO!

It is here. It is beautiful. It also covers part of the mirror behind the bar. SHIIIIIIIIIIIT.

I'll Paint That.

Monday AM. It seems the handyman didn't finish what he was supposed to finish last night. I tried to call him and of course, his phone service said he "wasn't accepting calls at the moment." ??

This really burns me up. I am ready to go 100mph, but I need people to keep up, otherwise, I'm just running in circles...

Anyway, the painters are here, and trying to finish up. I said I would do anything I could to help out and lower the final cost of the job. Looks like ill be covered in brown and orange paint in a few hours...

Sunday, January 2

Sunday Sunday...

Some more finishing touches are happening today. I'm doing a little office work while the guys are cementing up the front and doing some additional caulking/sealing/what have you. Last night, I was looking around and was just so amazed with how far we have come. To see the changes from when I first saw this place to today... it's an altogether different thing. Just so you know, this place used to be a church... One of those "Iglesia de la Maria Pentacostal..." kind of churches. Then we gutted it out. Then it looked like an Iraqi cave. Now it looks sorta like a Louis XVI ski lodge. Go figure. Apparently, before the church, it was a video store, and prior to that, a dance hall of some kind, it was also a grocery store.

We are on our 7th month since this all started. It has been a long road. We are almost at the finish line. Or is it the starting line?

Tomorrow should be a busy day. Painters, electricians, espresso machine install...



This is what the place looked like in August once it was gutted out. I'll see if i can get any of the shots of when we first saw it.

Saturday, January 1

2005

The first day of the year. Here I am, Red Hook Brooklyn. Sitting up in my office on an unusually warm day for January, waiting for construction people to come and finish up some of the details that were left undone by our contractor and designer who hightailed it out of the country for the holiday. I would like to post a blow by blow of this experience so far, but I'm still in it, and it hurts my head too much to think of how it has all gone down thus far. Needless to say, this has been one of the most emotionally challenging experiences of my life. I think I will divulge in small bits, to keep you, my massive reading audience, coming back for more.

Matt (one of my business partners) and I are revving up for a marathon week next week. Ideally, this is the week before we open. and I have a good feeling about it. But to begin to think of all the things that need to be in place before we open our doors is slightly intimidating. Let's see how this hashes out. Photos, journal entires, design, tears and music to come...

Resolution.

Okay. This is my resolution. I'm opening a bakery in a few days (barring any stupidity from the Dept. of Buildings or the Dept. of Health) and this will be my journal detailing the hilarity that will ensue...