Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am so sick of delays...

Today the plumbers came to do some work and Stan wasn't there to let them in so they stood around for three hours (at $350.00 per hour)... Stan says he wasn't told he was supposed to be there and his Aunt had a stroke so he is trying to deal with family stuff right now. I feel really bad for his family, but I am so sick of delays. We should have had inspections last week and we are still waiting for the plumbers to finish so the inspections can happen... and it doesn't look like it's happening this week either.

I just feel SO frustrated. I know they are angry I am not paying rent, but I don't think I should have to pay rent on a space that is functionally unable to be open for business for something that they should have fixed when the space was empty (for almost a year) that they did not disclose to me in the first place. It doesn't even seem like they are working on it at all either. It's kind of like a horrible nightmare between the insanity and the language barrier.

The worst part is it is setting up this horrible antagonistic dynamic that I hate. REALLY hate. I need these people on my side. We are basically married to one another for the next 3-5 years. We can have a horrible dysfunctional marriage or things can be nurturing and helpful. I just fear if I start paying rent, they will never fix it and I will be stuck there for the next 3 years living out my lease and unable to open because they are happy they are getting their $1500 a month and don't want to spend the money to fix the problems.

It has been such a miserable experience for everyone. Even the construction workers have commented on it. They are used to working on multi million dollar projects that have less problems and less issues with the landlords.

I guess you can look at it two different ways... that the trail of it is the bad juju out of the way and all the good stuff is yet to come, but after my past few years of issues in my hobby (the SCA) with no resolution, I am having a hard time ascribing to this. And I worry it is a cultural thing, they like to grouse about everything, and if there is nothing to grouse about they make something up (last time it was that the construction workers had let "caged critters" out on the roof and now the building was rife with "critters" that were getting in to the other businesses, I shit you not... the other day the accused the roofers of "peeing on the roof" and harassing passing women). I can't work that way. I am not interested in grousing about everything. I want solutions. I want a pleasant and fun working environment. I want collaboration and team work. This antagonism is miserable for me.

In more cheerful news I got my second real restaurant order today from Creek Monkey. It was smallish, but I am so low on product that was pretty merciful. Stein and I are in the process of building up again, but we'd planned to be in our kitchen by now so we are down to almost nothing.

I need to talk to Stein about us putting in some quick fire salumi (mortadella, murguez, jagerwurst, ham) so we have something to give to people in the interim. but we need to fill the orders we have in the queue now. 25 pounds of fresh sausage tomorrow (the organic Berbere Blackberry Catsup is done) for delivery on Thursday, plus the rest of the dry cure stuff, plus we have two more heads for Testa that need to go into wet cure. I am also totally ashamed to be out of pastrami. It is in the cure now, but as one of our signature dishes... I have to have it on hand all the time.

I have three regular wholesale clients now, with the expectation that T-rex will come online any time. I suspect that will be my limit until we get the restaurant open and see what our needs are. Stein will kill me if I take on much more restaurant business (and he is right to be concerned).

So I suppose I could see this as... my time to find my bearings and get comfortable with my restaurant clients needs unencumbered by the needs of the restaurant. I also have a steady stream of catering through October. I just need to take a deep breath and try to focus on the good things. The holiday catering season will start shortly after that. If the kitchen is at least licensed, I will offer seasonal delivery dinners and New Years Eve salumi platters etc.

I think I just don't have confidence that my landlords are ever going to take care of the stuff they need to take care of. I don't think it is malicious... it is just a really complicated process that takes focus and determination and not everyone has the ability to manage that type of process. If it were me, I would be ALL over it... like I am with most things... to just see this sort of... lackadaisical attitude like the stuff is going to fix itself is just killing me. I guess I can't expect everyone to be as excited about realizing my dream as I am...

Monday, June 27, 2011

ARGH! My kindgom for a shank of middles!

We were stymied today in sausage production by not having enough casings on hand. I am out of Beef Middles and we need a (no pun intended) crap ton of them to fill with Tuscan and Finocciona, which are both ground spiced and ready to go in giant lexans. We cased the finocciona and then ran out. I added about 4 more grams of fennel pollen, plus 170 g of moscato to the recipe and it is indeed the most delicious finocciona I've ever made. 6 weeks in a cure and I will be flouncing all about town trying to get people to put my meat in their mouths (again).

The last batch of Tuscan is nothing like what I wanted. I used a really fast acting lactobacillus and the spices were overpowered by the acidity. It is such a unique and wonderful salumi that this was a big dissapointment. The recipe is from a manifesto written by Bartolemeo Scappi and published in 1570/ Scappi was the master chef for pope Pius the V (and others). It was one of the first medieval salumi recipes I found with weights and measures included in the recipe and it is still to this day one of my favorites. I don't think I will buy the fast acting lactobacillus again. I want to taste the pig and the spices in my salumi. So I am pretty excited to be putting in another batch to cure that I think will be much better.

Tomorrow Stein and I will rest while he helps his best friend find housing up in this area. I need to do some paperwork, and to put the recipe changes into my database. I will also get out and get some more pork. I think I am roughly 30# shy of what I need. I also got my new sous vide immersion circulator and it looks great! I can't wait to try it out on the Testa next week! We will also be using it to poach off the fresh sausages for my SF Client.

Wed the fresh sausages will be the priority. Get them ground and cased and poached for delivery. I need to make another gallon of the Berber blackberry organic katsup as well, which I can do while Stein is busy tomorrow.

I am SO excited about this new Finocciona... I used the very minimum of nitrites and lactobacillus. I love the flavor of fennel pollen and I really want it shine thru.

So this week

  • 2 pig heads flayed
  • 2 pig heads into wet cure
  • 1 Brisket trimmed out and in cure for Pastrami
  • 10 pounds of shoulder in my new special cure mix for capicolla
  • Finocciona ground and cased
  • Tuscan Salumi ground and ready for casing
  • 2 pig heads boiled off for traditional head cheese
  • Fat cut and frozen
  • Ordered a butt (no pun intended) ton of casings
  • got my immersion circulator
  • ordered my cold smoking gun
Not bad so far! I am pretty stoked at our progress. I think next week we will mostly case the capicolla (late in the week), sous vide the testa/heads and put a bunch of pickles into brine. Maybe make another round of preserves.

I feel like a kid the week before Christmas... euphorically excited about unwrapping my treasures in the not so distant future!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How do you spell busy? S_A_U_S_A_G_E

So my cute stoner client asked me for more the katsup (berber and blackberry added), plus he wanted to try my bratwurst and needed 5# of andouille. We said we thought we could do a 3 ounce dog, so he asked for a 3 ounce, 7 inch dog. We made them, they looked really sad. I almost didn't want to give them to him, but they were what he asked for so we did.

Yesterday he said they were great and he wants more, only bigger (thank god), plus more katsup. I think he will be selling them next weekend on his sausage truck?

Stein and I also got started on the charc for Montrio. We already have Nduja and Finocciona in the queue but we needed to make Testa*, hot coppa, capicolla, hot smoked Andouille in the beef middles (vs the one for the sausage truck which are in sheep casings). We got some killer Neiman Ranch back fat and started more lardo as well.

The trick right now is to supply our clients, plus have a good stock of items on hand for our opening, whenever that happens. I know we will have a Bresaola on our first specials menu (in a salad), and we will always have Finocciona on the menu... we are making more the Tuscan salami as well. I think we can serve 3-4 restaurants with a Charc platter, in addition to the fresh sausages for our friend in the city, plus T-Rex.

Stein is trying to temper my tendency to over extend myself... but I am so proud of my product that it is hard not to want to show it off. He is completely right, of course. We are very limited on storage and while fresh sausages are pretty easy for us to do, all of the dry cured stuff will need to be judiciously managed.

I was talking to my friends Stacey and Anthony the other day (they are looking to start some product in the Sacramento area) and commenting that I am surprised at how much demand there is for artisan-locally made meats! It is highly unusual to be getting as much business as I am via word of mouth, with almost no formal marketing. I could probably have a thriving business of just supplying restaurants with hand made Salumi.

I am so grateful for the work, and I am hoping it will help to tide me over until the restaurant is open, but I cannot wait to get back in a kitchen. Between the restaurant business and my catering I think I will be ok through September. God, I hope my landlord figures out how to fix all of the problems before then.

I just put in a bunch of capicolla that I am really excited about. I used the smoked sea salt that my friend Gislane gave me, plus just a tiny bit of Juniper. I am going for a very earthy subtle flavor like a speck I tried recently. We have about 100 pounds of sausage we need to make, and soon. We cut and froze the fat on Wed, today we cut the flesh from the pigs heads and put them in brine, plus started some pastrami, a pig head stock, ground 31 pounds of lean, put the capicolla into cure... and... and... cleaned up the stuff from Stephan's party. Tomorrow we need to kit out our spices and grind the fat in the buffalo chopper.

I think we should get our casings so we can case all the small stuff by Thursday. I ordered a new Sous Vide circulator and I hope it comes in the next week so I can finish up the testa. I saw an inexpensive cold smoke gun that I need to remember to pick up. I could really use it for the Nduja and some of the other cold smoked items (bacon).

Anyway, we are very busy and I think we will need to start planning our pacing a little better. Thank goodness Stein and I get along very well!

*Testa is head cheese. We take a whole pigs head and remove the skin and meat in one piece, then put it in the wet brine for 5-6 days. Then it get sous vide cooked for 36 hours at 160 degrees. Then it get hung until it is nice a solid. We also took the skeletons and I am boiling them down fora more traditional head cheese as well.

Really Fun Private Dinner Party yesterday!

I love my clients!

Stephan is gluten and pork free so we got to really play with our food this time!

These are Beet chips with house cured salmon, lemon aioli and capers.

Below are tomato gelees with pickled crayfish and tarragon cream

I used Parmesan crisps, fingerling potatoes and beets as the starch delivery systems, and it just felt and tasted more delicious and creative. I might stop being lazy and serving crostini and incorporate more of these types of items on my party menus

Friday, June 24, 2011

The state of Being...

Things have been crazy hectic here, almost too much so to be able to write much (which kind of sucks for me because it helps me to get focused).

I have not been down to the shop recently because 1. I've been really busy and 2. After my landlady's last melt down I am kind of avoiding them in general.

For the busy... my newest restaurant client needs a bunch of Charcuterie and soon, so today Stein and I are breaking down two pig heads (for Testa) and 60 # (this is pounds in restaurant-speak) for pork and fat for Cappicolla, Finocciona and some other stuff. This is in addition to the much anticipated dinner party for Stephan this weekend. We will likely focus on Stephan's stuff today and hopefully get to the pig fat (so it can get frozen by Sunday)... and then work on the rest of the stuff on Sunday/Monday.

This means I will need to make arrangements for Stein and I to smoke the meats at school (the rental kitchen does not have a smoker) in a couple of weeks. We still have not cold smoked the Nduja we cased last week, plus we have a brisket for pastrami that will need to be hot smoked.

I talked to Stan finally yesterday (the landlady's son, and the property manager for the facility) and I hope that I calmed them down a bit. I had no idea they were so worked up about the build out until I talked to Kevi last week. I know it is really stressful, but Richlen is an excellent construction company and I wish they would give them the benefit of the doubt. OF course it looks chaotic when the walls are all open and the there are holes in the floors. But it will come together in the end.

I am more worried about their ability to get the ADA and earthquake retrofit done. The engineer they hired is a flake. I suspect he might be a scam artist. I feel really bad for Stan and Kevi that they gave this guy money and now he has point blank refused to give them the engineered drawings for the fixes. He's already stalled the project a month by flaking out on the drawings for the side wall... which when we finally got them they were like... hand drawn on a napkin and not even real structural drawings. And now... I suspect once they get the drawings they have at least 6 weeks of work to do, maybe more.

It is frustrating to not be in control of how quickly this stuff gets done. I am getting side business from restaurants and catering, and I think I will be ok through September... but after that I just don't know what I am going to do?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yay! New Restaurant Client!

Had a fantastic time in Monterey with my good friend Carol Brink. She hoooked me up with Chef Tony Baker from Montrio Bistro and he LOVED out Charcuterie. He's placed our largest Restaurant Charcuterie order to date today and I am so excited to have my Salumi in fantastic restaurant like Montrio! Plus he is even going to give The Compass Star billing on the Charcuterie! I am so SO excited!

We can realistically only service 3-4 restaurants with Charcuterie in our current kitchen and storage space, and we have already cultivated a relationship with Creek Monkey (due to open soon) so this is restaurant #2 and I could not be more thrilled!

Plus building up the supply will be keep me happily busy making salumi for the next few weeks!

I came in around 4:00 and we chatted about who I am and what I do and who is and what he does. He is British by birth (and SUPER cute, in a very safe-married way) and has been involved with Montrio for the past 15 years. He tried the stuff I brought and then the staff tried it as well, which was a hoot! They were so excited about it and liked it so much! You guys have no idea how validating that is after spending the last six months so focused on opening the restaurant, and paperwork and governmental agencies etc. I miss those interactions so much!

Anyway this morning he placed a large order and we discussed viable delivery times and now... I just get to work to pull it all together doing one of my favorite things in the world... making salumi!!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Motoring right along...

A few odds and ends...

I still don't know when I am going to be able to open. It stresses me out so much every time I talk to my landlord that I am avoiding calling to ask how the ADA fix is going. I justify this in my brain by saying, "They know it has to be done, they are working on it." I know David is talking to them about it.

I was shocked the other day to bump into my landlady and see how stressed she is about the project. I got an earful about the construction workers being on the roof (they are installing the ventilation systems for the hood and bathroom), and everything else. It is a primary reason I unconsciously avoid them; it is just SO stressful to try and manage how out of control she is. I know she is old and from another country... and I really don't have a choice... we are in this together for the long haul. But deep down inside I really hate it that I feel so uncomfortable around them and the adversarial dynamic seems to be set-up now. I have never had that type of relationship with anyone that was a constant in my life and it is really messing with my brain.

What is worse, I feel like when I am nice about the craziness I am somehow encouraging it. But I can't imagine what else to do? I don't want the relationship to deteriorate further. I really would like to have a pleasant collaborative relationship. I feel like all this conflict is so necessary; we all want the same things... for the space to get built out nicely, for my place to open and be successful, for rent to get paid on time. I just don't understand why they want top nit pick everything apart... like the construction workers being on the roof... of course they are on the roof, they are doing their jobs... or the cutting of two holes in the roof, of course they have to have two ventilations sytems, one fire-proof for the hood and one not for the bathroom. Why can't we just trust them to do their jobs without harassing and micromanaging? Or accusing them of "peeing on the roof"?

So today's post is about managing stress.

How to manage stress has been an unforeseen issue that I need to deal with and soon. It isn't the random stress that crops up with the various issues and surprises... it's the relentless stress that does not abate for months and months. It is the feeling that you are juggling a million balls in the air and cannot afford to drop even one of them... and you might have to do it indefinitely. It's the stress when you realize that a core relationship that affects your business will be uncomfortably dysfunctional... probably forever.

I am trying to compartmentalize it. I need to learn that skill. My ex-husband used to be really good at leaving work at work. I feel like I've been not working for so long that I have this large gap in my skill-set that I really need. I take everything so to heart and personally! So... priority number one... thicker skin.

And I need to take a deep breath and get a little more organized. Part of my problem is I keep feeling like I should be DOING more. There was so much activity initially when I was going thru the permitting process for everything (a truly ludicrous gauntlet in California), that now I feel remiss that I am not schlepping around to every government office in Northern California on a daily basis to file and fill out paperwork.

It is time for me to be very client focused and let the contractors do their job. It's time to keep interactions with my landlords to a minimum and be strong enough to not let conversations drift into insane territory. Its time to get frosty, deal with my demons and be the bad ass I am. I am living my dream, a dream I've worked for the past five years to achieve. I knew it would be hard. I knew it wouldn't be perfect. By sheer force of will I am carving my path in this amazing world.

OH and on that note... I am getting some pretty cool buzz! I was at Smart and Final renting some equipment for Boone's wedding and the guy recognized my name and Compass Star! He said, "oh you are that lady that makes the sausage!" LOL it was awesome! I felt like a famous rock star!

And Sue had an electrician out working at her office who had heard of me too! I am pretty stoked about all that... bring it on, my meat rocks ;)

And the funniest thing... the pot smoking hotdog truck guy... he wants me to bring him more sausages and ketchup (specially made with blackberry preserves and berber spice)... I am starting to think I am like "Gourmet Munchie Night" delivery service. Whatever, he pays in cash! Go Munchie Night! Plus he is really cute and has an adorable Irish brogue.

OH and new grill, isn't it gorgeous!!!???

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WOO HOO! Fire Supression system approved...

So Bri can pick up that stuff tomorrow morning.

Things are motoring right along ad we might even have a potential opening date formulated after the electrical stuff is done!

Monday, June 13, 2011

$804.47 equals....

One Building Permit. Bah, why does everything have to cost SO much!??

But at least it's done and ready to go.

I will try to remember to get pictures when I am down dropping off the hand sink tomorrow. It is really coming right along... it is so strange to think all that chaos and dust and pipes and metal will be covered soon and look like a finished restaurant! Strange but wonderful!

This week was both interesting and and a relief all at once. I've had two people (friends/family) let me borrow the last of the money I will (hopefully) need to get the rest of the equipment. I had a fantastic article in the Martinez Record, where I think the author really captured my passion and enthusiasm (not easy to do!). And I had a fascinating trip into the City today to talk to the guy who had asked me to make him some sauces for his hot dog truck.

So Stein and I load up two coolers with the gallons and gallons of sauces and head into the city. We get there like a half hour early and hit this... like... a small grocery store but it said it also had Jaffa, Greek and something else (I can't remember) food for lunch. The food was KILLER. Cash only, I got this black hibiscus tea with spicy lamb meatball sandwich. Stiend got a loose meat sandwich. WOW they were SO SO good. Anyway then we headed across the street to this ramshackle old building which was the address the guy had given us.

There was a sign on the outside of the building for a Sushi restaurant and a large wooden door. The windows the sushi restaurant were covered with grime so you could not see inside and it had likely not been open for some time. There was an intercom button for a couple of businesses, but none of them had the guys name on them, so I called him and told him we were there.

He came down the two flights of stairs and we followed him up the stairs with the coolers. He was young and tall and slender, just rolled out of bead, shirtless in jeans with a very cute Irish brogue and some interesting piercings. We followed him to the top of the 3 story building, which was his apartment. It was all open with lovely views of the city, dirty like only men lived there with bits and pieces of furniture from various vintage Ikea eras.

He lit up a joint and asked us if we were interested (LOL! We said no thank you). Then we started talking about the products...

He wasn't a chef. He was like... this guy who I am pretty sure is an official grower or middle man for medical grade pot (I am NOT judging, just sayin') who decided to buy this hot dog truck because he wants to sell "the best sausages in San Francisco". So he buys his sausages from Costco and I think he tried to make his own fries, but he isn't sure what kind of oil he bought so they came out "weird".

He'd worked the truck the whole day their first day open and was pretty sure he wanted to ditch the fries. His apple sausages were too short for his buns so he wanted to know if I would bring him some chicken sausages. The gallons of sauces he bought were for the fries (that he is now not sure he wants to carry)... it was SO totally fascinating!

Like... I wonder... is this how a lot of people decide they are going to open a restaurant? He assured me that his process to get permits for the truck were more complicated than opening a restaurant. Stein and I were not sure what to say? When I think of the 20 years I've spent catering, the 3 years I spent in school, two years getting experience and past 6 months of working my ass off to start my tiny little deli... It just seems unfathomable that some guy who never worked in a restaurant a day in his life is like... I think I am going to go buy a hot dog truck and be the King of Sausage in San Francisco... which, BTW is a HARD core food crowd. I am not sure you can just waltz into the SF food scene with Costco Adell's Chicken Apple Sausages and figure on being the King of Sausage. In fact, I am fairly sure that assumption is pure folly.

We talked to him about how sausages are prepared for large scale eating in a commercial kitchen (we do thousands of them at Pebble Beach every year... you want king of sausage? Be the poor line cook who has to make sure every single Kohler Dog is perfectly browned before Kohler will serve them. Kohler is a sausage king), which was like a revelation to this poor guy. I mean, he will get up to speed quickly. I suggested he hire Galen to work with him at least a couple of times. Galen works at Top Dog in Oakland and knows how to sling some dogs.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

She's Crafty... She Gets Around...

So I have been (obsessing) thinking about how to get the last bits of my equipment with quickly dwindling funds. Danny (Hobart Fetish guy) from Oakland had all of the cold storage (outside the sandwich prep station, which I already have and the keg storage, which I already have lined up) I still need for $2100. That and the espresso maker are the last big expense items I need.

Danny mentioned if I bought the items, he would store them for me. I started thinking about the plan to leas the espresso maker and decided I would email Jessie (the guy I got the sandwich prep station from) and ask him if he would let me give him a down payment for the espresso maker he has been advertising and then pay it over over the course of a few months. I also emailed Danny and asked him if I gave him a $500 deposit would he store the items til July. So both of them went for it, but then I saw a 2 group espresso maker online for $600...

So I am going to check out the $600 one tomorrow morning, then meet with Wendy for Drinks and then FP tomorrow night! YAY! This means I can pretty much get all of the larger ticket items reserved for $1100, then make another $1100 payment on July 1st and pick them up.

I know sometimes it is so hard to visualize a way to do the things you need to do when you are getting low on funds, so I wanted to stress the importance of being creative and trying to think outside the box if you can. This way the only things I will still need to lease are the POS system ($140 a month).

Other items I still need to purchase are forks, knives and spoons, chairs (22), bar stools (6), a condiment table and other kitchen small wares (saute pans, 200 pans, pencil pans). I will probably still need one more coffee grinder. We also still needs the dunnage racks, cabinetry and wine storage. Hmmmm... phones and fax machine. It's so totally endless really! LOL

I was contacted by a guy from the City who is starting a gourmet hot-dog cart. He wants to try some of my house made sauces, so I will take those into the City next week (thanks Anthony for recommending me!). He wants to try my Brats too... only... Brats... well some Americans seem to think they are en emulsified sausage. I am not sure how to explain there are several German regional varieties, and likely within the German-centric parts of the country another regional variety... and those are all pretty chunky. Meaty and chunky with a dominant marjoram flavor. Not light and fluffy like a hot dog. I am just going to bring a real brat and hope he knows where I am coming from. He seems really nice, and pretty passionate, so I could totally get lucky.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bits and Peices

I think the most disconcerting thing about opening a restaurant is how chaotic it all is. My horoscope said today that I would have to inspire myself; that my inspirators were tired.

I had an interview with the Martinez Record today. One of their front of the house people looks exactly like Winona Rider! And she was so curious about all the stuff we are doing; it was a lot of fun to just hang out and talk. Then I went back to talk to my interviewer, Greta. She lives in Berkeley with her SO (who is a big foodie) and I found as I talked about sausage and history and food that I got more and more excited and animated. I'd met up on the street with Jim (Blier, owner) and Huge (exec chef) from Creek Monkey. We hung out on the street talking and it just felt good to talk to other people who are doing the same things I am.

They think they may be open in about 3 weeks. I think I may be open (knock on wood) in 4-6. It is such a journey and labor of love... it seems miraculous to have come so far. They are getting an elevator put in to comply with ADA laws... the space is three stories, like a grand old pink Victorian home on a little creek, just on the other side of the Amtrak lines and the grand park leading into the Marina.

My big question mark now is... how and when will my landlord fix the ADA issue with the front entrance. I cannot open until he does, so the space is not really viable until it's done. I know it is a big priority for them and they've hired an engineer to draw up plans for them... but he seems like a huge flake. It took him almost a month to hand draw in a few things on the visio *I* generated and it's been 6 weeks and still no actual drawings from him. The steel structure they need to embedded into the facade needs to be designed to EXACT specs in Santa Clara, then it needs to be partially installed, then the moorings need to be measured exactly so the rest of it can be made, then installed. It is a pretty complicated process and we are already well into the Kitchen and bathroom remodel.

My greatest concern right now is there doesn't seem to be a plan in place for those corrections. I can see the end of the tunnel for my part of construction and preparation... but I don't think there is a plan for the complicated engineering plan and concrete work etc that will be needed for my landlords part of the build out. I am trying to be mentally prepared for some delay, but it will honestly be pretty heartbreaking for me... well on a level that I will just deal with it because there isn't much else I CAN do.

It was really fun to talk about how far we've come; all of the fantastic local producers we've discovered, all of the great people we've met who are so encouraging about the food... and I look around at the changes happening to the space and I think... is it ok for me to trust this thing is happening? That this burning desire that is difficult to comprehend unless it's a part of your very blood might be consummated? It feels like no human being should be given their deepest wishes, we just are not worthy of that kind of largess from a loving and benevolent universe.

But it DOES happen. People do strike it rich, and become famous and marry the prom queen and buy the house they've always wanted. And I am not even doing it for the money! I am doing it for love.

I am worried that my landlord seems anxious and unhappy about his level of control over the situation. OF course it is his building and he has every right to have that kind of control... I am not sure how to communicate better and I am very anxious about the dynamic as it is. Hopefully after the stress of remodeling is done, thing will get better.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Darn didn't get pictures today!

But they are motoring right along getting the space built out!

I had a very awkward run in with my landlord today and I am trying not to extrapolate that into years of potential misery... and as open as I want to be about the whole process, I am still praying that after the angst of getting open is past, things will get better and I still hope for a healthy constructive relationship with my landlord(s). So instead of winging mightily as I am tempted to do, I am going to take a deep breath and try to compartmentalize it all.

I am so so so stressed. And even saying I am stressed... is making me even more stressed! I've been getting sick right in the middle of everything else; making me both stressed and uncomfortable. Even little things are starting to get to me, on top of the shortage of funds, the busy work of summer catering, the dishwasher at the house broke tonight, our female cat is missing again... I am having trouble focusing... I am going to have to find a way to pull it together.

In the past when I get to this point, usually something inspiring happens. but all of my inspirers are getting just as tired as I am.

I count my blessing... instead of sheep...

  • Bri and Galen are watching 30 Rock and laughing hysterically
  • My kitchen is actually being built
  • I have some amazing fire power in my corner with David and Stein and Brion
  • My kids really are awesome
  • My food is really good
  • I am on top of the prep for this weekend (thanks to Alicia and Stein)
  • I got the meds for my ailment without having to deal with going to the Doctors office and Kaiser, and should be feeling better tomorrow
  • I will shortly be snuggling Brion
Oh please let me get thru the next few weeks and come out the other side with the enthusiasm and fantastic positive attitude I need to not only realize my great dream... but enjoy it if it does... and have the fortitude to see it thru over the years to come.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

And then it all starts to fall into place!

Wow, the past two days have been insane.

David called yesterday and said... we need all the sinks! AAHHHHH! I have not been buying that stuff because we don't have a place to put it all. So Stein and I flounced out to San Jose to check out some sinks. today we found a hand sink, plus the sandwich prep station in Petaluma. then we dashed over to Oakland and picked up a used 3 compartment sink, plus a prep sink and the hardware for the prep sink.

The Oakland place was really interesting. We met up with Danny, a slender young Asian man, in a orderly clean space with neat rows of items. I liked him right away. He showed us the sink, and then I asked about a Hobart mixer (20 quart) and he said, "Oh, I don't sell those. I collect them... I have a bit of a fetish." ?? Fetish?? I mean Hobart appliances, with their beefy strength and long running gears... I can kind of see it. They were spotless and shiny. It was kind of weird... but kind of cool too.

So we asked him about freezers and refrigerators. He had nice stuff at good prices. I should be able to get my final stuff for about $2100.00... only I don't have that much money left. I do have some work this month, which will help, but I am worried that my equipment money is running so low right now. I still need to pay for the fire suppression system, the keg storage and the refrigerator and freezers. I know I will come up with is somehow, but it is really stressing me out currently. Plus I just paid $400 for the fire suppression system permit. Bleh.

But the really exciting news is when I went to drop off the specs at the restaurant I walked into the most lovely site! they have started the demolition! This means... well this thing might actually happen!

Plus I went to ABC today and signed the last two things I needed to, so it is pre-approved pending the remodel! WOO HOO!!! So, as the title suggests... things are finally starting to come together... (knock on wood so I don't jinx myself)