No Rain Today

Finally a day without rain. It was sunny for only a moment  in the morning before the clouds rolled in. At least they didn’t release another 5 inches of rain. Business was good today. We met some great people. My friends Jim and Will stopped by. Will bought one of Anne’s Christmas gift baskets. She still has two if anyone is interested.


I am baking 4 loaves of olive bread in the morning. They will be for sale for $5.95 and will be available by 10am. If you want me to hold one for you email me at


Stop by early for a slice of cinnamon bread smeared with butter.


Hear are a few pictures from the day.





What’s new

I haven’t posted in 12 days. What is going on? Am I lazy? I  don’t know, but days have floated by like the orange and red leaves that drift past the front door to the yet un-open Fiore. It’s cold in LA these days. So cold that I could have sworn that I saw and felt thin ice on the large community table that I park under the arch at night. A sprinkler from the flower bed gave it an early morning shower and the cold, fall air decided it might be nice to make an ice skating ring on the old maple table.

Today was a bit better, but large full rain clouds kept the sun from warming us up. I wore an old Irish wool sweater my mother bought in Dublin quite a few years ago. It’s still warm, but the moths have made it quite unattractive with the holes they’ve carved out of the fabric. I don’t care too much. I wear it with Irish pride.

I have taken a ton of pictures lately. It’s one thing I have been diligent about. My camera is always at my side and when I do forget it which isn’t very often I still have the I phone to capture the day.

here are some pictures from the last 12 days. I hope you enjoy. The health inspection is  Monday I promise.  No more jibbery about.












California Olive Oil

I have been spoiled by our experience in Italy. I  have tasted great olive oil. I have even participated in the making of fantastic oil. It was a real treat. The fact I got to do it with my oldest son made it  better.

Yesterday I drove an hour outside of LA to Temecula. Temecula from the freeway looks like one big strip mall, a new one but a strip mall all the same.  I hate strip malls more than anything. They are soulless to me. They are pretty, clean boxes that lack character. Maybe they are just too perfect for me.

About 20 miles south east of the main section of Temecula  is the Temecula Olive Oil Company. This is were the olive are grown and pressed and it looks very much like rural Italy. It’s pristine, clean and rural. The houses are average. Some are not much to look at. The hillsides are strewn with large, smooth boulders. Olive trees cluster around each other and lay out across the land. They look just like Italian olive trees. Most of them are Italian. The equipment at the Olive Mill has Italian writing across it with names I don’t recognize, but words that are clearly Italian.

At this orchard a huge semi truck is parked. At the back of the trucks the doors are wide open and a large hopper is perched on the back. It looks exactly like the hopper I saw at the community olive mill in Italy. That hopper is the only similarity The rest of the machinery looks like something from a NASA space station. It sure doesn’t look like an olive oil press, but surprisingly it performs the same function. The oil drips from the centrifuge at the final stage of the pressing. The oil is golden in color and tastes buttery. It lacks the deep green color of the olive oil I am accustomed to in Italy,but it’s fresh and tastes really good.

Here are some pictures from the day.

Fernando’s The Man

We finally did it. The mammoth hot water heater is  connected. The electricity is not, but it’s full of water and  the pipes are sealed and leak free. We had complications. A few connections were not right resulting in some leaks in some very cumbersome spots.  One leak required that  we replace an elbow and a 1- 1/4 inlet valve.

Fernando walked a block to his friend Martin’s work shop to borrow a tool. Martin has worked at this shop for 32 years. They work on engines for the aerospace industry. When Fernando returned he had a very solid but strange looking wrench. I had never seen one like this. It was heavy with a worn, but quality wood handle. The tool was made of heavy duty steel. On the upper part of the tool was an inscription of the date. The date was 1880. Now  isn’t that environmentally conscious., hanging onto something instead of throwing it away for a newer version.

The most comical part of the day came when Fernando was tightening the inlet valve on the top of the water heater. He was standing on the dishwasher. He hand the wrench around the valve and was pulling with all his might. Because he was desperate to get this connection right (it was one of the leakers) he was putting his weight into it. His back was against the wall which was really a French style window.

I heard a pop. It was quick, but not too loud. It sounded like a weak gun shot.

Fernando’s ass broke out the window. Yikes.

No more Inn and Out burger for you Fernando





South Pasadena Farmer’s Market

On Thursday evenings I always browse the South Pasadena Farmer’s Market. It is probably the best one in LA county.  Most of the vendors are certified organic and extremely local. I met Michelle Goldman from Living Lettuce. Her farm is in Reseda. Can’t get much more local than that. I hope to purchase  her lettuce greens and herbs  for Fiore.

When I go to the market I  bring my camera. Today was no exception. Here are some photographs.

The first one is of Lissa Reynolds. She is the owner of the Fremont Centre Theatre that Fiore is now a part of. Check out their website. She has a new musical starting on November 26th called Sweet Mama Green Bean. Anne and I got a glimpse of the show during the intermission of her last show called Top Dog UnderDog. Her husband, James was the director of that terrific show Their son Jed was one of the actors. It was a two man show that really dealt with some fascinating issues. I don’t go to many plays, but this one hit me hard. Made me think about so many things.

The picture of her was taken at the temporary art gallery for SPARC. They were supposed to be squatters  for 48 hours. Luckily it has turned out to be months. They’re hoping to stay in the space for years.

SPARC is the South Pasadena Arts Council where Lissa is striving to make ART a big part of daily life for everyone in  South Pasadena. They recently had their Giant Easel Event at Art Walk on October 23rd.

Here are some other photographs from my stroll.










Anne and I bought two olive trees on Saturday. We got them at a nursery in Los Angeles off of Sunset street close to the neighborhood of Silver Lake. The trees were fairly inexpensive. They came in 5 gallon black. plastic containers. Most amazingly the branches are littered with bright green olives. They’re not ripe enough to harvest. I will wait a few weeks until they turn purple. They remind me so much of the olives in Italy. Their size and color and the leaves on the branches look just like Stefano’s trees. In 2008 Patrick and I harvested about 30 trees with Stefano, Marvi, Mauro, Michelle and Marianna. It was a Blast.

The olives in these photographs could pass for authentic Italian olives, but in reality they come from two very small trees from a lot in Los Angeles. Go figure.







And some fresh mint


Water Heater

I am installing the water heater today. When I purchased it yesterday at Hirsch in Glendale the salesman thought I was crazy for buying an electric water heater with 18 KW. He thought it must be a mistake. There is no need for something so powerful for a tiny restaurant. I don’t know. I am just following orders.

I walked down to Mike and Anne’s in South Pasadena and spoke with the owner, Ashley to ask about her water heater. She had the same problem that we are having. The health department required her to have an overabundance of hot water. Ashly said that the people who she bought the water heaters from said she has enough hot water to supply a 120 unit apartment building. Is that crazy or what?

Here are a few photographs from the South Pasadena Farmer’s Market

To do list

I wrote another to do list today. I wrote it across the first draft of the menu on  6 pieces of  18 by 22 pieces of off white drafting paper that I taped together with scotch tape. This draft started out as a mark up of the menu but it has morphed into a collage of phone numbers, to do lists and grocery lists.

Today’s to do list:

– Get a land line. Why does a land line cost so much when no one uses a land lines anymore? We only need one for incoming calls yet it’s still expensive.

– Apply for business license. Done.

– Find a 50 gallon 16KW water heater. The 40 gallon tank works  fantastic, but the health dept wants me to upgrade. What about being environmentally conscious. Where is that old one  end up? If anyone needs a great 40 gallon electric water heater give me a call.

– Make a decision about the espresso machine. Yikes. I have a perfectly good (free)  machine without  NSF certification. I need to now spend $1500-$5000 on another machine. The silver lining is that the old machine will come home with me.

– Order patio chairs. Anne found them at a great price. She ordered 10 tables and 20 chairs today.  With the community table we can seat 34 people. That’s pretty good. I am happy with that. Done

– Logo Logo Logo. We need to get a jump on this. We’ve been dealing so much with construction that we haven’t finalized our logo. We love the look of typewriter font. We also like this logo

Radish We’re pretty crazy about Radish. Anne says our place will look just as cool when she gets done with it.

– Find or have manufactured an 18 inch stainless steel safety guard for the back of the 4 burner stove. This was unanticipated. The first inspector made no mention of a problem with the stove, but her replacement found a need to make a change.

Down to Washington Street tomorrow to have some one make  one for me. Hopefully it won’t cost too much.

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