I ain’t no artist or drawer I am just a bloody cook

I ain’t no artist or drawer. I am just a bloody cook, but I have to somehow figure out a way to diagram the kitchen and front of the restaurant by tomorrow at about noon. I need to get these plans to the health department. Yikes.

Today, Anne, Bob and I worked on the drawings. We also worked on the pizza oven. As I said in the first sentence. I am a cook not an artist so you can imagine the pizzas turned out much better than the drawings.

Brother Bob’s in Town

Brother Bob arrived this morning and we have already traversed quite a few miles in quest of great espresso, sausages and ice cream. I picked him up at 9:00am at LAX. We immediately travelled up the 110 freeway to the 5 and over to my new favorite coffee joint in Eagle Rock called Cognoscenti. We had cortados which in Italy are called piccolli cappuccini, the  smaller stronger versions of the original. From there we walked half a block for donuts (I know it sounds absolutely unhealthy). I had a glazed old fashioned. Bob had something that looked to be topped with chocolate chips.

We drove home to unload Bob’s gear.  James was up early for a Saturday and he was more than willing to go on  road trip that might eventually meander to the sausage place. We filled a large garbage can with dirt from the compost pile for our new herb garden. We also dragged along our potted herbs that have totally outgrown the their tiny homes. The new flower bed will give them lots of room to spread out.

Bob checked into his room which I must say looks really cozy. Annie did a great job setting him up transforming a teenage bedroom into a really comfortable guest room. (Patrick’s been gone literally a week and we already have his room looking completely different. Though I must say he did most of the work before he left for Santa Cruz.)

We eventually made it to Fiore. James and Bob unloaded the dirt and we re-potted the herbs. Take a look. It turned out pretty nice.

After our brief work it was time for lunch. We hit the freeway for our 3rd time and drove south to the Arts District  to a place called Wurstkuche where we ate sausages and Belgium fries with exotic dipping sauces which are really just ketchup and mayonnaise with fancy names and spicy ingredients. The place was jamming. We stood in line with lots of people with cameras slung over their shoulders. All were edging forward in anticipation for their special sausage. Bob ordered  a rattlesnake and veal sausage. James and I played it safe with two Louisiana hot links.

You would think that after  eating all of this that we’d be done, but NOOOOOO. I had to coerce them into sampling some of my favorite ice cream  at a place called Scoops. I take everyone to scoops. James was the only one who resisted and refrained from the having a cup. It was good really good. Today it was 100 degrees in LA and ice cream is always good when it’s 100 degrees.

Tomorrow, I am not sure where we’ll go, but today was a great start to the week.

Cupcakes and more cupcakes

Anne baked and baked today. A friend of mine had a birthday and I asked Anne to help me with cupcakes. She didn’t need anymore practice, but here they are. She made chocolate with chocolate frosting, vanilla with a vanilla creme frosting topped with sugared purple violets and coconut cupcakes with lots and lots of shredded coconut. They were awesome as usual.

Here are a bunch of hipstamatic photographs of the cupcakes and one of a really cool car I saw in the the early morning in Santa Cruz. I had just had my morning coffee and caught this on the road.

Break from Fiore for a trip to Santa Cruz

This weekend James, Anne and I took Patrick to UC Santa Cruz. He starts school on Thursday. It’s his freshman year. We’ve had a great weekend, but it was a little sad dropping him off yesterday. We had all but 30 minutes to get him settled. He was unfazed when Anne and I said goodbye, but we were crying. His brother James was  sweet. He took pictures with Patrick and even hugged him goodbye. I still can’t believe that.

We had a bit of a problem with our hotel. I had thought I booked two nights, but when we got back from dropping off Patrick, the door was locked and the keys wouldn’t work. They were sold out for the night and we had to move on. They weren’t as cold as that sounds. They did help us find a room across town in one of their sister motels. Turns out we like the sister motel better and will probably stay there the next time we come to town.

Last night the 3 of us had dinner at a place call La Posta. When the hostess greeted us I said we had a reservation  for 4. Yikes. I wonder how many times I’ll do that.

I liked the place from the moment we pulled into the parking lot. Off to the side behind the parking stalls was a chicken coop. Here is a picture.

Over the two days we found great coffee at Lulu Carpenter’s

Great fig leaf ice cream and melon sorbet at the Penny Ice Creamery

Times are moving along

Sliders from a few weeks ago

It’s been a few days, but lots of stuff is happening. After two weeks of pestering Don the plumber  I finally got some results. Don went to Vegas to gamble and sent Mike his main man to do his dirty work. Mike reluctantly showed up to inspect and instead of returning another day he  connected the grease trap the same day. He was a little surly. When Don’s in Vegas Mike ends up doing the work of two people. He said to me “Why didn’t you call me before, I could have done this a  week ago.” Little did he know I called Don about 7-8 times. Next time I call Mike.

This has been one of my biggest health department worries. So I am pretty grateful to have it done.

The deli showcase was delivered Thursday around noon, but we learned upon it’s arrival that it was too damn wide.. Yikes. I guess we should have thought to measure.  They don’t call me the “Brain” for nothing. Well the deliver guy spent about 30 minutes thinking and pondering the dilemma . He said he was just a delivery man not a mover. He didn’t know how to handle these type of situations.

After the 30 minutes were up he began to dismantle all the glass pieces on the case. He was diligent and extremely careful. I stored them in the kitchen where I wedged between the stove and the counter so they wouldn’t fall. Everything was done. He wheeled  the show case to the door. My son and I were on the  receiving end inside the restaurant. He was standing on the the other side of the door. He leaned the showcase up. We pulled down on it. Within seconds a large piece of something shifted from the top of the case. It moved quickly and slid down the case in between Patrick and I. It hit the ground with force. The piece shattered into thousands of fragments and spread out on the floor like sand falling from a beach towel. Come to find out it was a large piece of colored glass  fitted to serve as a small  counter on top of the case. It was perfectly secure for it’s intended purpose, but when the case was tilted on it’s side well that was a completely different thing entirely. The look on the driver’s  face was one of disbelief. He looked at me and waited for my reaction. I said nothing. It was all of our faults, not just the driver. Remember what he said when he arrived. I am only a driver.

We finished the last of the painting in the dining room today. Marcos, Patrick and Gary did the wood trim outside yesterday. We fastened some new molding to the walls bordering the alcove. I sanded the wood today and painted it with 2 coats of primer and one coat of the cotton linen. It looks pretty good. I missed a few spots with the sanding, but I need to remember to look at the forest and not the individual trees. When I do that it looks damn good.

Patrick and I hooked up the espresso machine tonight. Eaton, the  espresso guy will calibrate the machine on Wednesday. He’ll also create our own custom espresso blend that you can only get at Fiore. I really like that. We’re going to bag it and sell it.

Well that’s all for today. Here are a few pictures. Some of them have been taken with film.


Old is really cool

At least I think so. I have always associated quality with age. Things were built better in the old days. They lasted longer. The materials were superior. Things just had more substance to them. Maybe I have this weird attraction to old stuff because of some unresolved issue from a past life. I don’t know. All I know is the older the better.

Yesterday, Anne and I purchased a buffet to be used as a counter for our pastries. It’s old and worn and really cool. It needs a bit of work. A newbie or someone who loves brand new things will probably be  put off by something like this, but for us it makes us happy.

Perfecto and I placed it in the restaurant today. It’s the first piece of furniture to arrive. It fits squarely in the middle of the restaurant, exactly were it’s meant to be. Cluttered around it are a painting ladder, folding tables and a dining room table with upholstered chairs that we are using for our meals while we work in the restaurant. It’s a little large and takes up too much space for what we have planned, but for now it’s perfect for the afternoon sit down.

We plan to top the buffet with a piece of marble. I found a tile shop around the corner that sells “remnants”. I asked the girl if these were mistakes and she and the guy next to her said no they are “remnants”. Well, after walking the lot and looking at crate after crate of pieces of marble in very strange shapes and sizes, I knew what they were “mistakes”

I have a good feeling that I can get a really good price on a “remnant that will fit nicely on the buffet. I also need one to go under the espresso machine.

Tomorrow I paint the wood work outside. Today Patrick and I and a good friend Mark painted the wood work inside. Bravo.


There is something about a wood table in a kitchen that gets me excited. It can’t just be any wood table. It needs to be really old with lots of scratches and wear and tear. A table that looks like it’s been through kitchen wars is what I like. Even better if the wood surface is  literally worn away by a baker’s weight pushing down on the surface while kneading dough.

Today I found such a table. It”s 8 feet by 30 inches and old, really old. The surface is scratched. The edges are nibbled away and the wood is very dark. When I got it in the restaurant it appeared larger than life. It took up most of the space. My first inclination is that it’s too big, but I am going to let it grow on me. I placed it next to the stove.

I cleaned it with a green scouring pad. There was a very tough layer of grease on the surface that fought me good. I can’t say I prevailed. I did alright. The wood is still sticky and if you lean against it the bottom of your shirt sticks. Tomorrow is round two.

I love how it looks in the kitchen. It is exactly what I imagined.

I also purchased a screen for the back door. There’s something comforting and inviting about an old screen door. It reminds me of the country, of big open fields of tall grass and of farm life. The door to the kitchen will always be open. I’m hoping neighbors knock on the door for an espresso or cappuccino kinda like people used to knock on their neighbor’s doors to borrow a pint of milk.  There’s something homey about it.

So once we open please knock on the the back screen door.

Check out the grain of that wood

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