Is it just me, or is anyone else feeling sort of holiday food’ed out? I never thought I would say this, but if I see another cookie, cake, or slice of chocolate pecan pie, I am going to do something crazy, like look the other way. Today, after lunch, I stood in front of the last of the cranberry upside-down cake from Christmas dinner and, fork poised in mid-air, thought, Nah, nevermind. Sometimes I hardly know myself at all.
So let’s not talk about food right now. Instead, I thought we might have a Restaurant Day. Because a major detail has been decided since I first told you about the restaurant, and we want to share it with you. Namely, the name.
The restaurant is going to be called Delancey. We chose it because it reminds us of New York, and since Brandon’s pizza sensibility is so rooted there, it seems fitting. It’s the name of a street in Manhattan, as well as a subway stop, and though it’s not in a particularly glamorous part of town, when Brandon was living in New York, it was one of his favorite stations: always bustling, packed with all sorts of people going to all sorts of places. Plus, isn’t it a pretty word? To me, it feels kind of classy and old-fashioned, like dark wood and tarnished copper and old men in tweed suits smoking cigars. Not that the restaurant will necessarily include any of those things, but we like the idea.
Also, for those of you who asked and those who have speculated, Delancey will be in Ballard, on 70th Street NW, between 14th and Alonzo Avenues. There’s a sweet little strip of businesses there, and Brandon is thrilled to have snatched a spot among them. Number 1415, to be precise.
I went over to the space a couple of weeks ago, in the midst of the big snowstorm, and I took some photographs for you. The place doesn’t look anything like a restaurant yet, so don’t get too excited. I just thought you might like to see it in all its various stages, from ladders and dust (right now) to the day the doors open (in early spring, we hope). If you’d like to view any of the photographs in a larger size, just click on them.
Right now, Brandon is working on pretty boring things: picking out toilet fixtures, submitting applications for various permits, and scraping down the popcorn ceiling. But I think there’s often something beautiful about boring things, like light fixtures and painter’s tape.
Or a mural of two ships, sailing peacefully across the wall above the main door. Once we start painting, I have a feeling it won’t be there anymore.
There are also lots of buckets. Soon they won’t be there anymore either. I won’t miss them.
Here’s a prep table. It holds the all-important bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. And in the back there, you can see the three-compartment sink that will go in the kitchen. When Brandon brought it from the restaurant supply store, it fit into our friend Bonnie’s car by mere centimeters.
And here are Brandon’s new best friends, a surgical mask and a scraper, his tools for removing the gnarly popcorn ceiling. (He had it tested for asbestos, and it came back safe, so please don’t worry.) They’ve spent lots of hours together, that man, that mask, and that scraper. Personally, I like spending time with the boom box on the chair. While I took this photograph, it played Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” for me.
I think that’s all for now, but when we have more to show and tell, we certainly will. There are more Restaurant Days to come, for sure.
In the meantime, here’s to a warm and bright New Year! I hope your 2009 is even better than you can imagine. Thank you, always, for being here.
Like winter and warmth
Hi, friends. I’m writing this from Oklahoma City, from my old bedroom in my mother’s house, where I used to, as a teenager, write gushy poems about 18-year-old boys with sideburns. I had a real thing for 18-year-old boys with sideburns. I don’t anymore. I now have a thing for whiskey-soaked dark chocolate Bundt cakes. They hold their liquor better. Among other things. I can’t talk for long today, because we arrived in Oklahoma around ten o’clock last night and then stayed up too late talking, so I’m tired. I still can’t believe that we even got here, given how snowed-under Seattle is right now. The day before we left, we watched people snowboard down the hill on 65th Street…Read more
Look at that
I’ve been sitting here for the past twenty minutes, trying to figure out how to start this post. I hate it when this happens. I have nightmares about it, even. Well, let’s see. How about a photograph? Maybe it will jump-start something. One can hope. One can also, while hoping, tiptoe over to the fridge and steal some of the peppermint bark in that photograph, even though it’s supposed to be saved for holiday gifts. That’s another option. Just don’t tell Brandon, because I told him earlier today that he couldn’t have any. Then again, he’s over at the restaurant space right now, drinking a beer and eating Cool(!) Ranch(!) Doritos(!) while he rips out the carpet, so it’s really…Read more
For that very reason
I don’t know where to begin. You people spoil me. Do you know that? Brandon and I cannot even dream of how to adequately thank you for the immensely kind and utterly galvanizing comments you left in response to The Big Restaurant Announcement. Some of you even sent e-mails, offering advice, encouragement, and hands-on(!) help(!). I’m still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. Thank you. Or rather, I mean, THANK YOU. If I could hire a plane to write it in the sky, I would, because that would best capture the magnitude of the sentiment. But we have a budget to stay within, you understand. So, onward we go, right? I will keep you posted, I promise,…Read more
I can’t wait
Hi, all. I am writing this from an airplane somewhere between Seattle and Newark, en route to my in-law’s house for Thanksgiving. I’m afraid I don’t have a recipe for you today, but the view is very nice, and I can offer you that, at least. If you squint hard enough, the wing of the plane looks a little like a dolphin tail, so it’s really two pictures in one. I hope you will find it a fair exchange. Or, if not, I can offer a little piece of news instead. Actually, it’s a huge piece of news, but calling it little makes it feel more manageable. Brandon is opening a restaurant. My heart stopped for a second, just typing…Read more
A whole bowlful
I had intended to talk about dessert today. You’ve been extremely kind about the recent vegetable recipe bonanza around here, and to thank you, I wanted to bake you something especially nice. You deserve it. So I made a pan of gingerbread. The recipe was new to me, but it looked delicious: good and spicy, with rum-soaked raisins and crystallized ginger and orange zest and a pretty glaze. I just knew you would love it. I was very excited. To make sure it was worthy, I cut a couple of slices to eat after dinner the other night, while we sat on the couch with a DVD of Dog Whisperer, hoping that Cesar Millan might, god willing, help us understand…Read more
Out of love
I am not trying to torture you, I promise. I know it must seem like I sit around all day, cackling evilly, stroking my black cat, scheming up ways to trick you into eating lima beans and kale, but I don’t. Cross my heart. I don’t even have a cat – although I do sometimes cackle, but never at your expense. Everything I do here, I do out of love. Which is also, coincidentally, why I am going to talk today about a Savoy cabbage gratin. This, in case you wondered, is what love looks like. Isn’t it beautiful? In a vaguely Little Shop of Horrors way? Actually, don’t answer that. I don’t want anything to color my feelings for…Read more
I’m feeling a little bit preoccupied by the election tomorrow, so if you don’t mind, I’d like to cut straight to the chase. I have four words for you. Lima. Beans. In. Cream. Still there? Yes? You won’t be sorry, I swear. They may not sound like much, but they’re right up there with cream-braised Brussels sprouts, and that is not something I say lightly. In fact, if it’s any indication, I rank those Brussels sprouts as one of my Top Ten Best Things Ever. Just so you know. I mean business about these lima beans. When I decided to make these, I was mainly after something soothing to eat on election night. My first idea was a pan of…Read more
Your work is done
I’ve been a little wishy-washy, I know, about the coming of fall this year. One minute, I’m moaning about wool scarves and rain and the end of the world, and the next minute, I’m chirping giddily about kale and apples and flannel sheets. It must be hard to keep up, and I’m sorry about that. If it’s any consolation, know that I too have a hard time keeping up, and I’m the one doing the moaning and chirping. Fall makes my head feel spinny. Fall also, incidentally, makes me absolutely crazy for soup. C-R-A-Z-Y. Does anyone else experience this phenomenon, or is it my own peculiar seasonal pathology? I mean, is it weird to set the table with only napkins…Read more
This old thing
So, have you eaten your boiled kale yet? Because dessert is ready, but you have to finish your vegetables before you can have any. That’s how it works. I would like to introduce my new favorite dessert. Which, conveniently, is also the most ridiculously easy apple tart I have ever made. Isn’t it charming? In a rustic, “oh, this old thing?” sort of way? It’s the edible equivalent of a dog-eared book: a little rough around the edges, rumpled here and there, but 100 percent lovable on the inside. It’s the kind of dessert that wants to be eaten in a red barn with a loft full of hay bales, or in a bed with flannel sheets, while the wind…Read more
I never thought I would say these words, but I like boiled kale. Kind of a lot. This may not be the most exciting confession I have ever made, but please bear with me. Or, at least, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Boiled kale, I mean. I don’t usually like boiled anything – except, of course, pasta – but boiled kale, yes. It’s the wool sock of winter vegetables: warming, soothing, completely unglamorous, as cozy as a bunch of green leaves can be. If I could climb into a bowl of anything right now, I think I would choose kale. That’s the ultimate measure, you know, of a cool-weather food: would you want to lie down in a…Read more
A second shot
I’ve got nothing against fall. Really, it’s just fine. It’s plums and pumpkins and leaves changing color and apple cider and all that. The problem is that it paves the way for winter. The way I see it, fall is sort of like the butler in an English novel, and winter is the shadowy, black-clad, slightly deranged visitor at the gate. Fall, being very polite and professional, escorts Winter into the parlor to have a seat. Then, while Fall is upstairs, alerting his master to the arrival of the visitor, Winter wreaks havoc on the manor, downing an entire decanter of brandy, startling the maid, and stealing the sterling tea service from the sideboard in the dining room. Is this…Read more
I don’t make many demands around here, but today, I have to. So listen up. (Please.) Get a pen and a piece of paper. Then write the following: 4 large tomatoes 1 yellow onion Arborio rice Fresh basil Breadcrumbs Potatoes Now, go to the grocery store or market or wherever, and buy everything you wrote down. Go on! And don’t forget to preheat the oven. Tonight, for dinner, you are having Luisa Weiss’s tomatoes filled with rice. (With a couple of potatoes on the side.) This photograph hardly does them justice, but trust me: you are going to love these tomatoes. I say that as someone who doesn’t, under ordinary circumstances, even like tomatoes filled with rice. Prior to last…Read more
Hello again, finally.
It feels so good to say that. Thank you for your immensely kind comments last week, friends, and for waiting patiently while I plowed through a few deadlines. It’s always so nice to come back to this space after a little while away. It is also very nice, I hear, to sit on the couch with a good book and drink a beer. I hope I still remember how to do that. I also hope to clean the baseboards around our apartment sometime soon, because you would not believe how much dust those things can accumulate. Or maybe you would? Seriously. They’re like little tiny shelves – Barbie™-sized, almost – only instead of holding useful objects like tiny plates or…Read more
Well, I know it sometimes looks like things are all sunshine and Bordeaux around here, but I’m having sort of a rough week. It seems that I have bitten off more than I can chew lately – and unfortunately, I don’t mean that literally. I’m so sorry, guys, because I really would like to sit down today and catch up with you. But I just can’t. I can, however, give you a rather triumphant picture of the sky. I took it about a month ago, on a very nice, calm evening, and it always makes me feel better. I can also give you an IOU, if you will take it. Will you? Please? I promise to make good on it…Read more
The least I can do
Hi again. Thank you for taking such good care of the place while I was gone. That was a long way to go for only a week – and I have the jet lag to prove it – but wow oh WOW. It was good. You’ll have to wait until the article comes out to get the juicy details, but for now, how about a few pictures? You were so nice to cheer me on, and the least I can do is give you some photographs in return. Do you think fourteen will be enough? I hope so. On the way over, we had an eight-hour layover in Amsterdam. I had never had an eight-hour layover before, and I can’t…Read more
Out of Office AutoReply
Today I planned to give you a recipe for a roasted eggplant salad. It was kind of an Italian riff on ratatouille, only minus the tomatoes and plus a dressing of roasted garlic, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. I found the recipe a handful of years ago in one of my cookbooks, made it a couple of times, and loved it. I was thrilled when I thought of it again last week, because it’s the perfect thing for late summer, when the market tables are piled high with shiny-skinned eggplants and peppers. Unfortunately, however, when I made it this weekend, it was totally underwhelming. Actually, it was more than underwhelming: it bordered on painful. It was so…Read more
A clear sign
I know I’m not supposed to say this, but I think fall may be coming soon. Also, and I know I’m really not supposed to say this, but I baked banana bread again. I’m so sorry, on both counts. Clearly, I have a problem. If my count is correct, this is the sixth, SIXTH, banana bread and/or cake recipe that I have written about here. Is there some sort of treatment facility for this? A Betty Ford Center for Banana Bread Dependency? I try to stop myself, but I am weak. So weak. Especially when there is honey involved, and when there are crumbly bits of cinnamon sugar on top, and when some of those crumbly bits fall onto the…Read more
The summer before last, I had a run-in with one of our neighbors over a blackberry bush. I am not usually the type of person who has run-ins, much less run-ins over fruit-bearing vegetation, but she started it. Have I told you about our mean, nasty, blackberry-hoarding neighbor? No? Well, pull up a chair. And bring a spoon, because I have some blackberry frozen yogurt in the freezer, and unlike some people, I don’t mind sharing. We had moved into our apartment only a couple of months before, and with summer heading into its fullest flush, we noticed a thicket of blackberry bushes in one corner of the backyard. Needless to say, this was very exciting. The best part was,…Read more
I have a little theory about summer. It’s called the Picnic Quota, and basically, the idea is this: that a person requires a certain number of picnics per summer (PPS) in order to maintain a reasonable level of happiness through the impending winter. The baseline PPS may vary slightly from person to person, as does the definition of “reasonable,” but you get the idea. As a general theory, I think it is pretty airtight. I also, incidentally, think I need more picnics. The thought hit me this weekend, when I got caught in the rain while walking the dog – did I mention that we got a dog? We got a dog! – and realized with a start that I…Read more
Kind of perfect
Tomorrow is our first anniversary. I can hardly believe it. I don’t know what to say, except where on earth did the year go? That, and I love this man. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our anniversary. I like the idea of anniversaries. Early on, Brandon and I decided to accumulate as many of them as we could. At that point, we weren’t thinking in terms of wedding anniversaries, mind you. We weren’t even engaged yet. It’s just that we’re both quite fond of champagne, and we wanted to cultivate excuses for drinking it. This required a strategy: we would celebrate, we decided, as many occasions as we could get away with. For starters, we would celebrate the…Read more
The important parts
Hello again. I sincerely hope that all our talk of chocolate chip cookies hasn’t left you in a sugar coma, because I come to you today with more sweets. Some of you are going to hate me for this, I know, but I had to. I didn’t have a choice. This past Saturday evening, a reader of this website sent me an e-mail with the subject line, “Looking for Good Pie Crust.” And get this: I happened to have an apricot tart sitting on my kitchen table at that very moment. I think this is what is sometimes called fate. Or happy coincidence. Or serendipity. Or synchronicity. Or all four. Anyway, like I said, I didn’t have a choice. Also,…Read more
A bold statement
So, how many of you, after reading last week’s food section of The New York Times, made a batch of chocolate chip cookies? I can’t possibly be the only one susceptible to suggestion around here. Hands up, now. Don’t be shy. Okay, so, for those of you who made the cookies, how many ate them at every meal for multiple days, to the near-complete exclusion of other foods? I ask not only because I did, but because these cookies deserve to be eaten that way, in extravagant quantities. I mean, just look at them. A mere glimpse makes me want to pour a big glass of iced coffee and do something immoderate. The sad part is, I would have overlooked…Read more
Hot and sweet
I regret to inform you that we have now reached, it seems, the time of year when I can hardly motivate to cook a single thing. Uh oh. Maybe you know the feeling? I hope so. For me, the problem is not so much the heat, although that’s certainly part of it. Here in Seattle, it only occasionally gets too hot for the stove, but when it does, it’s memorable. Last week, I was working on developing a recipe for pâté de campagne, and I can now say with a good deal of authority that pork fat is not at all pleasant to work with when the ambient temperature of your house is approximately 80 degrees. Also, though sweat is…Read more
Very well then
Apparently, I am a little bit fickle. Only three short months ago, almost to the day, I was singing the praises of homemade mayonnaise, and now here I am, about to offer you a recipe for basil aioli made by doctoring a jar of Best Foods. This might be a good time, I think, to call into service my favorite Walt Whitman quote: Do I contradict myself?Very well then, I contradict myself,(I am large, I have eaten a lot of mayonnaise). I am not usually a quote person, but I find that this one comes in handy in lots of different situations. This past Saturday night, our friend Olaiya had a barbeque. The party was ostensibly to celebrate her new…Read more
In its frilly finest
I love having house guests. It has been brought to my attention that this is perhaps not a very common or popular stance, but I am sticking by it. As a general concept, I think house guests are pretty great. It’s like having a slumber party, only you can cuss without getting in trouble, and the mean girl from second grade isn’t around to make you cry anymore, and instead of Dr. Pepper and Funyuns, you can share such things as salami and cherries and bottles of rosé and pappardelle with bagna cauda, wilted radicchio, and eggs fried in olive oil. I think we can all get behind that. This past weekend, my friend Leah came up from California for…Read more
I baked you a cake
Wow. I’m not sure what to say today. I sent off my revised manuscript at 9:30 this morning, and judging by the mess around our apartment, my entire brain went with it. Just now, I retrieved the mail from its slot by the front door and discovered that, apparently, when I paid the bills last week, I didn’t put stamps on any of the envelopes. Consequently, they all came back today, like a small flock of homing pigeons, only flatter. Let’s hope that my brain does the same. Soon. I’m not going to type for long today, because I feel a nap coming on. But I wanted to celebrate this little victory with you, because you’ve been very patient with…Read more
Before I begin, I feel that a warning of sorts is in order. I understand that some of you people, especially the ones on the East Coast, are having a heat wave? Is that right? Well, if so, you might consider clicking away right now, because what I am about to say will have almost no relevance for you. Sorry. That said, here goes. Today, June 9, it is 49 degrees and raining. I woke up and turned on the heat, got out my green wool socks, and now I am eating baked pasta. Anybody still there? I’m not even sure I am, and I’m the one writing this thing. But I can tell you this for certain: the pasta…Read more
Hello working hard do not have time to write properly so decided to send telegram STOP Also do not have recipe STOP In past week, overcooked asparagus ate salami that tasted funny burned bread decided to eat celery with peanut butter for dinner but found celery molding in crisper drawer STOP Ate olives and cereal instead STOP Do not pity me STOP I like olives and cereal STOP Separately not together STOP And this too shall pass STOP Writing in telegram style is fun STOP Except am tired of typing stop STOP Am guest blogging at everyday polaroid every day this week yes every day STOP so please come see me there STOP wont you QUERYRead more
Something more exciting
I have a bad case of Book Brain. Oh, people, is it ever bad. It doesn’t matter what I appear to be doing – eating, sleeping, bathing, talking, writing this sentence – because I am not really doing it. I am thinking about how to revise my manuscript. I am useless. Also, I am boring. Last week, Brandon and I had an argument over vanilla extract. When you argue with your husband over baking ingredients, you are a very boring person. This week, if we argue, I hope it’s over something more exciting, like bank robbery, or politics, or lace underwear, or who gets the last drop of gin from the cocktail shaker. On Saturday, in an effort to combat…Read more