I meant to post this last Friday. You can see how well I did with that.

I also meant to take a picture of some pizza, since that’s what this whole business is about, but that didn’t work out either. The cook we hired to help Brandon with the pizzas didn’t show up for his first official day of work – the day before our first pre-opening dinner – which has left only Brandon and me in the kitchen. That means that I do my work at my station, run over to his station to help top and finish pizzas, and then run back to my station again. This has not left much time for photography – or breathing, or thinking, or sleeping. If I ever see our no-show again, I am going to break his face. Mark my words. In the meantime, Brandon has burned his business card in the pizza oven. Do not cross us, people.

But as of this evening, we’ve found two people to work part-time until we find a full-time cook. We’re going to sleep better tonight.

And not only will we sleep better, but I will dream of tomato salads. I have three boxes, three whole boxes, of these beauty queens sitting at my station. These particular specimens, called Big Beef, were grown by Billy Allstot, a farmer in Tonasket, Washington. Billy grows the best tomatoes at the farmers’ market, and they cost a small fortune, and we’re so proud to serve them. For our first pre-opening dinner, I used them in a composed salad, along with fingerling potatoes, green beans, hard-boiled egg, anchovy, and shallot vinaigrette. The second night, I cut them into thick slices and topped them with fresh corn cut from the cob, cherry tomatoes (again from Billy), basil, and more shallot vinaigrette.

My mother was here for our first dinner, and as it turns out, she is an absolute champ of a sous chef. She also bought sunflowers for the bar, and on our night off, she treated us to beers and bourbon sours. She was in town for five days, and I don’t know how we could have made it without her. I cried when she left. I have never been as tired as I am right now. I never even knew that I could be so tired.

But I never seem to get tired of making raspberry yogurt popsicles, which is good, because I’ve already made almost two hundred of them. I’m in love. They’re one of two items on our soft opening dessert menu, along with bittersweet chocolate chip cookies with gray salt. The popsicles up there, the ones in the photo, were from one of my test batches, made in small glass juice jars. At the restaurant, I make them in vodka shooter glasses. I’ve only broken two glasses so far, and our dishwasher has broken three. It’s not a terrible record, I don’t think. We’re figuring it out. Not just popsicles, but everything.

I can’t say much more tonight. It’s almost midnight, and I’m still at the restaurant, and I’ve got tomatoes to go home and dream about. But if you want to read a bit about one of our first dinners – and get a look at the pizza! – go read this. And for a peek into the dining room this past Sunday night, click over here. (Thank you, Lorna and Viv!)

I’ll see you in a little bit.