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The dead who dream

We are long overdue, I think, for a Restaurant Day. So much so, actually, that I’m not sure where to start. But I guess the front door is as good a place as any.

I know I haven’t mentioned it around here much lately, but The Thing That Will One Day Be Delancey marches on, slowly but surely. With emphasis, I guess I should say, on the slowly part. We are doing this on a very slim budget, which means that most of the work is done with our four hands - mainly Brandon’s, actually, to be perfectly fair - and with borrowed labor, borrowed pickup trucks, and borrowed tools from friends and family. I can’t imagine doing it any other way, especially not in this grisly economy, but we are no match for a contractor and a construction crew, and when bedtime comes, we sleep like the dead. The dead who dream of wood-fired pizza.

But somehow we like it, and we still like each other, and that feels reassuring. Our plans were approved and stamped by the city last Friday, and the liquor license came in the mail today, and though we hit a snag on the plumbing this morning that required self-medication in the form of some coconut macaroons, we are aiming to open in mid-May. With emphasis on the aiming to part. So don’t quote me on that quite yet.

A lot happened over there - at “the space,” as we call it - while I was out of town, so I feel as though I have about three posts’ worth of news for you, but today I want to tell you about two items in particular: the floor, and the oven.

When we started, half of the floor was carpeted, and half of it was painted the shade of blue you see above. What we wanted was a natural concrete floor: no paint, no nonsense, just a coat of sealant. So Brandon ripped out the carpet, and then he rented something called a Shot Blaster.

Privately, I hoped that the Shot Blaster was some sort of high-tech bartending tool, or maybe a weapon for firing one-ounce portions of vodka at my enemies. I pictured it as something akin to the marshmallow bazooka I once read about in a SkyMall catalog, battery powered and promising to launch “edible, full-sized marshmallows up to 40’, forever changing the rules of engagement for marshmallow gun confrontations.” But I was wrong. A Shot Blaster is a cross between a vacuum cleaner, an industrial sander, and a tennis ball machine. You push it (slowly and laboriously; it’s tricky) over a surface, the same way you would a sander, and as you do so, it shoots out and circulates thousands of tiny steel balls, which pummel whatever is beneath them, removing paint, carpet glue, anything that crosses their path. The Shot Blaster removed the blue paint, but unfortunately, it also left a weird, conspicuous pattern in its wake - like the trail a vacuum cleaner leaves as it moves over carpet, only more aggressive - and worse, it revealed some nasty cracks in the floor, cracks that had been filled with cement until we Shot Blasted the living crap out of them.

Needless to say, it was a disappointment, not to mention a huge waste of money. For a minute there, we looked at each other, and we were Tom Hanks and Shelley Long in The Money Pit. After weighing our options, we decided to reseal the cracks and paint the floor. We also decided never to speak of the Shot Blaster again. We’ve chosen a paint color, a warm shade of gray, and maybe the next time we have a Restaurant Day, I will show it to you.

On the upside, the wood-burning oven has arrived, and that, THAT, is what this whole place is about. Of course, it arrived in pieces, weighs nearly 4000 pounds, and took 24 hours to assemble, but it’s a beauty. It was worth it.

It’s an Italian-style oven, made by a California-based company called Mugnaini. Brandon tried a number of different styles and brands and concepts, both gas-fired and wood-burning, and this one was the winner. We could have bought it fully assembled and ready to use, but that would have required removing a large window to install it, and possibly a wall. Instead, we bought the oven in parts. And to make sure that we didn’t completely botch its assembly, we flew someone up from the company to help us. (Somehow, that was actually cheaper than it would have been to remove and replace a window. Don’t ask.) His name was Michael, and he was so fantastic, so charming and knowledgeable and immediately at ease, that we were tempted to adopt him as some sort of long-lost uncle. That’s him, the blur in the picture above, preparing to piece together and lay the oven floor, which is what you see below.

Once the floor was in place, the dome of the oven could be built above it. The dome was composed of thick, curving panels, a little like petals from an enormous tulip, that fit snugly together and were crowned with a final, circular panel. Each of them, each panel, weighed over 200 pounds.

The spaces between the panels were filled with refractory cement, and then the whole dome was wrapped with ceramic fiber, and then the thing was encased in metal walls, and then on top went a ton of refractory cement and perlite, for thermal mass and insulation. For the record, I do not pretend to know what thermal mass is.

In fact, I was given a special dispensation from most of this. For the better part of the process, which went on until 2 am, I was at home, asleep. But Brandon and Michael took a lot of pictures, and if you want to see the entire process, every single step, you can geek out right here.

When I arrived the next morning, it was done. Magic.

Of course, we then had to move it from where it was built, in the center of the room, into its proper location against a wall in the kitchen-to-be. That part did not involve magic, but rather me, Brandon, and our friend Ben, early in the morning and bleary-eyed, inching the thing around on a hydraulic handtruck, using some masking tape, a plastic protractor, and a 30° wedge cut out of cardboard to maneuver it into the right position before the ventilation people arrived to build the chimney.

Now that the oven is in place, we can pretty it up with some tile and start to construct the bar and the kitchen around it. That’s next. That, and making concrete tabletops. I can tell you about that another time, if you want. Until then, you know where to find me.

P.S. Actually, aside from Delancey, you can find me at Third Place Books this Friday night, April 3, at 6:30 pm.


Blogger Gemma said...

So exciting and sounds like it's going to look amazing - definitely want to see the concrete tabletops (and the sample pizzas!). Good luck with the new few months.

Gemma x

11:29 PM, March 30, 2009  
Blogger LynnT said...

Hi Molly,
You and Brandon are a courageous pair! Looking forward to your space becoming a great space. Your pup is precious...hope he can hang out at the restaurant... as a service animal of course!

11:31 PM, March 30, 2009  
Blogger Gemma said...

p.s - I meant next few months but I guess it is a new few months for you as well so never mind x

11:33 PM, March 30, 2009  
Anonymous Isabelle said...

It's so satisfying doing the fit-out yourself! My sister and I did nearly everything ourselves for our shop. It's great when people compliment this part or that and I get to say things like, "yeah, it took a whole weekend on a scaffold to paint those pipes".

Oh and we have a sealed concrete floor. I'm sorry yours didn't work out the way you'd hoped because they are excellent in so many ways.

11:43 PM, March 30, 2009  
Blogger aimee heff said...

We can't wait to come partake at Delancey.

11:48 PM, March 30, 2009  
Blogger Lickedspoon said...

It's wonderful to see your dream taking shape, though I can only imagine the levels of stress, exhaustion and exhilaration in equal measure. Just building a new kitchen on our house nearly gave me a nervous breakdown - particularly the day we installed half a ton of carrera marble to top the island. Despite all of the intricate planning before hand,I seem to remember hastily improvised wedges of cardboard being involed on that day too! Wishing you lots of luck and looking forward to seeing the end result.

11:53 PM, March 30, 2009  
Anonymous MoiGus said...

Love the 'put it together yourself shots'. We also have an oven from Mugnaini -an outside one that looks like a family of 4 could live under it.( It turned out to be quite large). We didn't get a Michael to help though - jealous!However, everything under the sun gets cooked in it. You will love it. Promise.

12:09 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Miriam said...

The 'thermal mass' is needed to provide a constant temperature inside the oven. The concrete is storing the heat, which is produced by the wood fire.
My family in law has such a wood-burning oven in their backyard and it is really surprising how long it stays hot after the fire extinguished. The pizza and Tarte Flambee taste fantastic!

3:00 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Tania said...

I am fairly new around here and only just cottoning on to the enormity of what you are up to. Well. If you don't mind, I'd quite like to come along for the blog ride. In the meanwhile, you could consider setting the Marshmallow Bazooka on to the Shot Blaster. Purely in the interests of closure, of course.

3:22 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger the 6 o'clock stitch said...

What an exciting, (exhilirating, exhausting) time you must be having!


4:03 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Emily said...

looks great! hoping to be in seattle for new years and hoping to go eat at delancey while we are there!

4:20 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Adrienne said...

It's all so exciting, isn't it? And just think how satisfying it will be to know you did it all yourselves. I'll be crossing my fingers over here for the mid-may opening date - I live on the other coast but will be in Seattle (for the first time!) the first week in June :)

4:32 AM, March 31, 2009  
OpenID bferry said...

that second-to-last photo above is a stunner, molly.
and three cheers for the oven!

4:58 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger petoskystone said...

wow. releasing a book & building a restaurant! you certainly enjoy challenge :) jack is a cutie in color & black/white!

5:02 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Sharman Owings said...

Did you paint the floor yet?!?! You should look into a product called Mile Stone. I think you could end up with your original vision.
We live in Enumclaw. Hubby is a sculptor. Knows ALL about this product. It was developed in Seattle, is concrete based and can mimic ANYTHING at about 1/8" thick.

5:11 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Maggie said...

Wow, this is fascinating, thank you for our behind-the-scenes peek. And good luck! And take care of each other! Must be exhausting.

5:13 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Sarah said...

Since you brought up the book, let me just say that I think it is wonderful! I started reading it yesterday & somewhere around the chocolate-covered macaroons I realized I was not going to be able to sleep until I read the whole thing.

5:30 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Andy said...

I can't wait to see the face of that oven covered in Heath tile. Another reason I'll be looking forward to my Seattle trip this summer.

5:33 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Jennifer Lea said...

hello there from melbourne,
this is another great reason to come seattle, sigh* ur blog is comforting for some reason.

5:45 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Paula said...

How amazing that you're taking on this great project. If the fearlessness and originality of your blog is anything to go by I'm sure it'll be wonderful

5:46 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Joe Randazzo said...

Hey Molly!

Looking forward to your Friday signing, Im hoping I'm able to make it!

If you guys ever need free labor, I'm in town and would love to help out! (ps I'm Matt Armendariz's dinner date from the Meat Blogger Party).

Congrats again on the book, it's wonderful.


6:00 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Anne said...

Wow - that's hard core - assembling AND moving a 4000 oven!! Congrats! We've had many of those "Money Pit" moments over the years with home improvements, including the time my husband thought it would be fun to jackhammer part of our driveway... It's always good to close those chapters! ;) Can't wait to hear more about the process!

6:09 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger teryll said...

Love it! The oven is a masterpiece! Congrats!

6:14 AM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Sounds like serious progress! When I visit my parents later this year, I'll try come by to check out what state Delancey is in. Wood-oven baked pizza being a major weakness of mine (and everyone else's, I'm sure!).

Thanks again for a great reading (and great cookies) in D.C.

6:21 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger The Yellow Door Paperie said...

This is exciting. Love the oven, I'm holding my breath for the countertops.

Stay sane with all the goodness in your life right now!

6:22 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Lisa said...

Although an urban restaurant in the Pacific Northwest and a rural farm in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains do not, at first, have much in common, I can't believe how much of your process resonates with our experience here! We, too, are awash in hand trucks, protractors (well, a fancy compass now, actually!), tape, tears, elation.

It's so amazing what you're doing. I will have to find a way to come eat there.

6:33 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger pamcjordan said...

Hi Molly -
I finished reading your book last night and I totally loved it. I lived in France many, many years ago and you took me back. Last summer we grew radishes in our garden and I introduced my husband to radishes with butter salt and crusty bread. We were in heaven. This year's radish sprouts are just popping through the ground (we live in the south). Good luck with Delancey! And thank you so much for transporting (and inspiring) me with your stories.

6:38 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Anna said...

Amazing to hear about this being built literally from the ground up. From scratch. Very appropriate to you! No baking mixes here.

I also would like to say that I am nearly done your book--just a few more chapters to go--and absolutely adore it. Your writing style is like your photography--spare and simple, with a natural elegance that evokes a much deeper warmth and joy. Both nostalgic and fresh. I love it and will be sad to finish, but it will keep living for me in your blog (yay for that!) and in the fact that I can make your recipes.

It's been a pleasure "meeting" you, Molly, through your work. Too bad it is such a one-sided thing! I live in Canada and can't come to any of your book events.

In the meantime, I will certainly be a dedicated reader of your blog. I haven't tried any recipes yet, but I have houseguests this weekend and am thinking about a few recipes to try...maybe the cinnamon rolls...this is my favourite kind of dilemma.

6:43 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger shari said...

so fun to see the progress. it seems like such hard work...wish we could help out or at least stop by with some homebrews. xox

6:43 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger jodi said...

so very exciting!

6:56 AM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous beyond said...

i loved seeing the oven in parts. so cool. sorry about the floor. maybe you could polish it with one of those diamond polish machines... can't wait to see more photos.

7:15 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Chelsea said...

I'm sorry to hear about the floor! I love the look of plain or stained concrete. I can't wait to hear about the concrete tabletops:)Delancey is going to be so lovely!

7:31 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Claudia said...

For my part, it is exciting to watch a dream-in-action. Hate to tell you - but laughed that it was cheaper to bring in a person to help assemble the stove than remove a window. We live in eccentric times. Best of luck with it though - there is a wood-stove pizza place forty minutes from me - in WI - and we make the drive because it is oh so good. And must add that I am cooking regularly from your book. How wonderfully sweet it is.

7:36 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Laura. said...

this is so exciting! i especially like the bit about what you THOUGHT a shot blaster was or could be. i also think it is incredibly beautiful, and so much more personal, that you are doing the work yourselves. i don't think you will ever regret it.
i just wished i lived in seattle so i could come eat some delicious pizza this summer.

7:38 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Liz said...

I will be visiting my new niece in Portland at the end of June and am aiming to see Seattle for the first time at the end of that trip. Tightly crossing my fingers that you are open and ready for business!!

My two little boys L-O-V-E pizza and I would love to say that I got to eat at Delancy. :O)

7:44 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Mama JJ said...

My husband is a maker of concrete counter tops---he learned how to do them when we lived in Nicaragua, and since we've come home, he's made two for us (the first was gray and the second red), plus multiple ones for other families (bright red, brown, black). I absolutely love them---you'll love them, too, I'm sure, but just a heads-up: they are time-consuming, expensive (if you're not making them yourselves), and tricky. I hope that doesn't deter you at all, because you will NOT regret them.

7:46 AM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous Emily said...

Oh, Molly! How exciting and scary all at the same time. Just to let you know that even though I don't live in Seattle, I'm demanding that my friends who do live in your fair city hit up Delancey, many, many times.

Good luck with everything! And oh my goodness, your dog is beautiful.


7:54 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Leslie said...

Things are falling into place! On a side note, I want to know more about the adorable pooch who appears in those photos! He definitely deserves a post (you could even tell us what you feed him in order to stick with the blog's central theme!) ;)

8:04 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Matías said...

i recenttly discover your blog and your works. i really like it.
Thanks for share all this wonderfull stuff.



8:05 AM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous Shelley (Pink House) said...

So exciting for those of us who just stick with the "dream" part and never move forward to actually doing. Thanks for sharing. It seems quite daunting.

8:16 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

Now, if we could just see the menu...


The progress looks amazing.

8:21 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger shayna said...

Hi Molly,

Straight back from your whirlwind book tour into mayhem, eh? Looks and sounds fantastic. No, really I mean that. Living in the renovation process for the past almost 2 years (with our home, thankfully no restaurant!), I can seriously relate. Good work to both of you!



8:54 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Tea said...

Oh, Molly. The shots here are really gorgeous. Truly.

8:59 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Max said...

Been there. It takes twice as long and twice as much money but that first night is worth it. Good luck.
Chef Max

9:16 AM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous Hillary said...

Wow, what an oven! Can't wait to see the final product (I'm crossing my fingers for mid May!) :)

9:16 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger michaela said...

its nice you still like each other. i hope to see you friday night!

9:18 AM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous Susan Parran in Amherst, NH said...

Shot blaster? Hmmmm. Sounds like something a Sly Stallone character might use. I really have no idea about this, but I wonder what would happen if you tried a humble (but also noisy) sandblaster on that floor? Only use fine corn grit, not sand.

9:21 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger denise said...

exciting! whenever i make decisions in my life i ask myself "will this ____ help me become who i want to be when i'm old?". this is one of those things...

9:22 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Ashley said...

your imagination is great! don't mind me laughing out loud at desk, mid-day. wonder if skymall has actually had any success with those suckers?

9:30 AM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so excited for you. If you open in May (fingers crossed) then by the time we visit Seattle in August you should really be cooking! Or baking! or .... Yeah, we'll be checking out Delancey.
Jennifer in KS

9:56 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Maryn McKenna said...

I'm sure it's way too early, but have you considered declaring a "blog night" for Delancey once you are open or close to it? You could use it as soft-opening practice - or, if you feel like that would be too many people because you have such a following, you could do it on an off weeknight (Monday?) once you are running. There are so many who read your work and wish you well and would like to support this - to have as many as can fit in the room at one time could provide quite a burst of energy...

10:05 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Martha said...

Bravo to you two for taking on that oven - what a feat! Your comment about "emergency macaroons" reminded me to tell you that I gave your recipe a try and they are my new favorite. Love that they aren't too sweet and I even mixed in a bit of orange zest to play up the coconut, citrus, dark chocolate traditional combo. Thanks for sharing!

10:36 AM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous Lidi said...

We will have to make a special trip down from Vancouver once this is all done. Yum!

11:33 AM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous Erin said...

I hope you open before I move! I've been dying to eat at Delancy.

11:45 AM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous Francis said...

Dear Molly,

"Thermal mass" is a fancy way of saying, "a big-ass thing stays hot longer than a little-ass thing."


12:06 PM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous mandy said...

A warm gray floor--just what I was hoping for after seeing the samples. It's just a floor, of course, but floors matter. They do.

1:20 PM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Rosiecat said...

My goodness, what a spectacular undertaking this whole Delancey thing is! I'm just awed by it. When I finally make it out to Seattle, you can bet I'll be searching for a pizza at Delancey and an autograph from Molly. A book like A Homemade Life really needs to be autographed by the author.

2:28 PM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger WannabeMommy said...

Hi Molly... I love your blog, and met you very quickly at your san francisco book signing. I'm in love with your book, and agree with you wholeheartedly about cooking french toast in oil (who knew?). Anyway, SO looking forward to Delancey. Hoping it's open next time I'm in Seattle.

ps. How was the Kashary?

4:41 PM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous Melissa said...

That’s fantastic that you are opening a restaurant. It sounds like so much work! How rewarding it must be to watch it come together.

I really enjoy your story, and you tell it well. Please write more about Delancey soon! :)

5:40 PM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous Trisha said...

The restaurant will be as beautiful as the book. :) I had to read it in one sitting and was brought to tears more than once -- a rare thing for me when it comes to memoirs. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

5:58 PM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Sara Reddy Coyne said...

I'm holding out for pizza recipes. I once made the most divine homemade grilled pizza with pesto and olives and salami (trust me, it was spectacular - chewy, crusty crust, salty and savory with the soft fresh mozzarella). I got cocky and tried to duplicate it a week later and my grill went up in flames while stood by in utter bafflement. I clearly need an expert's guidance.

6:54 PM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous WakterKnitty said...

Hopefully you will get your wish and be able to open mid Mayish. New to your blog. I enjoy the way you write and your recipes. Dumb question time. Where do you put the fire in the oven?

7:59 PM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger Eric said...

Hi Molly,
Just like to say that I've been really enjoying your blog since recently finding it. Not soon after that I read your article in Bon Appetit on your father's rice pudding. When I was a kid we used to sometimes have "sweet rice" for breakfast, and it's something that I still love to fix for myself every now and then, so I'm looking forward to trying your recipe.
Congratulations on your book and the restaurant, I own a pizzeria and will be following your progress with interest (yeah, I geeked out on the oven), best of luck to you and Brandon!

8:03 PM, March 31, 2009  
Anonymous kitchenspeakeasy@wordpress.com said...

Molly -
As a chef-instructor, daughter (who's mom is fighting cancer), and hobby writer I have to heartily say THANK YOU. Just thank you, your book came at a time when my heart needed a good tale to read. I am inspired by your blog and I am excited to come see you at your signing on Friday. HOORAY!

8:57 PM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger lana said...

are you going to be at third place in ravenna or in LFP? I work at the vios cafe in third place in ravenna and would love to come say hello... I can't wait to see delancy! Going to need any staff? ;)

2:00 AM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger jbeach said...

This is awesome. How lucky are we to get to see Delancey unfold...very exciting!! Thanks so much for sharing with us.

8:11 AM, April 01, 2009  
Anonymous Francis Lam said...

Dear Molly,

A correction / clarification from Christine, who knows about such things: Thermal mass is more about material properties than mass, per se. To wit: a big pile of wood does not hold heat better than a small slab of iron. And I would guess the ratio of volume to surface area may have something to do with it also. But all this is not quite as pithy, now is it?


8:16 AM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger Carol said...

progress! so impressed with all the progress and hard work. we are working with a contractor on the hovel renovation, and i don't know if we'll be back my mid-may (13 months and counting). kudos to you! also saw your book was in people magazine (i think?), what great exposure!

8:18 AM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger Brian G. said...

My wife got me your book for my birthday and it is as good as I hoped, although I miss the photographs that go with the blog. Maybe for your next book.

Congrats on the restaurant. I am looking forward to coming to eat there whenever we are in town.

8:31 AM, April 01, 2009  
OpenID zjarrett said...

I feel that success for you guys is imminent, there's a lot of love in that 4,000 lb. stove and pocked floor. I'm sure there will be love in the dough, sauce, cheese, and chairs. Cheers!

8:42 AM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger Piper P. said...

if anything further confirms yours and brandon's wonderful aesthetic, it's the use of heath tiles!

9:17 AM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger MA Design Team said...

I stop by when I can to read your blog and what a coincidence this time as I spent the best part of the last couple of days building the base for my outside pizza oven. The top will be made of cob and I have a whole bunch of friends coming over to help me with it. Can't wait for the pizza! Good luck with your fabulous indoor oven. I'm afraid I'm all the way in the UK - but if I ever venture your way . . .

9:34 AM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger zaida said...

hi Molly, this is my first post in your blog though i´ve been following it a few months ago.

just want to say hello from spain and congrat you for your beautiful project

10:12 AM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger Phoebe and Cara, The Quarter-Life Cooks said...

Thank you so much for the amazing insiders view on what it actually takes to open a restaurant--such an impressive feat that so many industry professionals in my city don't truly experience first hand.

The Money Pit contains some of my favorite comedic images, but may be outdone by that of you operating a hydraulic hand-truck.

10:37 AM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger Bonnie said...

Not having any experience with starting a restaurant from scratch, your posts are fascinating and inspiring. I couldn't help but think that it will be so much more than a restaurant you own when it's over, but a restaurant you MADE, quite literally, with your own two hands! How exciting for both of you - best of luck!

10:38 AM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger Haley said...

Hi Molly! I found your site just over a year ago, poured through the archives and have spent every Monday since eagerly awaiting news from Seattle. It's been incredible to see the start of your blog, your journey over the last few years, and now the release of your first book - which I went out and bought, promptly read in one sitting and...wow. You are a beautiful writer. Your words made me both laugh and cry. And your recipes always make me hungry (!) congratulations on everything you've achieved so far - looking forward to more stories and more cake.


10:49 AM, April 01, 2009  
Anonymous Mel H said...

Hi Molly,

Congrats on installing your oven. Not an easy feat it sounds. Your book I hope is waiting for me in the mail. I am away on a business trip at the moment and can't wait to get home to read it. Being in Vancouver, its tempting to drive down the coast to come to your book signing this Friday- but alas I'll have to save my first trip to Seattle for another time.

Good luck with the renos!

12:52 PM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger Vicki said...

Hi Molly,

I have one of those
Mugnaini ovens on my patio since 2006. It came in pieces too! I remember my experience with the local guy who put it together for me. I love my oven and I have made lots more than pizza in there! You are going fun and loads of great wood-burning food!

1:40 PM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger mattatouille said...


Loved your piece in BA this month about the gourgeres. Looks like this "place" is coming together quite nicely. Great photos.

6:06 PM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger Oldest Girl said...

I would love to come and the "the space". I just finished your book and loved it more that you know. I want to start it again! I loved it and have told all kinds of people to buy it and enjoy the read! Thank you so much for the escape I got for a few days. It was really beautiful!


6:12 PM, April 01, 2009  
Anonymous Chilli said...

Adding to everything else that has been already said....the dog is adorable!! And what a good model!

6:56 PM, April 01, 2009  
Anonymous codfish said...

Thank you for letting us in on your adventure. I know that when you need an oven like that, it seems that practically everything needs to be put on hold until it is installed... so hopefully some of the worst is over! Good luck guys.

6:37 AM, April 02, 2009  
Blogger teryll said...

Aside from being in the midwest, I'm stoked. My mother is going to Third Place Books to have you sign my copy!!! She's the best and so are you!

7:18 AM, April 02, 2009  
Blogger Tricia said...

Thank you for all of today's post, but especially the link to the marshmellow bazooka!

11:45 AM, April 02, 2009  
Anonymous Janna W said...

The shot blast analogy made me laugh out-loud. Classic.

I walked by the space a couple of days ago. But after reading your restaurant round-up, I have a better idea of what's growing inside. We Ballardites cannot wait!

11:46 AM, April 02, 2009  
Blogger kid collective said...

I truly can't believe the three of you moved that oven. Even if it was inch by inch. Looking foward to many more posts about the restaurant and eventually testing it out for myself!

9:14 PM, April 02, 2009  
Blogger Kirsten said...

I am in the middle of your book and that is how I found your blog. It is a gifted writer who is able to make the reader feel like she is in the middle of the experience and you do that. Thanks for writing; it is such a pleasure to read!

Best, Kirsten

8:49 AM, April 03, 2009  
Anonymous Heather said...

Ohhhhh, please open on schedule! I'm going to be in Seattle the weekend of May 16 & 17. What a kick it would be to come by and see the place. :)

All the best!

8:53 AM, April 03, 2009  
Blogger :::Julia Lundman::: said...

Hi! The oven sounds really awesome. I am curious to know if you need to be careful about the materials that are being built around the oven. Also, what surface will it eventually be resting on? Brick?

I am fascinated by this! Thanks for writing about the oven and best of luck to you on your adventure with the restaurant.


11:32 AM, April 03, 2009  
Blogger Cakespy said...

It's fun to read the updates on Delancey--you know that as a Jersey Girl living in Seattle I am psyched about that perfect crust. From all of the bakery / restaurant owners I have ever talked to here, opening a place in Seattle is very difficult--but so worth it. I know that all of your hard work is going to pay off! And I can only hope you'll be serving cannoli once it's game time!

12:51 PM, April 03, 2009  
Anonymous Marissa said...

Love, Love, Love A Homemade Life. And love the column in BA. Can't wait to read more!

3:19 AM, April 04, 2009  
Blogger Meghan Newton said...

Just wanted to thank you for sharing your journey with all of us here. It's been really inspiring to read about you accomplishing your dreams over the past few years.

7:59 AM, April 04, 2009  
Anonymous The Austerity Kitchen said...

Your photographs are quite beautiful!

3:26 PM, April 04, 2009  
Blogger Leslie said...

Wow, what a lot of work. You two are fearless! And I wanted to say I'm in the process of reading your book and LOVING it. I made the macaroons today...swoon.

Photo here if you're interested.

6:22 PM, April 04, 2009  
Anonymous Julie C said...

Wow! We can't wait to come to Delancey this summer when we are up visiting family in the area. Thank you so much for sharing the process with us - the oven is amazing!

10:16 PM, April 04, 2009  
Blogger cindy* said...

i can't wait for some delancey next time i am in seattle...wishing you all swift, safe work!

11:33 AM, April 05, 2009  
Anonymous foodie chica said...

Congratulations on your venture! This is my first time reading your blog, I look forwad to reading more.

4:05 PM, April 05, 2009  
Blogger Millicent said...

Hi, Molly! I was up at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena this weekend as an attendee at the "Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives" conference (I'm a registered dietitian). Nearly every chef who did a cooking demo had an impressionable story to tell..each connected to the dish that they were about to dazzle us with. It reminded me of your book and this magnificent blog. I am reading your book now at the airport on my way home. Though I can't smell, taste or feel the foods that you speak of on these pages, the magic you create still shines through. Good luck with the restaraunt.

5:44 PM, April 05, 2009  
Anonymous Great Food Made Simple said...

Hey Guys,

Check out the easy and simple recipes I have created awhile ago at


Cheers =)

4:24 AM, April 06, 2009  
Anonymous Katy said...

My name is Katy and I work for how2heroes.com. If you are talented in the kitchen then you will love how2heroes.com! The site has tons of great recipes and videos that walk through each step of the process. It’s not just chefs though; there are mommy bloggers and cooking enthusiasts on the site as well. I wanted to share our Inn-dulge in New England contest to win a night at the charming Harding House in Cambridge, MA! The package also includes a copy of “The New England Cookbook” by Brooke Dojny and free museum passes to Cambridge and Boston museums. Just go to http://how2heroes.com/contest to sign-up.

9:01 AM, April 06, 2009  
Anonymous Lacey said...

How exciting! What a great feeling to take a few steps closer to the dream!

9:21 AM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger The Karen Chronicles said...

This is such an exciting play-by-play. My husband and I have always dreamed of opening a tiny pizzeria equipped with a wood-burning oven...there's nothing like the taste, or the smell.

11:28 AM, April 06, 2009  
Anonymous Debo Hobo said...

I had such a good time reading your post. I found you by googling Top List of Fun Blogs and you are #1 on a list of Top 50 Food blogs.

I am excited for your progress on the restaurant and now I am headed back into your blog to read more.

12:17 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Stacey said...

is that puppy a rat terrier ? it looks like my precious Ponyboy who is a rat T.

1:50 PM, April 06, 2009  
Anonymous Carol Peterman said...

The pizza will be all the tastier knowing what went into building and moving that giant oven into place!

4:30 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Molly said...

Hi, all! Thank you for these comments. I'm a disaster at keeping up with them, reply-wise, but Brandon and I have read every single one and wanted to be sure to thank you. You're fantastic.

Also, to those who asked about / commented on the dog in these photos, yes, he is ours. His name is Jack, and he's a rat terrier. He is 5 years old, and we got him through a rescue organization last July. He's a handful, but he does make a handsome model, and we think it all evens out.

5:00 PM, April 06, 2009  
Anonymous Mark Scarbrough said...

So very wonderful to read. And so very real. I can't imagine the ups and downs frankly. But it's so cool that it's all happening. And concrete tabletops. What a concept. I've always wanted concrete counters--but tabletops! Holy cow.

5:04 PM, April 06, 2009  
Anonymous Roberta said...

More cowbell? I say, More Jack!!!
Love the pics, the oven is impressive. Good luck to you both.

10:55 PM, April 06, 2009  
Anonymous Phil Jackson. London said...

i find a lovely gastro t-shirts site!
i would like to share with you!


great blog!!

2:13 AM, April 07, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a Rat Terrier too. The vet just called her a pistol!

I finished your book a couple days ago- did not want it to end and hope you do another.
Since then I have been reading your blog because I already miss you.

I will be making your "Winning Hearts and Minds Cake with my grand Daugherty soon

Thanks for making life a little brighter and tastier.

8:14 AM, April 07, 2009  
Anonymous Maureen said...

Oh, have I been where you are: two years ago, my boyfriend and I opened a restaurant in Manchester, NH (Z food & drink; there's a link to our blog from there where we documented the opening process).

At some point, your cashflow will determine your opening date and somehow, magically, you'll be ready although it will seem impossible right up until you open the doors and seat your first party.

You may not fully remember that opening night or that first week of operation (I don't), but the exhaustion will subside along with the overwhelm and adrenaline, and you'll sleep well knowing you answered a BIG question: What if I/we opened a restaurant?

Warm wishes and best of luck to you.

11:31 AM, April 11, 2009  

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