I found this bit I wrote a few months before we signed the lease for Fiore Market Cafe. It’s funny to read now almost 7 years later. The size of the kitchen remains the same, but it’s so different from what I imagined.
Today I negotiate a lease for a very small cafe. The kitchen reminds me of an old European kitchen. The kitchen is designed with the stove, grills and ovens in the center of the room.I imagine it’s the kind of kitchen Jacques Pepin cooked in when he was a kid getting started in Lyon. The previous tenant left white frilly curtains hanging across the three windows painting an even clearer picture of a French kitchen.
Adjacent to the stoves I will set old heavy, wood table. I plan to search high and low to find an old used one that has lots of miles on it. I want a table that has an indentation where the bakers kneaded the dough, a dip in the wood that took years and thousands of loaves to carve out. I want a table that’s so heavy that it doesn’t budge when I push my weight into the own dough.
A heavy wood table speaks to me. It’s weight equals substance. It will be the core of the kitchen where dough will be kneaded, fresh vegetables cut, cupcakes made, tart shell rolled out and then formed in tin pans. Espresso cups will be stacked in the back for the first stop of the day. The few worker’s we’ll have will pull up a milk crate or a stool from out front and sip an espresso while the sun climbs just outside the window.
The espresso machine will sit on the stainless steel table near the north facing window. The espresso machine will never be turned off. It will hiss and hum all day long. When a guest knocks on the backdoor whether it’s a vendor, or someone looking for directions, or a new customer they will be offered an espresso and maybe a muffin if there’s one just coming out of the oven.
There’s not much to say about the small dining room. It will look great when Anne gets through with it. She has an eye for this kinda stuff. She’ll stack her antiques with platters of homemade sweets. One of her specialties is a rich chocolate vegan cupcake that looks and tastes like any made of butter and eggs.
Out front there is a nice terrace with space for huge potted plants and an alcove where I’ll build a small raised garden bed. It’s just two steps from the kitchen. We’ll plant herbs and tomatoes and maybe one zucchini plant so I can have squash blossoms all summer long. I especially like to stuff them with cheese and grill them in real good olive oil.
We’re a long way off from this fantasy, but I’ve painted it well with lots of color and texture and flavor, but just in my head.
I will know in a few days if I can take a brush to the canvas.
Above is a picture of a lemon from the tree in our yard. I took this picture with the hipstamatic app on the I Phone. We will make the best lemonade in town. It will be sweet and lightly carbonated to quench the greatest thirst.
A song of the day:
Santa Fe by Samantha Crain I heard her on NPR this morning. Terrific stuff. Enjoy.
It’s hot in LA, but that’s ok. Soon enough we’ll be bitchin about the cool weather and we’ll have to wear sweaters. Let’s enjoy what we got today.