Old is really cool

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.

Written 7 Years Ago. The beginning of Fiore Market Cafe

Signing the Lease Tomorrow

We are signing the lease tomorrow. Anne and I are both excited and nervous at the same time. It is quite an adventure. I’ve been in the business my whole life, but I have always been a Robin to a corporate Batman.  There is something in my character that made me play the role of the sidekick. I did the dirty work.  I  solved the nasty problems. I smoothed out chaotic operations and I built really good teams. I accepted my role with grace. Sometimes too much grace.

Tomorrow we begin work on a project that is all ours. It’s our vision and our dream to create a European style cafe with the charm and character of something you would find along the Seine in Paris.

Anne has the artistic vision. I have the food vision. Together we plan to meld our imaginations into something really creative and unique.

We will keep you posted with stories, recipes and pictures.

Tomorrow is a day of bleach, comet, oven cleaner degreaser, mops and  buckets. The boys and I will spend the day cleaning the kitchen. Wish us luck.

We plan to name the restaurant

Fiore Market Cafe

Here are a few pictures from the last couple of days. Ciao.

I want this bicicletta

I love espresso machines and porcelain. cups

Unheard Stories


Anne and I wanted to find a way to talk about the local business owners, artists and creatives who have inspired us over the years. We have always been influenced by people who make things. Whether its food or art or tattoos or anything. We love things that are homemade. Our trips to Italy introduced us to a culture that has handcrafted everything for centuries.

It’s exciting to see so many individuals starting businesses based on their dreams in which they are producing a handcrafted product or service. Our new blog is called Unheard Stories: Creatives Sharing Their Inspiration. Every month we feature two creatives. We ask them to share their inspiration through a variety of questions.  Please take a look at unheardstories.org.

I’m Thinking About A Kitchen

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.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to everyone from Anne, James and I. We are closed this week for the holidays and for a much needed rest. Thank you all for your support. We celebrated our 6 year of business on December 20th. It’s hard to believe we have been open for that long. It feels like yesterday when we cracked open the door for the first time. Much has changed and many things have remained the same. We opened Fleur last year. It has given us some much needed space. Fleur is warm when the weather turns cold. In the summer when the temps hit 100 degrees Fleur is wonderfully welcome with cold air from the air conditioner working hard to keep the Pilates studio next door bearable. We published two books in the last couple years with our friends Brad and Tim from Peloton. The books contain recipes and stories from the cafe and our travels to Italy. First loaves of bread at Fiore

We have baked bread and more bread. This photo above is of one of the first loaves that we baked before we opened. I always thought that I would bake bread at some point in my life. I didn’t realize I would make this many loaves. As we have gotten busier we have had to increase production. Our tiny kitchen has created many challenges for bread making.

The gardens expended this past year. I hired a gardener, Emily to help me. She’s kept everything green and healthy. I suppose she is the one with the green thumb. Currently the garden is full of beets, Swiss chard, rapini, collard greens and kale. The beets are ready. I’ll harvest them after our break and make a salad  with some goat cheese and blood oranges.

Thanks again and Happy Holidays to all.


Fiore Fresh



It’s almost here. We published our first Fiore Fresh in December of 2014. It was a wonderful experience working with Brad and Tim from Peloton Magazines (Move Press LLC). They helped us to create a book that told our story and gave the reader a glimpse of the workings of  Fiore Market Cafe.

With the second publication we changed the format. It’s closer to a journal than a book. It contains recipes, photographs and stories from the cafe and from a recent trip to Italy. We think you’ll enjoy it.

We have set up a page to order the book using paypal.

We can ship it to you or if you live close by you can come in and pick it up.


Most restaurants expand by adding another dining room so they can generate more sales, or they may be lucky enough to increase the size of the kitchen to generate more income.We are incapable of enlarging the kitchen. Adding more tables would only increase the pressure in the kitchen.

This led us to the decision to expand by opening a French inspired shop that we call Fleur. Fleur is Anne’s shop. She designed it and decided on all  the merchandise. It is extremely cute and we are very proud of it. Here are a few photographs.

Next time you are in Fiore Stop by and take a look.

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