Saturday, April 24, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Last week Enzo's dad came here from Italy to help us finish the construction. There is still a lot do to: finish the tiles, painting, putting wallpaper, assembling the furniture, setting up the kitchen. We're trying to do a lot of it ourselves because commercial construction is very expensive. Just painting the walls would cost us 5 thousand dollars.
In general, this construction cost us much more than we thought it would. I guess since we're first time restauranteurs, we had no idea how difficult and expensive some things (well, all things really) would be. We always thought that and now we made sure it's true - things seem much easier until you actually try to do them.
Take, for example making pizza dough. Neapolitan pizza dough is very simple, it only has 4 ingredients - flour, yeast, salt and water. However, it took Enzo 3 years of almost everyday practice at home and working in 2 pizzerias (one in Naples and one here in Arlington) to get it right. Why? Because unless you know exactly what you are doing and when to change proportions of the 4 ingredients, your dough will not be consistent. If the wether is cold, the yeast needs more time to ferment, if the weather is hot and humid, then the dough will be ready much faster. If you wait to make pizzas past the point of proofing (that's where the dough is perfect) then your dough will be impossible to shape into pizza disks because it will rip. The shaping itself is important also - there is s special "slapping" technique that is rather difficult to do unless you've learned from a professional pizzaiolo and practiced many months. It must be done by hand, no machines or rolling pins, otherwise it will pop the yeast bubbles and the crust will be flat. I will try to post a video later to show you what I mean.
Anyway, back to the construction. Since we rented a space that was a restaurant previously, we thought that it would not cost us so much time and money to re-make it into our pizzeria. Of course, we were naive. We thought it would cost us $50,000 and it ends up costing us more than $100,000. Once the construction crew got to work we discovered that the space was in a bad shape. The walls were rotten, termite damage everywhere. My guess is that they were evicted in a hurry due to non-payment of rent and were very angry about it. How do I know the were angry? They destroyed everything - cut the lines to furnace and AC, broke sinks, broke the ceiling, even the light bulbs! Plus, on top of everything they did not pay their gas, electric and trash bills for months and when we called to set up service we had to pay huge deposits (I mean many thousands of dollars) in order to correct the credit problem.
OK, enough wining already. Now to the cool stuff: our beautiful oven is installed and working fine! We can't make pizzas in it just yet - it has to be seasoned for 1 week. Seasoning means that every day for one week we have to make small fires in the oven until the interior turns black. We've been doping it since Friday last week and it's almost black, so we're making a first pizza real soon! Pictures coming of course.
We promise we'll blog more. Many people have told us that they wished that the blog had more updates. The reason there's been few updates is that it's difficult with having the baby around. He's not going to daycare yet and will not be until the restaurant is open. But since people care so much, we'll try to blog more.
Here is little Vincent next to the oven. We'll unwrap the oven soon to show you how beautiful it really is.