this new shirt arrived today and we sold 4 or 5 already. i did not order too many because the last version, go brown go gold, was not selling as briskly as i had hoped. obviously, once you throw in a gator reference, things change. these designs won’t last so come and get ‘em. these will be highly collectible i’m sure.
Archive for July 2008
spent hours working on a schedule… trying to figure out how to best staff the kitchen during this tough month. it’s not so much that we need more people, we just need the people we have to know how to do more… the pizza station takes so long to learn. 3 different positions on pizza and each one takes months to learn…
weedeater problems today. ken broke the pull cord. took it apart and fixed that. but then we realized i had put an oil gas mix in when it was supposed to just have gas, it’s a 4 cycle. i tried to get it running again but no luck yet. either the cord is too short from re-doing it, or i need to find a new spark plug. so if the grass around the van and restaurant seems a bit shaggy, it’s because our weedeater is down and we were already a couple weeks behind on that.
i’ve dug out my old garden hose collection and john is testing out a few ways to use it. you should see some garden hose art hanging under the front awning very soon.
working on the rain barrels… trying to find the right size for our spaces.
the lse myspace page is so close.
the solar panels are still under careful consideration.
the fountain-o-junk has a new layer.
it’s a new week and i have some new ideas to make the kitchen run better. we’ll see if they work.
well, thanks to brent i can post pictures again. the problem is, i need to go mow the grass. i just wanted to see if it would work. the boy and me were up at the shop today cementing some junk into the fountain. it threatened to rain and storm the whole time but never did. right when we got there it started to thunder and so we waited and waited and then decided to go ahead and just cement some junk.
the lse myspace page will be ready soon, and as awesome as they may be, don’t you wish we had one of these fountains i downtown gainesville? i’d fund the project if the city would allow it. there’d probably be too much concern about safety and homeless people bathing in it… anyway, this is just one of many public interactive water parks in seattle, not the hottest state in the USA where we need it most.
gotta go mow, more later
tonight my server or my computer or something won’t let me upload any images. also it was one of the worst night ever in the kitchen. everything went wrong. a pie wasn’t ever made, pizzas and calzones went to the wrong places… several times… pies were made wrong… calzones were made that were supposed to be slices… it was a disaster. it was honestly one of the worst nights of my professional career. embarrassing and sad. of course, some pizzas went out right and close to perfect. but others went out wrong, too small, overcooked, messed up. oh man, it about gave me a heart attack. i tried to breathe and remain calm but it didn’t happen. when a pie gets missed, not made, and then we realize it some long time later, and i look at the ticket to see when they ordered, and the server forgot to put the time on the ticket… i just blow a gasket. has it been an hour? 2 hours? 45 minutes? we have no way of knowing. there is no time on the ticket. it’s bad enough we made one mistake on that ticket, but now there is two. anyway, i am humbled. i wanted to do a homecoming float. i even have a pretty good idea… but now i feel defeated. it was busy. tips were awful, of course. i just hope we can somehow forget this over the next few days… very sorry to any of the people who got the raw end of the deal tonight.
on a brighter note, i did eat lunch out at the bistro today. i haven’t been there in probably 8 years. it was good. good food, good service, good dessert.
some friends of mine in new york in this video…
i’m working on projects… huge rain barrels to collect rain water, the possibility of solar panels on the roof at satchel’s… new go orange go blue gobama t-shirts coming next week… a lightnin salvage myspace page in the works by jim, so we can network the musicians and events and show off the dynamic nature of LSE… a twitter account… a collage… trying to get the night crew calzones to look as good as the day calzones… schedule nightmare coming up in august… a pizza show in orlando… jake is going to enter the largest stretch competition… there’s a lot going on, you see. i will try and keep you posted. i will try and keep myself posted. i have a long list in front of me of things to do…
a big hullo and shout out to my boy jim, who said he reads the blog every time. jim is an old school blog reader who was reading my blog before i even had one. i keep an eye on jim’s blog too cuz you never know what might be showin’ up on there, if ya know what i mean…
shoot, if all the employees would read the blog then i could manage the place from my desk…”tonight things went pretty well although some reports indicate that the salads were not coming out quite as fast as one might expect…” or “tonight folks were getting good service for the most part except there seemed to be one server who was having a bad day…” and then if all the employees were reading it they’d be like, “oh dang, he’s talkin’ about me, i better shape up, for real.” or “how the heck does he know so much? does he have the place wire tapped?”
but the truth is, i imagine there’s just a handful of folks keeping up with this nonsense, and for them i will try to find good photos to share and a story now and then. i need this cyber space to get things off my chest like the whole sarah r thing. i went to seattle and ate pizza 6 times on vacation. the pizzas were all pretty good, i thought. then i came home and had a cheese slice at satchel’s and that slice actually blew away everything i had eaten all week. the crust was so tasty and sweet and fluffy and flakey and perfect, and the sauce so sweet and spicy and tangy and flavorful (yes i’m talkin’ to you sarah r), that i just about teared up from happiness.
we’ll be working on the salad times… we’ll be working on everything… august should be one of the best months of the year to get some food from satchel’s. i’ll be working my butt off the whole month, giving my life to the goal of providing the world’s best pizza to the sweet people of gainesville. people don’t think of florida as a place where anyone can make pizza. we want to change that. bring on the food network. bring on the author of some pizza book. bring on all your hungry relatives. we’ll do our best. we will certainly do our best.
went to a wood fired pizza place when we visited seattle called tutta bella. the pies were good. the oven was 650 degrees but the cook said he was trying to get it to 750. he also said the pies took 90 seconds to cook. wow. that would solve our wait problem now wouldn’t it? of course, these “neopolitan style pizzas” are a different thing… they are real thin and crispy with burnt edges. the tomato sauce is sweet. they are good, no doubt, but i can’t say they are what i prefer as the perfect pizza. i think gainesville is getting a wood fired pizza place soon, another one that is. i guess carabba’s has this sort of pizza. i think another one is coming out in the deep northwest. anyway, i would loooove to have an outdoor brick wood fired oven built where i could experiment with all sorts of thin crispy gourmet pizzas… maybe that is the next project i should work on, opening a swanky-crispy-wood fire-outdoor-pizza-garden-type-place in northwest gainesville…..just kidding.
a busy weekend. pies were looking good.
recently we went to visit my wife’s parents in seattle. my wife took a year’s worth of pictures in a week’s time.
i drank way too much coffee and then was stuck with nothing to do… i’m not very good at being on vacation…
i think by talking about sarah r on my blog a couple times, that now that link will keep her review at the top of the yelp reviews forever. serves me right. honestly though, i know our pies are good.
last time i was in seattle i went to this “3rd wave” coffee shop, as they call them. zoka, a roaster and coffee shop pictured above. they had a daily clover decaf choice, which me and c got since it was late. they had a nice assortment of desserts. c got the shortbread cake and i got the chocolate mousse cookie, which was crunchy like a biscotti almost, but good with coffee. the barista came out while we were sitting and told everyone he was going to brew up some new kenyan coffee for everyone to taste. a few people went to try it and he stood around chatting about the wildflower aroma and just jawing on and on about the coffee. i always enjoy seeing people into what they do, and it didn’t surprise me in a city like seattle, but of course it’s much more surprising in g’ville.
i was feeling a bit bad for picking on sarah r, who gave us 3 stars. we got worse reviews than hers, but hers just set me off. i mean there’s one guy who gave us i think 2 stars, but when you go look at the places he reviewed, you see he gave everyone either 1 or 2 stars, so he obviously doesn’t know how to review a restaurant. that dude could go to heaven and eat at God’s Cafe and he’d probably give it 2 stars. anyway, i shouldn’t complain. we have more reviews than any other place and our ranking is still very good. i’ve been to seattle, a huge city, and noticed that it’s really difficult to maintain a good ranking with a lot of reviews. there are always unhappy people for some reason. there is one deli in seattle, armandino’s salumi, and they have 4.5 stars out of 121 reviews… amazing. anyway, it’s a good way to find a good place to eat, as you can search by neighborhood, or kind of food, and the people review the places. i’d say generally the people do a good job.
also, i shouldn’t get caught up in reviews. i need to keep focusing on making the best pizza possible. of course, good service is important too. and it all comes down to employees really… do they care? do they love what they do?
pam had her baby. i’m pretty excited. born july 16th, 8 pounds 11 ounces. mom and boy strummer are fine. what a day for team lore.
we’re not at the beach. this is a photo from last time we were. i don’t talk here about when i go out of town because there is a neighbor who might use the opportunity to vandalize. now we have someone stay at the house when we leave, but last time i mentioned going out of town in my blog, i came back to find my umbrella slashed and my patio furniture in the lake. it sucks to have a bad neighbor, and i try to get along with everyone, but the world is full of all kinds of folks ya know…
if i could write about my family, i’d have a million things to say and blogs could roll out like marbles being let loose atop the stadium stairs… but i have been through this all before and decided not to expose my private life online for anyone to follow. my friends were in town and showed me a blog they follow called dooce, and i noticed how this woman blogs about personal details of her family life, show pics of the kids, and lets it all hang out. this is what makes it interesting. and isn’t the point to write something interesting enough for other people to follow? well, there could be lots of purposes for blogging but for me i want to write something worth reading, to make a story that comes to life. and if and when i leave out most all of the family side of life, it’s bound to be a lot more boring… which is why i nearly stopped writing the blog in 2007, but then felt like i could still write occasionally about work, and even though it wouldn’t live up to my expectations as something dynamic, it can still serve as a place to unload my weary mind.
which brings me to the subject of reviews.
anyone who puts themselves out there is susceptible to a review of some kind. the more you put yourself out there, the more reviews you will get. the more reviews you will get, the more bad reviews that will happen. what am i talking about? well, people who write books or paint or do whatever, other people will come along to review those efforts. if you’re a writer and you spend many years writing a book, and then you get bad reviews, it’s bound to be unsettling. i’m talking of course about restaurant reviews. i could avoid them, i could act like they don’t exist, but they do… i love to read folks talk about how good our place is because i work so hard day and night to make it an excellent place. i pour every bit of my being into this restaurant because i am an obsessive person. i realize that some people just won’t like the place, and some people won’t like it simply because so many people DO like it. and others will just have a bad time or a bad pizza, all of that is bound to happen and i understand. but the other day i read a review i just don’t understand. i read a review that caused me to write this blog that i’m writing. i want to bring this review into the light. this is the review by sarah r.
sarah doesn’t think our pizza is all that great. she says the dough is just your average water flour mixture and the sauce is ragu. hmmmm.
i’ll try to get to the point because this could turn into my longest blog ever… not only is our dough anything BUT your basic recipe, and our sauce so far from ragu, but our pizza is amazingly good. i’ve been to the south of france, i lived there one summer. i’ve traveled the world. i’ve eaten pizza all over the US. i’m a pizza freak! it’s my life. when i go on vacation i eat pizza every day. i live pizza. i may find a pizza that i think is better than ours and when i do i’ll write about it for sure, but what i hear from folks every day, people who are from new york, from all over, is that our pizza is great. the dough is tasty and flaky, the sauce is spicy and perfect. if she said she got a burnt pie, an undercooked pie, a soggy pie, i would understand… but this is hard for me to comprehend. was her group having a bad night? did they wait too long? is my place too hyped? too cool? i just don’t understand how one could say the sauce is bland and the dough is nothing special. our dough and sauce recipes are guarded secrets. anyway, that one really threw me for a loop. another woman said something about the “nauseating self important dreck” i write on the menu backs. that hurt my feelings of course, but i can also se how one might think that. they are mostly meant to be funny and decorate and give the customer something to help kill the time, but i can see how they wouldn’t appeal to everyone. in fact, it’s easier for me to understand the critique of my writing than the insult on my pie. i know everyone won’t care for it, but it seems any palette would discern the better than most sauce and crust. ragu?? oh well. i should just close the place down and see if they’d hire me at papa john’s.
here’s the boy with his latest homemade costume. he designed and made the helmet by himself, but i painted it. it’s a cookie tin on top, with cardboard sides and back and some shop goggles he found in the shed. i was the chief designer of the chainmail top, but he made the leg and arm armour himself. he was obsessed with this project for a couple days… but as soon as he was done and wore it around for a few hours, he started a new project and is now working on a vehicle sort of thing that can be self propelled down the hallway via the 2 skateboards… pictures later. this kid wears me out i tell you. where does he get this obsessive compulsive disorder????
friends brent and jennifer came from jax for a visit this weekend. we had a good time and the brent, who is a coffee freak, was so impressed with volta on saturday that we went back for a cupping on sunday. now i didn’t know what a cupping was before today and when i started to find out i was a bit nervous having flashbacks of tests and school days… but then it turned out to be a real blast and we got to taste and learn about some great coffees from etheopia to honduras. the etheopian coffee was excellent and roasted just a couple days previous at volta. my favorite was by far the nicaraguan coffee, which we got to have a full cup of later. i’m getting hooked on coffee again like i was when sweetwater first opened. i can already see myself stopping in tomorrow morning for a clover cup of the nicaraguan… mmmm
it was a busy busy weekend at satchel’s. we’re training a new pizza chef and it gets me stressed because i want every pie to be perfect and they are looking pretty good, with the only issue being a smallish medium or large, as they shrink up some when one is learning to slide them off the peel into the oven. i tell you the truth, it takes 6 months of intense training to learn the pizza station well. and even after 5 years i am still challenged in new ways weekly and still learning new ways to improve.
two blogs in the same night, unheard of. also, 2 new toppings at satchel’s. we don’t have the kitchen space for fancy new specials every week. we can’t just whip up a pasta or soup or have breadsticks. why? well it’s a long story but just believe me. we don’t have that kind of flexibility with the size of the kitchen and the amount of people we serve. we can add a new topping about once a year, that’s about as special as it gets. that and trying to constantly perfect the pizza pie. we have not 1 but 2 new toppings these days. we are growing some amaranth thanks to my friends at abundant edible landscapes. they’ve planted a lot of edible plants around the restaurant. well, amaranth is a beautiful big leaf that tastes great. it’s sort of like spinach, not bitter and real healthy. currently we have that and rosemary garlic red potatoes as new toppings. i told all the servers to tell the customers and would you believe it, amaranth outsold red potatoes? the garlic rosemary red potatoes are really great but i’m not seeing people order it in the numbers i would expect. anyway, 2 new toppings and 2 new blogs. unbelievable really.
also, i have an old friend in england, nick o’sullivan that i would love to make contact with. i lost contact with ol’ chappy once before for many years and then we got in contact again a couple years ago. then my hard drive crashed and i lost a lot of email addresses. i’ve yet to get my street addresses together in one place. i’ve been wanting to contact nick lately but don’t know how.
if there are any blokes reading my blog in england, look up nick o’sullivan for me and tell him to send me an email.
i would tell you finally about volta, how good that place is and how it could be my favorite place to go out to in town… but i’m tired, i’ve got friends coming to visit tomorrow, i’ve got laundry to do, i still need to shower, and i’d love to read some news online… let me just say this: treat yourself to a visit to volta. gainesville never had it so good.
a birdie told me that judy reads the blog… imagine that. people are out there keeping up with my life. i thought my wife made a good photo here, as i was working alone on the fountain first, i have to get some prep going before the boy jumps in to help. today was a great day for me. almost all of my wounds seem to be almost healed, i worked on a collage at LSE and with the 2 J’s also working on art projects it seemed like some sort of art commune back there. i made a tin foil dispenser for satchel’s, i made some awesome pizzas but i did notice one soggy one on one of the last tables. i don’t know what happened there.
of all the good times i had, i think the best was biking home. near the last quarter mile, i come to the top of a hill. a pretty big hill for gainesville. actually it’s just outside the city limits, in the county i guess you’d say. at the top of that last hill all the street lights stop so i get a good blackness. i pedal just a bit ad then coast down the hill, faster and faster… i take off my head scarf finally, which has been soaked in sweat all night, and my forehead is finally free in the breeze. i notice the blinking red light on the radio tower in the not so distant distance… i hear the crickets back-and-forth sound high up in the trees above me and on both sides. i coast, fast.
marvin works fridays and saturdays and keeps everyone smiling. he’s got a great sense of humor and last week he was doing some clint eastwood impersonations…. the best part about running a restaurant are all the interesting people you meet. marvin is one of those people i am really glad to know.
business is booming, even when it pours down raining. it poured the other day too and LSE flooded, as it tends to do with these heavy rains. if you’ve ever been back in the lounge and noticed you have to make a pretty good step UP to get out to the parking lot, well, you might understand that LSE is actually the lowest spot on the property. then you add gushing water from LSE and the warehouse next door and some of that water is bound to find it’s way to the lowest point. i love a good rain but i always sweat it because i know my business floods. next we plan to try some sump pumps strategically placed.
i tripped while working on the fountain-o-junk and smashed my shin… i burned my wrist pretty good on the oven, i smashed my finger while flipping the oven stones, and both of my ankles are swollen from working a double oven shift last week… i think i need some acupuncture or something to balance me back out. you wouldn’t think a pizza guy’s job was this dangerous…
how did this picture wind up on my camera? i don;t know. but for those of you following the joey story, joey is now officially gone and i’ve informed the web guy to take his picture off the employee site. who needs him anyway? he sent me a text message tonight, while i was in the thick of it, with pizzas coming out my ears, and it’s a picture of one of his friends grilling out… in other words, he’s trying to say, ha ha, i’m grilling out and you are working.
well, he’ll run out of money soon, and when he’s working at a peanut stand in arizona, i’ll get the last laugh.
enough about joey. i won’t mention him again. i’ve probably given him too much airtime already. but if you noticed, he was like the 3rd picture from the top on the employee page… those high up people, they don’t leave. they know a good job when they get one,but not this guy.
4th of july was the slowest day of the year for us, but saturday we bounced back pretty good. jarrett told me he is the only person who reads my blog. i told jarrett i’d give him a shout out. he’s the newest employee and at the bottom of the long list of employees on the website. jarret likes to say goodbye to us about 3 or 4 times. “bye, see ya’ll later.” then about 5 minutes later, “bye. have a good night.” and then tonight john says “he’s going to say it one more time,” and i said, “no way.” and sure enough, about an hour later, here comes jarrett, “bye ya’ll see you later. have a good weekend.” john was right. we got 3 goodbyes tonight. good ol’ jarrett, the nicest guy around.