To catch you up to date on the progress of my upcoming San Francisco restaurant, Olallie, I am highlighting aspects of the design process that occurred over the past 4 months. The design decisions described in this post were made mostly from November to December, 2006.
Even a casual reader of IPOS knows that I look to Spain — especially Catalonia — for much of my inspiration. Barcelona is second only to San Francisco in my heart. So, even though neither my restaurant's name nor its cuisine will be exclusively Spanish or Catalan, our travels through the Iberian peninsula played a prominent role in some of our design decisions and equipment choices. Here's how.
Flights into Barcelona from the US tend to arrive in the morning. After checking into my hotel or rental apartment, I usually head straight to a stool at the counter of Pinotxo and ask Juanito to make me a cortado (macchiatto) to shake off my jet lag. After a stroll amongst the pristine seafood and produce stalls of La Boqueria, the covered marketplace in which Pinotxo is located, I return to my stool to sip a cold glass of Cava while chef Albert expertly cooks my white beans with baby squid or some kind of salt cod dish. After a siesta, I head to my next perch, a stool at Cal Pep. The next morning I'm back to La Boqueria, trying to decide whether I should eat at the counter of Kiosko Universal or El Quim. See a pattern here?
An unexpected benefit of locating Olallie's kitchen in the front was creating the possibility of seating at the kitchen counter. Longtime IPOS readers know how much I adore dining at kitchen counters. Take a look at how many places I've written about where I've dined at the counter: Momofuku, Degustation, and Casa Mono in NYC, Lotería Grill in LA, and Swan Oyster Depot and Canteen in my home town.