The city's electrical inspector is on the roof with my electrician. I hear bits and pieces of what he's saying as they pass through the restaurant. He's grilling the electrician nonstop. "You need to label these meters more professionally with a P-Touch label. You got one of those? The water heater needs to be strapped more securely." The electrician's brother tells me that inspectors are the cops of their world.
Speaking of electricity, PG&E just upgraded the building's power service yesterday afternoon. They had initially told us they would do it 3 weeks earlier, but then they postponed it.
Earlier today, the plumbing inspector was here. We didn't pass. The plumbers are now welding all sorts of copper pipes on the floor in the middle of the restaurant to make the changes needed so that we can pass.
Two guys from my stainless steel manufacturer are installing pot racks on the front of the restaurant's HVAC hood. "How high do you want it?" I grab my biggest paella pan and hold it up to make sure the bottom of it won't hit anyone in the head. I make a mental note not to hire any cooks over 6'2". The stainless steel installers need to perform a lot of work in the dish room, but one of the plumbers is in there welding things. They head off to lunch.
The refrigeration installer is also here. "I never hooked up one of these water chiller/carbonators before." He turns to my equipment supplier's rep. "Have you?" "No," the equipment rep answers. "It's a new product." I clench my teeth. "Just make sure you do it right." It's starting to look like all the equipment (water chiller, filter, CO2 tank) isn't going to fit in the cabinet under our little wait station. The stainless steel installers are going to need to cut ventilation holes in the side of the cabinet. The 5-pound CO2 tank that the equipment supplier brought with him is ridiculously small and will be empty in about a week of use.
"The ADA door opener has dozens of different settings," my general contractor says. "It regulates how fast the door opens, the angle, etc. How do you want it set?" I look inside the mechanism and see that it has a mini-computer inside. I wonder to myself how long that will last.
My architect emails me asking me to coordinate with my graphic designer (who left 3 weeks ago to work on a job in Paris and won't be back until next week) about getting a sign made indicating that the door must remain unlocked during business hours. I tell her it will be easier for me to coordinate. After we exchange 3 or 4 emails, I find out the size, location, and color of the font and contact the sign making company.
In between all the construction madness, I field calls from a POS rep, a wine rep, a banker, and a payroll company. I pause for a minute to research laser printers that can accept legal sized paper for my menus. My current printer can only handle legal sized paper if it's hand fed one page at a time.
My brother emails me. He coming into town from San Diego to stay with me this weekend. I add "buy guest bed" to my calendar. His best friend's mother passed away and I offer to provide food for the memorial service. There will be 80 people. Contigo's kitchen still doesn't have any pots or pans. I check my calender to see when I scheduled the appointment this week with my equipment supplier's "small wares" rep. I'm pretty sure it's tomorrow, but the date seems to have disappeared from my iCal. It isn't the first time. When will Apple get its wireless syncing to work better?
While I sit down to a late lunch, I write this post and discover that Typepad has updated the "compose new post" page (at long last). I wonder how long ago that happened and when I'll be able to learn the new features.
I think about all the things I want to write about but don't have time.
The post I most want to write but probably never will is the one about last weekend. Actually, now that I think about it, it was the weekend before last. David Lebovitz was visiting from Paris and I hosted a pot luck get together for a few friends at Contigo. PG&E hadn't turned on the upgraded power service yet, so we couldn't cook or reheat or refrigerate. Fortunately, we had enough electricity to turn on the lights and play music. We filled the room with candles and bouquets of flowers and branches of fresh olives. At one point, I stood back and took in the scene. I held a cold glass of Cava in my hand. Frederico Aubele's "Contigo" played in the background. I felt my heart burst wide open with pride.
"This is why I want to open a restaurant. This is what makes all the challenges and set backs worth enduring."
I'll share pictures soon. And more stories. Promise. The people installing the glass display cases for the kitchen just arrived and I have to get back to the restaurant. I also want to check in with the plumbers, stainless steel installers, and the refrigeration guy. Sounds like we didn't pass the electrical inspection either.
EDIT: Contigo will happily hire cooks of all heights :)