The other night, after June was asleep and before I turned on Fleetwood Mac, I went down to the dungeon, also known as the garage, and dug up three boxes of old Polaroids. I was looking for two shots that I needed to scan and send to my editor for my next book, but instead I found approximately four thousand others that I had forgotten I ever took. I never found the two images that I actually needed - no doubt tucked away for “safekeeping,” never to be seen again - but I did find this:
Eureka! A broccoli pizza atop a shop vac! And a crimini pizza and Brandon’s favorite very very sharp knife, on a cutting board, balanced haphazardly on a rung of an extremely dusty ladder!
These shots are from early 2009, the winter when we were building Delancey and testing recipes, shortly after Brandon finished building and curing the wood-burning oven but before the restaurant had anything resembling a kitchen.
I was slicing mushrooms that night on a folding card table, wearing the same gray hooded sweatshirt that I’m wearing at my desk this morning, only today it’s not crusted in drywall. That night feels sort of romantic to me now, now that I know how it all turned out, but at the time, I was freezing, and it was dark in there and everything was covered in debris, and we were tired, always tired.
Yesterday June and I ate dinner at Delancey with a friend from our childbirth class and her nine-month-old daughter. I sat in one of the chairs that were stacked precariously in this photo, and June tasted (by which I mean sucked awkwardly on, and then wore) her father’s pizza for the very first time. June, the child I had no idea I even wanted to have, back when I took this photo!
I am easily awed this morning. This might be my espresso talking.
And Katie was our server. Sweet Katie! Still there, after three and a half years! A billion years in Restaurant Time.
One day almost four years ago, in early June of 2009, the chef of the restaurant across the street, which was then A Caprice Kitchen but is now The Fat Hen, knocked on the door of Delancey. We were inside, doing some construction task or other, and she handed us a package wrapped in white paper. It was a gift from the elderly lady who lived in the apartment behind her restaurant, she said, and the lady had asked her to deliver it to us. I peeled off the tape and folded back the paper, and inside, there was a homemade cake, a dome of vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, sculpted into soft, feathery peaks.
The older lady never came to Delancey, and I never met her - though Brandon did once, and he reports that she was very shy. She moved away at some point to a retirement home. There’s now a young couple in the apartment that was hers, and from what I can tell when I park my car on the street outside, it sounds like one of them plays the drums. But the residual warmth of her gesture struck me the other night in the garage, and I can still feel it.