Friday, April 30, 2010

Limited Time Only!!

Enjoy super buttery, soft and pillowy cheese? We will be slicing into Cremeaux de Bourgogne, also referred to the wedding cake of cheese, this Saturday! Think fluffy “blooming” rind, snow-white, buttery triple creme, this cheese is pure decadence. Make sure you come visit the Calf & Kid this weekend to experience this unbelievable fromage!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Groovin' right along

The first real week of being a cheesemonger *and* small business owner, I have to say it suits me well.

Despite the agonizing pain stubs that are now my feet, and the slightly thawed frozen pineapple that has become my brain, I am exceedingly comfortable and as ease in this new role. I never had any precise expectations, but I certainly had many a vision of myself behind the counter flustered and unable to handle the unending chaos that can be running your own business of any kind. Many a nightmare involved me with a bare case and a line of customers panting for cheese, or conversely a case packed with cheeses that I didn't know and could not rightly talk about to my customers. As it has turned out thus far, each and every cheese in there right now is a little baby of mine; I know their stories and talking them up to people comes so naturally I'm constantly amazed at myself (and the cheese, of course).

I see this ease of transition as a real testament to one of the basic tenets I held closely in this whole process: never let a speedbump throw you off track, learn how to use it to your advantage. All those months that passed due to the lag of making finances and finding the right space come together were a big opportunity for me to continue learning about my newfound craft, and it has paid off in spades. Last year when it became apparent that I would not be able to open shop in the spring as planned, I took that as a chance to attend educational seminars and conferences, work on a sheep dairy, consistently pester and work with the amazing Steve Jones of Steve's Cheese, now The Cheese Bar, and read, read, read about fromage. So I'm waxing a little poetic here, but I must say that had I not done these things I would never feel so naturally at ease behind the counter. While I'm no ego-centric freak, I do know when I do something well, and this is it. Sometimes the key just fits, and it's cheesetastic.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Holy Cheezus!

Opening weekend. WOW.

I am still trying to take it all in, and there is so much to tell of the crazed week that preceded the final birth of my cheese baby. I will try to invoke a wee bit of brevity in my re-telling of events, but no promises.

The week leading up to opening was insane, of course, and I expected it to be. In fact, I must say that a year plus of preparing put me in good stance to take the final barrage of hiccups in stride like a Tennessee Walking horse, but there were still some freakish moments that had me panting over my gorgeous new counter like a beached marine mammal.

First off, anyone in Seattle thinking of starting a business that involves food or drink of any kind, know now that everything hinges on plumbing inspections. I don't understand this at all seeing as faulty electrical work can potentially kill you, while shoddy plumbing may result in a short attack on your intestines, but whatever. I will say that they are easy to schedule and if you have a great plumber who knows what they're doing (like I did, thankfully), this won't be a problem. However, final inspections on other ends, like the Health Department, are contingent upon final plumbing inspections, so keep that in your hat. I have to say that contrary to what we all may think, the city of Seattle is actually amazingly helpful, responsive, and understanding. Long story short, I had to schedule all of my final inspections the day before opening, and was sweating bullets that it wouldn't all pan out. At one point I was 40 minutes from sure that I would not be able to get my health inspection passed and would have to postpone opening until the following Tuesday (tomorrow). However, a lot of sweet-talking and a whole lot of awesome city and county officials later, I was jumping up and down like a pre-schooler with signed paper in hand!

Friday opening was, and still is, a bit of a blur. It was busy, busy, then super crazy busy, back down to regular busy, and I ended the day on the strong tail end of a good adrenaline high. I still can't get over the number of people who came in over the weekend saying how they had been following the blog and/or news of C&K with baited breath, how happy they were that I was finally open, and how much they valued the inclusion of my business in their everyday life. I said to my customers and myself, "me too!!!"

The rest of the weekend was more of the same, and I have so much more to embellish upon; my rockstar employees, my neighbor Rain Shadow Meats - CARNIVORES GO THERE NOW! - and so much more. Also many great photos to upload, press links to link in, etc. etc.

I will end this post with a big, giant, fat shout-out to my friends Chris and Emily of the soon to be Ankerhaus Tavern. I've known this awesome couple since I started my own small biz baby, and I cannot wait to see them make their dream come true. They are kickass people, they know their shit, and they are seeking investors.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Countdown: 8 days

One week and a day to open, ACK! I knew that no matter how much time I had, most of the major prep would wind up happening in a flurry right up until the wee hours before opening day. But I am now seeing the light, or rather the cheese, at the end of the tunnel.

Friends stepped up to the plate to help me seal my ceiling, which was a beast of a job. The old wood that makes up the mezzanine above me is gorgeous, but very dry and it soaked up the sealant like you wouldn't believe. Three more gallons of varnish and two long afternoons later it is looking fabulous though. Also in the past week I've had first round of inspections cleared, permits approved, equipment delivered and ready to install, a beautiful front counter built by my awesome carpenter, two rockstars hired to help me behind the counter, supply list edited, re-edited, and finally submitted, phone lines installed, and first order list-making almost done. It feels soooooo good to be getting so many little things accomplished, and while every day is full and exhausting, I'm feeling prepared and incredibly ready to open next Friday, April 23rd.

See you on the other side of the deli case!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Home Stretch

T-minus two weeks until opening day and I am freaked the frack out! I always knew that no matter how much time I had to make this all happen, there would inevitably be a giant scramble to pull it all together right up to the end, but it is still surprisingly terrifying to be so close and to feel so far from finished.

After a few failed attempts at sealing all porous areas of the space, which is about 99% of it, on my own, I called in some favors from friends and tonight we'll be busting a major move with the noxious elements. Thank goodness for people who will work for cheese!

In the meantime, I'd like to give some much deserved love to my neighboring businesses who are open and just about to open. Marigold & Mint, a lovely little flower shop, is currently open for business. They offer a gorgeous selection of organic flowers and will soon be a CSA pick up location on the Hill. Also opening right about the same time as myself is Rain Shadow Meats, finally a butcher on the Hill! He will offer locally raised fresh meat as well as home-cured salami and other delectable items for us hungry carnivores.

That's about all my spring cold-addled brain can handle right now. More progress pics and news to come shortly.