Archive for June, 2008



Running Alison at Blue Bell. Overseeing construction at Alison two. I’ve been so distracted that I put the laundry detergent in the dryer. Then, I turned on the dryer and it came out the vent – like snow. The good news is, that things at Alison two are starting to come together.

 Here’s Michael Sedlacek designing light fixtures. You’d think it would be more expensive to have things custom-made. But we’re finding that it isn’t always the case. By the way, we call this photo with the beer “don’t try this at home.” Takes an expert to manage a soldering iron with Corona.



Soldering light fixtures

We’re getting ready to refinish the mirrors we got from The Plaza Hotel. (See “Full of Flavor and Personality” below) Thought this label on the back was interesting.






The rest of this week is filled with meetings, more meetings and wonderful trips to Maple Acres Farm. I love those breaks when I get to hang out with the local fruits and vegetables and pick up blueberries and strawberries for Amelia. She turns them into Strawberry Pie and Blueberry Polenta Pecan Cobbler for Alison at Blue Bell . I can’t think of a better way to get 5 servings of fruit each day!










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How do I create a new dish? It’s quite a process. First, I travel and I taste. Then, I get an idea. Then I think about it — a lot. I try some things. And, eventually, I write the recipe down. If I handed you the recipe and told you to make the dish, you’d follow the steps. The final dish might taste the same as the way I make it – but it might not. So many things can make a difference. If you used strawberries from California rather than ones grown locally, for instance, the size or flavor might be different. That could change the balance. I usually taste and make changes as I’m cooking and sometimes adjust the recipe.

Creating a restaurant is like creating a recipe. First, we walked around the space. We thought about where everything should go. We researched and got ideas. We talked about it – a lot. And, eventually, the designers created the plans. Then we handed it to the crew. And, just like a recipe, the restaurant keeps evolving.


Building the restaurant

My electrician, Augie, for instance, doesn’t just follow the recipe. He’s awesome. He asks us a lot of questions and knows when something isn’t going to work the way we want it to. He makes suggestions that are usually right on target. He took one look at the plan for outlets behind the bar and knew that it wouldn’t work the way we wanted it to. Instead of just following the recipe he’s very intuitive about how to make sure it comes out tasting great.

Speaking of the bar, we’ve had a few issues there. We suspected that the bar might be a little big, but felt we needed the space for everything that had to go behind it. But, once the framing went up, it was clear that it really was taking up too much space in the room. So, we tore it out and made it smaller. 

We’ve made some changes to the living room as well. The plan calls for a 6-foot fireplace. It looked great on paper. But, when you stand in the room, its just too big. That topic alone could be a whole blog. We finally settled on a 4-foot fireplace.




Sangria on the patio at Alison at Blue Bell
The construction site may be like a recipe – but not one you can just add water and mix. I’m here every day – tasting and making adjustments as we go along.

 Then, each afternoon, it’s a quick shower to get rid of the dust and sweat, and heading over to Alison at Blue Bell. Since the heat broke, the outdoor patio is a wonderful place to be. It’s so beautiful right now. Everyone is really loving the peach sangria. That’s a recipe that doesn’t need adjusting.












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