More restaurant

Little pieces getting done. I can’t tell you how much I love our crew. All these guys with their mussy hair, big hearts and goofy humor.

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We might still be a month away from opening, but it’s starting to feel different; a little more real!

 

                                   Cheers~

                                                          Marica

What a week!

Goodness gracious, what a couple weeks. There is no one place I am supposed to be, no one thing I am supposed to be doing. Instead, I am balancing two hundred tiny—some big—things that all need to happen soon. . . There has been so much fun too! We had a visit from one of my best friend’s daughters, who is almost like a niece and her best friend. I love showing people Portland. It’s such a fun city, that is still sweet and remotely humble; although I don’t know how long that will last. It’s growing a mile a minute!

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I’ve managed to fit in walks with my oldest; he prefers cold, rainy-day walks, and most of the time so do I. . .

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And then of course there is pre-restaurant work. Silly little things like pealing off the old tenant’s lettering on the door. . .

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To more dramatic things like painting with the Paiku dudes . . .

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Lastly, back at home, the fury family members never cease to be hilarious. I have way too many pictures on my phone of one snorty creature or another. . .

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Happy mid-January to everyone!

                                                        Cheers ~

                                                                          Marica

Onward and Forward

I always feel a sigh of relief when the holiday season wraps up. I hate the kids going back to school, but there is a definite release of pressure and the calm new year to make friends with.

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This is an especially exciting January. This year we are entrusting real walls with our food dream and creating a restaurant that will hopefully house customers all year at a semi continues rate. Food trucks are lovely, but winter and summer both hold their challenges from frozen pipes (and frozen customers—almost no customers) to hotbox days where you open the freezer just to cool your face down as you stand wondering what the F#%^*CK you were ever thinking. Nobody comes out for food when it’s a hundred degrees, so you just open to open and watch an empty concrete lot simmer in the sunshine. Yes, four walls, a ceiling, a floor and some good old-fashion tables accompanied by full backed chairs will surely go a long way.

Our house has made some exciting steps forward too, and our giant children are continuing to be more and more giant. I have written myself a list—still to be completed— of what I need to do this month:

 

Foodtruck:

  • Clean Floors
  • Empty and clean fridges
  • Empty of all equipment
  • Power-wash back
  • Take down signs
  • Light sand outside?
  • Scrub walls
  • Scrub steam table
  • Clean shed
  • Move fridges
  • List truck for sale

Restaurant:

  • Paint
  • Wainscot
  • Sand tables
  • Assemble tables
  • Steam clean chairs
  • Purchase dishes/cups/bowls/silverware
  • Figure out bar top
  • Make wood signs
  • Complete menu
  • Make official ordering and shopping lists for each vendor
  • Choose and hang artwork/decorate restaurant space
  • Make bathrooms wonderful/paint and decorate

House:

  • Trim door to basement
  • Install wood floor from kitchen to hall
  • Cap floor to dining room
  • Paint kitchen walls
  • Paint kitchen cabinets
  • Sand and paint bath tub
  • Organize sewing room
  • Hang kitchen doors
  • Hang bamboo on driveway gate
  • Dog door???

 

I also hope to get a little time to relax and recoup. I got some big paper, pastels and charcoal out. I figure maybe I’ll play a bit and see where that goes. I haven’t used charcoal or pastels in a long time.  In fact, I’ve been feeling artistically rusty lately. Not sure whether it’s just been a while, or if I am now past the age of being in tune and my personal flow of creativey has gone away. But that’s a post for another time. . .

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Happy January Everyone!

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A gift made my my dear friend Robin.

                                                           Cheers ~

                                                                            Marica

Better Blogging and big projects to come!

I realized—and I have realized this before— that I feel better when I blog. It’s almost like a chance to sneak away into my own mind/space/creative (for lack of a better word) time. I am so busy that it is much more rare that I sit down to write a post, but it sure does feel good. And when I say was busy, I’m a little scared of what is to come. We are taking a big step and opening a restaurant. Our food truck has been a wonderful chance to get ourselves prepped for this, but now we feel we have outgrown our food truck kitchen and are ready to plunge into full brick and mortar mode.

The shop will be only a 2-3 minute walk from our house, which is incredible as the kids as well as my husband and I can just jaunt over there as we are needed and whenever we please. It’s small, probably seats between 38-44 guests, and the kitchen is going to be AMAZING! I have dreamed restaurant for my entire life. As a child I wanted a place called The Secret Garden, a place where customers dined amongst shrubs and flowering bushes. This place is neither secret, or a garden, but it is going to be special, and a chance to have the atmosphere and coziness that a food truck just can’t offer. The contractors say it will be ready late January to mid February. This actually gives me a whole month of time at home and time to prepare for the restaurant. I’ll add more pictures as there is more progress. IMG_2872IMG_2777IMG_2647

                          Happy Friday Everyone!

                                                              ~ Marica

Ginger Love (and a recipe for how to make sweet pickled ginger at home)

I am a ginger devotee. It is probably one of my most favorite ingredients to eat or cook with. At Japanese restaurants there is never enough pickled ginger on my plate and I am willing to endure the hollow, sour feeling in my stomach that comes free eating far too much pickled food in one seating. Oddly, I have never attempted to make my own pickled ginger. Today, however is a new day, and guess what, I made what will now most likely become a staple in my kitchen—pickled ginger! 
What brought it all to the forefront was a batch of fast pickled radishes I put together at the food truck yesterday. I was needing a little salad pizazz and had a small bin full of fresh pink radishes (I’ll actually give you all that recipe another time, once I figure out the precise proportions to use.) Either way, yesterday evening I was too tired to bother with ginger but my mind was already running with ginger thoughts and laughing at the idea I had never before even tried to make my own fast pickled ginger. Well today it was my priority. Between biscuits and omelets, pies and ice tea, I shuffled aside some time for ginger experimentation. 
The result is utterly satisfying. After eight hours of soaking, the pickles are fantastic; bright, extremely potent, sweet and with a true bite. I will bet tomorrow and even the day after, they will have come to terms with their fate and settled down to a somewhat milder delivery of their pickled ginger charm.  <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:”MS 明朝”; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} –>

ginger

ginger, pickling, sweet pickled ginger, Japanese style pickled ginger
Pickled Ginger Recipe
First wash and peel your ginger then slice very thinly until you have about one cup. I used a peeler, but a cheese slicer could work as well. Be sure to follow the grain or the ginger will be rougher in texture. Also note, the ginger gets more stringy as it gets closer to the center so optimally just use the outer portion for this recipe. Place the ginger in a bowl and mix with the following ingredients and then let sit covered in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours: 
1+1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
Please enjoy and let me know how they come out!
                                                        ~Marica

Vegan Banana Muffins Recipe

I have a real soft spot for banana muffins. These particular muffins are yummy and yet still a tiny bit healthy. I often make a batch at the pie truck and then bring them home at the end of the day for my kiddos—They love when I bring treats. These days it’s hard to keep my fifteen-year-old from eating us out of house and home. Seriously! As an added piece—so you can get in the mind of a crazy pie-maker/mother/obsesser-of-story-books—I have an old love affair with the Betsy Tacy and Tib books. I read each and every one multiple times as a child, and to be truthful, I even read some of her later books not so very long ago. Either way, in the stories the house keeper/cook always makes the family muffins on their first day back to school. I found this tradition so romantic. Every time I make my children muffins I think of Betsy and her family and the simple tradition that somehow has made a lasting impression on me. Silly as it sounds, I feel like these are the things that matter. These bits and pieces are what keeps us inspired, warm and decent people in a very complicated world.
vegan, baking, recipes, muffins, banana, healthy

VEGAN BANANA MUFFINS
In a large bowl mix:
3 ripe bananas 
1 cup orange juice 
1/2 cup grape seed oil
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup ground walnuts
In a separate bowl sift together:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix both sets of ingredients together. Pour into an oiled muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes and then rotate the the pan and bake for another 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

                                                                    Cheers ~
                                                                                Marica

And a million pies later…

This was a good week. A long week, but good in so many ways. Firstly, I felt in tune with the pie truckand that is a must to feeling good. Sometimes the inside me doesn’t align properly with the tasks the world is requiring which certainly causes a lousy battle.  I find that when I feel as if I am playing, I am most at ease. It is a constant wonder in my mind if I am completely loopy, partially loopy, or if most people “play” when they are doing their best work. I hope some of you understand what I mean, because alas, it would be unfortunate to find I am the only one…

Secondly, this week I completed a project so huge and satisfying that my soul doesn’t know how to withstand the comfort in having it done. I keep wanting to go back, tweak this, adjust that, yet there is nothing necessary to tweak or adjust. The project is done, at least for this stretch of the road. I am not going to be so thoughtful as to include you all in what the project is, I am not being coy or sassy, it is just that it needs to be kept unrevealed at this time. (Is unrevealed a word? My computer doesn’t seem to think so). I will however say it is a book project, so no one will start believing that I built a house from ice blocks or sculpted a goddess in a giant boulder. 
Lastly, I managed to have my children clean the housejust enough<!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:”MS 明朝”; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} –>that my “weekend” was not fiddling with dishes, washing floors and scrubbing toilets. I’ll admit, I did do all of those things; wash dishes, clean floors and scrub toilets, but they were all minimal versions of what would usually be defined as major cleaning. I am so thankful.

Oh, and on a simple, minor note of satisfaction, I bought a small wood-desk at Goodwill. I thought it was for my daughter’s room, but my husband reminded my what a stack of things would gather on it in oh so short a timeand he is rightit will be of so much more use downstairs as a wee work spot for me. Now here I sit, so professional, writing this and feeling quite complete with my forearms resting appropriately as I type. What a lucky trick for me, guiltlessly buying something for someone else, and then reaping the benefit of its luxury.
Well, that just about does it.
All my best to Everyone!
                                                           Cheers ~
                                                                 Marica

Bits of these days…

May happened so fast, is it true we almost have made it through half this year already? It surely doesn’t feel possible. May has brought many hot days. I feel like I should embrace them, but instead I still detest too much sun. 
Our little neighborhood here hosts an annul parade. Exactly one year ago Sunday, the pie-truck opened during the festivities of this yearly event.
This year we’re far more experienced and no longer the newbies on the block. The pie-truck has had a good year. Winter was harsh, so harsh I often began to think we were nutty dimwits for opening the whole pie deal, but as weather warms and rain becomes an occasional treat, the pie patrons are returning. As well as the resurgence of orders for salad… 

Lazy afternoon naps are something I cherish as often as possible, especially since 
my schedule has returned to morning til night; it’s all pie, all the live long day. 
Fittingly I must sing; in the tune of I’ve been working on the rail road:
I’ve been working in a pie truck
All the live long day

I’ve been working in a pie truck
Just to pass the time away ay-ay-ay

Can’t your hear the timer blaring
Biscuits out to cool

Now the customers awaiting
There’s still more dough to roll

Paiku won’t you roll
Paiku won’t you roll
Paiku won’t you roll the dough ho-ho-ho
Paiku won’t you roll
Paiku won’t you roll
Paiku won’t you roll the dough

Someone’s in the kitchen at Paiku
Someone’s in the kitchen I know oh-oh-oh
Someones in the kitchen at Paiku
Rollin’ out the ol’ pie dough

And singing

Fee-fi-roll out the dough
Fee-fi-filly-i-roll that dough-ho
Fee-fi-filly-i-oh
Rollin’ out the old pie dough
Other bits of non pie life:

                                                   I hope everyone had a tremendous Mother’s Day!
      
                                                                          All my best and many cheers ~
                                                                                                Marica

Pie Truck Post

I feel like I have very little time to take pictures right now. My days are soooo busy and filled to the brim with children, pies, house cleaning, and all the other little tidbits of things that have to be done. Gone are the days of toddlers and the four meals that happened before the sun even reached it’s peak in the sky. I miss that slower pace. I miss it a lot. At the same time my current adventures are exciting. I am serving the world up pie. Real, handmade, scratch-made, flour-all-over-me-made pies, every week. There is surely monotony, but there is also that burst of life that can happen when I make a connection with a customer. There are the mornings where all that takes me through is, strong brewed chai, a dabble of music and the revelation that I AM MAKING PIE for complete strangers. This is my art, in the form of the word meaning expression, and I better make use of it while I choose to indulge in such indulgences. 
Like with anything, working out of a truck has its ups and downs. It is a very personal, very connected feeling situation. I see the weather—the windshield and other windows of the truck gift me the sensation of being part of each day as its shifts in and out of clouds, sun, rain, or the rare snowflake that will certainly make me giddy as a child. I am in conversation with each and every customer. They see me wash my hands and attend to their meal, from start to finish. Not so much the cooking, I’m in the truck, and they usually wander off to sit down, but as in the way you are a friend to a barista; they remember your drink and make it themselves. I am my own boss. I hesitate to use that word, it is so ugly and unbecoming of what the meaning of that is. I have the weight of making sure I cross my Ts and put tails on my Qs. I often am ready to turn off the propane-powered ovens, lock the door and leave the mess for another day. But I don’t. But I do dream of it, sometimes. 

 I taste food, constantly. I actually realized something the other day—I recommend you give it a whirl—I realized that if you stop to taste food it tastes more. I am often beside myself with how amazing and unbelievably out of this world a simple thing like a mushroom sauteed in butter can be. What I noticed was, even if you eat something less than incredible, if you stop and let your tongue fully communicate to your brain before you swallow it down, it is remarkably more tasty. I tend to be a scarfer. I can eat a burrito faster than my stomach will enjoy, only near the end when I am already quite full do I slow down enough to truly taste. I am planning to adjust my tendencies. 

And I like how magical people find pie. I like touching the piece of a person that goes straight to their, for lack of a better word, “inner child”—the part of us that gets excited by windstorms and soft about Christmas lights. So often pie sounds good, but when it is delivered, it’s a lukewarm, over-sweet, rancid butter lingering disappointment. I love knowing that what I set before these people is the right amount sweet, freshly baked with real butter, and the kind of care I would want someone else to put into my food. Even our sweet pecan pie, though sweet, makes the mark, at least in my opinion. 
 
I wanted a place to serve food from. The goal was good, real food—kind you read about in storybooks—at a price where it isn’t only available to the aloof, fortunate eaters. That would make my stomach turn. It is an almost impossible balance, but so far we are hanging on. 
 
Well, long winded and pie oriented, I better get to bed. Tomorrow is Monday, lovely, lovely Monday. 


                                              Hope you all have a good night!

                                                                                         Marica