The time has come for a few changes to the blog. For years, I’ve paid a web host to host ADOB and the never-updated michaeldietsch.com on my behalf. With a baby in the house, and what appears to be an intercity move pending, I just can’t justify the monthly expense.
I recently moved Mrs. Bitters’s various blogs over to WordPress.com, and those moves were successful. In a nutshell, WP.com is hosting the blogs for free. For 12 bucks a year per blog, WP is now providing name server wonkery for each blogs — in other words, Last Night’s Dinner lives at lastnightsdinner.net, where it always has, rather than at foo.wordpress.com.
So, that’s what I’ll be doing, paying WP $12 a year instead of another host $25 a month. Unlike LND, which is now largely a legacy site, I do plan to keep updating this blog, so I may drop a few extra shillings on some of the custom-design options that WP offers.
What this means is a redesign. About time… This current design dates to 2008. It also means some shuffling of content, a wider post area (so those damn ads can display in a larger format, for example), and maybe even some new types of material. I do hope to post more frequently, but I’ve made that promise before.
I’ll be working on it on and off, whenever the baby lets me. So I have no timeframe on the relaunch, unfortunately, but I hope to move things by the end of April, so I don’t pay another month’s hosting costs.
I regret to announce that after many weeks of working to help the Bolins open their dream restaurant, I was informed last Monday that my services would no longer be required. Needless to say, I was stunned, angered, and saddened by this news, and I wish that I would have had more time to prove myself. I am proud of what their team has accomplished, and I regret that I will no longer be part of it. I have nothing further to say publicly at this time.
People’ve been askin’ me, “Yo Dietsch! What’s up with Cook & Brown?” Well, I’ll tell ya, these are the unglamorous days of sweating, scrubbing, lifting, ripping, and swearing. The Bolins are taking these weeks to do some very important things, but none of them is what anyone would call “sexy.”
First, the place needs a thorough cleaning. Nemo, Jenny, and sous chef Adam Mir started in the basement, clearing out decades of detritus left by former owners. With that done, they power-washed the floor and when it was dry, they painted. A guy came in to rip out the soda system, gun and all (I wish I’d have seen it go), leaving Nemo the task of cleaning the syrupy muck left behind in the basement.
(Aside: Flat panel TV that hung in the bar? Gone. Soda gun? Gone. Limoncherry Pucker? Gone.)
With the basement emptied and cleaned, they could move stuff down from the kitchen and dining room. So, we sorted through the barware and dinnerware left behind so we could move downstairs the stuff we’re keeping and offload the stuff we don’t want. Fans of 16-ounce cocktails? You’re SOL; those glasses are on the Gone list. (On the To Do list: order coupe glasses and Irish-coffee mugs.)
We’re still in the process of cleaning the basement and moving things downstairs. Right now, the cleaning focus is on the walk-in fridge and the standalone freezers and fridges. I spent a good part of today removing metal shelving from the walk-in and scrubbing its walls and floor.
The Bolins are calling in reinforcements this week and weekend. The goal is to finish moving everything out of the dining room (and anything portable from the kitchen) so we can thoroughly clean the upstairs, and …
… so we can start ripping shit apart upstairs. That’s the next stage of this. The Bolins are renovating the restaurant. Major changes include rebuilding the bar and back bar, ripping out the wainscoting, repainting, chipping up the tile floor in the bar area (except for behind the bar), and redoing the drop-ceiling treatment. Minor work includes reupholstering chair cushions and refinishing table tops.
They’ve put out a call for volunteers to come in and help remake the restaurant. We’re doing the demo and painting work ourselves to save money, and then a team from Site Specific is coming in to rebuild the bar and back bar and do some other projects in the house.
While I was scrubbing out the walk-in, Chris Amirault (from eGullet) was upstairs, ripping out the butt-ugly back bar. Unfortunately, I have no “before” photos of the back bar, but here’s an “after”:
(I am very much looking forward to yanking up that shitty, shitty bar top. More on those plans as things progress.)
Meanwhile, we’ve been interviewing cooks, servers, and bartenders. In a classic case of burying the lede, I’m happy to announce that Chris will be joining us one night every week or two to sling drinks.
We’ve been working on our respective menus–Nemo and Adam on the food; Dietsch on cocktails. One fun thing about Cook & Brown is that we’ll have small plates, share plates, apps, and entrées, so we’ll have a range of choices. As we get closer, I’ll start talking in detail about the food, wine, and beer. As for the cocktail menu, we’re starting with a list of drinks based around warming, brown spirits–rum, whiskey, cognac–to befit our late-winter opening.
So, you want to know what’s going on? That’s what’s going on. It’s not pretty, and nor is it glamorous. But it’s crazy fun.
DISCLAIMER: I am no longer a part of Cook and Brown.
You might recall I was nominated for a Foodbuzz award for best cocktail/spirits blog, along with Jay Hepburn from Oh Gosh!, Marleigh and Dan Miller of Sloshed, and Jeffrey Morgenthaler. The winners were announced earlier tonight, and the honor goes to Marleigh and Dan at Sloshed. Congratulations to them, and thanks to everyone who voted, even those of you who traitorously voted against me.
A Dash of Bitters has been nominated for a Foodbuzz Award in the category Best Cocktail/Spirits Blog! And the competition is stiffer than the drinks around here: I’m up against Jay Hepburn from Oh Gosh!, Marleigh and Dan Miller of Sloshed, and Jeffrey Morgenthaler of the wittily named Jeffrey Morgenthaler blog. I know it’s cliché to say these things, but I am honestly honored to be in this company. I know and like all of these people, and I read their blogs avidly. I’ll be happy no matter who wins, but I’ll be even happier if I win!
If you’re inclined to vote, go here and vote! You have until October 29th. They do want you to register, but all you need provide is name and email. You do not need to vote in every category. Cheers!
Sorry for the non-cocktail digression. My wife, Jennifer Hess, who blogs at Last Night’s Dinner and takes most of the beautiful pictures you see here, is featured in the Dining and Wine section of Wednesday’s New York Times, in a piece by Kim Severson about crowd-sourcing cookbooks and recipes. That’s Jen above, so nice I had to show her twice. To say I’m proud of her wouldn’t even begin to scratch the surface. And if you’re thinking, “Dude, I met you at Tales or somewhere else, and how’d you get so lucky.” Believe me. I know.