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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Candice Woo Preview on sdcitybeat.com

Food news good enough to eat

The progress of The Blind Lady Ale House and the rest of this week's foodie gossip

By Candice Woo

The restaurant that I’m most anticipating in 2009 is the Blind Lady Ale House, which is aiming to be open and ready to feed people by the end of January. A partnership between locals, including writer Clea Hantman and beer guru Lee Chase, the Blind Lady is housed in a 1920s brick building in Normal Heights and will serve Neapolitan-style pizza topped with fresh-made mozzarella, local veggies and sustainably produced meats. The aim is for a family-friendly food spot, with a finely curated lineup of local and craft brews, plus house-made root-beer floats made with ice cream from Adams Avenue neighbors Mariposa Ice Cream. www.blindladyalehouse.com.


We also got a review on sdurban.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blind Progress on Day 2

More Pizzas, Made at Home

Remember, these were made in my 1969 brown electric double oven at my house that has seen better days. Still, they look nice. We've made a bunch of variations on the dough, but the best is the original.

Egg cracked on. White was hard, yolk was soft.

After reading something about asparagus being extra good for digestion...

Jeff wanted me to try putting the proscuitto on before instead of the RIGHT way, after. In other words, it shouldn't cook. He thought it was tasty. It was better when we added the soft proscuitto with a bite. The saltiness was nice with the artichokes.

Look! Browning! On the bottom! In my sad oven!
All the pizza blogs show a side photo so I figured I should too. Some bubbles, some air. This crust has a really nice chewiness yet it's thin and crisp as well.
Tonight's artichoke and roasted mushroom.

The Day it Became Ours, Officially

Friday, November 21, 2008

Other Pizza Places We Like

Apizza Scholls in Portland
They use an electric oven and get that kind of char. Nice.

Ken's Artisan Bakery

Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More pizza, a starter

My beautiful starter. We've got jars all over the kitchen.
My sausage pizza.
She made her own.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pizzas at Home

I've been making dough every few days and then we've eaten pizza for dinner every night for the last 3 weeks. Here are just a few. The last one was simple - just fresh mozzarella, percorino, a teeny bit of sauce, garlic and basil. It was maybe, just maybe my best yet. Either that one, or the soy chorizo and sauteed onions... strangely, it was super duper good. This last dough was made with King Arthur bread flour, instead of the Caputo 00 I've been using. It made for a similar dough, with a great stretch, that charred and browned even in my seriously weak choco brown 1970s electric home oven. Next up? A blend of the two. And I've got a starter from Italy!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pizza School: Day Three

The toll of standing on my feet for 6, 8, 10 hours straight, standing just a foot away from a 900 degree oven and well, actually working hard culminated in this equation: me + lots of snot = done. It broke me. But it was amazing, hilarious, fun, ridiculous and delicious.

I don't even remember yesterday, Day 3, because it is now a complete and total blur. There was more dough, there were LOTS of pizzas, including the heavy and time-consuming quattro stagione, and lots of double cheek kissing bye byes.

Pepe is the owner and the one with the mustache. Jose (in white) was our patient, sweet, wonderful teacher and expert pizza maker.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pizza School: Pictures From Day 2

The first pic is us making the cheese.

The next pic is my lunch. I made it. See how it's blistered? That dough had sat for 2-3 days.

The third pic is the dough Mathilda and I made by hand the day before.

And the fourth is a sausage pizza I made. That was new dough that we made yesterday, not even 24 hours ago, and so it didn't blister like dough that was used in the prosciutto pizza.

Last pic is the flour used.

Today was pretty mellow. Mathilda and I made a batch of dough and cheese on our own, for the most part and it was super cool. I am getting the hang of this whole thing. Course Pepe wasn't around to make me feel inconsequential. After every thing I do, Jose excitedly exclaims "Perfecto!" It hasn't gone to my head.

Pizza School: One Day Down, Two More To Go

Last night's dinner shift wasn't that busy. There were plenty of people in the restaurant, but they weren't ordering a lot of pizza, mostly the homemade pastas that Vincenzo makes. Still, I made about a dozen. The Pizza Bianca al Proscuitto was my favorite to make and my best looking to date. That's a white pizza (no sauce) with olive oil, oregano, garlic and cheese and then it cooks. When it comes out it gets a big pile of arugula and prosciutto. And Lee & Jen: I made Vincenzo, who works there, a cheese-less one -- the olive oil, oregano, garlic base and then topped it with chopped tomatoes mixed with basil and a ton of chopped fried eggplant. It looked so delicious.

I was feeling so confident, mostly because I was only using the front of the oven which is way easier to master than the back (and I'm short) and then Pepe the Owner walked in with only 10 minutes on my shift left to spare and watched me and Mathilda (she's also here for the course, from Bogota, Columbia!) and when he saw my lame technique and caught me putting the wood pizza slide on the marble slab (big no-no) he made us make a bunch more pizzas and I didn't get out of there till 9:30. And with that, my confidence has left the building. At least with regard to the shaping and oven work. I rock at the dough making and I get another go at the cheese today, but with a smaller batch that I should be able to lift. :) I LOVE the cheese-making!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm at Pizza School!

Antica Pizzeria in Marina Del Rey is part of the VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas) and they offer these 3 and 5 day classes in wood-fired pizza making in their restaurant.

Mario the Manager, Pepe the owner and Jose the impressive pizza guru were all hilarious and sweet and got me a cappucino and a caruto flour hat. And then, like that, the cute opening stuff was over and they put me to work. Today I learned how to make dough (60 balls worth at a time), make the dough balls, stretch them into pizza, add ingredients (with a light touch, natch) and then cook them in the wood fired stove. We also made our own fior di latte (aka mozzarella) from just cheese curds, milk, salt and water. That was rough on the arms, but amazing to do and taste. You have to stretch it on this stick while stirring and cooking it and sticking your hands in the almost boiling water. It was 42 pounds of cheese curds. I couldn't begin to lift that pot. Then you have to make the balls and after making 30-40 dough balls my arms were exhausted but I persisted and made 20-30 balls of cheese. My arms are throbbing now just thinking of it.

My break is almost over. Time to go back for the second shift. I'm a little scared -- while I can stretch a nice looking pizza, I have not mastered the oven. I've torn two trying to get them far back in the oven. It's rough. I'm short. The dinner shift is gonna be busy (and yes, I'm making pizza for actual real customers in a busy kitchen even though the first pizza I ever made was only six hours ago.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Consider these BEFORE photos

We're in Escrow

We signed papers last week. This week we had our ABC meeting. And now the sign is up in the window. It feels more real than before.

The ABC meeting went well. I guess. Now we mostly wait. 30 days, or more.

Okay it's more than waiting: we need to figure out the seating, menu, decor, employees, and more. But isn't that the fun part?


Our plan: To offer hand-crafted and tasty organic salads, Neapolitan-style pizza (pizza napoletana), beer & wine to the families, couples and singles of Normal Heights (and beyond) to eat and drink and enjoy.

This is the blog about our journey from regular folks to ale house owners.

A standard pizza in Italy contains 500-800 calories. A medium cheese pizza at Pizza Hut has up to 2,160 calories.


Lee and Jenniffer Chase
Jeff Motch and Clea Hantman

Lee Chase graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Malting and Brewing Science and soon after passed the prestigious Institute of Brewing Associate Membership Exam to become a Master Brewer. Lee went on to work with three breweries and a yeast lab before committing to what was then a start-up operation called Stone Brewing Company. Over the nine+ years that Lee was with Stone, they grew from a small time brewery to an internationally-recognized icon of craft brewing. He currently works with numerous Breweries in the USA, as well as Canada, Costa Rica, India, Australia, Africa, and Norway.

Jeff Motch has a degree in Art from SDSU and his work has graced the covers of bands such as Jack Johnson, blink-182, G. Love and many local bands, he has designed for the San Diego Padres, Patagonia, several local restaurants as well as created fine art posters. He ran the local music zine 360, was art director for Cargo Music/Headhunter Records, spent time in Italy working for Acerbis Italia, studied beer for over 20 years at Live Wire and co-owned his design firm, Lively and Motch, for five years.

Clea Hantman has written eleven books for major publishers. Before that she owned her own successful retail business in downtown San Diego for five years. She’s written for every major publication in San Diego and her work has appeared in dozens of national magazines.
Clea has also been certified by the VPN America, the local branch of the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, an international non-profit organization founded in the mid 1990’s by a group of Neapolitan pizzaiolis (pizza makers). At Blind Lady Ale House we don't follow all the rules laid out by the VPN, but instead use them as a guideline to base our own pizza philosophy on—we specialize in a combination of old world techniques and local sourcing to create a tasty and thoughtful product.

Jenniffer Chase has a Master’s Degree, in Communication. While putting herself through school, she managed several restaurants, bars and cafes. Jenniffer, along with husband Lee own and manage three rental properties in the area.

To offer hand-crafted and tasty organic salads, Neapolitan-style pizza (pizza napoletana), craft beer & wine to the families, couples and singles of Normal Heights (and beyond) to eat and drink and enjoy.

This is the blog about our journey from regular folks to ale house owners.

Monday, May 5, 2008

About Our Food & Beer

It's all about the food. And ours is, we think, notable for many reasons.
We are in the process of updating our vendor info. Please stand by :)

We respect beer at the Blind Lady Ale House.
And we’re a little fanatical about quality. This obsession is certainly exemplified in our beer—from the brewery to your glass, we do everything we can to ensure the beer tastes as the brewer intended.
The Art of Organoleptic-Enhancment Engineering.
Draft beer takes center stage at the Blind Lady Ale House. We’ve designed and built a unique system that incorporates a multitude of specialized components to ensure that your drinking experience is the very best it can be.
Our Direct Draw System. Direct-draw is a term used to describe a draft system that places the kegs in direct contact to the faucets so they kegs are cooled by the same refrigeration source that cools the beer-line and the faucets. This means that the beer-line is not very long, and that the beer arriving in your glass has only recently left the keg. This results in a fresher, more accurate beer flavor. If you see a tap tower, and below it there is no refrigerator holding kegs, you are probably not seeing a direct-draw system. Which begs the questions: Where are the kegs on-tap stored? And how long ago did my beer leave the keg
on the way to my glass? (Sadly, the answer may be a few days ago!)
Our All Stainless Steel Metal Components. Save for the lines, everything else, from the keg to the faucet, is in fact made from stainless steel. This includes the coupler (the device that connects to the keg), the tail-pieces (the barbed pieces that connect the beer-line), the shank (the part that goes through the wall), and the faucet. In the processing of beer at a brewery, only stainless steel is used. However, most bars use nickel-plated brass—an odd choice indeed, because it reacts horribly with the beer. But the thing is, it’s cheap. A brewer would never use a brass component in the brewery, so why should we in our bar?
And you know what—our beer tastes fresher.
Our Glass Rinser. Many of you have noticed that we rinse the glass just before we fill it with your beer. And many of you have asked, “Why?” The Health Department requires a final rinse of sanitizer before air-drying. This is great for sanitation, but not so good for beer flavor— you’re left with sanitizer residue in your beer! So we rinse your glass with water that has been carbon filtered to neutralize any foul odors or tastes.
The Art of Appropriate Glassware.
A lot of thought has gone into the choices we’ve made regarding our glassware. Each glass is craft-beer appropriate, with it's own set of organoleptic-enhancing features.
The Honest Pint. All of our standard glasses have a pour-line, which ensures that you are getting what you pay for. The serving-sizes are listed on the chalkboard menu, right there next to the %ABV and the price. We were in fact the first Certified Honest Pint establishment in Southern California. No cheater-pints here.
Aroma & Foam. We selected glasses that are larger than our pour, which allows room for foam on top of the beer.
The foam not only looks beautiful, it also enhances the experience by releasing the drink’s aroma—and the majority of flavor is aroma. Lasting foam is considered a positive attribute to a beer: it reflects a clean glass and beer-line,
as well as the Brewers’ skill during the process, and their ability to preserve subtle flavors in the beer.
Temperature. Cold beer is refreshing! But even a standard 16-ounce pint glass often leaves the last sip of beer warm.
Our larger glass, the 21.5 ounce Willy, is engineered to keep beer cool until the last drop—it features a large, solid mass of glass that acts a little like a non-melting ice-cube. Our Snifter is used for stronger, more complex beers that aren’t served quite as cold.
It is engineered to fit nicely in the palm of your hand, which allows you to bring the temperature of the beer up.
Design. The Belgians are probably the most celebrated for their beer-specific glass shapes, which are not just about function, but often express an artistic form. There is a sculptural element to the glass, and the various shapes can add to the landscape of the table. Our array of glassware is not just enjoyable to drink from, but also to view and to hold.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


UPDATED 12/12/2011
Our menu changes often due to seasonal changes and availability.
Everything is subject to change at any time.

No, we DO NOT deliver.



Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Upcoming Events

November 8th - Blind Lady Dog House
We're turning the Blind Lady into a Dog House to help raise money for Second Chance Dog Rescue. This event is being co-sponsored by the fantastic people at Margo's Bark Soda Co. (who give all their profits to dogs).
From 4-7pm Second Chance will be holding an adoption event in from of the Blind Lady.
Our neighbors Dirty Dog, Pet Me Please and Viva Pops will be here helping out and donating to the raffle.


Pitcher This:
We've completely changed the program. You can get a 60 oz pitcher of any local beer we serve in our big glass until 10pm every night.
Remember, sharing beer makes it taste even better.

Sunday Night Movies:
Late-Suday-Night movies @ 10:00-ish

San Diego Beer Week
We've got a lot in the hopper.
Wooded Beers Flight, Sour Flight, Delerium keep the glass, Chimay Night with beer, cheese and keep the glass, Allagash Flight, Green Flash Cask with the brewer and keep the glass, and a lot more. We'll be posting all the details soon.

You can also keep up on all our events online by visiting our