Monday-Thursday 5pm-12am /// Friday-Sunday 11:30am-12am /// Last Call 11:15pm

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.