It's over. The Open House. Finished. Done. No leftovers, all flour particles cleaned up, (and THAT is a chore, believe me!). Relatively empty refrigerators, more counter-top space, no longer the lingering scent of maple in the air... back to normal (if you can call our lives that). W're sleeping once again. SLEEPING...at all hours. I come home from work and fall into a chair and go comatose. I don't think I got more than about three to four hours' sleep a night for several weeks before the open house, and to finally get back to six or seven a night, well - its a bit heavenly.
For several months now, we've been planning this event, and having never done anything like it, we were completely unsure of how to approach it and what the outcome would be. But I am here to tell you that it was a complete and resounding success (may I pat myself and Joe on the back for just a moment?)! Of course, we couldn't have done it without the help of two additional pairs of hands..which I will explain in a moment. Let me just say that our lives where a whirlwind in that series of very full days leading up to this chance for us to make new friends and business contacts, feed the multitudes and see the expressions of joy and wonder on the faces of everyone who walked in the door.
The night before was the most stressful event in recent years, what with us pulling an all-nighter and baking non-stop, so that everything would be fresh and tasteful. Let's face it, you can only do so much in advance when approaching a tasting event like this, and we did as much as we could. I spent weeks baking up huge batches of biscotti, one of the only things we make that keeps quite well and actually tastes better after "settin' a spell". In the days before the event, we zested and juiced lemons and limes, made fresh, handmade lemon and lime curd, prepared frostings and measured out ingredients...well, the list is far too long to blog about, but suffice to say we were, as my mother used to say, "busier than a one-armed paper hanger."!!
Then a miracle happened. (suddenly this sounds like a Christmas tale): Joe's sister, Michelle, and one of Joe's CLOSEST friends Gerrie, flew in from California and Nevada, respectively, and surprised us to offer support (and squeeze in a New York City vacation - who wouldn't?) Well, if it hadn't been for them, we would never have been anywhere near ready for the hoardes of hungry people who poured in the door of Tricia Rago's lovely KitchenNYC, which we rent to help us produce our delicacies. They helped us cart our supplies, kept us coffee'd up, and ended up doing a lot of the grunt work, such as rotating pans in the oven, slicing cheesecakes, doling out cookie dough, and heading up to the street to help introduce us to the rest of the world. And we have to give a huge shout out to our dear friends, the Faistl-Weisbachs, who arrived, new-born baby Madelyn in tow, to also carry trays of mini-lemon merengue pies, biscotti and cheesecakes, out on the street to help hawk our wares and invite passing strangers in to become newfound fast friends.
The first person in the door (and who was surprised, I ask you? Not I!) was one of our most enthusiastic supporters, David Bonnano, a former co-worker of mine and one of our best customers. He took the time to run over on his lunch hour, and it was a joy to see his smiling face as he sampled things he's here-to-fore been unfamiliar with, and to give us hugs and encouragement. After that, it was like a dream that I am still trying to figure out how I made it through intact! There was barely a moment when we weren't introducing our goods to someone new or hugging an old friend and passing out refrigerator magnets! I kicked in to full-on performer mode without thinking about it (and I haven't done that in YEARS). And the rest is, as they say, history!
The list of people who turned out to support us is fantastic, and we want to thank each and every one of them (and/or YOU) who either offered words of encouragement and/or actually showed up to cheer us on and try some new and different flavors.
Offerings included mini one-bite versions of our Lemon Flip cake, Brooklyn Blackout cake and Carrot with white chocolat/cream cheese frosting. Mutt cookies (dark chocolate with Peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, toffee chips, butterscotch chips and milk chocolate chips) Dark chocolate/Raspberry, Snickerdoodles, Sunflower butter cookies and our Multi-colored Autunnos. For cheesecake flavors, there were Creme de Menthe, Pumpkin Cranberry, Caramel Apple and Hazelnut Mocha Joe. The available biscotti were Cranberry orange, Tuscan spice (with and without almonds), Double Chocolate, Honey-Roast Peanut (with and without chocolate chunks), Lemon Poppy-seed, and frosted Maple Pecan Praline. Tasting versions of our Pumpkin with Pecan-Cinnamon streusel pie as well as our Lemon Merengue. I'm probably leaving something out - but remember, I'm STILL catching up on sleep! There were other things we had planned but we just. didn't. have. time.
In addition to those we've already mentioned above, others who stopped by were...
--> one of our newer friends, courtesy of the Faistl-Weisbach's, Kelly Egan
--> our friends, Wayne and Jayne
--> Steven's friend, Peter
--> Lori, Bree and Toni from the Container Store
--> David and Holly, who both work for Apple, and Holly's friend Mira.
--> Lisa, Jennifer, Lemarr, Heather and Maria from Crate&Barrel, and Maria's daughters.
--> Tameeka from CB2
--> the Franco family who came all the way down from Poughkeepsie just for this! Joe has known "Mom" Franco since she was a little girl
--> the three women from Arizona who just wanted to know where Macy's was but stayed for a bit and took their picture with us as evidence of nice New Yorkers
--> the young man whose parents were visiting from out-of-town and wanted him to make sure to find out when we would start shipping
--> the woman who found our card at Outcasts
--> the woman who, with her husband, own the little electronics store at 51st and 9th
--> the three people who found our event on Facebook while searching for free events in NYC
--> the woman who was upstairs by the stoop who asked me what the space was in the basement, and who was carrying a can of whipped cream in her purse
--> the couple who asked about low sugar options
--> Ninapilar, the woman who is working on a possible logo for us, and who blogged about us here and Pamela from The Pink Standard whose photographs grace the abovementioned post
--> Faith from Cara Linn Cakes
--> and so many others from the 'hood
--> and then there were all those there in spirit, all our families and good friends who weren't able to share our joy in person.
To each and every one of you, including the universe, we offer a gigantic THANK YOU, for being there with and for us.
We'll soon be revising our menu for the fall season, so be sure and give us as much notice as possible when ordering your Thanksgiving pies and cakes, not to mention Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and all of the other birthdays, promotions and otherwise special events happening in your family.
We look forward to hearing from you all, and providing you a little "lovin' from the oven!"
Sunday, September 7, 2008
...a chance to taste these biscotti (and other delicious treats) is free, at last!
As some of you already know, Saturday September 20, in Hell's Kitchen, we'll be hosting a free tasting event - an open house (er, kitchen?). where everyone will have a chance to sample several flavors of our best selling items, including biscotti, cheesecakes, cakes, bread puddings and cookies, with a few surprises thrown into the mix.
From 2-7pm that day, we'll be thowing open the doors of the commercial kitchen we bake in, to allow the glorious scents of freshly baked goodies to waft into the air, enticing neighborhoodites to taste Snickerdoodles, Joeltz (our famous espresso brownies), Brooklyn blackout cake, Caramel apple cheesecake and many, many more decadent treats.
Where you may ask? The address is 306 West 51st street (just off Eighth avenue) Suite #1 (basement) just next to the House of Brews. Yes, I said the House of Brews...I've posted a photo of the soon to be famous Joey, wearing our signature color and standing at the gate, so that you will have ease in finding us (as if following your nose wouldn't be enough!)
We'll be so excited to see old friends and meet many new (please feel free to forward this information to anyone you know who has a sweet tooth - we want everyone to experience Joey Biscotti!), and to let you see a bit of the creative process.
I'll post a reminder next week. Get your calendars and taste buds geared up. We know you're gonna love us!
Ciao for now...