Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Just another day at Secco...

Sara here. I'm just bringing my camera to work with me now. Gotta document this rough life I lead as the menu trials continue...

Duck terrine...

Mostarda in the early stages.

Olive Oil Cake.

And hundreds of freshly washed and polished glasses!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Okay, so I am an Adduci, and being an Adduci means that there is pasta making in my blood.  My Grandma Lena was an amazing cook, preparing elaborate Sunday suppers for us EVERY week for all of my childhood (and most of my early adulthood, for that matter) and part of that magic was in her homemade pasta.   I used to make it with her sometimes, trying to pin down her recipes and master her skills, though she never actually measured anything which made things a bit difficult to replicate, I must say.  She always just did everything with the experienced hands of someone who just knew how it was supposed to feel, and damn, she sure made it look easy.   

It has been years since I've made pasta and I was so thrilled to watch Tim and Scott and Dallas doing some pasta making trials at Secco.  It made me weepy, even, much to my surprise, especially when they were making orrechiette, which was always my favorite of the many styles of pasta my Gram would make.

I'm just happy to see that some of these old traditions are being kept alive, now, here, today!  So, thanks, first, to my Grandma for planting the seeds of fresh and homemade firmly in my mind, and secondly, to Tim and the boys for the sweet reminder.  I wish she was still here to see this because she would love it!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Am I dreaming, or is this place really starting to look like a restaurant??

Howdy folks!  This is Sara here-- and I just wanted to share with you some of the pictures I took yesterday of Secco.  After all this waiting and planning, it is truly amazing how quickly this place is taking shape-- before you know it we will be pouring you a glass of wine and plying you with plates of deliciousness!  Wheee!  I cannot wait.  The menu is fantastic and the wines, people, the wines!  I think I'll be a customer as often as I am a server!  Julia might as well pay me in food and drink.  Ha.  But, it sure does look sweet, doesn't it??


Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Funny, how after two years of planning, paying rent on an empty space, crunching numbers, planning some more, paying a lot more, crunching more numbers, filling out dozens of logic-defying/mind-numbing governmental forms, drinking a hell of a lot [of wine], filing endless applications, "engaging" city hall (in that unresolved, Korean DMZ sort of way), hiring awesome people and then convincing them to wait months for a job, selling everything I own, borrowing against my soul/leveraging the rest and putting EVERYTHING on a spreadsheet (an unnatural act) it all comes down to 15 freaking days!?!!?!

This has been a crazy week among crazy weeks. My eye-twitch is in such high gear (if I could figure out the time signature I'd join a math-rock band and/or play the lottery with my sequence repetition) that I know we're closer than close to opening Secco. How close? I'm not gonna tell you because, until I clench that VA ABC license in my un-manicured, shaky hand, the fat lady is still just humming her chromatic scales.

That's right, we still have to get through a few more city and state hurdles before we can pour delicious wine into your glass but we are mere days away! In fact, the really funny part is how I plowed through the really big challenges (with LOTS of help) like a cattle guard-equipped train engine (I'd have used a sports analogy here but my bf is a restaurant manager himself and therefore never home/rarely available for continuity checks), but the threatening tidal wave of administrivia is what terrifies me now:

Will the spring-loaded hooks anchoring the wine bottles on the retail display hold a manorexic Austrian Gruner Veltliner bottle as well as a fat bottomed-low-rider Prosecco bottle and not cause either to jump out resulting in a costly concussion? If we don't adjust the glass washer hot water sanitation cycle down to 180 from 210 degrees will the $10K Micros machine above it suffer steam burns? Will some [expletive deleted] lock themselves out of the bathroom on the first night (oh, wait, that already happened)? Will the sticker printing company EVER get the pantone color (207u...TWO HUNDRED SEVEN U!!!) right on our logo? Will I break the other window shade? Should the bin numbers on the racks follow the precise order of the wine list? Can I adequately explain twitter and social media site access/content to my staff without making "invitation to sexual harassment lawsuit" jokes? Will the front door paint come off on customers' hands? Will the hot water kettles heat fast enough for an unpredictable coffee program? Will everyone appreciate what a beautiful job Stephanie did on the bathroom or worse overly appreciate it by um, overstaying? Will I remember to add the "eating raw or undercooked foods are delicious I mean dangerous" tagline to the menu? Will I find drapes that don't look like ass? Will I remember to wash the napkins every week since I'm too cheap to hire a linen company? Will the discount laser printer even work on our custom sized menu templates? Will the back-ordered teaspoons arrive before my 40th birthday? Will I spend my 40th birthday diving in my own dumpster (since I spent ALL my money on the wine bar I will not be turning 40 in Paris like I imagined)? Will I be able to curb the enthusiasm of the local characters at the home around the corner? Will I remember to take care of my Irish Stripe before opening? Do the panini actually fit on the plates I got on sale but forgot to run by Chef? Will the lighting be too dark or too light? Is there enough copper paint left over for touch-ups? Are people going to compulsively pick at our cork covered bar? Is anyone gonna figure out how to blast our way through the sidewalk/basement doors so we don't have to take wine deliveries on the dining room floor during service? Will anyone notice the barefootprints permanently embedded in the epoxy paint (thanks to yours truly)? Will the chalkboard painted wall be washable? Will the first bottle I open be corked? Will the best coffee company ever send the right grind in time for opening? Will anyone complain about an all-Edith Piaf set that lasts the entire week after VE Day? Will our tshirt slogans be too long to fit on a women's sm baby doll cap sleeve American Apparel T? Will anyone get it?" Translates to "Don't ask me how old I am or how much wine I've had." Or at least I think that's what it means. [Anni e bicchieri di vino non si contano mai."] True.

At least I know through it all my staff has my back...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

We Heart Beer--just not unloading the beer cooler.


Secco lit up at night after the floors were painted; very large, strong men delivering our beer cooler; Lincoln checking out his new beer palace; Chef Tim unwrapping whisks, tongs and bowls. Closer and closer!!

Monday, April 5, 2010