Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Catalogs and Gelato

I remember complaining at length to Amber about the fact that I couldn't find a stainless steel mixing cup to make milkshakes in. Not in any store I went to. I'm sure she remembers it too. This was a long-standing grievance. Now I know where to get that kind of stuff. From restaurant supply catalogs.

I've got a pile of catalogs about a foot and a half high in my office right now, and I've been flipping my way through hundreds of pages of glasses, plates, ketchup dispensers, furniture, appliances, and cookware. The catalogue in front of me now has over 270 pages. It's enough to melt your brain. I've devised a clever system of different colored shapes I draw around items I'm interested in, and different symbols I mark the catalogues with to classify them. If anyone needs a meat slicer or a salad bar, let me know.

Everything is going great with the lead-up to our opening. All our major equipment is ordered now, and our spare bedroom is becoming a storage facility for various small to medium sized appliances and other items. I had a meeting to with our architect to go over our outdoor signs, and I'm really happy with how they turned out. We also went over the colors and samples, and I'm pretty happy with them too. I let our architect be my guide in choosing colors. Coordinating a whole store can be a bit tough, so I'm focusing on the decor more than the paint colors. Here are some pictures showing the glass tile that will form a border below our fireplace mantle and some samples showing our paint colors and the wood paneling that we'll be using on some walls and in a few other places (such as the front of our ice cream cabinets and the coffee bar). Oh, and we have a wall with wallpaper, so that's in there too. I've also put in a pic of our pendant lights. We'll have 8 of these, hung at different heights, three over the coffee area, 5 in the semi-private room. each piece is mouth-blown and original, so they'll all be unique.

Meanwhile, construction goes ahead. Keep your fingers crossed that we meet our deadline. Or rather that the contractors do. They're putting up sheetrock on the outer walls and framing the interior walls now.

That's your construction update for today. I've got to shop for office supplies and a water filter next. Before I go, though, let me give a (somewhat) brief answer to a question I've been asked a lot.

What is gelato? Gelato is an Italian style of ice cream. Gelato is frozen very quickly in small batches compared to ice cream. Because of the nature of gelato and how it is made and what it's made of, you only get the best results if your gelato is fresh (made on location) and it's made using European-standard equipment (which we have, but a lot of people won't spend the money for). Gelato contains less air than traditional American ice cream, but it also contains less fat (because it's made with low fat milk) and less sugar. It is traditionally flavored with fresh fruit purees, nut pastes, cocoa, and sometimes small amounts of chocolate flakes and small confections. It's also usually served at a warmer temperature. It's very light and creamy, as a result of all the above, but has a very intense flavor.

The picture above is of a gelato case in Italy. Gelato (and making it look cool) is an art there. We're trying to bring a taste of that experience to Colorado Springs. I'm not sure I can make it look quite like that (and usually you only can when your turnover rate is pretty high), but I'll do my best. I can give you the taste experience, though. Don't settle for gelato that has been shipped in from afar or that isn't fresh or that was made with machines that don't meet the European standards or that was flavored with syrups instead of real flavorings. For those of you who want to know some of the technical details of why this is all important, just read the wikipedia entry.


  1. You made me want some gelato right now!

    And yes, I still remember how long and hard you searched for a metal cup.

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