Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hallelulah...Holy Shit!

The past nine weeks have been quite the whirlwind! This post was supposed to go up the morning of April 13, opening day. I actually had many fond daydreaming sessions about the opening day post when I would write "Mission Cheese is open for business!" Then crazy happened. Good crazy. Delicious crazy. Frustrating crazy. Exhausting crazy. Overwhelming emotional crazy (sorry Oliver). Hilarious crazy. Crazy love. Lots of crazy. There will always be a snippet of crazy, but I feel like we are settling into our little shop at 736 Valencia, and it feels mighty nice.

For a nice trip down memory lane...this (left) is was the space was when we found it back in October 2010. To your what it looks like now (generally with some booties in those beautiful stools). I could not be happier with the way things turned out & there is a long list of people to thank for making it happen. Bringing MC to life was the most humbling experience I can imagine as there is only so much you can do on your own. which also makes the experience very communal & infinitely more special. Lots of love has been poured in from the generous family that has welcomed Li'l MC. What a trip. Hallelulah. Holy shit.

Now that we (we now being an AMAZING team of 7 Cheesers) have had just over two months of getting in our cheese loving groove, we can look back a have a good chuckle at some of the bumps in our road. Ingredient swap-a-roos, dishwasher lessons, undersized oven mits, batched cheese wrappage, scrambling wipe-out caused by a rascally bar towel (yep...that was me), clogged toilets, slow-motion mop bucket spillage...just to name a few. There have also been some classic characters that have entered MC leaving us with amazing quotes & countless laugh sessions. I feel compelled to share at least this one...

Seemingly normal man walks into MC & finds a space at the center of the bar, directly in front of lucky me...

Man: I need a shot. (eyes crossing & lips pursing very strangely)

Me: I'm sorry sir, we only have wine & beer.

Man: I guess what I'm saying is I need something strong...and quick.

Me: (very perplexed perhaps disgusted facial expression)

Man: I need a shot.

Me: I think perhaps what you need is a burger...before it's too late.

Lady customer at the bar: I think it's already too late!

Man exits. Phew.

The MC staff has also already earned their crime fighting badge. That's right. Last Thursday Mission Cheese was Mission Cheese...and Justice, when our man-cheesers (Eric & Steve) confronted a man who tried to steal both a phone & a purse from delightful MC customers. Both were recovered (and greeted with a round of applause from a full house of cheese lovers) & the thief was identified & arrested. We certainly did not want to be responsible for putting anyone in the slammer, but when one messes with our cheese lovers...they leave us no choice. Justice was served.

Most importantly, we have served up some serious amounts of American artisan cheese. Sharing stories & great conversations about our fermented friend...and life. Every day is an adventure, and we feel very fortunate to have such lovely & curious people walk into the shop every day (except Mondays...ha). Ya'll rock.

It has certainly been a wild ride thus far, but I would do it all over again in a half-second.

Next post (yes, we are back in action), it will be my pleasure to introduce you to the kick ass team of Cheesers that make Mission Cheese an amazing place to be.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Parents...and the many ways in which they rock.

We are down to the wire cheese lovers, so I do not have as much time as I would like to write an update...but a mini-update is better than no update. Yes?

As mentioned in my last post, my Parents were in town for 10 days of Mission Cheese-ing. Unbelievable Troopers. Definitely worth sharing.

Just for a little context, let's flashback to just under two years ago on a drive back from Mendocino...

Mum: I don't understand why you would quit your job. It's a good job. There are so many people looking for jobs!

Me: I am miserable in my cubicle. Life is too short to spend it on something I am not passionate about.

Mum: I just worry!

Me: It's going to be great, Mom! People love cheese!

Mum: You'll understand when you're a mother. We never stop worrying! DON'T DO IT! PLEASE! (sniffle sniffle)

Despite the worries (and they still worry), my Parents have been nothing but supportive from the moment this mission began. My Mum met me in Europe to kick things off & was a complete rockstar on cheese explorations through England & France (we only really got in 1 fight when visiting a COMTE aging facility...and I can barely remember what it was about). Then, they let me borrow a car (Mazda!) furnished with a GPS device (which I insisted I did not need...and I was 100% incorrect) to drive all over the country and visit cheesemakers & subsidized my lodging so that I would not bring my tent & camp alone. They visited creameries with me in Wisconsin, and my Mum even came to meet up with me on the east coast to accompany me on my drive back to Cali. On that drive, somewhere in Oklahoma in the middle of the night we (Mum driving) ran over a dead dear in the center to of the road at 75 mph (not recommended). It has been a journey.

So, back in the present, this trip was a pretty big deal. The first meeting of MC, which I like to call their granddaughter. Finally putting it all in perspective & the grand realization that...there is no turning back. My Parents dove right in, ready to help.

They drove all over the Bay Area looking for cove base tile (necessary for kitchen & bathroom areas...and not very easy to find if you want it to be somewhat attractive). Installed & grouted the tile. Unpacked much of the refrigeration & put it in place (not easy). Installed the sound system. (surround better believe it!) Reupholstered & reinforced the chairs...all 14 of them. Purchased lights, napkins, a grinder. Chiseled rough parts of the cement wall...and provided some much needed unconditional love. All the while, keeping their worried minds in check...most of the time.

I don't think all the curds of gratitude I could gather would do the trick on this one. My Parents have always been the most generous people I have ever known. I am just lucky that they are mine.

Mission Cheese...made possible by Richard & Dianne Dvorak. Mountains of curds to you...and lots of love too!

In other news, we are getting very close (in case you have not read about it already in 7x7, Inside Scoop, Eater, or Grub Street...EEK!) We have passed final building & health inspection, and the last step is obtaining the certificate of occupancy...which will hopefully happen early next week. So, we are targeting next Wednesday, April 13 for bringing cheese to the people. We are still waiting patiently on the beer & wine license...but we can still get our cheese on.

Also, the IndieGoGo campaign is still on & we are almost $2K away from our goal. While there is nothing (I mean NOTHING) I like less than asking for MOOla. We need it! Pass it on. You rock.