Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Slowly But Surely...Oven Progress!

It always seems like people in Talkeetna spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about which eating establishments are open when, who's serving what, and how good it is. Even though it seems like there's nowhere except the for the Latitude to eat on Mondays and Tuesdays, even though noone knows when or if Wildflower will be open, even though Mountain High Pizza is having a pretty low winter due to a very unfortunate oil spill incident and even though the Roadhouse isn't doing a Haunted House this Halloween ... life goes on. Everyone figures it out. Everyone finds something to eat or drink. There is still always a burger and a pint to be had somewhere.

As things grow and change however, a burger and a pint doesn't always satisfy. People seem to want something new and exciting, some variety to get them through the doldrums of a long winter. And so, there has been continued, keen interest in the wood fired brick oven progress here at the Flying Squirrel. Well, even before I became a cafe owner, I was always one of those seeking something delicious and new, interesting, mouth watering, different. So, I am happy to say that the oven is really making progress. All of the firebrick hearth and dome are complete and as I write this Brian and two helpers, Terry and JJ are slopping buckets of chunky, gloppy refractory concrete over the top of the oven dome. Hooray! After some cure time we'll be down to insulation and a facade. Hopefully this means finally lighting fires in the thing around Thanksgiving. Maybe, dare I put it in writing, even a grand opening, oven-warming party somewhere at the end of November or beginning of December.

The brick oven will bring breads with a heartier crust, wonderful ambient heat through the coldest time of the year...and, yes, perhaps once a week rustic, wholesome, scrumptious, gourmet pizza. Add yet one more thing to all the other things I have to do. Anyone know a good pizza cook who likes to play with fire?

Anyway, Brian deserves a lot of credit. These days he's less focused on work and building (except when the bakery is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). Mostly he spends his time trying to fulfill his obligations as a reluctant housewife, Oliver's main caregiver, Farmer Al's substitute potato sorter, outdoor clean-up crew after a year of neglect, and pretty soon: expert wood cutter! We figure during winter, this brick oven will eat a cord of wood a month and in summer maybe double that. The fun never ends around here.

A burger and a pint might just be the thing for such a hard working stay at home dad. Of course, we'll have to go out for that, since there is not a burger to be found at the Flying Squirrel. I wonder where we could get a burger today, anyway....

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Two Months

Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe opened it's doors only two months ago. Sometimes it feels like I've already been doing this for years.
Two days ago I was reminded of how fast these two months have gone by when local resident Michelle Baker came in to pick up some bread she had reserved. She turned out to be the first person to fill up a bread card and she got a free baguette!

Don't get me wrong, the first dollar was pretty darn special (thanks Esther and Jim!), but the first full bread card is just as, if not more meaningful. It represents a connection that is quickly developing between Flying Squirrel and the great folks that walk through the doors every day, or once a week, or even once a month. People who live in the Talkeetna area are coming back for more. Even better, neighbors are buying locally made bread instead of the grocery store standard. Even better, people like the crusty, whole grain bread with substance that I happen to like making!

Very cool.

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