Monday, August 24, 2009

What Happened When I Tried To Make a Comment on the Orangette Blog

I didn't really intend to do a whole blog post on dinner at Delancey. The idea of that just sort-of sounded like taking owls to Athens, but then on Orangette today, Molly mentioned a Goethe quote. "Do not hurry, do not rest". I love that quote. It's right up there with E.M. Forster's "Only connect", for me. So I started writing a comment and guess what happened? The operative word ended up being "writing" rather than "comment". I blame it on the upcoming writing week. I don't know what's going to work out for that, but I can feel it brewing. I have hopes. In the mean time, here's what used to call itself a comment.

Susan and I had pastries the other morning at Honore, the bakery next door to Delancey -cannele and macarons and cafe bom-bon, and there was Molly at Delancey! So early, red hair restrained in some cute messy pony-bun thing, trying to keep Jack away from whoever was at the door, while we were sitting just outside on the adirondack chairs, giggling to ourselves and thinking No NO! Let Jack come to the door! We love Jack! I felt the teeniest bit stalkerish and wondered if that well-worn media phrase "we ask that you respect our privacy at this time" ever crosses Molly's mind in those early hours when she is back at the restaurant after a 16-hour day, the tenth in, what, two weeks? In our defense, we were not at ALL the only people sneaking peaks, and at least we didn't actually cup our hands against the glass, right??

Not that we didn't want to.

Kate and I were supposed to have dinner later that night, before the new Mike Daisey show. She was going to make "Kate's Corn Buffet". I don't know exactly what that would have been, but Good would have surely been one word for it, since it was, after all, Kate cooking. Or would have been, if I hadn't suggested Delancey.

It was just that Kate was a little tired, not feeling that great, and we had to be at Hugo House early, and hadn't Delancey been open for like AN AGE, and we STILL hadn't been there yet?? So we each put on some little summer number, and arranged to meet in front at precisely 5 PM. Already, there was a little queue, but it was a cheerful queue, with all of us smiling secret smiles, thinking about love stories and chocolate chip cookies with grey salt and yes, pizza. There was a pretty pregnant woman in a yellow dress, with a big table's worth of handsome friends, and there was a cute girl with a grey dress and leggings, smiling at her date, and everyone else was also looking photogenic, in that particular way that friendly people who spend their time liking things do. Blog readers, Orangette lovers, fans. Lovers of love and pizza and ideas and things that seem impossible but aren't.

Kate said it felt like we were going to see a rock band, a really good one, one you've been waiting and waiting to see.

But the great thing was that it was like one of those concerts that is as satisfying as you think it will be - the live version of the tomato/corn/shallot vinaigrette salad IS better than the recorded version! And the framed photo of the italian man in his suit in the pink chair, and the delicate-looking waitresses in their grey t-shirts, and the tomato salad with the shallot vinaigrette and the kind of corn so sweet that I don't even know how one would find it, and the overall famousness feeling of it all! You can imagine.
I haven't even started on the pizza. We had the zucchini and anchovy and the Brooklyn. Of course, what else? I have to admit, I don't really want to go on and on about how fantastic it was. I just want to say that it was exactly what I expected, exactly what I hoped for and exactly what I was craving. Sometimes you want something to be simple, and just right. We didn't have to ask for the pizza scissors, and I wasn't tempted to use a knife and fork, and I didn't burn all the skin off the roof of my mouth, but nothing had congealed either. The sauce was exactly the way I like a pizza sauce, didn't taste like something you'd put on bruschetta or like spaghetti sauce, wasn't too sweet or overpowered by oregano, it was sort-of one with the crust, which should not for a moment be mistaken for "soggy", it was more that it felt inseparable in the best way, like a perfectly placed phrase in a poem or story, something said at the right moment in the right way, the not only well-worded but just what you wanted to hear, too.
But that was the start of Delancey being popular of course, the way Molly always pared it down to just the right details on her blog, in her book, recipes both made magic by her mythology and demystified by her willingness to share - I made this, she says, you can too.
But of course, even if we could, and really, at our table, only Kate gets put in that camp, the Camp of Could in the Kitchen, why would we want to? It was so nice to be welcomed in by Delancey, to sneak admiring peeks at neighbors, feel famous by proxy, energized and enthused, happy and summery and very very well-fed. And if reading this doesn't make you almost feel all those things yourself, then click on the love story link and get a little taste of Delancey for yourself.


Stephanie said...

Lucky! I've been following Molly's blog about opening Delancey and wishing I could try it out. Good pizza?

suomynona said...

What a wonderful review -- the best I've seen so far. I went to Delancey because a friend said it was good. I didn't know anything about the story behind Brandon and Molly and how they came to be, which just makes it that much more special. After my third visit on Sunday, I ordered her book off Amazon after reading some of the comments there about her book.

We locals are so lucky to have been able to experience Delancey. Can't wait to see what else pops up on the menu. Oh and you're right about how much Molly is loved. The woman (that came with her husband) that sat next to me on Sunday was a huge fan. When Molly would pop out from the back, it was as if The Beatles hit the stage on the Ed Sullivan Show. The woman next to me would squee, "There's Molly!" They ordered 4 pizzas between the two of them.

I warned Molly how crazy things will get when Oprah hears about Delancey -- and Molly's book -- and selects it as her Book of the Month. The wait to get into Delancey will be just as crazy as it is for the place in Phoenix. I don't think it's far fetched at all...

Hank Jasen said...

Mark Twain once ended a rather long epistle with ... I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn't have enough time. - or something like that.

Heather said...

Hank, that's great!

rachel said...

Great story! I wrote a story of how it came to be that I was able to eat at Delancey during the soft-opening on my blog (if you have a moment to go a few posts back on my blog, you will find it). Reading your account brought back the same excitement that I had when I glimpsed Molly in the restaurant working away! Good to know others were just as excited.

P.Shaw said...

This is so wonderful. I love the lyricalness of it, the pace and rhythm (I always misspell that word – even though I was a champion speller and LOOK! It came out of my fingers today on the first try. You must have inspired them... except, I just had to type 'inspired' over and over again until that one came out right). What else do you right? I think I'd like it as much as your photographs. Maybe you should take Barthe's Camera Lucida with you on your writing week.

Heather said...

Philip that is so funny, I read this and realized you know me via photographs instead of via writing, which is the opposite of what I'm used to.

I write short stories, used to write lots of blog entries :-) and have half a novel that is currently "resting".

Great idea, just reserved the Barthes from the library. You are full of good ideas!

Rachel - thanks! I love your story too.

P.Shaw said...

what's even funnier is that I wrote: Right instead of Write. I think it's because I store all of my writing on my computer in a folder titled Right?. Telling, yes?
Novels should be kicked in the shins when they sleep too long.

Molly said...

Heather, I can't even tell you how happy this post made me. Thank you. So, so much.

P.S. This is kind of awkward, because I couldn't find your e-mail address to contact you directly, but: I think we have your credit card at Delancey. Are you missing one? We've got it, safe and sound...