Monthly Archives: February 2014

Goal Setting

I go to Lucky’s every day.




If you care to know, I typically drop my kids at school and then go directly to Lucky’s and so I’m there usually a bit before 8 am.  (A complete aside note for those of you in Columbia…WHAT THE HECK WITH THE TRAFFIC IN THIS TOWN IN THE MORNINGS?  The congestion at  Providence/Stadium makes me want to lay down and cry for all of us.)

Each morning, I park in the lot at Lucky’s.  And then depending on how much pie I have stacked in the back of my Tahoe, I go and get two or three grocery carts.  Then I load those pies in the grocery carts.  Lucky’s asks that all vendors enter in the side door at Receiving for the product to be checked in (I only figured that out after using the front door like a total goofball for two weeks and then the kind gentleman who runs Receiving was all “yeah, so you have to use the side door.”  Oh.  Who knew? ).

So basically, from the parking lot to the front of Lucky’s and then take a left to the side of the store and then go down a very long elevated sidewalk to the big garage door and ring the bell.  Sounds easy…but add in that it is usually 10 degrees, windy, and snowy…also that I never let my phone or sunglasses leave my hands, AND that pushing three grocery carts is really unwieldy.  It feels a little like this, except imagine me freezing (well, and with pies instead of a basketball).


So what’s my point?  The point is I have a startling confession:  I sorta want a delivery truck.  And a delivery driver.  Then we could use that fancy delivery drop off parking at Lucky’s reserved for big trucks AND I bet seasoned delivery drivers never forget gloves when it is snowing or worry that they are going to get their Uggs muddy in the slush.

We don’t know anything about delivery trucks except what we’ve gleaned from watching Shipping Wars on A&E.  We lack a CDL license and are unclear about how you hire a delivery driver (are steel toed shoes part of the benefit package?).

As for affording it, that is a whole separate problem.  Here is the cheapest option on eBay:


This 1988 P30 Chevy Box Truck is a mere $2,250 on eBay.  That said, I can’t begin to imagine our faces plastered on the side of that sucker.  True to form, I quickly discovered something about a million times more expensive, but exponentially more attractive.


This truck is listed for $72,500.  That’s approximately 3,625 pies.

I have to bake now.  Goals, people!

Blog Official…

Remember way back to the chilly days of the fall and we all sent collective mental energy to Contractor Steve that his bid for our space not be super expensive?  And then that didn’t actually work out and so then we had no contractor?  And then I got on my soapbox that perhaps I would just try to contract the space myself?  And then we all thought that probably wasn’t a good idea?


We have some news.

Shortly after I wrote the whole “perhaps I’ll just order Contracting for Dummies and do it myself” blog post, Susan Hart from HBI Huebert Builders sent me an email that had the five magical words I had been waiting to hear…”I want to help you.”  Ummm…yes, please.  Turns out she is a PJP customer, a blog reader, and we have some mutual friends in common.  And she happens to be a part of Huebert Builders, a legit commercial contracting company (  I think my email response was “YES, PLEASE!” and Susan called me the very next day.  Even better, she and her business partner Wayne Huebert met us at the Buttonwood location later that afternoon.  Within five minutes, Jeanne and I were total smitten kittens for Susan and Wayne’s vision for the space.  They are ridiculously creative and smart and fun – our favorite kind of people.

If the world worked according to my will, I would tell you that we immediately all became besties, construction permits rained from the sky, there were no Excel spreadsheets for budget, and the work was done two weeks later.  Hahahahaahhaahhahahaahahahahaha.

In reality, we needed mechanical drawings.  And permits.  And bids for subcontractors.  And to make decisions about equipment and fixtures and display units.  And to talk about the HVAC unit 3,814 times.

And today, this:


A meeting of the minds and a decision to be in a blog official relationship.  And to ice the cake?  SOME SORT OF WORK MIGHT START TOMORROW.  Even if we just stand in the space and look at each other and then clean the toilet and windex the front door, I will feel progress.  Sweet, sweet, sweet progress.

We are beyond excited for all the obvious reasons, but also because Susan and Wayne are really creative and they don’t seem to think that either of us are odd in our vision for the space or for our long-term vision for PJP.

Welcome to the Inner Circle, Susan and Wayne:)


Let me start by telling you about what Jeanne did with her day.  The City of Columbia health regulations require that a retail food establishment have on staff at all times someone who has been to the Serv-Safe class (basically the next level food handler’s class but an all-day course).  We couldn’t figure out any logistical way to go to the class together AND still bake for Lucky’s, so she went today and I’ll go to the next session.

A few hours later while I’m working away on Chocolate Bourbon Pecan, I get this furtive phone call from Jeanne and she says to me in a rushed whisper “at what temperature do you cook minced cod?”


It pretty much took my brain a few seconds to figure out what she actually asked me.  But no seconds to realize that I DON’T HAVE A CLUE HOW YOU COOK MINCED COD (or actually why you even eat minced cod).  Apparently, the class was a lot of instruction about how to cook foods at different temperatures so they are safe to serve (hence the title, Serv-Safe).  Which is awesome because I’m not a fan of food poisoning.  That said, the city needs to look into some sort of Serv-Safe course for bakeries because the serving temperature of re-heated chili isn’t on the top of my worry list.

I need to investigate how much longer I can procrastinate on this course.  Or Google a lot of cooked meat facts in the interim.  (Though I’m not sure I can ever un-see what comes up when you Google “minced cod”.)  You actually take a test at the end of the day, so obviously these Serv-Safe people aren’t playing games.

While Jeanne toiled away with her textbook, I was in charge.  Before you think that sounds fancy, it basically means I baked a lot of pies, answered a lot of emails, talked to a lot of people, and picked up our food delivery from our food broker, Sysco.

We love our Sysco broker (hi, Janie!) and she always is sure to squeeze in our order despite how late we forget we need something.  The interesting thing about not having a working kitchen is that you have to figure out how to pick up your delivery.  For now, it looks a little like this…


Basically, the Sysco driver waits for me and then I pull up next to his truck.  He unloads everything directly into my Tahoe for me and then I write him a check.  Does that sound odd?  It feels odd.  Of all the things I didn’t anticipate about baking out of the Elks Club, it is the delivery and inventory management.  Because we have stuff scattered all about, there has been more than a day where we’ve had to stop at the grocery store and buy supplies because we’ve forgotten something somewhere.

All of our boxes and pie tins are being shipped to my house currently…the Buttonwood location doesn’t even have an actual address recognized by the United States Postal Service and the City of Columbia.  We store everything at my house and it works well until we run out of pie tins at the Elks Club and remember that the next new box of tins is sitting in my dining room 15 minutes away.

Apparently instead of Googling meat-serving-safety-instructions, I should be Googling “how do you get an address for an empty commercial location?”  Or the city should offer a class on that for $130 bucks because that is a class I wouldn’t procrastinate to attend.