Archive for the ‘the business side’ Category

Hello, Little Lady

June 20, 2009

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And then, there was white chocolate.  Jen and I are back on the baking bandwagon after taking a brief break to work on some other business elements of Fanny & Jane.  But now we are back in the kitchen, and gettin down and dirty.  Not actual “dirty”.  More like, frosting and chocolate dirty.

An order came in for our classic dark chocolate-covered red velvet cake bites, and the customer requested we dip them in white chocolate instead of dark.  Jen and I had been talking about expanding our line of cake bites, so we excitedly accepted this opportunity!  I’d also been eager to get to know white chocolate a little better, since it’s a whole different beast – in taste and texture – than it’s darker counterpart.  Above are a couple photos of our first foray into white-chocolate dipping.  It was a fun challenge to work with white chocolate, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw some more white chocolate appearances in our sweets in the future!

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Three And A Half Years: Part II

June 18, 2009
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straightened my hair - oo la la

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complimentary glasses of prosecco!

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our friend, dan, the waiter!

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plate-o prosciutto

plate-o prosciutto

Fortunato Brothers - italian bakery

Fortunato Brothers - italian bakery

marzipan bonanza!

marzipan bonanza!

As promised, here are photos from last night’s pizza dinner.  Not until I was uploading these did I realize that we didn’t take any photos of the actual pizza!  It was honestly too delicious to stop chewing, wipe the marinara from my fingers, and whip out the camera.  I guess I could have taken a picture of the slices I wrapped up to go, but what’s the fun in photographing leftovers?  Instead, I will leave you with a descriptive recap of Motorino’s pizza experience, and let you conjure up an image in your head:

Fresh from the oven, the pizzas arrived at our table, literally dominating the entire plate.  These things were large and undoubtedly in charge.  Beautiful disks of white fresh mozarella, sitting atop a warm blanket of sweet marinara and drizzled Italian olive oil.  And the dough?  Don’t even get me started – soft and fluffy, with bubbles made black from the wood-burning oven.  It seemed like each slice went on for miles, still I savored every bite.  I have nothing but praise to sing of these pizza pies.

I hope that description ties you over until you get to have your own hands-on Motorino experience.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I ordered the Margherita DOC and David got the Soppressata Piccante, and we split a plate of prosciutto).

David and I had a lovely time.  And the staff was delightful!  The owner (and/or chef…I’m assuming?) came over at the beginning of our meal, exuberantly congratulated us (the way only real Italians do) on our anniversary, and insisted that we have something to toast with.  He happily poured us each a glass of delicious bubbly prosecco on the house, and shared with us that he just celebrated his 1-year anniversary.  I think he thought we were a married couple…ruh roh.

After dinner David and I were absolutely stuffed, but being now that I’m “in the biz” (that “biz” being the bakery business), I’m making it my personal responsibility to seek out new dessert places at every chance I get.  Tough gig, right?  Fortunately, I got a tip from one of my co-workers, who, when she found out I was going to be in that area of Williamsburg, insisted that I check out Fortunato Brothers.  Well, I wasn’t about to pass up such an enthusiastic recommendation.  And even though we were too full of pizza to even dream about dessert, I’m glad we stopped in.  Fortunato Brothers is an Italian cafe and pasticceria that is best described by New York Magazine as a place where, “If Tony Soprano lived in Brooklyn, this is the bakery where he’d pick up a box of cannoli for Uncle Junior.”  It was everything I wanted it to be – old men sitting outside and bickering in Italian, and all!  While I’m not a huge fan of marzipan (that’s more my Uncle Marcel’s territory) the impressive array of artfully crafted marzipan made to look like eggplant/corn/tomato/an apple with a worm crawling out of it,  is well worth the trip.

I don’t often find myself in an Italian bakery – I’m more of a cupcake/chocolate chip cookie/key lime pie kinda girl – but being in Fortunatos re-opened my eyes to all of the bakery possibilities that Jen and I have in front of us while we imagine our own space for Fanny & Jane.  Fortunately, we live in New York, where we have the opportunity to visit every kind of bakery imaginable, from mochi balls in Chinatown to jamaican buns in Crown Heights – we’re not lacking for dessert variety.  It’s just very exciting (and frankly, at times, intimidating) to imagine our place in all of it.

David, thanks for a lovely anniversary!

Cake Inspired

June 8, 2009

 

courtesy of l.a. times

courtesy of l.a. times

Lately, Jen and I have been spending a large majority of our Fanny & Jane energy on field work and research.  Basically, those are fancy business words for “eating” and “going to bakeries”.  Jen has been diligently seeking out the various dessert trucks in the city and sampling their wares, while I’ve been on the hunt to discover new favorite bakeries and cafes.  As a matter of fact, this post comes to you from Sit & Wonder, a new insta-favorite cafe in my neighborhood that I blogged about here!

We have decided to take a brief pause (not to worry, we promise the pause will be oh-so brief!) from baking and dipping cake bites, because we are focusing some time dreaming of the type of bakery we might like to open some day — taking inspiration from the myriad of places around us.  Our notebooks are quickly being filled with magazine cut-outs and photos and business cards of sweets shops that inspire us.  Whether it’s a wallpaper print that I like, or an idea for the type of music I would like to play in our bakery, it’s all going in the notebook.  It’s been incredibly exciting just to envision a place of our own (I keep hearing Kevin Costner’s encouraging voice in the back of my mind, “If you build it, they will come…”), and the more we envision it, the more real and within our grasp it seems!

 While we have been discussing all of the pros and cons of the many ways we can sell sweets (we could park a sweets truck anywhere!…but then we’re spending our day in a truck.  we could sell online!…but when I want a sweet treat, I don’t really want to wait 3-4 business days to eat it…), it seems that right now we have our hearts most set on a storefront.  An actual bakery to call our own, where we can get to know our customers, bake on premises, and lock up every night.  That said, we are still in the “dreaming” phase and are making sure to still consider any other possibilities.  And who knows, next week we might have our hearts set on opening a Fanny & Jane amusement park.

For now, I am excited to share with you my inspirations along the way and plan to include a lot of the aforementioned cut-outs and photos on this blog.  

To kick things off, above is a photo from an article my mom shared with me from the L.A. Times Sunday Magazine.  Jen and I plan to keep our sweets simple (focusing on classically scrumptious tastes, a la the Treats Truck philosophy: “Not too fancy, always delicious!”).  However, I couldn’t help but appreciate the beautiful creativity of the cakes pictured above.  I love the incorporation of fresh flowers and the artistry of the green tea cake (bottom left)–it looks like the cake is bursting with confetti.  So fun and unique!

To read the full article, “The Kindest Cut”, click here.

This Is My Life

May 6, 2009
our red velvet cake bites: hand rolled and pre-dark chocolate dipped

our red velvet cake bites: hand rolled and pre-dark chocolate dipped

Over 200 cake bites are to be made over the course of this week…for more orders!  Can you believe it??  If you need us, Jen and I will be rolling and dipping these balls.  Now, that’s a sentence…

*They kinda look like little vivid red meat balls, huh?  Chocolate covered meatballs, anyone?

The Real Deal

April 23, 2009

It’s gettin’ real. These past few days, Jen and I have really been working around the clock leading our triple lives. And boy, is it exhausting. I fantasize about the day when I don’t need the money from “survival jobs” to support my true passions. As it is now, I work 3-4 days a week at a desk as an office administrator for a tote bag and accessories company, I butler hours d’oeuvres and drinks as a part-time caterer for fancy pantsy parties, I rehearse and perform weekly with sketch comedy team Harvard Sailing Team, and Jen and I are working in our (plethora of) free time to get this baked goods business off the ground.

I. Am. Zonked. Out.

What initially began as a new and fun side project, has now truly blossomed into a full-on budding sweets business…complete with a logo!

This logo was the cause of many gasps and giggles for me and Jen. My generous and uber talented friend, Julien Fyhrie, designed it for us. The process was exhilarating – it was such a joy to share with him our visions for the company (visions as abstract as “pink”, “girls”, and “Brooklyn”), and then for him to come back at us with REAL designs. It was the best! You know how fun it is to play the “What Are You Gonna Name Your Kids” game? (Bella and Lukas). I felt the same combination of thrill and agita from naming the company and choosing the logo: Fanny & Jane – Baked In Brooklyn.

While Jen and I are going head-on into running this baked goods business together, I can’t help but feel a little bit like we’re little girls curiously clip-clopping around in our moms’ high heels. Like we’re playing the role of “business owners” or something. I’ve never owned or started something quite like this before, and the feeling is foreign and intoxicating. From the creative process of choosing a logo to the fun task of naming the products, it’s a wonder to me why everyone doesn’t start their own business! Of course, I’m not naive enough to think that Quickbooks and quote unquote taxes aren’t going to enter into the picture at some point, but until then, I’m quite content in brainstorming taglines and testing out brownie recipes. : )

As I stare down the long nose of today (pretty sure I just made up that weird metaphor), I feel exhausted just thinking about all the tasks that are ahead of me. Today Jen leaves for a vacation with her boyfriend, and I will stay in New York, and we will be running the business apart for the first time. She has orders to deliver (!!!) and business stuff to attend to while she’s away, while I have another custom birthday cake order (!!!) to fill for Friday. Suddenly, our hands are full with an adorable pink logo, and flour, and frosting, and Fanny & Jane hasn’t even officially launched yet! But before either of us can even begin to think about recipes and kitchen prep, we have to get through our day jobs. In my case, today I am working in my office and then running uptown to cater a party at the Met Museum. After I change from my tuxedo pants back into my jeans, I’ll head back down to Brooklyn to buy some last ingredients and start prepping for Friday’s cake.

Foof!

Coffee in hand, ready to start the day.

(But seriously – how cute is our logo??!!)