Skip to content

i love you.

The book is out in the world. A grand thing to celebrate and I’ll get to that, but we’re going the long way home with some detours, as usual. The lead up to the book release was like taking a very long flight for the first time. You’re heading to a magical destination, an exotic utopia you’ve only heard of. You finally disembark from the big bird expectant, imagination running wild with all things Shangri-La. But instead of seeing miles of twinkling blue waters or verdant forests, you’re in an airport. It’s chaotic and loud and very disorienting. And while for a writer publishing anything lands pretty high on the list of paradise’s defining attributes, the experience was a bit jarring.

A cook book (any book) goes through many hands during its journey from the mind to digital to physical form. By the time the edits and proofreads and design passes are done, dozens of qualified eyeballs have examined it. There could never be an error in our book (or this newsletter), because in addition to all the professional eyes, I personally read it many (at least 56) times, proofreading the proofreaders. How then, pray tell me, is it that, on the day 250 copies of our book arrived, I flipped it open to a smack in the face. Out of 50,000 words, the first two I saw were incorrect. There, staring back at me from page 78, a glaring error in a recipe. Well that shit sliced me up bad, man. For two days, and I’m not proud of this, I was shredded—totally unable to take in the love and praise and gratitude from all sorts of good people enjoying the book, excited for the book, buying the book. I felt like a liar. I started thinking the entire book must be filled with bad recipes, ones that would break people’s hearts or cause them to become drunk by accident. I felt sick to my stomach. In the middle of Friday night dinner service, I went into the prep kitchen and made three versions of romesco, tasting the different ratios, undermining my own sanity and covering myself in the pungent orange sauce I don’t even really like. After making a huge mess, I realized it was, in fact, just a typo. The recipe was right. That night after work, I read the book cover to cover in bed (for obvious reasons), with Hudson on my feet and Tyler by my side. In spite of my self destructive state, the book made me feel good, it made me happy.

By Saturday, the mania had subsided and I lost myself in a beautiful dinner service, one of those nights when the playlist matches the guests just perfectly and all the good regulars come in to dine. One of them, one of our best, had seen the correction I frantically issued on instagram, and asked me if I had heard of Gaiman’s Law. I said I hadn’t, so he summed it up for me:

No matter how much a book is proofread, upon opening a printed copy of your own book for the first time, the first thing you’ll see is a typo.

—Neil Gaiman

Every part of me smiled. This is the moment that repaired me, parted the clouds, cleared my vision. I wasn’t a hack. I was a published writer!

To be a creative and also a perfectionist is like trying to wear work boots and go barefoot at the same time. You can protect your feet from scraps of metal (the ones in the backyard that your husband sawed off but left on the ground for some diabolical reason) or you can allow the grass and the sand and the sea to fill the spaces between your toes.

After weeks of emotional yankery (I don’t know if that’s a word but it is the correct one) when the book came out in physical form, it arrived on the heels of several weeks of pressure. Some was self-imposed, of course, and exacerbated by typo-gate, but also other kinds. We had had a contractual obligation with our publisher  to hire outside PR (I don’t think either of us actually knows what those letters even stand for—Personal? Public? Performative?), and as such, we had gotten sucked into a strange chase. See, a book is a very outcome-driven thing, and once it goes from idea to product, it becomes that exactly, a product, which is to say, a thing to be sold. And press helps sell things. So we hired strangers to sell our guts to other strangers. Let me skip the details and tell you: it didn’t go well. And thankfully, I suppose, in hindsight. Because what we do and what we make, I realized after I came back down to earth, are composed of some elements that transact in commerce, yes—a coffee, a steak, a loaf of bread. But those parts don’t yield a product once they come together to exist as a whole.

All Time is built and continues to be built over time, not according to an end destination. It is made of the repurposed wood Tyler’s nailed into the walls, and also the regulars, the team, the farmers, the wine growers, the people who sell us goods who are friends, not salespeople, the playlists, the candlelight, the conversations, and, yes, even the mistakes or the typos or the rubber glove that gets accidentally tossed into a salad (I’m sorry, Dylan and Theo).
To reduce all that down to an e-galley or a pitch letter or a headline is to make it disposable—gone in an instant, not tomorrow, but with a single click. I’m not saying that if Sam Sifton called we wouldn’t answer the phone, but I’m more interested in (or better-suited to) telling our own story here, or while standing at your table pouring you a glass of wine, or as I rush to the host stand to greet you, or while we stand in the sun on the sidewalk on a busy Saturday morning and I pet your dog and drink my fifth coffee. Tyler and I both are.

I took that long flight to paradise, and when got off the plane I traversed that stinky airport. I was blurry-eyed and stiff, unsure where in the hell I was but certain I had traveled. The automated glass doors parted. I walked outside. I found myself here, home, standing in my own backyard. So I took off my shoes and put my feet in the grass.

Romesco, page 78

Oh sorry, the celebration part! We’re throwing a party this Sunday, April 14th. We’re closing the restaurant for normal dinner service so we can cook out, drink wine, and celebrate with the best neighborhood in the city and our whole team. Tickets are live on Resy. Please come, you’re part of all this.

PS: Special thanks to my brother-in-law Travis and all his ex-Marine friends who lifted our spirits and bought books like crazy and reviewed them like beautiful lunatic poets.