Starting a small Tavern in rural Northern California. Barley and Hops Tavern catalogs the trials and tribulations of the restaurant biz, and teaching wine country to love beer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Beer is my passion, but coffee earns a close second, and in the morning, it's my world. Today, our shmancy cappuccino machine was serviced. We had just ripped out the old kinky copper water lines, which are my bane, and installed braided stainless lines, which are rad to the max (because they don't kink when you pull out your icemaker). We also discovered that we have separate water filtration systems for the ice maker, the perk, and the bar sink, which is weird.

Anyhoo - the service guy dutifully serviced the espresso machine (please for the love of pie, don't be one of those people who say "expresso" it is eSpresso, it always has been espresso, and it always will be, so stop messing it up). He serviced the snark out of it. It's apparently a super-nice machine, which has neato features which allow me to program pour size, and it can do 4 double shots of espresso at the same time. And I can tell you first hand, that first espresso was just dynamite.

Now, a tavern might not usually have such a robust caffination solution, but since it's there, I shall offer a comprehensive coffee menu, because nothing goes with porter pecan pie like a cup of joe (except, perhaps, a glass of porter, but I digress).

In other news, I have to tell you about painting with hand-hammered finish paint. When you paint, or lacquer, or whatnot- one must use the proper solvent for cleanup. I have solvents galore. I have so many solvents, that I could pretty much dissolve anything. I could Forrest Gump about it: Acetone, Denatured Alcohol, Mineral Spirits, Turpentine, Toluene... the list goes on. But there was one product which I did not have on hand.

Xylol. Xylol is a type of Xylene. Xylene is a benzine derivative which makes me want to cry. I had never heard of Xylol or Xylene, so naturally I didn't have any on hand (though occassionally I stockpile things which I have no idea what they are).

I didn't know I needed the aforementioned Xylol, until I noticed that no solvent would remove this particular paint. So I RTFM (read the manual), and realized I needed ... you know. So we get the can home and open it... boy does it work. And wow- the fumes. They're intoxicating. Like for reals. Not only am I seeing pink elephants, but I'm also hallucinating because of the stuff. Let me just say that next time you're sitting around with your can of Xylol, open a window, or use a respirator, or install a laminar flow hood.

Lastly, we've also installed some really cool brass (looking) medallions around the light fixtures, a Tiffany-style chandelier, and new lighting fixture fans in the restrooms, which involved tearing up the ceiling, cutting the hard air ducting and attaching flexible air ducting to rout to the new (vastly better) fan system. Notice my bare hands on fiberglass insulation. Don't try this at home. I was, however, wearing a mask, so I'm still alive, albeit itchy.

The ceiling in the lady's restroom will probably be getting tin ceiling treatment, so pardon the hole in the shot of the fixture. Or don't pardon it, take it in and enjoy its holey goodness. Cheers for tonight, I'm getting some food, and a frosty Fat Tire.

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