Pizza, the great go-to food

(Quick kitchen update– as you may have noticed from the silence, things have slowed down.  We’re so close we can taste it…but not quite there yet)

We have been trying to stay positive about our lack of a fully-functional kitchen and are exploring local establishments.  When in doubt (or tired from work), pizza is always a good go-to in our household.  We like making it at home, we like eating it out and about.

Last night we tried Roscoe’s in Takoma Park and have one thing to say- this is the best pizza in D.C.  Yes, it’s better than Two Amy’s (and their orange salad is enough to make this Italian-American wait two hours), and it quickly replaced Pacci’s as our neighborhood pizza.

We had the Pizza Antica and a nice arugula salad.  The pizza packed a lot of punch without being greasy or too heavy, and the salad was a nice fresh balance for a hot D.C. evening.  While we didn’t partake, they also had a good selection of panini and other dishes.  Perfect for the little town center of Takoma, our fellow diners were laid-back and the place was very family friendly.  Oh, and if you swing that way, there are a few gluten-free and all organic options.  (It’s Takoma, did you expect anything else?)

Verdict- we’ll be coming back soon!

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Oh, and another thing…

We were really hoping to have new pictures of the kitchen to get the week going on a high note, but alas, you will have to use your imaginations a little while longer.

Yesterday was a day that felt like a step forward for two steps back. The plumber came in to run the gas line and got us all excited at the idea of actually cooking in our kitchen, only to come home to an oven still not connected due to other contracting needs regarding the dishwasher. We also found out that the refrigerator’s water filter was not installed – always a good revelation at 7:00 pm. We had a good session of DIY work installing the filter (externally mounted in the overhead cabinet for “easy access”) and are pretty pleased with our performance.

Post-dinner activities included swapping our knobs and handles on the freshly painted cabinets and building a curio cabinet to hold kitchen knick-knacks.

So what could possibly be left you ask? We need to install the under cabinet and island pendant lighting, wire the dishwasher and disposal, install new switches for the afore-mentioned appliances, finish swapping out old and new cabinet hinges and Install the stove.

We are close… The adventure continues, but hopefully we are seeing the pilot light at the end of the renovation.

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Kitchen Re-Do: Game On!

With the power now restored to our house, our contractors were once again at work on the kitchen.  They are hard at work, and we hope that they will be finished before the end of next week.  Yesterday, the glass subway tiles for the backsplash were installed as well as the wiring for the under-cabinet lighting.  The glass tiles were brighter and more beautiful than we hoped and immediately brought into view our hopes for the kitchen.  Our vision all along has been an updated 1950’s style kitchen, to match the rest of the house.  Let us know, but we think we’re getting there.

One of our biggest issues with the kitchen originally was that it was not very bright without the fluorescent lights, and those were ugly and buzzed angrily at us, as though we were awakening them from a nap.  This will no longer be the case.  We hope with recessed can lights, two pendants, over-sink and under-cabinets lights, we will have a bright and inviting kitchen that is fun to be in.

We have been without a working kitchen for 11 days now and as much as we have enjoyed eating out and visiting with friends, Julie is really looking forward to cooking soon.  If all goes to plan, the gas line for the stove should be in early next week and the kitchen should begin to take on its final shape!

Coming next: the kitchen goes stainless!

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Kitchen, paused

This has been the year of extreme weather.  Forget the snow this past winter, in the last month we’ve had an earthquake and massive storms and a tornado.  Luckily all is okay, except we are without power and expect to be for the next few days.  So the kitchen has stalled until the contractors can plug things in again.

Stay tuned, we’re expecting plumbing and working appliances this week (we hope!).

In the meantime, we’ve been dining out.  To our pleasant surprise, McGinty’s in downtown Silver Spring has good, upscale Irish pub food with unexpected items like lamb lollipops.  And traditional Irish sessions on Tuesday nights.  This very well may be our go-to weeknight stop for a pint and a bite.

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Kitchen re-do: Day 3

When it comes to serious renovations, we are clearly novices, but I like to think that we are doing a pretty good job of learning as we go, and this method has thus far worked well and not sent our budget skyward.  That said; things happen.

A good contractor (or anyone else who has ever tried to replace anything in a home) will tell you that a construction/update job, even when done correctly will more than likely cost you more than you think it will.  Take your time, measure things out, and then measure them again and again.  This is especially true of older houses where things like cabinets may have been designed for smaller appliances that were standard when they were installed.  When you feel satisfied that you have the design you want the next step is easy, measure it all again.

Okay, enough lessons, onto the fun stuff.  Coming home in the evening to see what has been done, has become a treat.  Our contractors moved a couple of outlets around, continued some work on the ceiling lighting and began prepping for the plumbing work to begin next week.

But most importantly, the countertop and sink were delivered!  Our granite is called Kashmir Gold and is, as the name implies, imported from India.  The folks at Counter Intelligence (yes, only in DC would you get a kitchen company who refers to itself as CIA) did a great job and we couldn’t be more pleased.

We have been in discussion with our contractor about what height we want our microwave, and whether we will need to move/replace cabinets (what did I tell you about the measuring!), but all-in-all a successful day.

Day 4 Teaser: Our new dish washer, oven, and microwave arrived this morning!  While these items probably won’t be installed for a few days, it’s nice to have them in the house and begin picturing the kitchen completed, a good way to roll into the weekend.

Next week: water, electricity, and gas.  It’s like buying monopoly properties, only the money is real!

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Kitchen redo, day 2

Day 2, and trucking along…Yesterday they were busy at work at the behind the scenes stuff, like electrical.  The real physical evidence of this is more holes in our walls, which will hopefully be patched today.

Which gives us a moment to talk about the joys of moving into an older home.  Our electrical is quirky.  A lot of it is probably owner installed, and has evolved over 50 years.  We have few grounded* plugs, and not a single GFI** plug in the house.  In the kitchen we had two plugs directly over the stove because apparently hot stove+electric circuit= great idea.

Our contractor’s fixing all this, at least as the kitchen goes, and I’m already feeling safer.

We also learned an important lesson yesterday- when buying appliances (like, say, a nice new fancy refrigerator) make sure you measure your space very carefully and always check your appliance’s installation instructions for any minimum or maximum distances from countertops or other appliances.  Not doing so may result in needing to cut a few inches off of your cabinets above the fridge and or Microwave.  Oops.

They’re installing the countertops today- so be sure to check back tomorrow for photos!

*In Julie words- Grounded is the three prong plug and GFI is the plug with the buttons in the middle you usually see in bathrooms and kitchens.  Totally didn’t know those terms before homeownership.

** in Jason words, ground fault interrupt (GFI) outlets are required by code for wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens.  These outlets are designed to avoid electrocution by measuring the current in both the hot (black) and neutral (white) wires for leakage.  If there is leakage the current is interrupted, thus protecting the people or pets nearby.

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Kitchen, or the lack thereof

The work has begun!  We left for work yesterday morning with this:

And came home to this:

(sorry for the iphone quality photo)

We can’t wait to see the progress over the next few days.  The whole project is slated to take two weeks, but already you can notice the changes- no stove! no humming light! no countertops!

The next step:  we follow Snapple’s lead and go for better stuff!

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