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Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage [Hardcover]

Molly Wizenberg
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 6 2014
In this funny, frank, tender memoir and New York Times bestseller, the author of A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette recounts how opening a restaurant sparked the first crisis of her young marriage.

When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream–making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive—not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly’s assumptions about her marriage were about to change.

Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until—in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen—she realized that she hadn’t been honest with herself or Brandon.

With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, Delancey is a moving and honest account of two young people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together.

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Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage + A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
Price For Both: CDN$ 32.51


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Review

"A crave-worthy memoir that is part love story, part restaurant industry tale. Scrumptious.” (People)

"You'll feel the warmth from this pizza oven...affectionate...cheerfully honest...warm and inclusive, just like her cooking." (USA Today)

"Wizenberg shines as a writer. She brilliantly turns the ups and downs of their do-it-yourself project into a compelling yet hilarious narrative....Like dipping into a lively, keenly observed diary....Charming." (Boston Globe)

"Charming, funny, and honest--in a hip, understated way--Wizenberg combines simple, appealing recipes with a tale of how nurturing her husband's passion project helped her see him, and herself, more clearly." (More)

"The messy, explosive, and exhilarating story of giving birth to a restaurant...draws readers right into the heat of the kitchen." (Christian Science Monitor)

“When I sit down with Molly Wizenberg’s writing, it feels as though she’s just across the counter, coffee cup in hand, sharing an intimate truth….Inspiring, entertaining and informative, [Delancey] is a satisfying read.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

"What makes this story so readable...is that it doesn't just chronicle the nuts and bolts of starting a restaurant. It's as much about navigating a new marriage, figuring out what kind of life you want to make together and what roles you want to play in life together." (Dinner: A Love Story)

"It's about how the things we make, make us. It's also about discovering our stories as we live them, learning to understand them, and ourselves through them. Oh, and it's about pizza too." (Sweet Amandine)

"Illuminates the restaurant experience in a way that was entirely new to me....Molly's gift is to walk you through the process while simultaneously broadcasting her own emotional journey...honest and essential." (Amateur Gourmet)

"You will cheer for Wizenberg...and her husband as they navigate the exciting and sometimes treacherous task of opening a Seattle pizza shop--and try to build a marriage too, in this honest, sprightly memoir." (Coastal Living)

"Charming . . . humorous, intimate, and honest." (Library Journal (starred review))

"Fun and engaging." (Publishers Weekly)

"Entertaining and wondering and plainspoken...full of the hard work and trial and error of emerging into adulthood." (Bookforum)

"Molly Wizenberg writes with the sweet candor of Laurie Colwin and the sly amusement of M.F.K. Fisher. Delancey is the perfect restaurant tale -- gripping, nutty, and yet somehow meant to be." (Amanda Hesser co-founder of Food52 and author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook)

"Delancey is so riveting, well-written, and interesting, I found myself wishing it were twice as long. Molly Wizenberg writes as well about life as she does about food. Her voice is so charming and funny and poignant, it made me want to invite myself over to her place for dinner, where I would certainly overstay. I loved this book." (Kate Christensen author of Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites)

"You might think making pizza is a piece of cake (or pie!) But Molly Wizenberg’s tale of triumph as she and her husband learn to make the perfect pie, and construct the restaurant to serve it in, make for delicious – and dramatic – reading. Told with humility and humor, Delancey shows that with hard work and determination, dreams can come true . . . no matter what obstacles lie in your way." (David Lebovitz author of My Paris Kitchen)

"Molly Wizenberg’s Delancey is so much more than a memoir about opening a highly regarded pizza restaurant. It is a story about building a marriage and a beloved community through grit, thrift, and self-determination in the pursuit of excellence. Ultimately this is a story about whole-heartedly embracing the one you love without trying to smooth away the rough edges or edit out the hard parts. It is also a most delicious read (with recipes!) that sent me to the kitchen as soon as I turned the final page." (Susan Rebecca White author of A Place at the Table)

"Delancey is the extraordinary tale of what it means to build a life with the person you love, and the professional roller coaster ride that is opening and running a wildly successful restaurant together. Molly Wizenberg has, in her inimitable way, written a modern love story that marries razor-edged wit to warmth, and passion to flavor; Delancey is an utterly delicious read." (Elissa Altman Poor Man's Feast)

About the Author

Molly Wizenberg is the voice behind Orangette, named the best food blog in the world by the London Times. Her first book, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, was a New York Times bestseller. Her work has appeared in Bon Appétit and The Washington Post. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband Brandon and their daughter June.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the story of Molly, Brandon and Delanceys June 28 2014
Format:Hardcover
I really enjoyed the book. I am always interested in the restaurant business. Molly tells a good story of her life and marriage with Brandon and how they built the restaurant and business. I love the recipes that are at the end of each chapter. I also admire that Molly admits that she cannot keep up with the pressures of being a pantry cook. She is now handling more administrative parts of running Delanceys, while Brandon handles the front end of the business. Great to hear that how Brandon spent so much time and research to build the perfect pizza. Delanceys is successful and they have opened a cocktail bar next door and Molly had a baby. Based on the book I have looked at her blog orangette which updates the story from the book including her book tour and her podcast Spilled Milk.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another great piece by Molly Wizenberg May 25 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The restaurant business is tough! We have read it from chefs such as Anthony Bourdain and other very seasoned cooks with big arms and a lot of tattoos. But what happens when a musician and a food blogger/writer decide to open a pizzeria?
Delancey takes us into the hand wringing, the dust (wether it be from construction or flour), the highs and the lows of the process.
Molly's writes (yes, we are on a first name basis, that is how much I relate to her writing) at such a human scale, you cannot help but being completely drawn into the experience.
Intertwined with a more eclectic mix of recipes than in her first memoir, Delancey reads like your best friend's diary. I really just wanted to tell Molly: "it's ok! Hang in there! I know how you feel!"
A must read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  126 reviews
52 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm a Fan of Her Writing, But Not of this Book March 19 2014
By K. Kasabian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I am a frequent visitor of Molly Wizenberg's blog, Orangette, and read her engrossing memoir, A Homemade Life. A naturally gifted writer, she has set the bar high for herself in her sophomore work, Delancey, a memoir about building a small business and surviving a marriage in the process. Unfortunately, this book delves too lightly into its complex and intimate subject matter. Learning how to navigate in a young marriage is difficult and a worthy subject matter on its own, but learning to coexist while finishing a book, going on tour, and helping your new husband to open a restaurant is a writer's paradise. This memoir whets the reader's appetite, but does not satisfy. It reads more like a series of light-hearted columns than a cohesive story. Wizenberg's talent for bringing the reader into her living room is one of her greatest strengths, but as a reader, I felt as though I never made it past the foyer. Not recommended.
35 of 46 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More about the restaurant than the marriage March 31 2014
By N. B. Kennedy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I absolutely loved My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store by Ben Ryder Howe. So I was looking forward to this read that promised a similar, riveting story about a young couple whose marriage is stretched (almost to the breaking point) when they decide to open a pizzeria.

But, sadly, the narrative is bland and gets bogged down in details. It starts out great, as the author sketches out her personality and that of her hobby-loving (but usually hobby-abandoning) husband. But soon after her husband announces his intention to open a pizzeria, the book descends into long passages about learning to make pizza, scouting for a location and opening and running a restaurant. The author, obviously a blogger, includes very few viewpoints from anyone else, including her husband. She talks about her husband, but scenes and dialog including him are sparse, almost nonexistent, except for one dramatic moment when he wants to back out.

I was hoping for more of these moments, but like many blogs turned books, the book has little narrative drive and no story arc. Editors should have had her turn some of the narrative into scenes and dialog, to give the story energy: the old adage "show, don't tell" should be every storyteller's goal. The author does describe the train wreck the restaurant almost made of her life, but it's buried in all the verbiage about restaurant ownership. If you're interested in what it's like to open a restaurant, go for it. But if you're looking for a compelling story of the twists and turns of a young marriage, this isn't it. I would like to read the author's first book, though, the bestselling A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, which got great reviews.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Restaurant Dreams, Kitchen Nightmares May 5 2014
By Antigone Walsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Opening a restaurant can break the bank and the hearts of the aspirants. When the author's husband, a decidedly scattered academic, decides to open a pizzeria, the author indulges him, thinking he is not really serious. But to her shock, he is. This is the story of how a young couple fought to build a business and save their marriage.

The book reads more like a series of blog posts than a smooth narration. Although a food professional, the author is not cut out for the restaurant business. Recognizing her strengths and weaknesses, leads her to a decision that is best for the business, her marriage and herself. Included are a number of recipes. The range is fairly broad and includes a boozy eggnog, a quite good bourbon sour, and a garlic martini. Some are pedestrian like the penne alla vodka and a brownie recipe attributed to Katherine Hepburn while some intrigue like the dates sautéed in olive oil and dusted with sea salt. But most are fairly pedestrian with the author's twists, i.e., rice pudding with cherries, meatloaf with fish sauce. I thought the author was a bit overwrought and at times insensitive but overall this is an appetizing account. Recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More about the restaurant, less about everything else Aug. 4 2014
By Jennifer Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I felt terrible that I could not get into this book. I was expecting this to be more about the man, woman, and marriage, but it really is about the restaurant. I have no interest in owning a restaurant and also not an entrepreneurship bone in my body. Because of this, I really struggled with this book. Even though the couple struggle with their personal life and almost lose their marriage, it is because of the restaurant and all of the ins and outs of that. This got to be fairly technical at times at what really needed to happen in order to open and maintain the restaurant. I was hoping for a book about people with the restaurant in the background and got just the opposite. I would almost recommend this to someone that was thinking of opening a business. It definitely gives enough information to let someone know if they are truly up for the task.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't love it as much as Wizenberg's first book May 27 2014
By Chicago Book Addict - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I was very excited to read Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage because I highly enjoyed reading the author's first book, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table. Historically I haven't loved memoirs by bloggers because more often than not, they haven't seemed to translate well to the page. But I found A Homemade Life to not only be one of the best memoirs by bloggers I had read, but a genuinely wonderful book in its own right. I also love behind the scenes accounts of restaurants, so I was very curious to read Wizenberg's experience of opening a restaurant with her husband. Unfortunately after reading Delancey, I just didn't love it as much as I did her first book.

I found the writing early in the book felt a little dry and clinical to me, vs. the more lyrical, emotional and evocative writing in A Homemade Life. And since, as Wizenberg admits in the book, the restaurant is more of her husband's project, I found myself longing to read parts of the book from his point of view (it was all written by Wizenberg), especially since Wizenberg wasn't even present for some of the scenes she retells. Written entirely from her point of view, it just felt less compelling and engaging.

I think her retelling of the departure of an employee was a final straw for me. It felt a tad vengeful and left a bad taste in my mouth. I was also surprised by how little the book actually focused on the effect of the restaurant on her marriage, given its prominence in the book's subtitle. This was especially surprising to me since A Homemade Life seemed to focus on just on food, but on relationships. I also found the recipes in the book to be a bit of a let down. The only recipes from the restaurant that are featured are side dishes and desserts and there isn't a single pizza recipe in the entire book. Instead, a lot of the recipes seem to focus on the dishes that Wizenberg and her husband were cooking at home at the time the restaurant was opening. Wizenberg admits that the didn't have a lot of energy or interest in cooking at home at that time so the recipes often seemed overly simple and none caught my eye.

Overall, this book just wasn't for me. I wanted to love it more given my experience with Wizenberg's first book, but in the end I didn't. That said, if you haven't read A Homemade Life, I would still very much recommend it and hope that Wizenberg writes books more in the style of her first going forward.
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