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Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage Hardcover – May 6 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 6 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451655096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451655094
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"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 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)

"Honest, humorous, and endearing." (PopSugar)

"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, winner of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Award, 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, and her work has appeared in Bon Appétit, The Washington Post, The Art of Eating, and The Guardian, and on and She also cohosts the hit podcast Spilled Milk. She lives in Seattle with her husband Brandon Pettit, their daughter June, and two dogs named Jack and Alice. She and Brandon own and run the restaurants Delancey and Essex.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Love Real Books on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marie-Claude Fournier on 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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By teacher on Feb. 2 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My wife liked the novel far more than I did. We usually read books and then compare what we thought about them. I skipped through all of the recipes and she didn't. I thought that the story was honest, well written and could have been written as a blog and not a novel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed following the story of the opening of Delancey restaurant. I don't think I am going to make any of the recipes in the book. It was interesting to hear the struggles of Molly.

Basically it got me through a 4 hour flight with enjoyment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 175 reviews
69 of 85 people found the following review helpful
I'm a Fan of Her Writing, But Not of this Book March 19 2014
By K. Kasabian - Published on
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.
43 of 55 people found the following review helpful
More about the restaurant than the marriage March 31 2014
By N. B. Kennedy - Published on
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.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Restaurant Dreams, Kitchen Nightmares May 5 2014
By Antigone Walsh - Published on
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.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Didn't love it as much as Wizenberg's first book May 27 2014
By Chicago Book Addict - Published on
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3 stars for the memoir; 3.5 for the recipes July 28 2014
By I Know What You Should Read - Published on
Format: Hardcover
My husband’s favorite food is pizza. When you’re married to someone who truly loves pizza, you eat a lot of pizza (a couple weekends ago, we had pizza for lunch one day . . . and then went out for pizza at a different spot for dinner that same evening). And, when you eat a lot of pizza, you have no choice but to become a bit of a pizza snob. You can immediately discern good crust from bad crust (and good char from bad char), you know the perfect ratio of sauce and cheese to crust (enough for taste but not so much that the crust gets soggy or the toppings are gloppy), and you know all of the places in town with the best pies (here in Atlanta, that’s Antico, for their Napoletana with broccoli rabe, salsiccia, and bufala mozzarella on a perfectly charred crust).

Luckily, there are a lot of people out there that take pizza seriously. They have studied wood-burning oven times and techniques, what cheeses taste best with various toppings, and the exact right amount of sugar to put in the tomato sauce. These days, there are lots of pizza hipsters, and they make some durn good pie.

Molly Wizenberg’s husband, Brandon, is one such pizza hipster. And it’s about his pizza obsession, his dream to open a pizza joint in Seattle, and the realization of that dream that Wizenberg writes in Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage. The book follows the couple from the hatching of the idea to open their own pizza place through its opening (and beyond), discussing everything from deciding on its name to finding its location to hiring (and, in some cases, firing) its staff to perfecting the pizza dough to crafting the menu.

There are emotional highs and lows. There are times they want to quit. There are lots of long days. And, most importantly, there is a lot of talk of delicious food (and not just pizza!). The book is part cookbook; it contains twenty recipes (a sizeable percentage of the 242-page book), from Sriracha-and-Butter Shrimp to Shortbread with Rosemary and Candied Ginger.

Memoir Rating: 3/5

Memoirs are usually a little too feely and poorly written for my taste. But this one is written by a well-known blogger (her blog, Orangette, has been called the best food blog in the world) and writer for Bon Appétit (a magazine I read and cook from religiously), so I had high hopes.

The beginning of the book starts out with a strong concept: there is a photograph, followed by a brief introduction and a short chapter that explains the background and circumstances surrounding the photo, followed by a recipe for a dish that was mentioned in the chapter. It all ties together nicely and reads like one of Wizenberg’s well-crafted blog entries or short magazine articles.

But, after the first chapter, that structure fizzles out quickly. It seems like Wizenberg lost steam or ran out of good tie-in ideas for the recipes. As the book goes along, the recipes (which follow some, but not all, chapters) become more peripheral to the text . . . and are, on occasion, totally random. This was a disappointment for me, because I really enjoyed the structure of the first chapter. It was well-organized and made sense. And, after starting the book with that structure and then abandoning it, the later chapters seemed a little lazy.

The writing has the typical tone of a laid-back memoir. It’s cute but a little scatter-brained (lots of awkward transitions and occasional pointless tangents) and similar in style to her blog. The best moments are her discussions of the struggles and stresses she and her husband endured as a result of working 18-hour days together when they first opened the restaurant. She is very honest in her depictions of herself and her reactions. In her recollections of situations, she allows herself to look unreasonable, unfair, and vulnerable, which is endearing and relatable.

Cookbook Rating: 3.5/5

Despite the fact that the book is about the opening of a restaurant, the recipes are, largely, not recipes from the restaurant ("A few of the recipes in this book are for dishes that we served at Delancey early on, when I cooked there. But in large part, what you’ll find here are the foods that we wished we were eating. You’ll also find dishes that friends made for us when we were too crazed to cook for ourselves. And you’ll find recipes that we turn to most often now, when we don’t have a lot of time to cook together but still want to make the most of the time we do have.")

As I mentioned above, I would have preferred more connection between the recipes and the restaurant. As for the quality of the recipes, the only way to assess that is to test them out. And, because this book is, in part, a cookbook, I decided I could not reasonably review the book as a whole without also making and reviewing at least a couple of its recipes.

First, I made the Tomato and Corn Salad with Shallot Viniagrette. The recipe calls for both regular tomatoes (“2 large beefsteak tomatoes or 6 smaller tomatoes”) and “1 or 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes.” Our garden is in the throes of tomato production, so this was a perfect recipe for the season. The recipe includes a very simple vinaigrette recipe to dress this incredibly easy plated salad (made from just the tomatoes, kernels cut from one fresh ear of corn, a little Maldon salt, and some fresh basil leaves). Here’s a picture of the finished product:

Let’s be honest: it’s hard to go wrong with garden-fresh basil and tomatoes with sweet and crunchy fresh corn kernels. You can’t really mess up fresh and delicious ingredients like those. So, no complaints there. But my husband thought the shallot vinaigrette was a little too shallot-y. The recipe instructs you to “stir together the shallots, garlic, and vinegar in a small bowl” and set them aside for at least an hour to “soften the flavors of the shallot and garlic, so that they no longer taste raw; they should taste lightly pickled.” I set them aside for about four hours, but the shallot flavor was still quite pungent. Edible and pretty tasty, certainly, but a little too strong for his taste. It was good, but I probably wouldn’t make it again.

I also made the “My Kate’s Brownies,” which Wizenberg adapted from one of her mother’s old recipes (her mom found it “in an article about Katherine Hepburn in a 1975 issue of The Ladies’ Home Journal”).photo-7 I was looking for a good brownie recipe to use in my latest homemade ice-cream creation (“Nutty Nutella Brownie”—hazelnut ice cream with a Nutella swirl and brownie bits). I wanted a small brownie batch (this makes one eight-inch square pan) with brownies dense enough to hold up well in ice cream. Wizenberg described these as “thin, but they stay chewy and fudgy, and I think they’re perfect,” and, based on the ingredients, they seemed to fit the bill. Plus, this was one of only a few recipes that they actually served in the restaurant, so I thought it would be a good one to make.

Like the tomato and corn salad, this recipe was incredibly easy (all told, it took only about 8 minutes of prep time before I popped them in the oven). There are no photographs of the food included in the recipes, so you don’t have that guidepost, but she includes helpful comments like, “The batter will look gritty” to help you along the way. She is obviously writing with inexperienced bakers in mind (“bang the dish straight down on the countertop a couple of times, to release any air bubbles”), which makes the recipes manageable for just about anyone.

And the result? Delicious! Exactly as described—very thin, chewy, and fudgy. Perfect for inclusion in my ice cream. I will definitely make these again.

The recipes are all easy and straightforward (and explained in a very conversational tone, complete with helpful little notes and pointers throughout), and none requires any bizarre ingredients or tools. They’re a nice mix of the totally mundane (Meatloaf) and the unique (Sautéed Dates with Olive Oil and Sea Salt). Any home cook could easily execute any recipe included in the book (but, if you’re a serious home cook, some of the recipes will probably strike you as a little too simple or, in some cases, maybe even pedestrian).