Friday, December 31, 2010

2010. One Great Year.

There are some years we live that pass by more or less un-eventful, un-surprising, and un-memorable.  Not for the bad necessarily, but every year can't be the best year.  Then there are those years that are so eventful, so surprising, and so memorable that looking back over those 365 days humbles us as a people for how lucky we are to live in this world.

For us here at Melt, 2010 has been one of those years.

It's certainly been a busy year, a crazy year, a hectic year, but, most of all, an amazing year.  The list of things that we're so unbelievably grateful for that have happened over the course of 2010 seem never-ending.  Bill and I sat down and thought long and hard about how we could even write something that would encompass why we'll always remember 2010.  We decided on our top five things that made 2010 the most unforgettable year of both of our lives to date:

5. Reaching Melt's first year anniversary.
We opened our doors in June 2009, and in June 2010 we hit one year.  It's quite a scary thing to open a business.  To put everything you have and all that you are into something and lay it right out on the line.... it's not easy.  But we did it!

We went from looking something like this...

Then to something like this...

And finally to what Melt looks like today...

Making it that first year meant that everything we did to be here was worth it.  And then some.  Laying all that we had on the line, and not only hitting, but surpassing that milestone of a year..... it was just incredible.

4. Streamlining how we operate not only to move faster, but to be better.
At the beginning, almost everything we did seemed so difficult and so impossible to get past.  Sometimes we would reach the end of the day, look at each other with eyes full of stress and frustration, and just want to cry.  And sometimes we would (Okay.. I would.. Bill's pretty tough ;).  It didn't happen all of a sudden, but over the past year we've realized that those same things we never thought we'd get past are now what we could do probably with our eyes closed.  Sure, there's always going to be more obstacles ahead, and so many more ways to be even better, but realizing how far you've already come can be what gets you to where you want to be.  Knowing what you need to do and doing it.  That is a wonderful gift 2010 has given us.

3. Our incredible Melt staff. 
I do tend to talk a lot about Bill and I, but trust me, we are certainly not a two man operation!  2010 has brought us a staff that we could not do this without.  We may be small, but we're a family.

The longest member of our family is Luis, our delivery driver.  Getting our food across town at lightning speeds, I don't think anyone could do it better.

Next to join us was Matt.  Constantly making all of us laugh, we couldn't be any prouder to work beside him every day.

Then Tomas jumped on the Melt train.  A true family man at home and at work, Tomas is an essential part of our team.

Our most recent addition, Nick.  And Nick, no one wraps a sandwich like you do!

...And of course we have to give honorable mention to our guy Jesse!  Even from India,  he'll always be Melt family.

2. Being honored by Westchester Magazine and the entire Westchester County as having "2010's Best Sandwich".  
Getting that first phone call telling us we had the "Best Sandwich"... no words can describe that moment.

And to top it off, our sandwich appeared in the issue! 
Lookin' good flat brisket Melt mac! Lookin good.

To see the online version of the article, click HERE.

And the last thing of 2010, the thing that makes us who we are and makes sure that we'll always stay this way in our lives and our business.  The thing that will make Melt better for not only 2011 but every other year to come.  Our number one thing that made this the most unforgettable year of our lives was...

1. Becoming husband and wife. 
Photo by Justin & Mary Marantz Photography

You've been good to us, 2010, and now we can't wait to see what 2011 brings.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our Table

Traditions.  In our family we have them pretty much accidentally.  These things that we've done year after year just sort of happened and became things we stuck to.  Most of them started long ago, probably longer than I can even date back to.  Without question, the most important tradition in our family is Christmas Eve dinner.

Every year on this night we sit around the table for Alici Spaghetti.  Yes, Alici, pronounced 'A-leech', is anchovy pasta.  Eating this on Christmas Eve dates back as far as I can remember, as far as my father can remember, and even as far as my 93 year old Grandmother can remember.  I always thought it was something everyone did.  Ya know, like turkey on Thanksgiving, or cake on your birthday.  Year after year we ate Alici with my grandma sitting in the same chair at the same table and we'd hear the same story.  Back one Christmas Eve, somewhere around 1965, she decided to make something different for a change. Switch it up a little bit.  Ravioli sounded good.  Harmless enough, and of course just as delicious.  My dad, however, thought differently.  He was 12, maybe 15, and as soon as he heard Alici would not be on the table, that was it.  He left.  Walked in the freezing cold to a friends house and didn't come back until after dinner was long over.  And although I'm sure it took a long time for my grandmother to forgive him, there was not a single year after that where my father has not eaten Alici on Christmas Eve.

It starts with the basic components.  Anchovies and Olive Oil.

Both go straight into the pan along with a whole bunch of fresh chopped parsley and a lot of garlic. And by a lot, I mean, a LOT.

It's then sauteed together with a fork to blend the anchovies.

This is my moms job.  Many have tried it, but no one can compare.

Then comes the pasta.  Four pounds and no less.  Leftovers are a must.

Dump on the sauce, mix well.  Very well. (We call in the big guns for this job)

And that's it!

 From our table to yours, we hope you had a wonderful holiday.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What It's Really About

Merry Christmas Eve-Eve!  We hope your shopping is just about wrapped up (pun totally intended) and you're ready to relax and soak in some good times with family and friends.

Those of you that follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or here on the blog know that we've been busy over here boxing up and shipping out gifts for our Letters to Santa.   Some of the toys that have been coming through our door seriously make me wish I was a kid again.  I mean, a super soft stuffed animal that bursts out into hysterical laughter rolling around at the wave of your hand?!
Literally ROTFL
Just one wave and you're a comedian with an audience that actually laughs!  Love it.

Then there was this jump rope made of rubber bands.. but wait.. you make it yourself.  Um, can I please be 8 again?
Count me IN!
The last of the boxes full of gifts should have arrived at their destination today and hopefully will be opened up Christmas morning!

A truly special moment came for us to actually witness when one of our customers, Steve, chose a letter where a little guy,"J", asked for clothes, an Xbox and food.  We were thinking the clothes would be a great gift, but Steve went even further.  He got all 5 kids and their mom an Xbox, multiple games, and yes, food.  We were able to get in touch with J's mom who came to Melt this afternoon to pick everything up.  It was quite a touching moment that will not soon be forgotten.
Two turkeys, hot cocoa for a year, a ham,
a roast AND 20lbs of potatoes. YUM.

 And this... This is what it's all about.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa's Presents

Round I of Santa Letters have been boxed up and shipped out!  I just have to start by saying we have been so, no, rather completely overwhelmed.  The response from this incredible community has been nothing short of amazing.  For every letter that we handed out, we expected to get back a t-shirt or two, maybe even a sweatshirt and pair of pants.  And don't get me wrong, that certainly would have been wonderful in and of itself, but that's not what we got.  Nope, not even close. We got bags.  Bags and bags  that were loaded up full of toys and games, books, clothes....  Bags looking like they belong on a "Glad" commercial, packed so full we definitely heard them cry uncle more than once.

So this, White Plains, this is just one example of the generosity and kindness that YOU possess.  The generosity that has overwhelmed us here at Melt and the generosity that will light up the eyes of so many children, and I'm sure their struggling parents, this Christmas morning.

Here's just one of the letters with its gifts.  Two children, 2 1/2 years old and one month old, and we're guessing the letter was written by their mother.  So really, could there be any more perfect of a shirt than "Mommy needs a date night!"?!... love it!

Single mother that is out of work with three boys.  Clothes galore, wrestling men, cars, trucks, games... I mean, seriously?!  Incredible. 

Round I wrapped and ready to be boxed up!

To: Janiya, Merry Christmas!  Love, SANTA

This first round was shipped out this morning, plus even more that we didn't catch a picture of, and we're expecting to send out the rest of the gifts within the next week or so.   White Plains, you amaze us daily.  And we love you for it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Letters to Santa Has Begun!

Letters to Santa has arrived here at Melt!!  

Here is how it will work:

- We have a selection of real ‘Letters to Santa’ from the
USPS Program written by kids in need living throughout 
Westchester County.
- If you PROMISE to fulfill a letter, we will give you one 
FREE beverage of your choice AND one bag of chips!
- Added Bonus: It makes YOU feel great.

For a little of our personal background on the program, click HERE
For the Official USPS page, click HERE

The Details:
* One letter per customer.
* You will be fully responsible for fulfilling the letter once you take it from us.  This includes purchasing one or more of the requested items, gift-wrapping if desired, and bringing the gift/s back to us to send to the child. (Please be sure to either write the full name of the child on the gift, or bring the letter back with you so we know who to send it to!)
* For the letters that have gift requests for multiple children, team up with another person!  If you both promise to fulfill one letter together, you each will receive a drink and bag of chips!
* NOT every gift requested in the letter must be sent. Some of these letters ask for frivolous/over the top items (i.e. laptops, Xbox 360s..) but all letters ask for items of need (i.e. clothes, shoes, books, presents for others).  We ask you to send at least one gift of need in order to fulfill the letter.

* You do not have to live in Westchester to participate!!!
If you’re reading this from afar and would like to fulfill one of these letters out of the goodness of your heart, please shoot us an e-mail at with your name, address, and phone number and we’ll send a letter to you!! 
Or, check your local post office for their participation!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Never Underestimate the Power of... American Cheese

American Cheese.  It is so quintessentially...well... American.  It's something I would guarantee every single one of us has peeled right from it's clingy clear plastic wrapper and eaten, straight up.  And of course, there's the sandwiches it creates.  I challenge anyone out there to say that you don't love an ooey gooey grilled cheese coated in butter and dripping with that yellow melty goodness every now and again.  Sure it's not the best choice to keep within that steamed vegetable and leafy green diet, but you knoow it's good!  

One of our customers actually refuses to eat his grilled cheese with anything other than our yellow american.  Like a fine wine that's turned murky, he'll take one look at bread containing white cheese and, without hesitation, back to us it comes. 

2,000 calories later, this is now gone.
I too adore a good grilled cheese.  However, for some reason in the past year and a half that we've been open, I had yet to eat one with yellow American.  What's more, I had yet to eat anything with American.  Bill is a huge cheese lover and has stocked our menu full of cheeses.  Aged Vermont White Cheddar, Emmentaler Swiss (with the really big holes no less), Sharp Provolone, Gruyere, Fresh Whole Milk Mozzarella, Feta, Gorgonzola, Crumbled Bleu... the list goes on. So, every day for the past year and a half I've made my own sandwiches with one of these 'superior' cheeses.     

That is... until yesterday.  

It started with my serious case of sandwich envy.  Each day I write down customers' orders and watch as Bill constructs their sandwiches.  But, it is that moment they come out from under the fire that makes me need that sandwich.  The aroma as it flies by my nose on it's way to be wrapped, the look of the sauce bubbling up combining with the cheese, surrounding the late addition of lettuce... Mmm MMM!  That sandwich will be mine. Yesterday one came out spilling over with American Cheese.  It looked good. It looked REALLY good.  I had to make my own.  After one bite I vowed never to underestimate the power of this cheese again.  It brought me back.  Back to school days where my mom packed my lunch with the cookies strategically hidden underneath the American cheese and turkey sandwich, back to summer afternoons making open faced tomato and melted american cheeses in my aunt's kitchen.  Back to fun times surrounded by family.  And a cheese that can do that, well, I don't blame our 7 year old customer.  He knows there's just nothing that compares to that look, that texture, that meltiness, and that unmistakable taste of Yellow American Cheese.  

And that right there is a power to be reckoned with.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Inspiration in a Food Court

Just got forwarded this video through an e-mail and I had to share.  No matter what religion, this is so inspiring.  I have seen videos like these before, taking place in areas with thousands of people, like Grand Central or Central Park, but there's something about the small community feel of this one that I just love.
 Guess inspiration can even be found in a mall food court.

Think they'll make a surprise drop-by at Melt one day?! ;) 

Letters to Santa Coming to Melt!

Is your list this long?!
Well, it's December! Which can mean many things.  It's the official start of the Holiday Season (which this year also coincides with Hanukkah)... yay! Candles, and bows, and lights, and trees, and garland, oh my!  Secondly, it's officially (well, to those of us that didn't get everything accomplished on black Friday at least) the start of the serious gift-buying.  Presents, and shopping, and lines, and hiding, and wrapping oh.....yikes.  We all get so caught up in buying these gifts for those we love, but what about those that may not be as fortunate?  

For the past few years Bill and I have participated in a program run by the US Post Office called "Operation Letters to Santa".  Post Office workers separate letters mailed to Santa Claus, open them up, and organize them into bins.  The public is then allowed to read through the letters and grant a few Christmas wishes for children who's families may not be able to get as caught up with the 'present-ing' that a lot of us take for granted.  

We started participating about five years ago and have been hooked ever since.  It's minimal effort, but can really help make a child's Holiday special.  Some of the letters are mailed directly to "SANTA" in scratchy mis-spelled writing and are meant for Santa only, where as some others are addressed to "Operation Santa Claus" from parents that know of the program.  Of course you'll come across the "Give me 10 games for my Nintendo Wii and 5 more for my DS" or "I want a Pony", but the ones that really get me are the "Dear Santa, Please bring a sweatshirt for my little sister so she doesn't have to be cold at night" letters, or "Could you please give me a backpack for school?".  Those are the one's that make Christmas real.  

SO.. my point is (and I do have one) this year we will be bringing Operation Letters to Santa to Melt!!  The White Plains post office doesn't know their exact day yet of when the letters will first become available to the public, but we wanted to give you a heads up that we'll be doing this!  As soon as they open it up, we will get them here!  

Here's how it will work:
- We'll have a collection of letters for you choose from.
- For every letter you promise to fulfill, you will receive one free beverage of your choice (yes, Joe Tea's included!) AND one bag of chips! 
- And the added bonus: It will make YOU feel great too.

As soon as the White Plains Post Office releases the letters we will be starting this here at Melt, so stay tuned for the official start date!
With a mailbox like this, who wouldn't want to be Santa?!

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