Pipe Dream

I have two dreams in life: 1. To open and run a little cafe. 2. To start a farm. Today, let’s explore dream number one, an idea a college friend and I have been scheming for years.

The cafe might be called something like Olallie, open for breakfast and lunch daily from 6am to 3pm. My friend, a lovely girl, would run the front of the house, wooing customers with her big smile and California charm. I would be the devil in the back of the house, running a tight ship, raising hell when my little culinary student interns burn the croissants and overcook the oatmeal. And if all goes as planned, around 10 am everyday, when the grunt work is completed, my friend and I would turn the reins over to our obedient staff while we dipped biscotti in our cappuccinos and read the newspaper on our sunlit patio.

At Olallie, we would serve coffee and tea, homemade muffins and scones, wood-burning-oven-baked breads and pizzas, salads and soups, house-made granola and open-faced tartines. We would be renowned for our sandwiches. All of our ingredients would, of course, come from local farmers or Fair Trade vendors and would change with the seasons, peaches in the summer, persimmons in the fall. I’m still working on perfecting our signature coffee cake, but Teddy’s Apple Cake will make a fine substitute in the meantime.

I know, I know. Let me dream.

This folder, created in 2003, holds all of the recipes we will use at Olallie’s.
With any luck, our cafe will draw a loyal following, much like San Francisco’s Tartine:
And, after years of honing our skills as restaurateurs, we will turn that folder of recipes into a fantastic cookbook. I am so excited about my latest purchase: The Tartine Cookbook:


  1. Patsyk says

    What a fantastic (and well-thought out) dream! If I lived near you, I am sure I’d be one of your “regulars”!

  2. Maria says

    I have the same dream…looks like you are well on your way. Do it!! I love Tartine! The bakery is fabulous and the cookbook is too! Enjoy!

  3. rg says

    You are very well prepared! It doesn’t have to just be a dream. I used to own a cafe, 10 years ago. All you need is passion and guts. With your skills as a cook/baker, I would cross country in a heartbeat to visit :)

  4. The Food Librarian says

    All dreams start someplace and you have a great folder! I love Tartine. I made the lemon meringue cake once and it was so good! Have fun and we’ll all be first in line at your shop when it does open!

  5. Mama JJ says

    I, for one, will certainly NOT sneeze at your ideas. I’m all for ideas and dreams and making scones and eating biscotti…


  6. The Blonde Duck says

    I’ll be there! Better yet, I’ll write press releases and stories for the papers for ya’ll!

    I love the egg picture.

  7. ttfn300 says

    talk about food porn! I’d make the trip to olalie for sure :) you’ve got so much of the leg work done… sounds like it’s time to make this dream a reality!!!

  8. Manggy says

    Hah! When you dream, you are certainly very thorough! I do not think it’s a pipe dream, though. It can happen! All’s we needs izza buncha investors 😉 I’ll be first in line when it opens (hopefully I’ll be in the area!)

  9. katie says

    You are so cute! I have that dream too, but then I think about the real life amount of work running a small mom and pop cafe would take and I change my mind. Actually, my current dream is to do the personal chef thing. But that is many many moons out.

  10. giz says

    The baby step approach is a sound one. My favourite part is watching the obedients carry out your vision while you dip biscotti in cappucino – I’m there for that part.

  11. RecipeGirl says

    Do it! Do it! Sounds perfectly dreamy.

    I’m up in Washington right now visiting my sis and yesterday we went to a popular cupcake bakery called Hello, Cupcake. Now I want to open a cupcake bakery. It was terribly cute!

  12. Grace says

    it sounds to me like you’re well on your way to making your dream a reality! keep up the progress–it’s inspiring. :)

  13. Clumbsy Cookie says

    You’re so funny! What a lovely post and lovely dream. I’ll sure be a client if you let me dip some biscotti in cappuccino too!

  14. Joe Horn says

    Keep working at it and work for as many other restaurant owners as you can. My wife and I own a place much like what you are describing (we never get to sit down and eat anything together though, haha.) It was her dream since she was a child and it took her until she was 34, but we have a successful business of 6 years next month and hopefully another location next year.

    You can do it!

  15. Sharon says

    I absolutely love this post. I’ve also always wanted to open up a cafe/bakery, but it’s literally just in my head. Your logo and idea are amazing.

  16. Angsana says

    Dream, hope and then reality!
    I LOVE your blog! and the pictures you take are just out of this world!
    I’m bookmarking you!!

  17. Foodycat says

    At least with a projected opening date of 2020 it gives me time to save up to be there! And you’d better be serving that sandwich young lady…

  18. Kim says

    I have no doubt your dream will be here much sooner than 2020! Go for it! You give me hope, and I think all of us who dream could learn a lesson or two about planning our dreams from you. Thank you.

  19. HangryPants says

    Hi, Your blog was recommended to me by Hil of Blueberry Hil and now I know why! I can’t believe you don’t already have a cafe. Everything you’ve made looks wonderful!

  20. Peter M says

    If that’s what you want – go for it. I’m excited just thinking of the possibilities of your project. Tuck some cash away and keep on dreaming, that day will come.

  21. hot garlic says

    A girl can dream!! I love your enthusiasm and plans. Your mock-up is great. When it does happen {which it will!} it will certainly be well thought out!

  22. Apples and Butter says

    Looks like you have a good road map going! I hope to live in San Francisco one day and if that’s where you set up shop, I will definitely be by!

  23. Sarah says

    Ali, we miss you back here, so much. I know I’m not the only one that tries to ‘keep up’ with you. Thank you for your shout outs, and I applaud your dreams!

  24. Chris says

    Hi A – really enjoying your blog. I’m in Escondido married to a 1st Med. Battallion officer. Nice to hear all the references to local sources. Thanks for the entertainment and good luck making Olalie happen!!

  25. alexandra's kitchen says

    Thanks Chris! Nice to meet you, virtually anyway. I wish I knew more about the area — I’ve been here for almost a year now but have yet to do as much exploring as I would like. I’ve been meaning to make a day trip to Escondido.

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