We had a great summer but needed a short break. Usually for trips, Jenny and I try to go somewhere new. But this time around we decided on somewhere familiar which is California. I have a love-hate relationship with the place but not with the ocean. In fact it may be the only thing that makes it bearable for me. And I love the Pacific Ocean. I grew up going to the Shore and hanging at the beach, but the Pacific is just something else. Some days in some parts it’s so peaceful. The sound is like a lullaby. And in some other parts it’s a constant roar that will crush you. I was lucky enough to live in several parts of the state. I lived near where Tomales Bay and the Pacific meet and near Santa Monica Bay. My favorite part of the country is still that part of the coast north of Santa Monica and south of Carmel. There are so many nice places in America, but I enjoy the mountains along the coast where the towns are barely hanging on without falling into the Pacific. Some great driving too. All that said, I’m ready to come back to New Jersey and make some stuff for you guys. And Jenny says hi.
I appreciate everyone who has consistently come by the store. Opening a business these days is nuts with an endless assault of bullshit from dealing with getting open, ordering ingredients, to the insane questions we get asked. At least we don’t get questions about soft serve anymore. Why bother making Gelato then. It’s not even the same league of product. Go to Italy and ask for some soft serve then go ask for some pizza with pineapple on it and let’s see how fast one can run.
The first few weeks were brutal. We were trying to figure people out and vice versa. And it took a while for both Jenny and I to get comfortable in the store. I was paranoid about our place just being some generic Gelato and Ice Cream place. I moved back to Jersey for a reason and that was partially to be the half snarky sarcastic asshole and half waspy non-wasp that I am that couldn’t exist in passive aggressive neurotic California. I love making this stuff and feel like I’ve grown into my own way of doing things. And it really feels at home here. I can make some really refined flavors and call them something snarky and its fine. We also know the things we will never do no matter the trends. I know whats good. I’ve been doing this for a long time despite my age and thanks to my mother and grandmother along with my culinary and experience living abroad I have a decent palate. I purposely avoid going to other gelato and ice cream places or even looking on social media. I live in my own gelato world.
We wanted to thank our architect, Jeff Jordan Architects LLC, for realizing the design of the store here in Bloomfield. I always imagined our gelato store to feel very ascetic because everything to me is very quasi-religious and I love minimalism whether through a Zen or Nordic mind. We also worked with Jeff to achieve what we call a “Stone and Leather” aesthetic and that is because I wanted something more masculine. He and his crew definitely achieved all that and more.
And we would also like to thank our contractor, Mitchell MacGregor, and his crew for building out the store. They did a fantastic job transforming it from paper to reality.
Our previous business was Cremeux Ex Machina (calgelato.com) and when we started it I had a specific set of goals and ambitions. In my 20s I had a lot to prove to myself. From actually being on an organic farm with a specific type of milk and cow, to a small batch machine, to pasteurizing, and to buying direct from small farms there was always some element to double down on.
APEM is in another world. We hope to build up relationships with small farms here that grow really great fruits and ingredients to really embrace them in the moment. That being said I doubt it will ever encompass the whole package like Cremeux Ex Machina did because this area is less about ideology and more about the end product.
APEM now is a settled project. I’m in my 30s and I’m less about the grandiose and ambition and more about embracing what I have and enjoying myself. Ironically, my time in the Bay Area just brought out the Jersey in me.
The road to our store was a long one that weaved between Clifton, Montclair, and East Village until eventually ending up here. Bloomfield as a town is in transition like many towns in New Jersey. It has the old school Jersey, the spill over from places like Montclair, and a growing influence from those leaving the city. But it just has a good vibe as far as people go. All these things made Bloomfield a solid choice since I felt it a town where APEM can be multiple things without much contradiction. It’s on Broad Street but not in the thick of everything where we get lost. In my head I always wanted the outside to remind me something of corner bodegas like in my hometown Passaic or a scene from the movie Clerks and on the inside it’s mostly modern. I think we are in a good place for our first store to serve a wide variety of people.