Saturday, August 7, 2010
Hello! Do you like meat? Then read on, dear friend, for my tale of meaty delights. Does that sound filthy? All the more reason to read on, you dirty bird!
Andy and I had, as always, an incredible time at the annual National Puzzlers' League convention, which was held in Seattle this year. No small part of our fun was experienced at Salumi, a restaurant specializing in artisan cured meats (big smile!). Our dear friend Artistry (quick side note: everyone in the NPL uses nicknames (noms) instead of real names, because we're really cool. My nom is Expelliarmus, because it contains my real name (Arielle) and is an incantation in the Harry Potter books, to which I have sworn my undying love. Andy's nom is Bonus, because our last name, Arizpe, anagrams to "A prize". Fun huh? Right? Anyway, back to the story at hand) was able to secure one of the elusive private lunches at Salumi, which is owned by Mario Batali's parents. Eight of us gathered around a tiny table in the back of the tiny restaurant, and were treated to an absolutely brilliant lunch. Here are the pictures!
This picture ended up being an assault on the eyes, what with the myriad reds and whites, but this was one impressive plate of meat! I didn't take any notes, so I haven't a hope of telling you the names of the different things on this platter, but they were all delicious. My very very favorite one was mole-flavored! Who's ever heard of such a thing?
Here's an extreme closeup for you:
Also on the table were some really tasty olives, marinated in a beautiful tomato sauce, complete with thin slices of lemon. What fun!
I ate 40. Next- fantastic meatball crostini, topped with hand-pulled mozzarella. The picture really doesn't do it justice- it was magical.
And look at this next one! Even the vegetables here are covered in meat! This is broccolini wrapped in salami and a green bean and tomato salad dressed with pesto and parmesan. That broccolini might have been my favorite dish.
Short ribs! Cut thin and grilled. These were fly, and Andy's favorite dish. I ate mine with my fingers.
Ok, I forgot- this next dish might have been my real favorite. House-made sausages on top of the most amazing black lentils. The combination was brilliant.
Next we had a really crazy palate-cleanser course. Though it looks really tame, this was packed with flavor- the clear broth is actually a pepper consomme of sorts, with a clean crisp jalapeno-y flavor.
Now the real magic begins. This is a pan full of a fontina polenta, topped with crispy guanciale. I could have eaten these crispy bits by the fistful, and the polenta was a creamy, cheesy dream.
Our main course was another high point of the meal. Chicken thighs, browned and braised with a ton of leeks, wine, and butter on top of homemade pappardelle . It was a simple dish executed perfectly.
And that takes us to the last dish, which the chef informed us was a happy accident. We were supposed to be served some fairly standard wine-poached pears, but he had put them in the freezer to cool off slightly and forgotten about them. He was afraid he had ruined the dessert, but then tasted it and found out that slightly-frozen poached pears are awesome! We all agreed- the texture was smooth and icy, and the flavor was amazing.
So that was it! Our amazing lunch at Salumi. And all this for $40 a person- isn't that unbelievable? It was really extraordinary. Huge thanks to Artistry for setting it up- yahoo!