Just got back from lunch at Salumi and I am Exhausted
For those of you unfamiliar with the place (there might be a few of you left out there who haven't heard of it) Salumi is Armandino Batali's artisan cured meat shop in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle. I believe its in the same location as where his father had an Italian food store decades ago.
The story (as I know it) is that after Armandino retired form Boeing, he went to Italy for a few years to learn the art of curing meat. He then came back to Seattle to open up Salumi as a kind of retirement "hobby". Thank god he doesn't golf!
They are only open 4 days a week and only for lunch. Although they do a private dinner party on the occasional Friday night for a select group of 10-12 people. It took me 3 years to get a dinner rez. When Armandino finally got sick of me asking and caved, it was Nov 03. He penciled us into the book for Oct 04. I think they are 3 years out right now. The problem I had was that I told everybody I knew about this dinner at Salumi; and promised a spot at the table to over 50 people. I ended up sending an Italian food quiz out by email. The first 5 people with all the answers correct got 2 spots at the table. The quiz went out at 9am and the last seats were claimed at 9:14 am. Some friends of mine are still a little bitter about not getting in. Sorry!
Here are some picts from my dinner.Salumi Dinner
Originally when I told Armandino and Gina Batali about this food blog, I asked if I could do another dinner. They were already booked up (of course). Even the special lunches in the back room were booked for the week. They were going to reserve me 4 spots at the communal table and I cold bring just 3 of my closest friends for one of the hardest reservations to get in the city. This morning at 10:45am, Gina calls me and says that the lunch group for today called and cancelled at the last minute. So the back room was mine. I just had to round up 4 more people at the last minute. Not very difficult. I was able to fill the table very easily.
We started with a Salumi plate of some of their best stuff. Armandino and Gina both know what my favorites are.
Soppresata, finochiono, culatello, lomo, lamb prosciutto.
Then it all just started showing up at the table!
gnoccho fritto with culatello
roasted mushrooms and tomatoes
broccoli raub with pine nuts and garlic
Nancy was preparing all these courses for us. She was the chef at a great local restaurant called Adriatica. But it closed down a few years ago. Armandino talked her out of retirement to come to Salumi and create great specials for them. She was a wonderful addition.
Nancy brought this next dish out with great trepedation. She said she personally doesn't eat this but Armandino thought it would be a perfect dish to try on me. I think I have a reputation for trying everything. Which I do!
Pig's ear salad
Pig's ear is served in Chinese culture quite often. I had it numerous times as a kid. This was better than the Chinese preparation, which I think is roasted then served cold marinating in soy, sesame oil, and chili oil. The ears were deep fried and had tons of flavor.
ditalini with lots of onions.
The onion aroma filled the room.
Lamb Stew with (I forgot the name) beans. I brought a pen, but was having such I great time I forgot to write things down.
Here's Gina Batali. A wonderful host. Actually, just a wonderful person.
She's married to Brian.
Who's in charge of curing all the meats.
We're were having such a good time, we woke up little Harrison Hanson.
For dessert they brought us a baked brie with culatello.
Here I am with Armandino, Nancy, and Gina.
Armandino sat and chatted with us at the end of the meal.
Marylin, Armandino's wife peeks through the door to say high.
I hope you all get the sense of welcome we felt at Salumi. The draw of the place is not how good the food is (even though its great!) I really believe its the personallity of the entire Batali family. They are such a pleasure to be around that it's infectious. The people in line are always smiling (maybe because they are getting free salumi samples)
The people behind the counter seem to really enjoy themselves. (although this picture doesn't seem to display that)
And the people at the communal table are always eager to speak to the strangers sitting next to them about how great their sandwich is.
I love everything about Salumi!
Side note: This was going to be stop #4 on my sandwich tour, but I don't think I'm going to be able to fit it in. I'll post picts in the Seattle thread in the next few weeks as I return for some of their great sandwiches.
I hope you all understand that I'm doing NOTHING
for dinner tonight.
Edited by hhlodesign, 22 March 2006 - 07:32 PM.