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NewEnglandSteve

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  1. I just returned from Italy and wanted to chime in on a great experience I had in Florence. I was wandering around the Santo Spirito market around lunchtime one afternoon. I stumbled across a little ristorante called Sant' Agostino 23. It was right around noon so I poked my head in and looked around. It was completely empty. After a minute of looking around someone came out and told me they would be open for lunch at 12:30. When I returned they handed me two menus. The regular daily menu and then an additional Quinto Quarto menu. I didn't even bother to open the daily menu. With the help of the waiter Stefano, (who I later learned is one of the owners)I chose the Musetto E Zampa (which was a headcheese type preparation made with the snout and trotters.) Very nice. Quite interesting and set the tone nicely for the primi...which was Chitarrine con lampredotto. I foolishly only got a half portion of this but I could have eaten a pound of this. It had a clean, soft flavor that is hard to come by in a lot of offal dishes. I thought the lampredotto may overpower the fresh pasta but it didn't at all. It may have been my favorite plate the entire week in Italy. Lastly, Stefano highly recommended I try the Cibreo di Rigalie. This famous Tuscan dish was fantastic. Maybe a few too many chicken livers for my liking but to me a few go a long way. It was a nice rustic dish to send me off with. I spoke to Stefano for a few minutes as I was leaving. He and his staff were all very nice and quite passionate about sharing the traditional Tuscan dishes. I was thrilled that I stumbled across this place. Definitely will be a staple on my trips back to Florence. http://www.santagostino.fi.it/
  2. Thanks for putting this event together,Chris. It was a great time and the food was fantastic. It was such a treat to be able to sample all of these great dishes. I'm looking forward to the next event!
  3. Here are a few photos to get the ball rolling: Matt Jennings gives us the lowdown before the break down Here's the special guest Matt Gennuso going over the various parts of the animal Matt Jennings grinding meat for the pate' Steven Shaw helping out at the stove. Lunch! Matt Jennings stuffs a beef middle to make a Salami Toscana The first step to making prosciutto An example of a prosciutto after several months curing.
  4. Thanks to everyone for a great event today at Chez Pascal In Providence. Big props to Matt Gennuso from Chez Pascal and Matt Jennings from Farmstead/ La Laiterie for leading the way with such passion and good cheer. Both Matts are naturals in front of a crowd. The group of participants was really outstanding as expected. The more events we do in the New England forum, the more impressed I get by the quality people that show up. There were just a ton of great questions,comments and contributions from all the pig enthusiasts that came out today. The event included a brief presentation by Matt J on topics ranging from important pork related literature to pork industry regulations and trends. Following that, Matt G broke down the pig for us step by step. We learned a variety of uses for each particular cut. This part of the program really highlighted just how important (and possible) it is to use every bit of the animal. Matt J took over for a bit and showed us how he makes pate' campagne,which lead nicely into the charcuterie/curing segment after a fantastic lunch break. Lunch included several types of sausage, our four legged friend's loin, house cured prosciutto, among other great treats. Patrick from Casey farm brought some tasty ham steaks & Catherine Iino also brought some wonderful bread she baked for us. After lunch Matt G jumped into an overview of prosciutto making. We got to see him start one proscuitto, as well as a couple of examples of product further along the curing process. This was really a treat to see it done in person. Trying to figure something like this out from a book is pretty daunting to someone that doesn't work in a restaurant or in the food industry. Seeing it in done step by step really makes it seem like a project a home cook/food enthusiast could take on with the proper care. Near the end of the day people got to get their hands dirty...err.. piggy, with some sausage/ salami making. Again it was great to see the process broken down step by step. The event ran from 10AM until 4:30ish and it really flew by. I personally learned a great deal from everyone involved. I hope we can make events like this a regular occurrence. In the following days we'll be posting more photos and eventually some video clips of the event thanks to Mike Murphy who donated his time to shoot and edit the event for us. As always we'd love people to chime in with their thoughts on the event.
  5. I can't speak on Neptune but for the best oysters I've ever had check out "Cafe Bella" in Randolph. The entire menu (which changes with the seasons) is always very strong but the oysters are just incredible. I hope you enjoy your first trip to Boston!
  6. mstopy, That is a wonderful collection you have there! All that in 3 MONTHS! That's just incredible. Nice work!
  7. Julie and I had a great time today. It's always nice to meet up with other EGers. It was really a great group of folks today. The food was really fantastic as well. Most of the dishes were things we've never had an opportunity to try before. Quite a treat to have so many new experiences! My top 3 were : Shu mai Shrimp w/ duck feet Garlic chives (honorable mention goes to the pork ton bor) It was nice seeing everyone and thanks for a great time!
  8. Hi folks! I just wanted to let everyone know about an EG event that will be taking place in Providence on March 9th. I think the participants of this topic might find it of particular interest. I hope anyone in the New England area might consider attending. It should be a lot of fun and very informative. Details are below. Cheers! Steve Providence Pig Breakdown Event. Sunday, March 9. 10a-4p. Chez Pascal, 960 Hope St, Providence, Rhode Island. Your award-winning hosts: Chef Matt Gennuso, Chez Pascal. Chef Matt Jennings, Farmstead and La Laiterie. Your obedient kitchen slaves: Chris Amirault, Director, eG Forums, eGullet Society. Steve LaBollita, eGullet Society member/pork fanatic. Meet the pig. (140 pounds.) Learn about the pig. (Blood Farm, Groton, Massachusetts.) Cut up the pig. (Matt and Matt guide us.) Eat the pig. (Lunch.) Prepare the pig. (Such as: Bacon. Lop yuk. Pancetta. Prosciutto. Ham. Guanciale. Ribs. Sausage. Paté. Rillettes. Lardo. Head.) Bring your knives if you want to use your knives. Bring your apron if you want to wear your apron. Wear comfortable non-slip shoes. Expect to shave, fabricate, cut, trim, skin, grind, stuff, clean, learn. Prepare to sign waivers on butcher paper with blood. You'll get coffee and a light breakfast. You'll get lunch: pig and sides. You'll get technique, information, recipes. You'll get practice. You'll get right of first refusal for two diners to attend a charcuterie dinner at La Laiterie later this spring. $75 pp. First come, first served. Fee includes contribution to the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. Full payment is required to hold a spot and is non-refundable. Places are extremely limited. This event does not represent the production process for foods at Chez Pascal, La Laiterie, or the Amirault or LaBollita households. For more information, contact Chris Amirault at chrisamirault (eGullet Society PM system) or camirault@egstaff.org.
  9. Thanks Doc! I've enjoyed your many thoughtful posts here in the forums. Your passion for food seems to be only surpassed by your love of sharing that passion with others.
  10. Ecellent job! I'm really excited for you. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!
  11. Funny how we were just talking about the lack of a local source for guanciale. In addition to that, they had what looked to be incredible lardo. They had a good variety of cured meats. They make fresh sauces, pasta and sausages on site as well. They said that their guanciale sources were from NY (maybe Salumeria Biellese?) and Oakland (maybe Niman Ranch?) They have some cooking classes on Friday nights too. I spoke ot one of the workers there, Josh, for a few minutes. He was really enthusiastic about food and food making.
  12. I just stumbled upon a little Italian shop in East Providence called "the Italian Corner." I was really impressed with the quality and variety of products they had. I was particularly excited to see that they just started carrying guanciale (from 2 different sources.) I've not been able to find anyplace locally that carries it. They had some great looking prepared foods as well as imported items. Definitely worth checking out if you are in the area. They are located at 10 Boyd Ave which is right off Warren Ave. http://italiancorner-ri.com/ edited to add web address
  13. Meeting Dario and having dinner at Solociccia last week was one of the highlights of my current Italian trip. Before the 9pm seating, my wife (still fiancee at that point) were milling about near Dario's shop. I noticed the door was open and he was inside reading and listening to Bob Dylan. I poked my head in and asked if the shop was open. He said "not for selling meat! Only for hospitality! Have some wine! Have some bread! Have some Salami! Have some ...Bob Dylan!" Then he poured us all some wine and had a toast with us. We chatted a bit but we didn't want to impose so we headed out after a few minutes. A little while later we were across the street waiting to go in to Solociccia. He's in front of his shop surrounded by people. He spots me sitting with my arm around my girl and he smiles and give me a big thumbs up. You could just tell how happy it makes him to make other people happy. Just a wonderful experience. Just another Pop food guy... I say not.
  14. Great report, Aaron. You are painting a great picture for us! We start our journey this Saturday. I'm sure we'll be visiting quite a few places we learned about from your travels. How much longer will you be on the road?
  15. That sounds incredible! Great job with this report! Steve, Keith says he thinks there was a garlic cream sauce. Once again, sorry for the delayed responses...we've been moving and didn't have internet at the new place right away ←
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