Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by NewEnglandSteve

  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.


  2. 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.






    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.


  3. 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.

  4. My first trip to Boston is in 2 months, and I've been hearing that Neptune is the place for oysters, but then saw this post yesterday on Zagat, mentioning a chef changeover (!):

    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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.



    Providence Pig Breakdown Event.

    Sunday, March 9.


    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.

  7. 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.

    Holy crap. Guanciale? What else?

    That's right down the street from Asiana, too, at the other end of Warren.

    Do you know who the pork supplier is?

  8. 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.


    edited to add web address

  9. 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.

  10. That sounds incredible!

    Great job with this report!

    That squash blossom pizza looks incredible. Do you remember what else they put on the pizza besides the squash blossoms?

    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 :sad:

  11. kkeym,

    I know that me and Julie are really hopeful that these events will become a regular occurence. We both had a blast. We were all discussing what kinds of events people would be interested in attending. Chris had a great idea for a farm tour. I'd love to see if we could convince a some of the local food artisans into giving workshops to a group of EGers. It might also be fun to put together a New England dining club.

  12. Thanks to Chrisamirault for organizing a fun event today in Providence/Cranston. Me and Julie had a great time and met some really nice people. I hope the success of this event will lead to more activities for the EGers in and around New England.

    Today's event took us to several different ethnic markets. A brief recap:

    We started in at a Compare Market, a Spanish/Latin supermarket on Broad Street in Providence. This was my favorite market stop of the day. They had great produce and a ton of different cuts of meat I'm not use to seeing at my local market. I'm going back tomorrow to do some more shopping :)

    Next up was Sunny Market on Reservoir Ave in Cranston. This Asian market was definitely heavy on the produce. Many items I'd never seen before. They also had an area with fresh meat. Some very interesting stuff (Chicken intestines/pork bung!?.) They also had a TON of frozen fish/meats.

    We all headed over to Park Ave in Cranston for the next couple of stops. Sonia's Middle East Market was a great find. The owners were kind enough to provide us with a feta cheese tasting. I had no idea how different domestic feta was from French or Greek feta. They had a nice selection of prepared foods, olives and sweets as well.

    A few doors down is the Chinese American Market. This place is loaded with all things Chinese. Aisles of noodles, sauces, condiments and pickled everything. Not a lot of produce or fresh meat, but just about everything else.

    Last but definitely not least was lunch at Minh Hai down the road on Park Ave in Cranston. I think we must have had 2 of everything on the menu. It was my first time eating Vietnamese. It won't be my last. The food was fantastic, but I especially enjoyed lunch because it gave everyone a chance to sit back and chit chat. It was really nice to get to know people a little bit. I'm really looking forward to more events like this in the future.

    Thanks again to Chris for doing all the planning and coordinating. Things like this don't go this smoothly by accident!

  13. A couple of weeks ago I took my good friend and fellow EG member WallyD4 down to Bristol for dinner at Persimmon. It was the same type of creatively delicious dinner I've come to expect from Champe and his team. They were also gracious enough to let me fumble around with my camera and try to take pictures of all the dishes he sent out for the tasting menu.

    The kitchen got our juices flowing with a wonderful amuse of fresh Blue Hill Bay Mussel with saffron and a curry vinaigrette.

    Then came a cool salad of Charentrais, seedless watermelon, calaminth and sheeps milk feta. The charentrais is similar to a cantaloupe, it had a bit more of a citrus flavor than I was expecting. It paired well with the mint and rather mild tasting feta.


    Next up was a warm soup of peas with morrels, lobster and chive blossoms. There was also a sorrel leaf floating on top. This was just incredible. I don't think I've ever had the same soup twice at Persimmon and they ALWAYS blow me away. This was truly decadent with three plump morrels and piece of lobster floating in this creamy sweet pea base.


    Onto the pasta. Fresh bucatini with native basil, almond pesto, and pan drippings. Apparently whatever pan drippings they have at the moment are used in this dish. The bucatini was cooked perfectly. The pan drippings had a wonderful flavor, but really took over the dish. I couldn't really taste the pesto.


    Seared scallop with truffle butter and Bordelaise sauce. I almost feel like the sauce was more of the star than the scallop. The bordelaise was very rich and bold. As delicious as it was,I felt the truffle butter paired up better with the scallop.


    The foie gras course was next. Like the soup, I don't think I've ever had the foie gras the same way twice here. The foie tasted like seared butter on a bed of duck confit, and bing cherries and balsamic vinegar. This dish was one of the stars tonight.


    Lamb saddle with spring parsnips,barley risotto and lamb jus. The lamb was tender and full of flavor. Really nice.

    A ragout of braised rabbit, artichokes, potato gnocchi,spring vegetables and sage. This was one of my favorite dishes. The rabbit was just falling apart. A wonderful stew. The veggies were sweet and light in the juice.


    The cheese tasting is an experience in and of itself. 3 generous pieces of cheese with about 10 garnishes. Everything from edible flowers, to a more traditional quince paste. I can't for the life of me remeber any of the cheeses except for the montenebro cheese. All were very good though. The presentation was almost too good to eat. ALMOST :)


    A palette cleanser of Lychee sorbet with a lychee and ranier cherry salad.

    My dessert was chocolate and bananas. Chocolate mousse, peanut praline bananas and vanilla custard sauce. Good stuff.


    Walt had a strawberry and rhubarb tart with creme fraiche ice cream.


    Just before I was about to explode from being so full... out came another treat from the kitchen. A creme brulee. We both really enjoyed this as well. I somehow found room for it!


    It was a great dinner as usual. It's always a treat to take someone new to Persimmon and see them get blown away by the food and the service. They are always very attentive and friendly. Never the least bit stuffy or overbearing. Champe and his wife Lisa both came by the table to say hello and check on us, which was really nice. It's always great to see them.

  14. Clio is definitely on the list of places I'd love to go to!

    I had no idea that GSG had a cool menu. I think last time I was there it was like $10 for dinner and a band.

    I've been to Gargoyles once, and really enjoyed it.  The tasting menu was just composed of dishes from the regular menu, if I recall.

    I would say Clio has the best, most modern food in town, but it's also very expensive...definitely not an everyday place.  However, if you are looking for things like barnacles, exotic fish, interesting vegetables, foams, gels, etc., this is the place to go.

    Green Street Grill in Central Sq also has a "daily offal" and a "daily cure" (for $3!!!!).  Last time I went these were warm lamb's tongue salad and duck rillettes.

  15. Gargoyles on the Square sounds fun.The menu looked pretty cool. Have you done the tasting menu? Davis Square has come a long way since I lived around there.

    Gargoyles on the Square in Davis Square has the most forward thinking food of anyplace I've been in Boston.  (Which admittedly isn't *that* many because we live down the street from this place so often just go there).  The proteins themselves are not unusual, but the garnishes/sides/other ingredients are.  For example, the early Spring menu had a seared tuna appetizer I enjoyed a few times - with a pile of powdered coconut, yuzu-squid ink vinagrette, and 4 pipettes filled with different house infused sake flavors.  Liquid nitrogen has been making an appearance on the menu somewhere lately.  Most recently, its in a white sangria with beet juice.  Gargoyles doesn't chemically reformulate food the way WD50 does (I don't know if that is correct term, but you know stuff like the thin canneloni sheet at WD50 made from shrimp and made possible by some 'meat glue' substance), but instead relies on unusual pairings and uses of some familiar (and not so familiar) foods.  Although some might not count the packing peanuts that were sprinkled on my chicken as food  :smile:

  16. Thank Michael!

    I go to Farmstead/La Laterie quite a bit. I did notice the last time time they added a calf tongue dish to the menu. I'm going to have to try that next time. I'm also VERY excited to try Local 121.

    Savenor's is fun too. Although I'd be lost trying to prepare kangaroo!

    China Pearl does good dim sum, which can get as funky (snails, chicken feet, etc.) as you like.  The Butcher Shop is a charcuterie with a good reputation, though I haven't been.  Savenor's is a grocer that has a lot of game meats, if you don't mind cooking your own.

    Edit: the above are all in Boston.  In Providence...hmm.  Local 121 on Washington St. has quail on the menu and a fantastic corned beef.  (I don't know if it's house corned, but it's awesome.)  There's also La Laiterie and the Farmstead, with great cheese and cured meats.

  17. Thanks for the great info, Georg!

    I guess the St John/WD50 examples were a bit over the top.

    I've wanted to try Craigie St for some time. I think I'll have to make it a priority. The $40 Prix fixe at Oleanna sounds like a GREAT deal too!

    There is barely room for WD-50 in NYC. It is definitely one of the few of the top restaurants where it is relatively easy to get a table. And not surprisingly, nothing like it in Boston.

    There is also nothing like St. Johns, but where is...?

    There are some unusual places though. For offal I think Craigie Street is always a good bet. He makes some really unusual stuff, like the foie gras terrine style monk fish liver. I also love the offal ragouts with poached eggs and mushrooms. There is always stuff like that on the menu, and usually also included in the Chef's whim that is lots of fun and a real bargain.

    Toro usually also has a few offal preparations. All very good (they only need to put more tripe in that tripe dish.....).

    I am not sure how the Chinese places are in Providence, but we have some pretty good Sichuan places up here, outside of chinatown. Very spicy food and some pretty offbeat meats, a recent favorite cuisine of mine with lots of new stuff to explore.

    I also think Oleana is very unique through its elaborate use of spices. The food has much more mainstream appeal than the offal dishes at Craigie, but it is a kind of its own. For me also special because it is the only place where I prefer the vegetarian dishes. The five course plus dessert prix fixe is wonderful (for 40$!!!, and if two people share they will always get two different dishes).

    Hope that gives you some ideas....if you have more specific question sfeel free to ask


  • Create New...