I’d been dying to get out of town for quite some time, so in classic Nina-style, Chad and I took an extremely last minute flight to Seattle earlier this week. I’ve never done less planning for a trip to a place that I’d never been before, which was fine because I wanted to be in a new environment and was certain that we could find entertainment one way or another. I just brainstormed potential places to visit while on the plane there and then looked around a little online and in Seattle magazine once at our hotel.
Salumi popped up second on my list, and I was instantly relieved that I thought of it. What if I’d missed my chance to try their meats??? Salumi is owned by Armandino Batali (also Chief Salumist), who has a chef son named Mario.
Salumi is in the Pioneer Sqaure district, and upon approaching its narrow storefront, you may confuse it for an LA cupcake shop — the line out the door is that long. But of course, this is a line for meat, glorious meat. Once you get inside the shop, you get to look at hanging cured meats until it’s your turn to order. Chad and I both got the Porchetta, their “tribute to the Pig.”
This photo doesn’t do justice to what is perhaps the best (and biggest) sandwich that I’ve ever had. Perfect pork shoulder perfectly braised, and garnished with onions and peppers. The bread was spread with a kind of garlic-studded oil. In fact, the whole sandwich was bathed in a kind of oily sheen, and while I’d normally try to get rid of that sort of thing, it was so full of flavor that I ate all of it that I could. I’d also normally want to know everything that was in the sandwich — there were SO many flavors — but I just wanted to eat and enjoy.
Despite the long line, there was no problem getting seats at the communal table (where there were open bottles of wine for $4.50 a glass!). Chad not only finished his sandwich, but also finished the last quarter of mine. Oddly, for all of the lovely pork, bread, and oil that I consumed, I didn’t really feel uncomfortably full afterwards… I felt just right….
Except that I regretted that I hadn’t actually tried cured meats or salami. Since their lunch is so busy, they recommend calling in sliced meat orders in advance, and it’s not like I could have bought a lot anyway..
Luckily, on our last day in Seattle, we happened into DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine in Pike Place Market. On top of a cured meats case, I noticed a basket full of 4 kinds of Salumi salami. I went on to make one of the best purchases I’ve made in my life. I asked the counterperson if he could just cut a few slices of each kind as a sort of sampler. I realized that it was a slightly fussy (and um, cheap) order, but the counterperson — I believe that his name was John — was SO nice and more than happy to fulfill the request. He carefully wrapped up about 4 slices of each one separately, and even labeled each one. He also gave me a (fantastic) taste of the Rosemary salami that is only available to buy in whole logs.
We walked out the wooden tables overlooking the water, and I opened my $3.29, .15# love letter of Salumi salami….
Clockwise from top left, Mole, Finocchiona, Hot Sopressata, and Dario. Texture-wise, they seemed a little looser to me than other salami — like all of the bits of meat were comfortably kicking back together, not painfully shoved next to each other. The mole was “uniquely spiced with chocolate, cinnamon, ancho and chipotle peppers;” the finocchiona with cracked fennel, black pepper, and a touch of curry; the sopressata spicy and garlicky; the dario with nutmeg and mace. They were all delicious, though my absolute favorites were the mole and hot sopressata… but all that means is that I like their flavors the most, not that the others were in any way lacking…
Want. More. Now.