Wednesday; early lunch
What trip to Seattle would be complete without a visit to the promised land? Salumi. For the unitiated, this is an easy place to miss. Just a small store front on a curious, out of the way street in Pioneer Square. Near the new stadiums, most probably just pass it by on their way to the freeway or just never venture down here at all. What a shame. This is, as nearly all food people know (in and out of Seattle) the pinnacle of domestic cured meats. Though Armandino's creations can be found elsewhere, places like Jar in LA serve Salumi on Mondays, being at the restaurant for lunch is an unrivaled experience. It is just a tiny place. Long an narrow, with a single counter and the product prominently on display as you enter. Behind the Counter are prepared the most delicious sandwiches, possibly anywhere.
We arrive a little late, as we got started later than we would have liked and made the obligatory visit to Top Pot for breakfast. Worried that there would not be enough time for proper digestion, I tried to hold back at breakfast but to no avail. The fritter is just too good. No worries however, as there is never a problem with appetite when at Salumi. My wife was able to snap a shot of her's being prepared. She got the Porchetta and I the Cottechino. (I can't remember if they have two ts or one and word doesn't recognize either word so, close enough. Besides, who would quibble over spelling when a beautiful piece of pork is placed in front of them?)
These sandwiches never dissapoint and today was no exception. I have to say that whatever type of plant matter they put on the Cotechino (there, now I've covered all the bases) was unnecessary though it did add quite a nice bitterness to compliment the somewhat sweet sausage. The spread that they use is quite simply amazing. I have heard them say that it is just olive oil, bread crumbs and garlic (one of them also has parsley) though I have tried and never been able to recreate anything near to it. Believe me I have tried. Served with fresh Mozzarella, it is wonderful.
While it is sometimes difficult to think past the sandwiches, the place itself is quite charming. Relatively unadorned, pictures of Armandino and Cullatello hang on the walls while the sound track to the Godfather plays softly. Wine by the glass is available on an honor system. A large bottle is placed in the center of a long table and patrons pay on their way out for each glass. The whole experience is rather communal. The place is large enough to accomodate only about 15 people. Most at the long, center table where space is too valuable to afford a 'comfort seat' between strangers.
None of this matters however when holding a Salumi sandwich in hand. All else fades away as diners indulge in cured meat perfection. In, of all places, downtown Seattle. Go figure.