salumi, Seattle

Salami might sound like just any old cured meat to plunk into a sandwich and sink the teeth into. However, when at Salumi, you discover that it is anything but. Salumi plays on the Italian word salumeria, and has become a food-lover's destination in Seattle, and even a bit of a landmark. Pilgrams to the shop will find their own version of high art. A slice of salami is studded with kaleidoscopic colours, and multiple layers of intense flavour. New York restaurateur and celebrity chef, red-haired, clog-sporting Mario Batali is certainly well known in the world of food. But in this case, Salumi is the brainchild and dream of his father, Armandino Batali. He retired from Boeing, went to Panzano, Italy, with food expert, Faith Willinger to learn from the ultimate in Tuscan food knowledge, Dario Cecchini. Then Armandino brought back to Seattle the knowledge of how to prepare the treasures of the Italian table. Not only is there salami, and beautiful sandwiches, but traditionally prepared dishes as well. Salumi has also begun to create their own culatello. It is in some ways similar to prosciutto, basically the same part of the back leg of the pig, but a smaller section of it. Originally, culatello is from Zibello, near Parma, and the curing process traditionally only happens in January and lasts from 6-8 months. However, the entire process is dependent upon the climate, and therefore is not easily replicable inside a factory. This stuff is in demand and hard to get. Culatello is not often available outside of Zibello, and due to the type of process used to prepare it, was not easily obtainable in the United States. Now, if you are lucky, you can enjoy it at Salumi, or mail-order it. Even though it has become nearly obligatory to photograph the sign above the entrance, Salumi is actually easier to recognize by the line-up of eager denizens pouring out into the street. Luckily, the jovial staff are occasionally meandering down the cue with a plate of some delicious carnivorous samples like a spicy mole salami. Salumi is so wildly popular that even though they are open from Tuesday through Friday from 11am-4pm, the door often closes sometime around 2pm as they frequently sell out. Photobucket A few dishes of the day, including eggplant or pasta shells with tomato and basil: Photobucket Interestingly, the prosciutto we saw was from Canada. Get the prosciutto, fig, and goat cheese sandwich as a snack for the late afternoon. Photobucket Salumi has weekly specials, and luckily, it was oxtail. Enjoy the hot sandwiches at the communal table, make a few friendes, and wash it down with some wine. This is some of the best stuff you can eat anywhere. It doesn't get any better. It is impossible to take decent pictures while rushing frantically to get to the plate. Photobucket The oxtail is great, and so is the porchetta. It is roasted so beautifully, resulting in chunks of the most tender meat around. Photobucket Salumi is a place doing good things, for good eating. Short of learning Italian, and intensely studying the Michelin Guide Book on where to eat, this is as good as it gets on this side of the pond. Salumi -309 Third Ave South, Seattle, WA (between Main and Jackson, across from Seattle Lighting)

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