Ok, I have to share my dinner last night. Sometimes, the bf and I like to dine “tapas style” and just eat little bits of all kinds of goodness. I happened to be in the Hawthorne area so I dropped by Pastaworks for all the fixings. Well, almost all of it. I left the bread at work by accident (grrr from Pearl bakery no less) so we had to make a trip to Trader Joe’s for that.
As I entered, I was greeted by a deli case of meat and was a bit mesmerized and overwhelmed by it all. I did happen to notice the lardo sitting right in the front and knew I had to try it because it is such a ridiculous food item that I was compelled to buy it. Lardo is essentially cured strips of fatback seasoned with herbs and spices. Pure fat!!! The gentleman at the counter suggested 5 strips per person and to simply schmear it on bread. We tried it with that, wrapped around the meats and also with the cheese and it was really good. Not something that should be eaten on a regular basis and by all means, don’t tell your doctor about it. Don’t let the $25 a pound price tag scare you either because the cost of my portion was under $2. I also picked up 3 different kinds of cured meat: Fra’Mani sopressata, a Venetian Abruzzo and a Citterio spicy sopressata to round out the meat section for about $5.50.
Next up was the cheese counter. I picked up some “piave vecchio” cheese recommended by the staff to go along with my cured meats. It’s has a nice sweet and nutty flavor and the taste reminds me a bit of Parmigiano Reggiano. A great hard cheese for salads, fruits and appetizers. It’s about $25 a pound but well worth the small block I purchased for $8. The nice lady also helped me pick up some sardines from Italy (her favorite being a tomato based “pomodoro” one) which was delicious. Now I have to admit, I splurged a bit on this one. I remember Anthony Bourdain eating some during an episode of “No Reservations” filmed in Spain and he couldn’t get over the difference from sardines typically sold in American supermarkets. I had to at least try it even though it was an Italian brand because I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be disappointed. The small tin was super delicious and was just under $7. (Like I said, it was a splurge).
Lastly, I got a nice farro salad because I felt a vegetable was needed (kale, pine nuts, vinegar based dressing, cranberries and other healthy things) and then my eyes focused on the white fish spread. I’ve had a trout spread at The Observatory restaurant and loved it so I inquired about it and the staff told me it is was the whipped cream of the sea. How could I pass that up! And for under $2 it was a generous portion that we still have leftovers of. Also fantastic!
I clearly remember walking out of the store with my little bag of groceries weighing next to nothing and paying just over $30 for it all. Oh well, well worth the money for sure and a nice treat for a random weekday dinner.
Locations: Currently 3: Hawthorne, Mississippi and NW Portland