(I know — what is this guy doing? turning into Bourdain?) The finest Italian food I have ever tasted in Cambridge is now at Sulmona Restaurant .
D had porchetta presented as a steak, with lovely roasted vegetables and the creamiest polenta imaginable. The Traditional Lamb Skewers were neither fatty nor dry and I believe US stock — you get six of them and it’s a fine deal. (They are pictured on the “About Us” page — that yummy roasted lemon!) Last week I had a fine Tricolori salad at another new joint, but the one at Sulmona made it look chintzy and clumsy: proper small chunks of Gorgonzola (not mere crumbles) and a very fresh mix of greens and onions (how do they get veggies like this at this time of year?). Knowledgeable, utterly sensitive staff. Even the booth seats were delightful. Sulmona is gonna be mobbed, but you have to squeeze in somehow. The area has needed exactly this for a long time.
Since David moved back to Boston, I most regularly encountered him at the Farmers’ Market (a classy one) that happened about a block from his place. We ran into each other once, maybe twice, a season ( he was able to come earlier than I was). But it would always be a highlight of all my visits because David would aesthetically evaluate the displays, the offerings, the sellers, the crowd, and whatever art he had seen recently, with an emphasis on plugs for what was out there. David was by far the finest part of the harvest those days, never to happen again.
Sad to say, the best part of the catfish meal was serving a good cause. The fish itself, cooked NOLA style by D, an ace chef in all styles and every time, was an utter bust: tanky, muddy flavor and squish texture. Once again, I think canny catfish have outsmarted humans by being unpalatable.
I love native Striped Bass from around here, but I feel a tinge of guilt eating it because its season is purposely short as hell to make sure some hang around. Tonight, however, D is cooking up invasive Blue Catfish from Chesapeake Bay. Good to eat ’em back for all the good things they snarf up themselves. Here’s the scoop on the situation.
I do not have bread every day (4-5 times a week, at most). But I was annoyed I couldn’t find a completely acceptable bread item. The smallest Stonefire naans were very tasty and satisfying, but do contain butter and nobody seems to carry them any more (Whole Foods has gone over completely to its 365 brand, which is bleh). One piece of bread makes this teeny nothing of a sandwich. I’ve been told that an English muffin is the equivalent of a single slice, but in truth, I get tired of them before I can finish a six-pack.
Enter the small Bay State Bakery Pita. Comes in a four-pack. I think they’re delicious and can accommodate anything when I cut one in half (can’t deal with the splitting them open business). This is now the go-to sandwich and wrap carb.
These “uses” seem eccentric to us, but the information about the fruit is valuable and yeah, the smell is wonderful. The price cited is way exaggerated by now — about $5 a pound is more like it. Ours goes out about a week after New Year’s and here’s a tip about making sure yours lasts until that time —
when you buy a Buddha’s Hand, make sure there is no hint of a black tip on any of the “fingers” — because that means it’s old and will not last more than a couple weeks before rotting. If we do it right, ours has black tips when we chuck it, but the perfume is still working.
For my money, the Roxbury Russet can be one of the most delicious, complex heirloom apples — and it comes with a natural conversation starter in that it was the first North American apple and etc. etc. But the ones I’ve found around here haven’t had much character this year. All changed this weekend.
Here’s the scoop for locals: go out to Allendale Farm and grab a passel of their own Roxbury Russets. Good as any I can remember tasting.