Over a year ago I stopped posting the weekly Fatted Calf Newsletter. If you ain’t hip to their newsletter, it’s a weekly note to let everyone know what’s going on in their world and the upcoming menu for the Berkeley & Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Markets. It was something I did out of inspiration, love and devotion. But it was time to move on, times change. The only thing that didn’t change is their love & devotion for all things meat.
If you’ve been lucky enough to sample any of their meaty gifts, you know of what I speak. I fondly remember showing up each Saturday in Berkeley to see what was new, rely on what’s a family standard and to enjoy the market in general. Nearly each week Taylor and/or Toponia had cooked up something special for all, like a kid in a candy store I was! I thought I’d seen just about everything they had to offer over the years. And speaking of years, I triple dog dare you to use the search function here at Meathenge and type in newsletter. There’s about 4.5 years worth of posts, pretty crazy.
Earlier this year Fatted Calf opened up their new shop at the new Oxbow Market in Napa. I’ve been more than a few times and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Again, I thought I’d seen it all.
Jlee and I sped up early this last Saturday morning for another visit and to check out a small gun shop, just for fun. I found a cool wrist-rocket I knew the boys would enjoy, but guess what I found at the fancy charcuterie masters shop? That’s right, hands down the most badass salumi sammich of all time! Nabbed that one big time! I don’t know how many different kinds of hand-made pieces of meat were in there, but it was tremendous. The depth of flavor all delivered with a fresh made tapanade with a little more extra virgin all nestled in a wonderfully toothsome sammich roll. Luckily, Toponia was there and we got to hang out a bit and talk about stuff. The weather was cool, overcast with a chance of rain. Her eyes lit up and she reached behind the counter and produced a gratin! A hot, beautiful, steaming gratin that is! As with many items they have for sale, tasting each thing is a huge part of the experience. Floopf the spoon heavily laden with gratin went in to my mowf (I still have the spoon in my pocket, use it for flinging coffee beans at employees). A rich blend of delicious, gooey cheese, finished with some bright tangy version to finish. There’s pasta in there! There’s onions in there! “I’ll take 1 pound please.”
These are two things you cannot get at the markets, you have to visit their locale in Napa. You’ll probably have to drive, but go. Now. It’s worth it, every minute you spend behind the wheel embiggening your carbon footprint is worth it. I have no idea what it cost me, I don’t care. I’m going again and again.
ps – Check out the pork belly roulade, the gratin and the sandwiches there, see?
Prelude: I prepared the following food at work today, not my normal place of cheffin’. Probably a better day at work than most, eh?
On March 15th 2004 a special young lad by the name of John Bell paid us a visit here at Meathenge from Mobile Alabama. He’s known for quite a handful of things, one of which being Southern Fried Chicken. I want to get this straight and clear right now. I’m not making Emeril’s chicken, nor am I making chicken that you make. I WANNA MAKE WHAT JOHN BELL MAKES !!! And after 3 posts on Meahenge, I have yet to accomplish this. If you go check out March 15th’s entry you’ll get to SEE what his craggy lava crunch chicken looks like. And what it tastes like? You’ll just have to imagine.
This last Saturday I left the Farmer’s Market with a noticeable skip in my step. Sure I had my pockets full of meat and my one kidney was doing double time to get rid of the Blue Bottle Coffee’s New Orleans style iced coffee. This time was different. This time I got to SELL SAUSAGE !!!
This last Saturday I picked up a handful of Crepinettes from The Fatted Calf. Sure I could have walked away with some Toulouse, Rosso or Chorizo or even some breakfast patty sausage. But I’ve been down those roads more than a few times and it seems as though Taylor changes the ingredients of the Crepinettes from week to week. As much as I detest change, this one is fine by me. We all need a little a meat flavor merry-go-round with either pork or duck or both.
With my pockets filled, I headed up to visit Jan at the Blue Bottle Coffee Company stall. Her helper was there and it wasn’t too busy (like the first time in months she’d had time to do something other than drip coffee), so we sped back to get her some meat. The first thing she went for was the Mortadella. Hey, I like mortadella. I didn’t get any. HEY TAYLOR, ME TOO !!! Both Jan and I got mortadella. I felt like skipping to my truck, I had a new treat.
Spring has most assuredly sprung. People are out of their house, on the road and usually right where I want to be. The stunts they’re pulling in town are amazing to say the least. All I was interested in doing was hopping onto the freeway and make my way into Berkeley via University Avenue. At 9:30 am Saturday morning there was one line of cars stretching for miles, all directly in front of my truck. Once finally making it to my favorite part of town for parking I find tree cutting trucks have taken everything. Back down University for 4 blocks, maybe some parking? You think? Mebe. Yes, I found one.
Was it all worth it? Yes! Fatted calf’s News Letter said he had a new sausage this week and I wanted to be first in line.