#2 Working at Salumi

Most people aren’t thrilled when they receive a text early in the morning asking if they can come into work. Then again, most people don’t get to work in a pork haven with people whom you consider family. On days that I work at Salumi, I practically jump out of bed and skip the two-mile walk to Pioneer Square. I started working at Salumi Cured Meats in April of 2008 and I left my full-time position after two years there. Between my trips to Boston for wedding activities and trips to see David while he was working on a project in Eastern Washington and Southern California, my travels began to conflict with my work schedule. Now I am fortunate to be able to fill in whenever Gina (the owner, along with her husband Brian) needs an extra body.

When I do get the opportunity to work at Salumi, it feels like putting on a perfectly worn, warm sweatshirt. I tend to be a bit rusty the first five minutes, but then it’s back to business as usual. In early January, unfortunately my co-worker Melanie was home sick with an ear infection, but fortunately for me I was asked to work (and thrilled to be able to earn some money for the first time in months). I started my work day with a coffee from nearby Zeitgeist, threw on my apron, and I was happy to have the opportunity to catch up with co-workers and customers. Salumi is like a small family and I miss the atmosphere and camaraderie. I took my co-workers for granted when I was full-time and I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I was alone in a kitchen for hours while older men came in describing their bunions and hemorrhoids. Customers often ask us if we are a member of the Batali family and our answers are usually the same, “No, we’re apart of the Salumi family”. It’s not just a line we give the customers, that’s how it really feels. Sometimes we pretend we’re all sisters to see if we can throw the customers off a little just for fun, and usually the go along with the gag (not being deterred that there is a near 25 year age spread among us). I miss the day to day banter with our regular customers, talking to the pleasant customers who come from near and far to taste the famous cured meats and I even miss the bitter customers who come in with a bone to pick with everyone and everything. I’m grateful to be asked to work and join in the fun, be surrounded by incredible food and still be part of the family.

Irma and I

Salumi

#4 Marination Mobile

Kahlua Pork Slider & Spicy Pork Taco

Whenever I see large crowds congregating in alleys of Belltown, I always grab my purse and run in the opposite direction, except on Tuesdays. On 1st Avenue, there’s a whiff of Hawaiian love and seriously tasty pork in the air while Marination Mobile dishes up the finest curbside cuisine. The food truck “Big Blue”, as it’s known around town, is the Hawaiian-Korean brainchild of Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison.

You can follow the truck on Twitter and Facebook, look for a crowd of people lining the sidewalks and alleys, stalk people on the street who are carrying their foil covered trays, or just smell the pork and kimchi from blocks away. The Kahlua Pork Sliders are juicy and luscious on Hawaiian sweet rolls topped off with fresh cabbage slaw and Nunya sauce which is made up of “Nunya Business!” as the dream team likes to put it. If you order “tacos around the world”, you’ll get one each of Spicy Pork, Kalbi Beef, Miso-Ginger Chicken and Sexy Tofu. Other offerings include their popular Spam Sliders, Kimchi Rice Bowl and Kimchi Quesadilla. The sliders and tacos are served individually and at just over $2 a piece, it’s possible and probable that you will mix-and-match and order more than one. I usually order the same porktastic meal every time: 2 kahlua pork sliders and 1 spicy pork taco (and Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with Spam when I’m feeling extra naughty). David likes to throw Adam (our fabulous Belltown order taker) a curve ball and order Spam Sliders and a sexy tofu taco.

Being former Bostonians, Kamala and Roz are the type of girls that you want to crack open beers with and laugh the afternoon away. Their talented staff serves aloha not only on the truck but at Marination Station on Capital Hill which is open seven days a week. Even if you don’t live in the Seattle area, I would recommend following Marination Mobile on Facebook purely for the entertainment. The photos will be sure to make you jealous and drool, but most likely you’ll laugh out loud reading the posts, comments and pictures. It’s clear that much love, talent and energy was poured into the marination mobile and station and I consider ourselves oh so lucky to have them in our ‘hood.

Big Blue

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls with Juicy Kalua Pork, Cabbage Slaw & Nunya Sauce

A Spot of Pork

Our Cottage

The view from our kitchen

Thanks to my brilliant friend Joe Parke, I am temporarily changing the title of the blog to a more British theme while David and I reside in Salisbury, England. Seattle’s top ten will be posting shortly and I cannot wait to share my adventures from across the pond.

Dog Mountain Farm

In September it was Kelly’s turn for our surprise weekend. David and I were told to pack casual clothes, sleeping bags and pillows. With our gear loaded into Vinny’s truck, we headed east out of Seattle. Kelly gave Vinny turn-by-turn directions, which was driving him crazy. An hour outside of Seattle we turned onto a long dirt road that wound its way uphill until we arrived at Dog Mountain Farm. As we meandered up the driveway past animals, vegetables, adults and kids, Kelly told us that we were getting a tour of the farm, eating a ‘farm to fork’ dinner and staying over at the property’s ‘B & B’. We smiled, smirked, cheered and quickly hopped out of the truck and began exploring.

As if the amazing farm experience wasn’t enough, Chef Mark Fuller from Spring Hill Restaurant in Seattle was preparing our five-course ‘farm-to-fork’ dinner. Farmhouse tables were beautifully set in the orchard overlooking the whole farm. The overnight arrangements were rustic, quaint and absolutely perfect. There was a large platform tent with a nicely decorated queen size bed, table for two, porch with rocking chairs and a campfire area out front.  Kelly completely outdid herself and set the bar quite high for future outings.

Before dinner, we toured the farm and found chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, goats, horses and pigs. The pigs Bonnie, Bartholomew and their five piglets severely distracted me as you can tell from some of the pictures at the bottom. The fruits and vegetables were beyond anything I had seen before. Figs, limes, zucchini, onions, garlic, tomatoes, apples, pears, artichokes, eggplant, peppers, kale, grapes, squash, blackberries, cucumbers, hops, and beans just to name a few.

The Coolest 'B&B' Ever

My Girl Bonnie

Figs

Chili Peppers

Eggplant

Italian Artichoke

Hops

Sparkling wine was poured and appetizers were passed as we mingled around the farm before dinner. Since we were the only ones staying at the farm that night, we were sat at the VIP table with the chef’s mother and sister. The made the meal that much better that we got to know the chefs family while eating his food. His mother and sister were outgoing, friendly, funny, and certainly added to the overall enjoyment of the meal. The food was incredible and the paired wines from Apex Winery complimented the dishes perfectly. The conversations were full of laughter,  and we ate and drank until the sun set and then into the darkness. We hobbled our way to the tent after dinner to build a fire and toast s’mores.

Farm Table

Poached Duck Eggs with Hollandaise and Tomatoes

Vinny and Kelly

The Horses Grilling

Loving it!

I woke early the next morning, dressed quickly and ran over to the pigs to say good morning. Breakfast was at nine and Vinny, Kelly, David and I gathered at the garden table which was set next to dozens of hanging garlic heads from the farm. Our host arrived with coffee, OJ and muffins,  followed by yogurt & blackberries, and finally by eggs and bacon. Upon request, David scored raw goat’s milk for drinking and for the coffee. Everything was delicious, but the eggs were my favorite. Slowly we packed up the truck and made the drive back to the city. We look forward to going back to Dog Mountain Farm for more dinners, classes and to welcome more piglets in the upcoming months. Here are my Pinch of Pork pictures…

Piglets Eating

Playing in the mud. It was hot!

Just adorable. I wanted to take them home.

Exhausted

Only Male Piglet

Fava Beans for the Piggys

Quality time with my pigs, I mean their pigs 😦