back to our regularly scheduled program. or, how i managed to gain back all the weight i lost in italy. since returning to the states, i've managed to eat falafel, pastrami, ramen, sushi, pizza, indian, trinidadian, venezuelan, st. louisan (see previous post on snoots), mexican, chow chau, cantonese, and, finally, taiwanese. oh wait, but let's not forget the sicilian: i know, i know -- i swore i wouldn't touch anything italian for at least a month, but i made an exception for ferdinando's focacceria, brooklyn's own little piece of palermo, right in red hook/carroll gardens/columbia waterfront/whateverthehell they're calling it these days. pani cu' la meuza, the archetype of which is served at antica focacceria san francesco in the heart of palermo), is a sauteed beef spleen sandwich, generously topped with fresh ricotta and sometimes grated caciocavallo cheese, all between the sesame seed-studded focaccia (dare i say hamburger bun-like?) of sicily. much, much better than the ear sandwich. ferdinando's does a pretty bang-up job with their pani cu' la meuza (though they call theirs vasteddi -- from some cursory research, aka googling, it seems this might be more a name for the bread, not the sandwich proper). the stewed tripe is okay. definitely meant to be shared or eaten over multiple meals. note to self: no one should eat that much offal in one sitting. the best part about going home is always my mom's cooking. and my mom can definitely beat your mom to a bloody pulp in the kitchen any day. she threw this together for chinese new year, a rather impromptu affair at our house with a total of four at the table. clockwise from eight o'clock, that's leeks with cured pig belly (a sort of soy sauce-y bacon); shrimp with chinese cabbage, soy beans, and snow peas; pan-fried anchovies; squid and celery, asparagus and red-cooked pork. in the center, pork kidney with red pepper. oh, and the bowls on the periphery hold soup made from dried scallops with winter melon and those awesome, juicy, fatty-fat-fat chinese meatballs. and this, people, is what properly cooked potstickers -- or guo tie -- look like:


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