Salumi lives up to its reputation

As promised, I finally made it (after two years) to Salumi, and finally got around to posting my writeup. It’s easy enough to find, being right across the corner from the intersection of 2nd and 3rd Avenues South. —Yes, I know, but it’s Seattle and here parallel streets are allowed to intersect. Even at 2 pm the line was out the door, so we decided to get our sandwiches to go.

The physical set-up for the restaurant is like something out of the North End. Long and narrow—just wide enough for one table for two to be separated from a four-foot-wide counter service area by a low wall, and just long enough for a counter with a window area and seating for 12 in the back. Curing salumi hung in a walk-in cooler next to the counter inside, where three different sandwich guys struggled to keep up with the line.

By the time we got there, they were out of tongue (which I was dying to try) and a few other things. But I got the culatello, which came on a crusty roll with a little olive oil and basil and some marinated onions, and was transported immediately (well, after I waited in line for half an hour and then paid) into ecstasy. The meat was lightly salted, almost sweet, with a soft mouth feel followed by a massive flavor explosion after a few bites. Unbelievable. I also picked up a hot soppressata with homemade fresh mozzarella for my drive south to Portland, which was similarly impressive—alternately hot and sweet with an assertive slightly salty body.

I once complained that there were no sammiches to be found in the Seattle area. I hereby retract that statement. There are sammiches, and world class ones, but only between the hours of 11 and 4 Tuesday through Friday in a little storefront restaurant run by a retired Boeing engineer.

(Oh, almost forgot: I had a brief conversation with Armandino himself. He asked if I was enjoying the experience, and I told him how thrilled I was to finally be there after two years. I also mentioned that I had dragged all my co-workers along so I wouldn’t be missed. He asked, “How many?” I said, “These nine folks.” He looked significantly up and down the line—at that point there were at least fifteen people waiting inside the store—and said no more. I think he was genuinely bugged to have such a big crowd, because he disappeared to the back after that exchange. —Oh well. As someone once said in another context, he doesn’t have to be the most personable host. His product speaks for itself.)

Taking a little breather

I’m just about to head to lunch at Salumi. For those who aren’t familiar, Salumi is run by Armandino Batali, Food Network Mario Batali’s dad and retired Boeing engineer, and it’s only open for lunch four days a week between 11 and 4. Batali cures all his own meats, serves amazing Italian specialties, and you can even adopt a prosciutto. For more info, check out the drool-inducing review in the New York Times. I’ve been trying to get to this restaurant for almost two years, and finally decided that if I didn’t take time out for a long lunch today that it wouldn’t ever happen.

Afterwards, I’m driving south to visit Shel and Vik in Portland. It should be an entertaining visit, as I will be good for approximately two hours of consciousness for the whole weekend and fear that I’ll spend the rest of the time in either drooling repose or (worse) making unconscious zombie-like conversation that I won’t ever remember or understand. Thank goodness they’re old friends.

Change of plans

Tonight was supposed to be Eastside Sing night for me—the Haydn—but instead I ended up meeting Tom Harpel for a drink at the Stumbling Monk. This is an obscure (in a more literal sense than normal—there’s not even a sign outside) bar in Capitol Hill with no food, no decor, and mostly Belgian and Belgian-inspired beers available. So naturally I had to go, and it was close to where Tom was so it was even convenient.

Tom brought pizza (see the part about not serving food) and we chatted for a while about various stuff—object oriented programming, SQL skillz, beer, east coast vs. west coast, celebrity spotting—and had a relatively conservative number of beers each. I had a Dick’s Silk Lady, an Oregonian beer that contrary to their claims is not exactly light but certainly carries the classic Belgian esters, though with little of the associated complexity on the palate. Better in that department was the Liefman’s Goudenband, the classic darker Flemish beer that is considered a classic of the Oud Bruin (Old Brown) style. It was good but sweeter than I remembered, though still sour enough to raise an eyebrow.

The real danger, of course, was the Monk’s proximity to Half Priced Books. Fortunately I escaped with self control mostly intact. (I couldn’t pass up the Ivor Noël Hume book about Martin’s Hundred, having grown up next door, and the illustrated Comus was a steal.)

Anyway, on the way out I thanked Tom and noted in passing that I would be at the Sonic Youth show tomorrow. “Oh!” he said, “I’ll be there too.” Apparently Rachel is quite the fan. So this is turning into Tandoku week—never a bad thing.


Here’s what I didn’t write about while we were shipping the Blog Portal last week.

First: Spider-Man 2 at the Cinerama. While I should definitely have gone to an earlier show (I was, shall we say, a zombie by the end of the 10 pm show), I thought this was a very well done film. A touch heavy perhaps on the “poor Peter Parker, his life is so hard” schtick—but then without that it wouldn’t be Spider-Man. And it was nice to see Dr. Curt Connors (“The Lizard”) and John Jameson (“Man-Wolf”) make appearances, though I don’t think either of them would be a big enough bad guy to carry the third film. That honor is clearly going to go to Harry Osborne as the Hobgoblin.

Second: had a great time at the Cyclops on Friday courtesy Arvind and Kim (who sent the Evite) and Peter, Catherine, Jay, and Ravi, who came and hung out for a while.

Third: thanks to Erikka and Jeffrey for the fabulous Sloan barbecue.

Fourth: looks like it will be a busy week. The East Side Sing will cover some good Haydn; Sonic Youth on Wednesday; and it looks like I will be heading to Portland to hang out with Shel and Vik on the weekend. So much to do, so little time.

Life imitates fiction

A story from the weekend I haven’t told yet: I had to stop by the U-Haul on Saturday to take care of my grill’s propane tank. When I stepped into the store, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was playing. And all the clerks—the long-haired one who appeared to be in charge, the tall thin taciturn black-haired one messing with the reservation computer, the heavyset guy running back and forth to the lot getting rental trucks ready—were singing along. I found myself unconsciously singing too: Magnifico-o-o-o… And the guy who walked in a second later behind me started doing it too.

And here I thought that only happened in the movies. Apparently it happens in slacker Seattle, too.

Coming back on line

It’s a crazy few days—a full day offsite on Friday that was bookended by some frantic product plan production. I’m back now and should be able to blog uninterrupted for at least a few days. Then we go to Boston on Wednesday to stay with Charlie and Carie through Sunday.

The offsite, incidentally, had some cool stuff. It was at the Blue Ribbon Cooking School, where they showed my new work team how to make paella (and supervised us as we actually cooked it). Among the things I learned: both my boss and his boss are big Wim Wenders fans, and both think, along with me, that Until the End of the World was one of his best films.

Long day

It’s been a long (albeit fruitful) day at work, and I’ve had no time to blog at all. All I have to say is, this is an interesting week in the blogosphere to be away from the blog. More later.


It was pretty nasty yesterday afternoon and evening, the first real East Coast-style wind/thunderstorm we’ve seen since we moved out here two years ago. My first clue of the intensity of the storm was a lightning strike directly outside the office across from mine, so close that I could feel the hair on my arms stand on end and my forearm muscles clench. (As my next door neighbor said, “Suddenly I don’t mind not having a window office so much.”)

The drive home was slow, compounded by downed branches. Fortunately, having recently had our trees pruned, the damage in our front yard was minimal—lots of downed leaves but only one branch. The back yard didn’t look too bad, a lot of small clusters of branches off the enormous pine tree, but as I fed the dogs I watched and heard more and larger branches fall. Then a few minutes before Lisa came home we lost power. A few minutes later the storm was over, and it still took an hour and a half to restore the power, but it was still a little adventure.


I had a long weekend, pretty exhausting. It started out well, with a good lunch with Tom Harpel. He covered our discussion pretty well (clarification: my site is run on Manila, but I use NetNewsWire as my primary posting tool). If it’s any consolation, Tom, I get lost at RedWest all the time. In addition to Tom’s commentary, we discussed his experience as an “embedded” ops guy on a product team.

The concert went well. UPC organist Joanne Stremmler proved that Bach is still the master with her organ rendition of “Come, Sweet Death,” which set up the Brahms perfectly.

From time to time, I forget how emotionally and physically taxing singing can be, particularly the “warhorse” masterworks. The Brahms is particularly insidious in this way, because while the music is not especially complicated (the fugues, while tricky, are nothing compared to the nightmares in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis), it’s emotionally so powerful that I was drained after three movements and totally exhausted after the seventh and last.

Saturday the dinner party went well—our new stove did meatballs, meat sauce, lasagna, eggplant sandwiches, and sugar syrup for lemon granita without breaking a sweat. We, on the other hand, sweated.

Today I had three services this morning, performing the Robert Shaw/Alice Parker arrangement of “Ride On, King Jesus.” Then home to collapse for a while before I went out to get a nail puncture in my tire patched. It turns out I waited too long to do it—I had driven on the underinflated tire (though I diligently kept it topped up with air) too far, and had damaged the sidewall. Plus the rear tires were too worn to go too much further. So I’m now hundreds of dollars poorer but with four new tires.

You know, I think the week actually might be more restful than the weekend was.


Not much posting this week. I’ve been fighting both health issues (a cough that migrated upwards into my sinuses; I could hardly hear anything at all last night during choir practice) and computer issues (my work laptop melted down) for several days now. Hope to clear the logjam shortly and get back to the rhythm of things.

In the meantime, a quick pointer to fellow Microsoft blogger and MSCOM teammate Peter Svensk, who was once an blogger like me.

Coming up

I’ve been a bit under the weather for the last four or five days; a weird kind of cold that started in the throat, with totally clear sinuses, but which has in the last day migrated up into my face. At least I’m on familiar territory.

Our guys have completely recovered from their “tutoring” and are once again making pests of themselves in the garden. We haven’t yet succeeded in training them to only uproot weeds. Maybe with time.

Thanks to my cold, I’m feeling a bit basso profundo. Thankfully I have another two weeks before my first solo at church—if eight notes total are considered a solo. After that, it’s not a full week until our performance of the Brahms Requiem (also known as the German Requiem, but it feels silly calling it that when you’re going to perform it in English).


I’m baching it again this week, but with a twist. In the past I’ve been lonely and depressed with Lisa gone. Now I’m nervous, anxious, and harried—and happy, chasing after the puppies.

And I’m buried under the weight of 183 subscriptions and 577 unread headlines… At least the guys seem to be settling in for the evening. This is all by way of apology—blogging may be light for the next day or three.

Oh, and though I almost think it would be a bigger surprise if I did show up, I won’t be at the Weblog Meetup tomorrow for the same reason.

What a day that was

skiing snoqualmie

Among the things I consider a good prelude to a day skiing, being awakened every hour by a dog with a bad stomach does not rank high on the list. In fact, I’m not even sure it appears on the list. Our little girl puppy had a really bad night and kept us up, so by the time morning came I was discombobulated and non-functional. We decided not to feed them (Jefferson, our boy puppy, had been throwing up as well), so I left for work feeling guilty and leaving Lisa, who hadn’t slept any better than I had, to care for the puppies.

I soon realized how out of it I was. When we got into the shop and I started to put on my boots, I realized I had brought Lisa’s ski boots rather than mine. So it was another fun filled day of rental boots…

It was a beautiful day at Snoqualmie, though it took a while for the guilt to wear off enough for me to enjoy it. We found some fun runs I hadn’t experienced before, including a trail that led around the back of the mountain through the trees. Unfortunately, when a few of us went over to Snoqualmie Central to check the trails there, I ended up on a black diamond run by mistake. Fortunately after some trial and error (and considerable support from my partner in crime and fellow product manager, David Gordon), I managed to ski my way to safety.

This morning was a little better with the dogs. After a trip to the vet yesterday, the dogs got shots and pills and we got the go ahead to start feeding them again on a bland diet. They’re sleeping now. I think today will be a better day.