Roger L. Simon

Taster's Notes: Salumi in Seattle

Every time I am up in Seattle dealing with the endless saga of getting our house built on Bainbridge Island (not an easy thing in this economy), I spend a fair amount of time eating and drinking. But in all those culinary adventures, including the “painfully difficult” and somehow endless (no matter how hard I try) task of determining which makes better pizza – Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie (Seattle) or Nancy Silverton/Mario Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza (LA) – I have never stopped by the famous Seattle salumi joint of Mario’s father Armandino called, well, Salumi.

Until today.

Near Pioneer Square, it’s the kind of hole-in-the-wall joint you just know is going to be great even before you get inside. But to increase the anticipation I had a funny encounter before I did get in the door. Crossing the street ahead of the rest of my family to make sure the place was open, I ran into a twenty-something couple coming out of the door. The young woman was of the trendy sort with required nose ring, etc. She immediately took out her digital camera on exit and started photographing the salumi pig sign over the door. Foodie, I thought, and asked how it was. “Fabulous,” she said with a broad smile. And to top that off this was “the first meat I have eaten in three years.” She was a vegan. I told her not to be guilty. If you’re going to go, this was the place to do it, and headed inside with my family.

Despite having eaten what felt like sixteen meals in the last six hours, we bought the assorted salumi plate to go and spent a bit of time talking with the folks working there. Neither Armandino nor the Iron Chef himself was evidence, but Gina, Armandino’s daughter and Mario’s sister was. She was a charming and friendly woman. We’ll be back tomorrow to pick up some sandwiches from there for the plane back to LA. [Well…. did you eat the salumi yet?-ed. Of course we did. Ten minutes later in our hotel room. As the young woman said, “Fabulous.” Yeah, but you’re the least vegan person on the planet. So what? Still fabulous.]