Saturday, April 14, 2012

At Ancora,...

it’s called the Affetatti Misti which roughly translates to mixed cold cuts. At Cochon, it’s called the Boucherie Plate or “butcher shop” plate. And at St. James Cheese Company (Magazine Street, New Orleans), it goes by the name of the name of Charcuterie Board and is a selection of domestic and imported cured meats and patè with one cheese and features charcuterie made by Andy Scurlock at St. James and artisan producers.

It was during a cheese shopping expedition at St. James Cheese Company earlier in our New Orleans stay that I saw one being carried through the small dining area and vowed that we would be returning for lunch.

While St. James is primarily a cheese store, they offer a small, but interesting, menu. You can order a cheese board with from three to seven cheeses (their choice) served with fruit and bread. Another choice is the classic English Ploughman’s Lunch with farmhouse Cheddar, Stilton, and goat’s cheeses and housemade pork pie (when available) or patè served with a small green salad and bread.

Salads include: the Manchego Salad with manchego cheese, arugula, sliced pears, and almonds with housemade quince vinaigrette; the Parmesan Reggiano Salad with parmesan reggiano cheese over mixed greens with salami, black olives, grilled artichoke hearts, and walnuts with Dijon vinaigrette dressing; and the Cantal Salad with cantal cheese, julienned French ham, apples, walnuts, and mixed greens with Dijon vinaigrette.

And the list of sandwiches include: the Smokey Blue with house smoked Mycella blue cheese, top quality roast beef, Worcestershire mayo, tomatoes, and lettuce on toasted Wild Flour multigrain bread; the Beecher's Cheddar with Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar with house smoked turkey, fresh basil, tomato, mayo, and avocado on fresh ciabatta; and the Brie De Meaux with Brie de Meaux and French ham on a baguette.

We placed our order and found a seat facing—and smelling—a display of aged robust cheeses. Under the cheese display sat a selection of accoutrements to satisfy a cheese lover’s dream, including this cheese curler, which would be the perfect gift for someone who has everything.

Our Charcuterie Board arrived and included four sliced meats including a marvelous prosciutto (bottom right), a dry salami, and an intense capicola (bottom left) with small slices of multi-grain bread, whole grain mustard, small pickled peppers.

Now let’s talk about liver. I know. You’d rather not, but we will anyway. Nothing could make Chuck or me ever eat beef or calves liver. It’s nasty stuff. I can remember my mother making liver with onion and bacon (Chuck, that lucky man, escaped this experience.) and she would make extra because my father loved cold leftover liver sandwiches. (Are you completely revolted?) That said, both Chuck and I love Jewish deli-style chopped chicken livers, and we both get the craving for good old fashioned liverwurst. As a child, Chuck would eat liverwurst on toast—with oatmeal—for breakfast. (Now you are really revolted?)

Well, also on the Charcuterie Board was a slice of wonderful pepper-studded pate that had a pronounced, yet subtle, taste of liver. This was so good that I, ignoring the price, purchased a half pound to take home and doled it out in small enough portions that it lasted through two light suppers.

To go with our meat board, we shared the Cusimano Sandwich that contained capicola, prosciutto cotto (Italian cooked ham), arugula, provolone, and what the store called “Cusimayo” which is an herb mayo. The sandwich came on crusty French bread and was really quite good—especially when compared with our two disappointing sandwiches at Stein’s deli. The only complaint I have is with the thickness of the provolone cheese. I thought it was sliced way too thick and then, to make matters worse, multiple slices were stacked atop each other. And the sandwich was so large that we decided to share one half and take the remaining half home—to be eaten with some pate.

St. James’ lunches are very popular with those working or doing business in the Uptown area of New Orleans. We now understand why and give their lunch offerings 4.0 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

No comments: