Saturday, August 18, 2007

You Get What You Paid For

The first thing anyone says when asked about Formaggio Kitchen is, “It’s soooo expensive!” The next thing they say? “It’s soooo good!” I love it when things are worth the hype… and the cost.

I am going to have to do much more thorough and painstaking research on Formaggio Kitchen in Huron Village before I can really make up my mind about it (it’s going to be awfully unpleasant, I can just tell), but my first impression is that it is an eater’s paradise. It may well be my crack den, Part 2. In addition to picturesque produce, imported spices, nuts, jams, and teas, there are also baked goods, prepared foods, cured meats, and cheeses that look like they fell out of cheese heaven. They sit in a line, wrapped up in leafy pouches, cocooned in washed rinds, pressed into funny shapes and emitting grassy smells. I could stand and stare at the cheese counter for an hour.

Yes, it’s expensive, and snotty, and just a little too precious, but every weekend during the summers it is a local neighborhood gathering place. The hipsters that staff Formaggio set up a grill and tables on the sidewalk outside the shop. People from the neighborhood queue up for hot dogs, pulled meats on grilled buns, and minimal sides, until 2 PM or until they run out of food.

Unlike the shop itself, their hot dogs are anything but precious. The half pound Pearl hot dog on a grilled bun was so huge it bordered on obscene. The casing was a bit thick for my taste but the inside was creamy and juicy. And did I mention that it was giant?

Oh and the pulled lamb

Mmmm as I write this, I am still stuffed full of fat and juice that trickled out of the fragrant pulled lamb and soaked into a crusty roll, along with a spicy sauce ladled on top of the tender meat. You see the whole clove of garlic mixed in with the meat? Umm, yeah. Worth waiting in line, worth the price and the praise, even worth smelling like a campfire when you get home.


aimee said...

I just looked at their website, it does look pretty delicious, but $23.95 for tea? I love tea as much as the next Brit, but really, I find it hard to imagine tea could be THAT good? Send me some, I'll taste test it for you :)

Anna said...

Yeah, good point. My palate may lack the refinement necessary to truly appreciate the complexities and nuances of $24 tea... But then again, Formaggio might just be charging an arm and a leg (and some vital organs) for their products because they can. Because people (I) will pay. Gotta love economics.

JC said...

That hot dog looks amazingly good. And it's a half pound weiner? Good Lord! How much was it?

Maiya said...

Anna! Psyched that you posted about our well-endowed lunch experience! I'm so glad you have a way with words. If I had a blog, I would just post pictures and write MMM.... MMMMM......omgomg.... so good... Mmmm... in my posts, and that wouldn't be so informative for the other readers, now would it?

It's Monday and I'm still stuffed to the gills. Let's do the 1/4lb-er next time. =)

Anonymous said...

I have now seen your blog, and since you seem to love cheese I will describe some that I ate recently. If I have to describe some delicious, creamy dairy products to get you to call me, so be it. Any way, I am a lover of all things local, and this was also something expensive but worth it. I am trying to make eating within my food shed a regular habit, but it is too hard to give up parmesan. Yet imagine my surprise, when I encountered what I thought was slightly (if not totally) contraband cheese. In the United States, cheese made from raw milk must be aged 60 days or more to be sold for public consumption. I had stumbled upon a soft ripened, raw milk, absolutely divine cheese that was aged less than 60 days and had never been pasteurized or homogenized. This preserved the unique flavor of the cheese and its tender texture - and if you want to know what it tasted like I will tell you when you call me. Then I will send some to you. That way you can tell all what it taste like in this lovely blog. But remove this quickly before someone thinks that I am snarky. I hate using the cheese bribe...

Anna said...

JC - Half pound, yes. It was hefty. I don't remember how much it was. In my own charming (read : obnoxious) way, I never have cash, so Maiya had to pay. How much was it, Maiya? $10 or something? Don't remember.

Maiya - Yeah, that was a pretty beefy lunch. And you'll note that I failed to abstain from the gratuitous Mmmmm.

S - Huh. I do love cheese, this much is true. And I love snarky.

Eating within your food shed would mean giving up an awful lot more than Parmesan, wouldn't it? I thought that the restriction on the sale of raw milk cheese was for imported raw milk cheese, not for domestic... Whatever. I would love for you to send me cheese... if I knew who you were. Let's narrow it down. Are you around San Jose? And by that I mean Google? If not, are you Sarah?

Nitasha said...

Anna - that pulled lamb is OBSCENE - I want it now!

I like your new pic too :)

JC said...

Cheese tastes good.

aimee said...

I applied for a job in a cheesemongers two years ago. They didn't even ask me for interview. Bastards. I totally thought I'd found my perfect career!

I should really dig out the cover letter for general amusement; I think that my enthusiasm for cheese was maybe a little over the top.

Anna said...

Nitasha - Thank you so much! You should absolutely go to the cookout. I am sure they will be doing it for a couple more weeks. The lamb was amazing - could smell it from far far away. The picture! Yes, I decided to be a little less cryptic. A little.

JC - Yes, cheese is an absolute necessity of life. Cannot get by without it.

Aimee - That's awesome! I would love to work at a cheese shop. May smell a little off though. I would very much like to read that letter, if you find it. I can just imagine you waxing poetic about the thrills and challenges of Brie or something :)