Last night, I had a meal that well frankly will go down as probably the best meal I have ever had in my life. Period. In fact, I'm pretty sure I will never eat as well as I ate last night ever again. Because last night, I took my mom here
Yup, that would be the hallowed ground of Babbo, Mario Batali's flagship restaurant.
We started with Armamdino's Salumi and ended with an assortment of gelati and sorbetti and a selection of five cheeses. They were all excellent, especially the fresh taste of the Salumi. If you have never had salumi made the old fashioned way, then you have no idea what you are missing! Go, immediately and find a place to get slow cured salumi. NOW! As good as both the beginning and the end of the meal was, the plates in between were where the magic was.
My mom had a simple pasta dish with mussels and Porcini mushrooms. The pasta was the most perfectly made pasta I have ever tasted. It was al dente and infused with the garlic and citrus broth from the mussels. I had a porcine wonderment of smoked jowl with pancetta and fennel served with gnocchi. To say this was good would be a shameful lie. It was more than good. In fact, according to the thesaurus I just consulted there are no appropriate adjectives to describe how fabulous this dish was. It was that good.
Again, after last night, I have decided that there is no finer animal on four legs to eat than the pig. I have always loved the pig for both its bacon and chops and frankly, I just like pigs. They are cool and interesting animals at all levels. But after last night, I believe that when the "higher power" decided to endow one animal with the best possibilities for exceptional food, he/she chose the pig. A more perfect meal has never trod upon four legs.
When I die, I want someone to wrap me in bacon and shove a huge smoked ham hock under my arm and if both come from Babbo, then I will know I've made it to the promised land....