Rico Cirignano, Harlem Shambles
I ran around yesterday. In pursuit of pigs. Having given up the Upper West Side as LOST in terms of butchers, I came back home, checked on a recommendation from a friend, and then hoofed it on foot (...er, cloven hoof) eleven blocks south and a couple of long blocks over, and found my pork belly at last at what will be our new butcher shop, post Brooklyn: Harlem Shambles. They source meat locally (as much as I loved Paisanos, they usually did not).
I came home with ma belly and a picnic shoulder, and they cooked last night with fennel seeds and lemon and the last of Frank's garlic. We ate a small portion-for-two at the stone table in The Fishbowl again, with a man sitting out on a fire escape opposite laughing like a hyena. For a long time. Until someone called him in and told him to shut up. Perhaps it was very funny. Candles, dinner. I don't know.
Today, having cooked forever and cooled, the pork will be shredded and turned into potted pig, aka rillettes, and this evening taken by Zipcar, with fresh-pickled mustard and warm brown bread, to the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, where my publishers are hosting a party for 250 (gulp): a Brooklyn Bash - for four Brooklyn-born books, mine included.
In the middle of our move a social engagement with lots of prep has made our unpacking and organizing grind to a halt, and, if I could find the damn things - there are moments when I would throw all my toys out of the cot and onto 127th Street.
But, we have a butcher. It's no small thing.