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Fatted Calf Thread - Share Your Faves

Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 12:10 AM

Many a hound worships at the temple of Taylor and Topiana every Saturday. But I know I'm not the only one left scratching my head when looking at their menu. As I am not fluent in French, Italian and Spanish my order often amounts to guesswork and I don't know what I'm getting until I show up at the market. So I thought it might be nice to devote a thread to the best (and worst) of the Bay Area's favorite charcut stand. I'll do my best to estimate prices based on memory, but don't quote me on them.

Ciccioli - I ordered this on a whim a couple of weeks ago and it blew me away. The minced pork in a jar is lighter and smoother than pate, with an almost creamy texture remeniscent of tuna (!?). The flavor is incredible - mellow and subtle with the occasional kick of spice. Mrs Mousse and I sat there eating it with our jaws dropped and almost finished the whole thing in one sitting. Very highly recommended. Available in 8 ounce jars, about $10 per jar.

Bacon - What can I say about Fatted Calf's bacon that hasn't been said already? It's perfect. It will teach you to love bacon all over again. It's the one item I order from them every single week. I find myself wanting to incorporate it into every dish I eat. Very highly recommended. Price is about $10 per pound, available in one pound bags (you can get smaller bags if you preorder).

Mortadella - This salami is perfect for potlucks; just get a few because they'll go fast. Smaller in diameter than traditional mortadella it's sized so that two people could reasonably eat it in a week (as are all FC salamis). Moist and flavorful with the satisfying crunch of roasted pistachios. Each salami weighs about a pound and goes for about $10. Highly Recommended

Devil's Gulch Rabbit Pate - My favorite of the Fatted Calf pates, it's a bit lighter than the pork but more satisfying than the guinea hen. It makes the perfect appetizer with an Acme loaf and a pad of Lurpak butter. I could eat this stuff all day. Cost is $14-$15 per pound, available in half pound slabs (or smaller if you preorder). Highly Recommended.

Morrel Mushroom Sausages - Fatted Calf's sausages are all good but these left me dumbfounded. Only available for a brief span each year, the pork links are infused with generous chunks of mushroomy goodness. I can't recall the price, but they were worth it. Very Highly Recommended.

Fegatelli and Petit Sec - These mini salamis make the perfect snack so I love to keep a few around the house. Kind of like a gourmet slim jim, they are extremely fun to bite into. The Fegatelli is spicy whereas the Petit Sec is herby - buy them both and decide which one you prefer. At $2.50 a piece (5 for $10) they're a great way to sample Fatted Calf without spending a fortune. Highly Recommended.

Beef Jerky - It made a nice snack and I like that it keeps well but it just didn't satisfy me the way their other products do. The texture was too tough (I know it's jerky, but I've had good jerky that wasn't so tough) and the flavor had too much going on at once. I might pick some up before a camping trp, but at $24 per pound I probably wont buy it again. Not Recommended.

Quail Stuffed With Sausage - I was shocked, shocked, by how disappointing this was. There was WAY too much sausage, the bird was practically bursting with it. Now, I love sausage but when I'm grilling stuffed quail I want to taste the quail, and all I could taste was the fat porcini sausage. At $9 a piece I'd rather go get the stuffed quails at Gregoire. Not Recommended.

Harissa Marinated Lamb Brochettes - Although the price was right ($3 a piece) this lamb on a stick just didn't do it for me. The meat was too tough and the harissa marinade was so spicey that I couldn't enjoy the flavor of the lamb. I'd just as soon grill up some lamb chops. Not Recommended.

Well, those are just a few of my thoughts on recent purchases. Please share your own experiences. With our new bumping technology I hope to keep this as an active thread and useful reference point.

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    Earl Grey RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 12:33 AM

    I'm a huge fan too and don't understand why there isn't a long line. They should be mobbed! I love their Spanish chorizo but even better is their Mexican chorizo which is so authentic and delicious I look at them and think they are too young to be so well versed in so many aspects of charcuterie. At least they should be stuck up and snobby, but they are not!

    Mexican chorizo + dry cotija cheese + good fresh tortilla is all you need in this world.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Earl Grey
      oakjoan RE: Earl Grey Jul 20, 2006 01:46 AM

      I haven't yet tried their Mexican chorizo, but if it's a good as all their other stuff that I HAVE tried....hold me back!
      I like to roast or grill some chicken wings and then cover them with "melted" chorizo and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes with some sliced onions. Me gustan mucho los chicken wings con chorizo.

      1. re: Earl Grey
        Robert Lauriston RE: Earl Grey Jul 20, 2006 05:25 PM

        There used to be long lines at the Berkeley stand, but now the regulars order ahead.

      2. k
        kevin RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 12:35 AM

        once again, i got's to ask a question or maybe a couple.

        are there any good items that are completely non-pork based? i do like some charcuterie, pates, and salumi but it's got be either beef, lamb, duck, pure foie gras, no pork, and no lard.

        if it does have some of that stuff then I'll be there in a jiffy along with getting some roast chicken and potatoers from Roli Roti.

        8 Replies
        1. re: kevin
          Morton the Mousse RE: kevin Jul 20, 2006 12:49 AM

          It would be best to drop by Saturday and ask Taylor, but I believe that almost every Fatted Calf product contains pork even the ones that are mostly rabbit, duck, hen or beef.

          1. re: kevin
            e
            Earl Grey RE: kevin Jul 20, 2006 03:05 PM

            I think you're going to have a hard time. Pork is pretty much the point here.

            1. re: Earl Grey
              Candy RE: Earl Grey Jul 20, 2006 03:45 PM

              Gosh, then shouldn't thre name be "The Fatted Pig?"

            2. re: kevin
              w
              wally RE: kevin Jul 20, 2006 03:17 PM

              They do have duck confit, which is 100% duck and duck fat.

              1. re: wally
                k
                kevin RE: wally Jul 20, 2006 05:49 PM

                is the foie gras terrine or foie gras pate and the duck prosciutto all park also?

                1. re: kevin
                  Morton the Mousse RE: kevin Jul 20, 2006 05:53 PM

                  If avoiding pork an important part of your belief system, I urge you to email The Fatted Calf about specific products before buying anything. They update their weekly menu on line every Thursday and they are usually pretty responsive to emails.

                  1. re: Morton the Mousse
                    k
                    kevin RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 07:11 PM

                    thanks morton, i still have to also try Sketch based on your recs. as a side note, do you think sketch ice cream does have some butterfat flavor and at least some creaminess?

                  2. re: kevin
                    w
                    wally RE: kevin Jul 20, 2006 09:20 PM

                    No, those were all duck. However the foie gras was only special for the winter holidays.

              2. w
                wally RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 03:15 PM

                We had the quail stuffed with sausage and a fig. Most excellent. The sausage does not overwhelm anything. They whole was much greater than the parts and blended well.

                1. s
                  Sixy RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 03:52 PM

                  Ok - the bacon - did you know you can freeze it? I am never without it. Their toulouse sausages are to die for too, I discovered them a few weeks ago and I cant stop ordering them, their merguez are wonderful too and those morel ones, phew, wow. The Ciccioli was described to me by Taylor as 'a kind of Italian rillette, a little spicy' and is delicious. I have some in the fridge and I haven't had breakfast yet, so, er since your remind me of it, why ever not..?
                  The duck liver mousse which does some alcohol (brandy?) overtones was very very good. I love the spanish chorizo, maybe need to try the mexican but not really sure what to do with it? Last Christmas their foie gras with truffles was so good - I ate it for breakfast and hoped no one else would notice that it was all gone. Our staple from Fatted Calf - and the reason we first tried them after reading about them on CH about 2 years ago, was because of the Saucisson Sec. It makes a certain Frenchman I know, (as well as me) very happy indeed...

                  1. rworange RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 05:20 PM

                    Great guide Morton and some other good suggestions.

                    Do you have an opinion on whether Ferry Plaza or Berkeley is the better stop?

                    What IS the protocol at the stands? I can't tell you how blown off I get when I ask questions at the Berkeley Stand. I usually go early when the market opens, but they are set up and there usually are no other customers around but I don't get a lot of response when I ask about something. If the Ferry Plaza stand is better, I might break down and go there more often.

                    I don't approach Fatted Calf any differently than any vendor in my decades of farmer market shopping. I know it ain't me.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: rworange
                      Robert Lauriston RE: rworange Jul 20, 2006 05:29 PM

                      There's no big difference between the two stands, at least until they start selling out. The most knowledgeable people are the owners, Taylor and Toponia, but they're not always on hand. Toponia's easy to recognize as she's 5'1" and looks about 18.

                      1. re: rworange
                        Morton the Mousse RE: rworange Jul 20, 2006 05:44 PM

                        Taylor usually works the SF stand ever since they moved their manufacturing to SF. The folks at the Berkeley stand have little knowledge about the products, which can be a bit frustrating (and which is a big part of the reason for this thread). If you want detailed information, best to go to SF and talk to Taylor - he is passionate, articulate and friendly. You might also try emailing Taylor, or contacting Biggles.

                        1. re: Morton the Mousse
                          s
                          Sixy RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 06:45 PM

                          here is my Flickr Photo Set of The Fatted Calf at their Ferry Plaza location:

                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/sixybeas...

                          Taylor is the younger of the two.

                          1. re: Sixy
                            Robert Lauriston RE: Sixy Jul 20, 2006 07:22 PM

                            And here's a photo of Toponia:

                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/melissan...

                          2. re: Morton the Mousse
                            w
                            wally RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 09:21 PM

                            I went to Berkeley two weeks ago and Toponia was there.

                        2. rabaja RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 05:38 PM

                          And how about that pancetta? Great item to have on hand during the week. Not surprisingly, it doesn't last long. Last time I bought it, it molded before I could use it all. Have to remember to divide and freeze next time.
                          The guy who helps work the stand in SF is very nice, not always super knowledgable about every item, but he wants to get you the answers, so just be patient.
                          And the fegatelli is a great snack while perusing the market.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: rabaja
                            s
                            Sixy RE: rabaja Jul 20, 2006 06:55 PM

                            I think they recommend all of their pork products are used by Tuesday. It is a good idea to freeze their stuff. Both the pancetta and bacon freeze well.

                            1. re: Sixy
                              Robert Lauriston RE: Sixy Jul 20, 2006 07:13 PM

                              I've never gotten that recommendation. The charcuterie keeps. Some of the stuff (bacon, petit sale, guanciale) has a tendency to grow harmless mold, I freeze that if I'm not going to use it within a couple of weeks. Keeps better if bought unsliced.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                s
                                Sixy RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 20, 2006 07:21 PM

                                oops - I meant FRESH products, meaning sausages, petit sale, pork chops and bacon and the like. Of course not the charcuterie items which last for a long time. We always have at least 3 sauscisson secs in stock at a time and they are all at least a month old by the time we come to eat them. I was told this by Toponia because I once had a crepinette that was off by the time I came to use it, so since then those products go in the freezer if they are not going to be eaten by monday night.

                          2. a
                            Agent 510 RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 05:47 PM

                            This may be a dumb question, but does anyone know how well their sausages come out when prepared in an oven? (as opposed to a grill, skillet, etc.)

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Agent 510
                              s
                              Sixy RE: Agent 510 Jul 20, 2006 06:54 PM

                              baked/roasted or broiled in the oven?

                              I love roasted sausages, but I dont think I have tried it with the FC's (too impatient), but maybe next time I will give it a try.

                              Have you ever read what Nigel Slater says about sausages?

                              "I want a sausage that is sticky outside and juicy within, I want its skin to be tight & deep brown and to be coated with that marmite-like goo that comes from slow cooking"

                              To me that is the perfect descritpion of a perfect sausage.

                              1. re: Sixy
                                a
                                Agent 510 RE: Sixy Jul 20, 2006 08:57 PM

                                [never mind...question answered downthread. Thanks!]

                            2. Curtis RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 07:24 PM

                              Woohoo! So many carnivores, even in Berkeley ;) Truth be told, I did cast a very sly grin to the folks at the tofu/soy snacks booth as I passed by with my trusty insulated backpack filled with all manner of meaty goodness. My purchases last Saturday included the (near) legendary Mortadella, the rustic and delicious house pate, and the artery lubricating duck rillettes! My friend picked up the Toulouse sausage which he quite correctly (and very bravely) used in Cassoulet (Hey, don't knock it. If drinking hot tea is effective in causing a cooling sweat, then a piping hot Cassole of Cassoulet is brilliant!)

                              Besides the smaller diameter of the Mortadella, I appreciate the firm texture and the deeper flavors, i.e. less processed and bland, that FC's offers. I can well understand the appreciation for grilling thick cuts of it...tasty!

                              Keep up the good work 'Hounds and if you see me with my stealthy black cooler/backpack and my not so steathly bright red cap this Saturday in Berkeley, then give a shout and we'll compare our purchases :)

                              a sante,
                              Curtis

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Curtis
                                s
                                Sixy RE: Curtis Jul 20, 2006 07:30 PM

                                hey - i tried a piece of that tofu omelette last week and I was kind of amazed by it. But then I wended on my way to FC to buy toulouse instead.

                                TO be fair, I am thinking of buying one of those tofu omelettes next week though.

                              2. j
                                jmarek RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 07:31 PM

                                With the stuffed quail, I think the fig makes all the difference. I agree that the ones without the fig are too sausage-y and not quail-y enough. With the fig, it's the perfect balance.

                                I also don't see the pork rillettes mentioned yet. It's incredible -- as good as the duck but in a very different (more meaty less herby) way

                                1. d
                                  DrBiggles RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 20, 2006 07:35 PM

                                  Hey Morton,

                                  Nice thread, hey! I was going to chime in earlier, but I figure most already know my views, heh. I found the jerky tough as well, but that was the first batch available. Taylor is a wily monkey and always playing, it'll vary. I did however, really enjoy the flavors. Yup, they were in your face, but I liked the heavy smoky flavor. Not bitter, smoky.

                                  As far as roasting their sausages, sure you bet. You probably won't get the caramelization of the grill or fry pan. But it'll surely cut down on the splatter.
                                  Be gentle with the heat, 350 or lower. Use a shallow roaster or fry pan and put the sausages directly on the bottom. You'll get a little color that way. Cook until done, not a moment later. You don't want to cook all the fat out, that's bad. Fat=flavor.

                                  As far as my needfuls? I've been playing off the specials most of the year. And I'll usually get a petit sec for breakfast as I mosey down the isle. I keep a fairly close watch on the new stuff that hits their newsletter and will try those.

                                  PLUS, you must read the newsletter menu and double check their menu on the chalkboard. I can usually find something hiding that wasn't in the newsletter. That's how I found the knockwurst and something I called German Pate. HOOYAH.

                                  Biggles

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: DrBiggles
                                    celeste RE: DrBiggles Jul 20, 2006 10:26 PM

                                    For some reason I've never been to the FC despite the amount of time I spend at the FPFM.

                                    Do they sell prepared food you can actually eat while you are at the market in addition to raw meat products? (Biggles mentioned eating a petit sec... I don't know what a petit sec is)

                                    1. re: celeste
                                      Robert Lauriston RE: celeste Jul 20, 2006 10:28 PM

                                      Outside of sometimes having sort of Slim Jim-sized salamis, no.

                                      1. re: celeste
                                        Morton the Mousse RE: celeste Jul 20, 2006 10:34 PM

                                        Only about half of FC products need to be cooked (mainly the sausages). You could definitely have a tasty picnic with some Acme bread, Andante cheese, fresh fruit and one of Fatted Calf's pates or terrines. If you had a few people you could even get mortadella or another salami. The Fegatelli and Petit Sec (described in my lengthy post above) are ideal for snacking but not a full meal.

                                        1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                          Robert Lauriston RE: Morton the Mousse Jul 21, 2006 12:20 AM

                                          Lots of their stuff doesn't need to be cooked, that's true, but outside of the skinny salamis they don't sell anything that's ready to eat out of hand while walking around the market.

                                        2. re: celeste
                                          w
                                          wally RE: celeste Jul 20, 2006 10:42 PM

                                          A petit sec or a fegatelli are small dry sausages (salami) about 1/2 inch in diameter and 5 or 6 inches long.

                                      2. Morton the Mousse RE: Morton the Mousse Sep 1, 2006 01:43 AM

                                        The Ciccioli is on this week's menu! It may be my favorite FC product. If you like rillettes, you'll love this stuff. I ordered two jars. Preorder it now because they will sell out.

                                        1. Melanie Wong RE: Morton the Mousse Sep 1, 2006 04:49 AM

                                          Just read through this evergreen thread again and note that no one has mentioned the crepinettes. Those are what initially put Fatted Calf on my radar screen. Haven't liked the red wine sausage. And, since you've not said anything about it, Morton, I assume that grilling the mortadella didn't agree with you?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                                            Morton the Mousse RE: Melanie Wong Sep 1, 2006 05:34 AM

                                            I'm a bad hound, Melanie. I'm trying not to spend more than $20/week at the Fatted Calf and with my current obsession with the duck rillettes and their bacon for BLTs it's been a couple of months since I've had the mortadella. Just thinking about it makes me want to pick some up, though.

                                            1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                              Melanie Wong RE: Morton the Mousse Sep 1, 2006 05:36 AM

                                              Only $20 per week?!? Just kidding, I've actually not been a customer relying on the kindness of strangers (and friends) to continue serving FC to me.

                                          2. Morton the Mousse RE: Morton the Mousse Nov 30, 2006 08:07 PM

                                            Add the Petit Jambon to the list of Fatted Calf greats. I brought one to LA to share with my family, and everyone went wild for it. Great flavors of smoke and good pork and, most importantly, it wasn't too salty! It's so hard to find ham that isn't overloaded with salt. I love that the ham weighs less than two pounds, and costs less than $20, as high costs usually prevent me from buying a whole ham. It's on this week's menu, and they will have them available for the holidays.

                                            Other highlight's from this weeks menu: their unbelievable pork chops, pepperoni (anyone try this? makes me want to build a wood fire oven in my back yard. Oh wait, I live in Berkeley, that would be illegal), and a Piglet Roulade with optional head attached!

                                            www.fattedcalf.com

                                            1. g
                                              gus RE: Morton the Mousse Dec 4, 2006 06:29 AM

                                              I bought some bresaola on Saturday. It's very tasty (especially on a toasted sandwich with arugula and Gorgonzola), but I just wish they'd cut it in larger, softer pieces like I get in Germany. The texture seems a little too dry to me.

                                              1. farmersdaughter RE: Morton the Mousse Dec 5, 2006 09:26 PM

                                                I purchased a petit jambon, bresaola and a pepperoni this weekend. The bresaola is a bit on the dry side; great flavor, not too salty. I ended up serving it on a platter with a salad of treviso, shaved parm and seared thinly sliced porcini and used a bit of olive oil on the meat to get it as moist as I wanted it. The pepperoni is awesome! Subtle heat, not overpowering, in a moist, less aged style. The petit jambon is also a winner. It was about $11 for a little ham of just over a pound, perfect for two hungry guys and one un-hungry female. And it was not too salty. If we had actually had leftovers I'd imagine that they'd be great in a frittata, but I'll have to buy another to find out.

                                                1. Morton the Mousse RE: Morton the Mousse Dec 3, 2007 10:45 AM

                                                  Resurrecting this timeless thread to praise a few new products:

                                                  Bard Rock Hen Terrine: IMO, the best pate that Fatted Calf makes. The mellow hen balanced by bursts of duck liver makes for an incredible flavor experience. I can't believe I actually found something I like more than the rabbit pate and ciccioli.

                                                  Smoked Duck Breast: Wow. Wow. Wow! Perfectly smoked meat, lovely texture, fantastic as a snack on its own or paired with pickles.

                                                  Soul Food Schmaltz: What can I say? Where else will you find hand-made, pasture-raised, schmaltz for sale. This kitchen staple just got a lot easier to find. They also sell a Sould Food broth, which I haven't tried b/c my freezer is full of Hoffman broth.

                                                  Soul Food poultry is a fantastic addition to their excellent list of suppliers. Excited to see what items will be added to the menu when Oxbow opens. Toponia says they're talking about making their own pastrami - I can't wait!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                    grishnackh RE: Morton the Mousse Dec 3, 2007 12:44 PM

                                                    I agree with you 100% on the Smoked Duck Breast. They are perfect to keep on hand for unexpected guests, and since they are fully cooked, they will last several weeks unopened. I slice them thin, but not too thin, and serve at room temperature.

                                                    I order from the Fatted Calf almost every weekend I'm home. I just can't imagine entertaining company without their delicious pates, salami, and sausages.

                                                    Another newer product worth mentioning:

                                                    Knockwurst: one of the biggest and tastiest 'hot dogs' you can get your hands on. Don't knock 'em until you try 'em.

                                                    1. re: grishnackh
                                                      w
                                                      wally RE: grishnackh Dec 3, 2007 04:55 PM

                                                      They have had knockwurst at least 6 months. They are great.

                                                  2. n
                                                    nosh RE: Morton the Mousse Dec 3, 2007 05:13 PM

                                                    My fave at The Fatted Calf? The cheddarburger, medium-rare.

                                                    You didn't know? The Fatted Calf originated in the late '60s as a high-level burger place with branches downtown and in Clayton, adjacent to St. Louis. There may have been a couple of other branches, now only the Clayton one survives. Excellent big juicy char-grilled burgers, topped if you wish by a scoop of soft cheese -- I like the cheddar, my mom prefers the bleu. In my youth I could down two of them, now one makes a satisfying lunch. An order-at-the-counter and pick it up when ready kinda place. Still one of my favorite stops when visiting town. I clued the owners into the success of the Bay Area namesake, and they indicated they knew and had sold some limited naming rights. If you ever visit St. Louis and stay, shop, or have business in the Clayton office and civic center area, give them a try. Burgers are still only about $5 or 6 and a bargain.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: nosh
                                                      rworange RE: nosh Dec 3, 2007 05:38 PM

                                                      Uh, NOT the same Fatted Calf.

                                                    2. steve h. RE: Morton the Mousse Dec 4, 2007 01:19 AM

                                                      i'm partial to the duck terrine. the cornerstone of a great/nutritious picnic.

                                                      1. daveena RE: Morton the Mousse Mar 26, 2008 08:56 PM

                                                        Yay for bumping technology.

                                                        Big thumbs up for the rabbit crepinette, which I pan-fried, then threw onto some random greens from the farmer's market, topped with a dab of mustard, and let the juices and mustard dress the greens for me. Also big thumbs up for the Toulouse sausage, which I used to flavor cannellini beans for a pasta sauce. And a plain pork chop, lightly brined, panfried, and eaten sans accompaniment.

                                                        I appear to be in the minority on the mortadella - I found both it and the porchetta underseasoned. Right now, in the Bay Area mortadella hierarchy, I have Boccalone at #1, Fra'Mani at #2, and Fatted Calf at #3.

                                                        11 Replies
                                                        1. re: daveena
                                                          lexdevil RE: daveena Mar 26, 2008 09:16 PM

                                                          Our Mortadella rankings are in perfect agreement. I really appreciate the softer texture of the Boccalone Mortadella compared to the others.

                                                          1. re: lexdevil
                                                            daveena RE: lexdevil Mar 30, 2008 11:53 AM

                                                            I also really like the spicing of the Boccalone Mortadella.

                                                          2. re: daveena
                                                            rworange RE: daveena Mar 27, 2008 06:12 PM

                                                            I really want to like FC wildly but except for one thing, I'm just politely respectful ... and still searching.

                                                            I like having the store in Napa because I can buy small quanitites without making major price and quantity commitments ... so no big loss.

                                                            The bacon was nice ... tried it once but since I'm not a big bacon buyer it is unlikely I'd buy it again.

                                                            They have a spiced saurkraut they make that is good.

                                                            Maybe this is a case where my lack of cooking skills fails me ... but ... if there's one thing I know how to cook it is Mexican chorizo. It is good nicely spiced, excellent quality meat ... but ... there are better versions at a few of my local Mexican carnecerias. The one thing I missed was the cinnamon that some of the more complex chorizos have.

                                                            Rabbit crepinette, Toulouse ... eh. Actually all the crepinettes have left me unenthusiastic ... which is why I suspect one must be somewhat of a cook to coax the best out of some of these products.

                                                            Molinari does a better job of Italian sausage.

                                                            FC is like a lot of upscale restaurants for me ... somewhere in the trip from peasant cuisine to gentility ... a little passion is lost ... the product is civilized, restrained, gentrified ... and a little soul is sacrificed.

                                                            There's actually not one sausage I've tried to date that I'd buy a second time but I'll continue to explore the line. I wasn't unhappy with them ... they were very good ... but not enough insane goodness to crave ... or remember ... I had to look at my notes to remember what I tried.

                                                            The one thing that I don't need to notes to remember is the OMG great porchetta-style country rib roast that is sold hot at the Napa store.

                                                            Out and out freaking fantastic ... excuse my language ... but freaking fantastic.

                                                            Sinfully ... trade your about to be foreclosed home for a pound ... expensive ... yet worth every penny.

                                                            It is heritage pork country rib roast seasoned with garlic, rosemary, lemon, fennel and black pepper with the pork wrapped around the seasoning like porchetta

                                                            It is a religious experience. There is the most heavenly crackling on the outside ... the meat ... well ... it is just piggy paradise. It is the reason God created the pig.

                                                            They sell it cold as well and it reheats beautifully.

                                                            If you click on the place record, hhc's report has a photo of it ... it is about 100 times tastier than it looks ... and it looks mighty tasty.

                                                            Anyway, I liked it.

                                                            -----
                                                            Fatted Calf
                                                            644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

                                                            1. re: rworange
                                                              Morton the Mousse RE: rworange Mar 27, 2008 08:50 PM

                                                              Have you tried their pates and terrines? One of the stronger products, no cooking chops required.

                                                              I like, but don't love, many of the sausage. They're often too salty. Crepinettes really vary from batch to batch, though when they're on they're excellent. Of course, I have Mrs. Mousse to cook them up for me.

                                                              1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                daveena RE: Morton the Mousse Mar 30, 2008 11:58 AM

                                                                Maybe the sausages are seasoned to be used as flavoring, and not to be eaten whole as sausages - when I broke up the Toulouse to cook with white beans, the sausage was still flavorful after I'd simmered it a bit, and the beans were well flavored by the sausage, so I'd guess that eaten alone, the sausage would be way too salty.

                                                              2. re: rworange
                                                                lexdevil RE: rworange Mar 28, 2008 08:38 AM

                                                                There are definitely FC items that do not thrill me, but I am a regular user/abuser of their:
                                                                --Bacon
                                                                --Ham hocks (super smokey...1 hock packs a punch in a pot of beans)
                                                                --Merguez (always tasty...kicked butt last week w/ Phoenix black pepper/rosemary papardelle).
                                                                --petit sec and fegatelli (great, funky lunch box snacks)
                                                                --rabbit rillettes

                                                                1. re: lexdevil
                                                                  rworange RE: lexdevil Mar 28, 2008 10:41 PM

                                                                  Thanks. Yeah, I liked the rabbit rilletes much better than the pork which I had tonight.

                                                                  But what I'm really doing my happy dance over is that they now are selling Bates and Schmidtt balsamic apple vinegar ... one of the few items I still go to Ferry Plaza for ... yeah, an alternate source !!!

                                                                  Tried a little slice of the pastrami today which though lean has a nice spicy coating and a little smoke. Will report back after I make my ruben with their saurkraut and some Acme Rye.

                                                                  The lamb something or another cold cut is a lovely thing. Will report back on that later when I have a little more than a taste of it. I've never had cold lamb before that tasted good ... and this tasted good.

                                                                2. re: rworange
                                                                  grayelf RE: rworange Mar 29, 2008 12:04 AM

                                                                  "FC is like a lot of upscale restaurants for me ... somewhere in the trip from peasant cuisine to gentility ... a little passion is lost ... the product is civilized, restrained, gentrified ... and a little soul is sacrificed. "

                                                                  Thanks, RWO, you just nailed why I tend to feel vaguely dissatisfied after eating at upscale restos. I kept thinking it's because I was obsessing about price/value but that is not really it... what you said. I will still be checking out Fatted Calf tho :-).

                                                                  1. re: grayelf
                                                                    rworange RE: grayelf Mar 29, 2008 01:20 AM

                                                                    IMO, it is worth checking out though all might not be exceptional it is very good. I think this place will evolve over the years. IMO, that is why the Italian sausage at Molinari is better than FC. They have been doing it longer.

                                                                    The Napa store is SO much better than the farmers markets.

                                                                    It is odd, but I have this upscale restuarant enui. I think it is wide-spread. I've seen a few respected posters trash long-time Bay Area restaurants on this board. One major Bay Area blogger talked about losing her mojo.

                                                                    IMO, I think it is the sameness of the Bay Area upscale dining scene that causes this to happen. Yes there are spins ... but ... in the end you are eating the same thing over and over.

                                                                    The lastest trend seems to be sunchokes and crudo. Before that it was yuzu and huckleberries ... stretching back long ago ... raspberry vinagrette ...blackened stuff like fish.

                                                                    1. re: rworange
                                                                      grayelf RE: rworange Mar 29, 2008 10:04 PM

                                                                      I know we are wandering off topic but coincidentally I have gone on a sunchoke (or Jerusalem artichoke as they seem to be called here and in England) spree this year. We have a "winter" farmers' market here that sells glorious ones for $3 a pound and I've been making the most delectable soups... but I digress. Where can I jump on the sunchoke bandwagon in SF???

                                                                      1. re: grayelf
                                                                        daveena RE: grayelf Mar 30, 2008 01:27 AM

                                                                        SPQR has a sunchoke dish, as does Ubuntu in Napa. (They're cubed and fried in both).

                                                              3. Xiao Yang RE: Morton the Mousse Mar 26, 2008 09:32 PM

                                                                Merguez is the only thing I buy there on a repeat basis. It's pricey, at $9/lb and they cheat by adding a little pork to the lamb when by rights it should be Halal. But it's the closest thing I've found to the merguez served at my favorite merguez sandwich place in Montreal. (Fittingly, it's one of the shops flanking the Jean-Talon Market.)

                                                                1. Morton the Mousse RE: Morton the Mousse Mar 27, 2008 08:49 PM

                                                                  My current favorite thing is the little lamb sirloin roast. I had a mediocre one about a year back that was stuffed with olives and way to salty. However, I've had two over the last month and they have been delightful - wonderfully fresh lamb, delicious stuffing, a real treat and a pretty easy dinner. Plus, we always have leftovers for lunch. Mmmm, cold lamb sandwiches.

                                                                  The roasts run about $13/pound. Mrs. Mousse and I usually get a two pounder which gives us one dinner for two plus two lunches for two.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                    rworange RE: Morton the Mousse Mar 28, 2008 08:05 AM

                                                                    Have you tried the ham yet? Anyone? Not the Ham hocks but the ham.

                                                                    1. re: rworange
                                                                      Morton the Mousse RE: rworange Mar 28, 2008 09:34 AM

                                                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/31069...

                                                                      1. re: rworange
                                                                        w
                                                                        wally RE: rworange Mar 28, 2008 09:43 AM

                                                                        When they first started selling the petit jambon, there was a little bit of inconsistency. The cure wouldn't go all the way through on some of them and stuff like that. But within a couple of months they had it down. Good smoke, not too salty and incredible flavor. The petit jambon is now called the picnic ham. Their smoked and brined pork chops are also essentially ham.

                                                                        1. re: wally
                                                                          Robert Lauriston RE: wally Mar 29, 2008 06:58 PM

                                                                          The first time they had it, I didn't realize it needed to be cooked. Figured that out partway through eating it.

                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                            wolfe RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 29, 2008 07:06 PM

                                                                            The young lady who answered at the store today said it was ready to eat "as is" but said better warmed for 1/2 hour. Which is correct or better?

                                                                            1. re: wolfe
                                                                              w
                                                                              wally RE: wolfe Mar 29, 2008 10:58 PM

                                                                              The loin ham they sold this week was cooked.

                                                                    2. opinionatedchef RE: Morton the Mousse Mar 30, 2008 09:55 AM

                                                                      morton, this huge thread i have not read past your first entry and this comment may be irrelevant to you at this time, but the ciccioli that you love sound like 'rilletes' to me- so you may like to look for rilettes on your restnt excursions. love the petit secs much more than the unherbed sister product- much more complex flavor of herbs and white wine...... thanks to your recent post, i bought these yesterday. best to you.

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