Saturday, January 24, 2015

On Jamie Stachowski - Meeting His Meat

Writing about food is hardly ever an especially delicate enterprise. The food writer simply declares the food he’s just eaten as either delicious or not delicious, then quickly moves on to the next meal.  Rarely do post-strucuralist or proto-Derridan linguistic theories enter into describing something as commonplace as a sandwich. Unless, of course, that food writer has been tasked with describing Chef Jamie Stachowski’s sandwiches, and writing about his rather sizable meat. Then surely, all bets are off.  For in what more correlative terms can a food writer describe the John Holmes of sandwiches, artfully engineered to be crammed into a bodily orifice (that’s your mouth, boy-o), and masticated to maximize pure, unadulterated culinary joy?  How else can a writer grapple with decidedly indelicate phrases like: too big to fit into my mouth or too much meat for one guy to handle without giving in to the temptation of a well-timed dick joke?  Luckily, this food writer is fourteen years deep into a food career that sees daily speculation on my pinga, and exactly how much I like taking it in the culo.  The thought of treading a linguistic minefield of Freudian slips and double entendre is something we food careerists do at work every day. Not to worry.  I’m up for the task.  Eh, hem. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Chef Jamie Stachowski, he is the erstwhile chef ower/operator of Restaurant Kolumbia, and is now, without dispute, the reigning mac daddy of the Washington charcuterie scene.  Chef Stachowski is the man you go to see when your jones for, say, beef tongue blood sausage has jolted you awake, sweating, in the middle of the night.  His stuff is really that good.  But despite having the well-earned street-cred of the dude holding the purest, most buzz-producing charcuterie on the mean streets of culinary Washington, Chef Stachowski has been something of an elusive, almost mythical figure in the city.  Unless you knew, exactly, which local restauranteurs were sourcing from Stachowski, you were forced to stalk him at the better farmers’ markets around the region, and your chances of getting his sausages into your mouth were more a matter of chance than will or design. Eh, hem.

Carnivores and Stachowskian devotees can now rejoice, however, because Chef Stachowski has opened an aponymously named storefront in Georgetown where the Griffin Market once stood.  Both butchery and sandwich shop, Stachowski’s also offers grab-and-go meals ready for the oven or grill for busy Washington careerists.  My own visit was a quick, lunch time drive-by for Stachowski’s fabled 4 Meat Grinder, a sandwich made locally famous for the truly vast amount of meat it delivers in undeniably phallus-like form.  I entered the shop and ordered.  What I was given, moments later, was easily the biggest sandwich I’ve ever seen.  Layer after layer of cured meat:  soppressata, salami, copa, and mortadella; all of it stuffed into medium-crusted peasant bread and topped with red onion, tomato, provolone, lettuce, and peppers, then dressed with a liberal soaking of oil and vinegar.  It was the size of a football and bore the heft of culinary danger.  So I paid and left (there is no seating in Stachowski’s; it is, after all, a butchery) and found a small metal table, blocks away, where I could dispatch the 4 Meat Grinder in the relative obscurity of a Whole Foods sidewalk cafe.  And yes.  It was ugly getting it down.  My lap was covered with crumbs,  and sandwich oil dripped off my chin.  But it was also something else:  it was, at once, deeply satisfying and profoundly delicious.  It was, if nothing else, a truly great sandwich (a close second only, perhaps, to reigning Washington sandwich-making champion, A. Litteri).  And I ate the whole thing.  At a mere $11, when considering your meat-to-money ratio, Stachowski’s 4 Meat Grinder is a hell of a steal.  So forget the dick jokes and leave the phallic imagery to the Georgetown undergrads and go to Stachowski’s, because Chef Stachowski has lots of meat around, some of it quite large, certainly, but he’s a generous guy; he’s always happy to share.

Your link for Jaimie Stachowski:  Stachowski Brand Charcuterie

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!
    Chef Vivaraa