“jim’me’s bread”- as my co-worker quoted
A little bit of margarine spread onto a day after fresh baked baguette transports me back to my visit to Paris, France in mid-autumn October. No, it’s not Balthazar, Sullivan Street Bakery, or Amy’s Bread. I am referring to my brother Jimmy’s debut in artisanal bread baking.
After ten years with Lehmann Brothers, my brother Jimmy is one of many people who are close to me dearly that are affected by the recession and one of few who have taken the news optimistically. Growing up with my brother, I knew he showed many interests and he has occasionally talked about entrepreneur in a tea parlor to a karate gym and now in a very likely horizon and with great potential: a bread shop.
He enrolled in a nine week Art of International Bread Baking career program with renowned French Culinary Institute. On the first day of class, my brother brought home a French Baguette which the French takes seriously of and as I recall almost every other Parisian on a bicycle or pedestrian had a baguette in hand. I was really impressed with the French Baguette my brother had made. The exterior crust of the baguette is hard and crunchy but not in the way where the roof of your mouth tears apart. The interior of the bread is light and fluffy, not hollowed or completely mold together. With a little bit of butter spread, I am in Paris and a fan of jim’me’s bread!
Later in the week, working the ArtAsiaPacific booth at the Armory Show, since I was in the Hell’s Kitchen area I made my very first visit to the highly acclaimed by foodies and my long awaited trip to Jim Lahey’s Sullivan Street Bakery. After hearing so much positive reviews about Sullivan Street Bakery, I needed to know what the hype is all about. I did have high expectations beforehand and I admittedly have to say Sullivan Street Bakery did meet my expectations in terms of taste. It was noon, I walked in and through the bread display there was a selection of panini (sandwiches), pizze (pizza), dolci (tarts & desserts) or simply loafs of breads. The front counter lady barked at me, “are you ready? are you ready?” when there was not really quite a line. The service was typical New York City unpleasant but I was not there to judge the service though it would make the overall experience better. I decided to order a panino cubano (Cuban Sandwich) and pudica al Giuliano ( i think, the tomato bread stick). I have not had too many cuban sandwich in my twenty – something years of life and the only one I can compare to is the one I had at Cafe Habana. Sullivan Street Bakery’s panino cubano consist of a layer of roasted pork, prosciutto di parma, gruyere cheese, fresh cucumber pickles, a bit a mayonnaise, mustard seed, and according to their site menu aioli (that’s new! aioli: olive oil + garlic + egg) on a subtle taste of garlic bread. The prosciutto di parma was not too salty and the gruyere cheese is freshly and thinly sliced to perfection. Each component compliments one another pretty well but just about any good amount of fresh cold cuts between good bread should taste.
The second item I ordered is what I believe the Italians call it pudica al Giuliano or what I call a baby tomato bread stick. I had eaten this late in the day at the Armory Show, Jesse and I had agree it was a very good end of the day snack. The size of this bread stick is almost the length of my arm! The presentation was very unusual with half -sliced, sweet and juicy baby tomatoes submerged into the bread for every 3 inches apart. I was only going to eat a quarter of the bread stick but I end up eating the whole bread stick to myself after sharing another quarter of the bread to Jesse…that was how good it was!
The next day Jesse brought in samples of sliced Sullivan Street Bakery pane alle olive (olive bread). Amazingly there are fresh olives in the Olive bread in which maybe preserved in red wine…mmm drunken olive bread, very distinctive indeed.
Sullivan St. Bakery /// 533 West 47th Street Between 11th & 10th Avenue