Pumpkin Carving Contest

Every year we challenge our crew to show off their creativity in a pumpkin carving contest. The carving contest doesn’t necessarily mean the pumpkin has to be carved. We receive all types of carved, painted, shaved, decorated and sculpted submissions. One year we even received a living submission. One of our crew was rolled in to our office looking like a scarecrow with pumpkin head only to get up and start walking around when we least expected it. The pumpkin entries span from the cute to the down right creepy and even gross. Every year it’s harder and harder to pick a winner. This year Bellevue Pizzeria edged out 145th Street Delivery Kitchen by 1 point. Here are our most creative pumpkins.

Foraged & Found Edibles

ChanterellesForaged & Found Edibles was established in 2001 by Jeremy Faber.  Jeremy’s business model was built upon years of being fascinated with both forestry and culinary arts.  After working toward a degree in forestry, he found culinary arts more appealing to his creative interests.  He relocated to Seattle to be closer to the forest and other abundances of nature. While cooking at various Seattle restaurants, foods that he found in the forest began to appear on his menu.  With the large number of edible foods that grow naturally throughout the Pacific Northwest, Jeremy had plenty of wild ingredients to work with. Foraging food soon became a rewarding venture and he turned his passion into a full time business.

Foraged & Found Edibles rounds up an enormous variety of herbs, berries and produce that come from the natural habitat between southern British Columbia all the way down to northern California.  In the spring they sell wild watercress, ginger and a wide breadth of mushrooms and berries.  In the fall they harvest an even larger assortment of mushrooms including the most popular mushroom of the season, chanterelles.  Chanterelles mushrooms are a tasty and colorful addition to pasta, salads, soups and pizza.  Though the winter can be extremely cold, it doesn’t stop Jeremy from collecting some very sought after mushroom varieties including black trumpets and Washington black truffles.

Foraged & Found Edibles sell their bounty to many local restaurants as well as the general public at neighborhood farmers markets.  Enjoy their wild chanterelles on our Chanterelle Prosciutto Pie and Mushroom Primo!

La Quercia Prosciutto

La Quercia Genuine Artisan Cured Meats

Is it possible for a prosciutto made in Iowa to be better than prosciutto from its native Italy?  Chefs at restaurants across the country from Chez Panisse in Berkeley to Mario Batali’s Otto in New York can attest that La Quercia prosciutto from Iowa is indeed as good if not better than its cousins in Parma, Italy.  And you now can try this prosciutto at Pagliacci.

We have wanted to serve an Italian prosciutto, but hadn’t found the right product for our needs.  We also wanted to be mindful of buying a local, or at least domestic, prosciutto.  La Quercia (say kwair-cha; it means “oak” in Italian and the oak is also Iowa’s state tree) prosciutto, with its nutty creamy taste and silky texture, fits the bill.  The La Quercia prosciuttificio is based in Norwalk, Iowa, where the pigs apparently outnumber the people.  Owners Herb and Kathy Eckhouse lived for several years in Parma, where Herb had been based as an executive with an American seed company.  It was in Parma where the couple developed an appreciation for the prosciutto craft and they wanted know if it was possible to make a high-quality prosciutto in the United States, Iowa in particular.

Herb studied prosciutto making for four years and made some test batches in his garage to see if it was even possible, given that the pig breeds and curing environment were so different from that in Parma, to produce this kind of ham.  They determined it was possible and set about building a state-of-the-art facility.  The Eckhouses are conscious about minimizing their use of non-recyclable or non-biodegradable materials.  They also use pigs that are raised and butchered at farms from within a 200-mile radius of La Quercia.  The pigs are either 100 percent Berkshire or a Berkshire cross and are transformed into prosciutto and other products:  guanciale, speck, lardo, coppa, pancetta.

Pagliacci is proud to be able to bring this prosciutto to our customers.  You can taste it on any of our pizzas that include prosciutto.

For more information about La Quercia, visit www.laquercia.us.