Not too long ago, October was the most underrated month of the year. While the uninformed masses cursed the shorter days and the encroaching chill in the air, those in the know slipped into their comfiest sweats, mixed up a pumpkin spice beverage of choice, and sat back to enjoy the turning foliage. At Perrotti’s, we’ve always been firmly entrenched in the latter camp, but there’s way more company these days.
Not that we’re complaining at October’s increasing popularity. Apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes, flannel shirts, and Ernest Scared Stupid are national treasures, and it’s high time they were treated as such. However, until now America’s newfound love for October has ignored a key piece of the puzzle: soup.
Like a talented drummer keeping the beat and holding the entire band together, a well-executed soup elevates any multi-course it’s a part of. But like a football referee that manages to get all the crucial calls right, soup’s excellence is far too often overlooked. But you’ll never hear soup complain about it, and within that versatility lies its greatness. Soup can be tasty and hearty enough to constitute a full meal, but humble enough to fade into the background and let its teammates shine. It’s the Yogi Berra of food.
Seinfield, always a keen observer of the human condition, understood soup’s greatness as well as its underappreciated role in the culinary tapestry. The show built an entire episode around the premise of being denied soup. “No soup for you!” More than 20 years later, The Soup Nazi’s memorable catchphrase remains as iconic as it is cruel. It may be the greatest line from the greatest sitcom of all time, and frankly, it’s not a coincidence that soup played a key role. It always does.
At Perrotti’s, we believe it’s high time that America sings soup’s long overdue praises. That’s why we’ll be celebrating #souptober all month long. Throughout October, we’ll be rolling out a fresh take on classic soups at our Far Hills and Basking Ridge locations. The first edition of the series will be Lentil Soup. It’s proprietary mixture of Umbrian Lentils, onion, celery, red pepper, green apple, garlic, potatoes, carrots, parsley, salt, and pepper. You can see a photo of the ingredients we got started with for our Lentil Soup at the top of the page. If you want to see the finished product, you’ll have to come into the shop.
Happy #souptober, everyone!
Whenever someone asks me what my wife is like as a mother, I just reply, "It's like watching Michael Jordan go to work in the fourth quarter." As someone who relies on sports analogies to make sense of life, it's the highest compliment I'm capable of paying another human being. The woman is amazing, always has been, but her Mom game is off the charts.
After a sleepless night in the hospital where my wife did all the heavy lifting, our daughter came into the world screaming like a banshee. If I weren't paralyzed with exhaustion and fear, all I would've known to do was scream right back at her. Fortunately our doctor had the sense to hand her off to my wife, who immediately in the calmest voice imaginable starts saying, "I know, I know… it's OK." It looked like she'd been ready for that her entire life. In the days that have ensued, it's been more of the same.
As time has gone on my friends have welcomed their own little ones, I've found that the Michael Jordan analogy holds up exceptionally well. "It's just like being a member of the '96 Bulls," my friend Jay observed of his own wife and son, independent of my own analogy. "Just play defense, rebound, and get the ball to the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) in crunch time."
I'm sad to say that I was too busy being an ungrateful little turd along with my two brothers to fully appreciate my own mother's innate maternal abilities when they were action as we were growing up. Fortunately, when I look back on my life there are plenty of context clues I can use to deduce that my own Mother was (and remains) one of the best in the biz when our childhood shenanigans were at their peak.
- As a toddler, I was so well-fed my family nickname became "pork barrel." Coming from a home where there was never so much as a soda or cereal with more sugar than Cheerios lying around the house, I can deduce it's because Mom had me binge-eating love in vegetable and dairy form.
- I emerged from my childhood with my self-esteem intact, despite my older brother having an arsenal of emotional grenades at his disposal (like my early days as "pork barrel"). To make that happen, my Mom had to be equipped with the motivational toolbox of Mickey Goldmill with the tenderness of a top notch filet in order to pull me out of there alive.
- This one I did appreciate in real-time: embarrassing notes on the napkin at lunch every day, well into middle school. I hid them from my friends like the notes on my hand for the math test, but they always made me feel like I was the luckiest kid in the cafeteria.
- And while we're here, it's worth pointing out that she took the time to make me lunch instead of making me eat that watered down nonsense in the cafeteria. As my schedule gets busier, I can't help but realize what a sacrifice/labor of love packing three lunches for over a decade must have been.
I could rattle off dozens more, but I think what I'm getting at is that a single day to celebrate Mothers and all the things they do seems terribly insufficient. And it is. How can we possibly express our gratitude to the women who not only give life, but also spend all the time since then making that life worth living?
We may be biased, but at Perrotti's, we're inclined to believe that nothing shows appreciation quite like a home-cooked meal. Can't cook? We've got you covered. Grab some eggplant parmigiana, chicken francaise, or whatever your own Mother would like from our prepared foods menu and serve it up for dinner on Sunday night. You have our permission to tell Mom you made it from scratch, strictly according to her recipe. Make her believe it, like that time you told her the beer in the trunk belonged to your friend. Or don't... your choice.
But whatever you do, make sure you don't sit down to eat before you leave an embarrassing note on her napkin.
A while back, some friends and I (just kidding, it was only me) started to referring to lamb burgers as lambos. In my mind, a hypothetical conversation would go something like, "Hey, what are you up to on Saturday?"
"The weather's supposed to be great, I was thinking about firing up the grill and making myself a lambo."
"That sounds awesome. I'll bring over some Zima, can you make me a lambo, too?"
You've probably already figured this out for yourself, but the term lambo never really caught on, and neither did lamb burgers. And that's a shame, because like the car for which we tried to name them, lambos are a rare luxury that provide a stunning sensory experience. A finely crafted lambo (the burger) can take your taste buds from 0 to 60 in under two seconds flat. Don't just take my word for it. Come into the shop, grab some handcrafted lambos for the family, fire up the grill, and take them out for a test drive with our very own taztziki sauce recipe (included below). Don't worry about the cheese. These burgers have already been rigged with landmines of fetacheese and proprietary blend of spices for regular flavor explosions.
- 3 cups yogurt
- 1 fresh lemon, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 seedless (English) cucumber, diced
- 2 sprigs of dill, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl OR put all ingredients except yogurt into through food processor and mix into yogurt. Makes 12 servings.
As always, for best burger results, serve them on our homemade brioche buns and fresh tomato slices and a leaf of lettuce.
Are you dreaming about a snow day tomorrow? Us too. We’ve got the generator locked and loaded with a full tank of gas, and we’ve already made a low-ball offer to the enterprising lad down the street to shovel our sidewalk and driveway. Why? So that we can take full advantage of this gift from Old Man Winter and binge-watch Netflix as the snow falls and the world around us comes to a freezing halt.
Seasoned winter veterans that we are, we know that a snow storm like this is no occasion for a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. That’s amateur hour. If you want to win the day, you’ve got a fuel like a winner, and that means artfully pairing meals with your viewing choices. Fortunately, Perrotti’s is here to help you put together a winning strategy for Tuesday’s blizzard. The following are recommended pairings for your favorite TV shows/movies.
Parks & Rec accompanied by multiple Porterhouse Steaks
We’re no stranger to Leslie Knope’s love affair with waffles, but we can’t imagine that JJ’s Diner ever delivered the type of joy that Ron Swanson experiences plowing through three steaks in a single sitting. Plus, we’re a butcher shop. What did you expect?
Breaking Bad with a bucket of Castro’s Chicken
We never got a taste of the chicken from Los Pollos Hermanos in Breaking Bad, but I always imagined it being amazing. Frankly, I can’t imagine Gus Fring putting his name on any product that wasn’t meticulously crafted to amaze, whether that’s a successful regional chicken franchise or an international crystal meth operation.
Grey’s Anatomy with a half-gallon of Gifford’s Ice Cream… no bowl necessary
How else are you gonna get in touch with all your feels?
The Office with a heaping bowl of Meat or Chicken Chili
If I could go back in time to watch my older brother picking on me, I suspect I’d feel the same sense of profound sadness for myself that I do for Kevin Malone as he spills a 5-gallon vat of chili all over the office. Tomorrow I’m going to try watching the clip below while I wolf down some chili of my own and see if I can send Kevin some of mine Wonka-vision style.
Harry Potter with a Corned Beef Sandwich
Ron just couldn’t get into his mom’s corned beef sandwich. Then again, Ron was kind of an idiot. Even so, we think that little git would get psyched for the corned beef sandwich we’re rolling out this week special for St. Paddy’s Day.
NCAA Tournament Play-in Games with Buffalo Chicken Wings
New Orleans vs. Mt. St. Mary’s at 6:40 followed by Wake Forest vs. Kansas State at 9:10, don’t you dare try to welcome the drama of March Madness with an empty stomach.
Pulp Fiction with a Tasty Burger
We all know that Big Kahuna Burger makes a tasty burger. That’s no secret. But I’m willing to bet that Samuel L. Jackson would have let those poor saps live if they’d been able to serve him one of our burgers on a fresh brioche roll. You should get one for yourself, just to ease the tension.
When Harry Met Sally with an Ovengold Turkey Sandwich
Personally, I think that our Ovengold Turkey Sandwich could get Meg Ryan as fired up as she did in her iconic diner scene with Billy Crystal, but for real. Then again, I’m a man, so I’m probably wrong.
Goodfellas with Meatballs and Sauce
I’m not trying to disrespect Vinny’s tomato sauce. He may have used too many onions, but he was still making it prison, so I’ll give him a tip of the cap based on degree of difficulty alone. That said, I think that Pauly would rather room with us once he had a taste of our sauce.
Road House with a Meat and Cheese-only Anti Pasta… Shirtless
Vegetables are a staple of any well-rounded diet, and we’ve got plenty of them to go around. But you don’t become the best cooler in the business or earn Swayze-esque abdominals without firing down a wheel of meat and cheese on the reg. Without it, you may as well be one of those dudes that Jimmy used to hang out with in prison.
Each February, as the Super Bowl hype machine reaches a fever pitch and gracious hosts across the country begin planning spreads for their hungry guests, demand for chicken wings surge and they become the most expensive part of the chicken. For whippersnappers like me who can barely remember a time before this Domino's jingle was haunting our collective dreams (Gotta be, gotta be Domino's… BUFFALO WINGS), this seems natural. I mean, what else are people going to eat while they're watching football and drinking beers? This is America.
However, as many of you know, chicken wings did not always occupy this lofty perch upon the pyramid of desirable poultry parts. There was a time, before the Super Bowl itself, when wings were an afterthought in kitchens across America. People found them a suitable ingredient for chicken stock or discarded them entirely. That all changed one star-crossed Friday night in Buffalo, New York in 1964.
There are conflicting accounts about the circumstances surrounding their debut, but most agree that Teressa Bellissimo prepared and served them to customers at Anchor Bar. It was late on a Friday night, and Teresa snapped the wings in half (creating the "drumette" and the "flat"), deep-fried them with no breading, slathered them in a homemade hot sauce, and served them with celery and blue cheese dressing. Genius for its simplicity and flavor, the dish became an instant hit in Buffalo, followed relatively quickly by the rest of the nation. (If you want to know the full story on the origin of buffalo wings, this article is a good start.)
If you've been in our shop even a few times, you know that our take on this American classic is a staple in our prepared foods case. We always make extra for Super Bowl Sunday, but you guys always seem to buy us out. If you want to make sure that your party is stocked this year, check out our catering menu and give us a call at 908-306-8806 to place your order today.