SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition
In the Bay Area, "chorizo" usually refers to the fresh, spicy Mexican sausage that fills tacos and tortas in the Mission. The occasional bit of Spanish-style chorizo that turns up in paella is often little more than a dried-out paprika delivery system.
That's what makes the chorizo at Fatted Calf
such a revelation. Cured in small batches by master butcher Taylor Boetticher and his crew, the sausage is as traditional as they come, a mixture of local heritage pork, salt, garlic, black pepper, and Spanish pimentón (paprika). The irregular chunks of spiced pork and fat are compressed in natural casings and then allowed to air-dry and cure in the shop to concentrate and marry the flavors, deepening the richness of the pimentón. The meat has the texture of good salumi -- firm yet tender.
Fatted Calf's Spanish-style chorizo is available in whole loops or in halves ($20/pound, around $15 for a whole loop). Make sure to buy extra if you are planning to cook with it -- inevitably, you'll find yourself snacking on thin slices, finally giving in to building a meal around a stack of sliced chorizo rounds.
Fatted Calf, 320 Fell (at Gough), 400-5614 and at 644 C First St. (at Oxbow Public Market), Napa, (707) 256-3684.
Other favorites in this series: