Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Start of Summer at Neerob & Honoring Sal - #WFPB style.

Sal, Salvatore Falzetta ("Mr. Hairstyling from Italy"), was the man of the hour yesterday at our small celebratory #WFPB (Whole Foods, Plant-Based) dinner, to celebrate the start of summer but also to honor Sal, who is the most famous barber in the neighborhood. He now practices at Silver Star Salon at 1470 Unionport Avenue, around the corner from Neerob Restaurant, where we had our dinner.

This was a recent picture of Sal, reading the paper between clients at Silver Star. Sal started cutting my hair fourteen years ago, and upon listening to my lengthy explanation of how I wanted it, including hand gestures, he rolled his eyes, and said: "I got it. Notta too long, notta too short." That was the one and only time we talked about hair.

Our dinner on June 21st was a proper Italian dinner with a small Bangladeshi flourish.

The appetizer was Capellini Pesto, with Rogier's Green Pasta Sauce, as per the recipe I recently posted here, and followed by a Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, along with a wonderful Arugula salad and Mixed Vegetables (Broccoli and carrots) as well as a Dal with spinach, and some whole wheat naan bread. Naturally, for the appetizer we used whole wheat angel hair pasta (Ronzoni), and for the main course we used Luigi Vitelli Whole Wheat Pasta. Desert was fresh strawberries with a drizzle of a 50/50 mix of Balsamic glaze and Balsamic vinegar.

As a practical matter, for the Puttanesca sauce, I used this Kelp this time instead of the hijiki and wakame that are listed in the recipe, which also worked just fine. I soaked it and cut it up, and, along with the capers and the kalamata olives, it provides all the flavoring that anchovies otherwise would in a traditional style recipe. 

The whole project was a collaboration with Neerob Restaurant, I cooked the Pesto Sauce, and Red Sauce - and the Restaurant, made the salads, the vegetable sides and the dal, and put the whole thing together.

One of Sal's loyal clients, my friend Ed Kremer, presented Sal with a Honor Certificate to celebrate his achievements. Sal came to the USA from Italy in 1958, form Cosenza, Reggio Calabria, and he's been a barber in the Starling Avenue neighborhood for 50 years. (The certificate said 1963 by mistake, but it was 1958).

We had mostly clients of Sal, and a few of my friends from other parts of town, and the result was a wonderful mix of people, and lots of interesting discussions.