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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

SAUSAGE SERIES: SPOTLIGHT ON FAICCO’S

L to R Amy (Director of Operations), Danielle (Logistics)

Hi! I’m Danielle, a new employee of Foods of New York Tours.  When asked by my boss if I’d like to do a blog series on a certain type of food in NYC’s village area, the old-school pork stores came to mind. How about a ‘Sausage Series’? Really get to the meat of the matter (pun intended).  Cut through all the new-age, juice this, cleanse that cacophony and get some real bonafide meat on these bones. These famed, renowned mainstays of the neighborhood are so alluring. Romantic in their own way, whispers of a past simplicity.  No glitz, no glam. Sawdust on the floor. Real food, grannies ordering in their native Italian tongue for the big Sunday supper, and families hard at work for decades serving the neighborhood. 

Now, I’m a meat-girl. A carnivore in the truest sense. I believe it’s ingrained in me, having grown up with three brothers and a dad who loves the grill. Becoming a vegetarian is not an option. Being healthy does NOT mean excluding meat, at least for me. In fact, I’m currently following a diet called The Whole 30 in which healthy meats are one of the main stars. So take that, kale smoothie!  The Whole 30 is a precursor to the Paleo diet, which consists mostly of meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, fruit and veggies. As a new mom I’m interested in dropping some baby weight and introducing my son to real foods, not the processed or packaged items that fill the middle aisles of the supermarket.  Eating healthy for me means finding a balance and this quest for the perfect sausage from my neighborhood butcher shop is a great place to start.  These old-school pork stores don’t use fillers, added sugars, or nitrates. It is the whole hog, in the truest sense. Dense, juicy, and oh-so fulfilling.  So follow me down the rabbit-hole (pig-hole?) to sausage satisfaction. We’ll be taste-testing the basics, as well as specialty items, at several pork institutions of the Village.  First up . . . Faicco’s Italian Specialites.

SAUSAGE SERIES: SPOTLIGHT ON FAICCO’S


Location: 
260 Bleecker Street, New York, NY

Brief History:
Opened in 1900 by Edward Faicco, who emigrated from Sorrento, Italy in 1896. He first opened his store on Thompson Street in the Village. His son, Joseph moved the store to its current Bleecker street location the heart of Greenwich Village in the 1940’s. Currently, Joseph’s grandson Eddie runs this location, with his young children helping him out when they can.  Eddie’s brothers run another location in an Italian section of Brooklyn, Dyker Heights.

Suggested Sausages:
-Age-old basics like the sweet pork and hot pork links are the best-sellers year-round. Approx. $8 for 6 links.
-For summer grilling, the cheese and parsley pork pinwheel is a crowd favorite. Also popular for summer grilling are the pork/broccoli rabe links and pork/ sweet pepper links.  Approx $12 for the pinwheel and $8 for six links.
-For the health-conscious/chicken lovers, they offer up a great chicken sausage. Approx $8 for six links.
-Most of their sausages can be purchased in thin links, thick links, pinwheels, and out of the casing (great for use in frittatas/stuffings). -For an appetizer, or on-the-go snack, the cut-up dried hot or sweet sausage is truly addictive.

My trip to Faicco’s:
I decided to make this a family affair and bring a mess of sausages (a gaggle of sausages?) to my parent’s house for some grilling. Shopping at Faicco’s is a delight. Everything is pristine, many guys are hard at work behind the counter and in the back, and everyone is more than happy to talk sausage with you.   There are plenty of other options to salivate over in the glass cases. Bracciole, gorgeous pork chops, flank steaks, roast beef.  And the sandwich menu, oh the glorious sandwich menu. But we are here for sausage so back to the task at hand. (Wipes drool, carries on). With help from the staff, I decided on the cheese/parsley/pork pinwheel, sweet links, hot links, and chicken links.  As a new mom trying to follow a Whole 30 diet (meat, fruit, vegetables), these pure, additive-free sausages are perfectly acceptable and encouraged on the plan. Mangia well and mangia deliciously! Done and done.



Armed with my bounty, out to Long Island I went, where I was met with delight by my equally meat-loving family.  All the prep that was needed was cutting the string off the sausages. No need to add salt or pepper. These sausages are very well seasoned.


Cheese/parsley/pork pinwheel


Top to Bottom:
Sweet pork
Chicken
Hot pork


The smell that came off the grill had everyone salivating. It took about 20 minutes to complete the grilling and then it was time to dig in. We paired these sausages with some traditional barbeque sides – cole slaw, potato salad, broccoli salad. Nice cold veggie sides to contrast with the meat.




The VERDICT:
Smiles and happy bellies all around. The standout winner was the cheese/parsley/pork pinwheel. We had a few kids in our party and some of the older ones tried the hot sausages. They found it too hot but these are great for adults who like a bit of spice. My mother kept saying how ‘dense’ all the sausages were, as a compliment, meaning there was so much pork and no fillers. All in all, it was a great family barbeque with some of the best sausages in all of NYC.


As an alternative for those without a grill at home, these are also very delicious cooked on top of the stove in a frying pan, with a coating of olive oil or oil of your choice.  They can also be cooked in the oven at 350 degrees. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to cook some sausages on my very old stove in my one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. Off I went to Faicco’s to try out a few different items. Once again, I was served by the very helpful and knowledgeable staff, and this time I bought some ‘off-the-beaten path’ items: pork/fennel links, pork/broccoli rabe links and pork/sweet pepper links.  Approx $8 for six links.  This might be a bit off topic, but I was also mesmerized by the beautiful, fresh-looking bacon in the case. Done and done, I had a brunch idea. Approx. $7 for 8 bacon slices.


L to R:
Pepper, Broccoli Rabe, Fennel

First up, the bacon on the stovetop. It was all I could do to let this hit the plate without eating it all. So delicious and free of any nitrates. So pure.


Next, I decided to cook the sausages in the bacon fat. Yes, that’s right. Bacon fat cooked sausages. It was a glorious idea. At this point, I had decided to make omelettes with spinach, mozzarella cheese and sausage inside. So I removed the pork/fennel sausage from its casing and browned it up in small chunks.


The final task was cooking the omelette. Because doing dishes without a dishwasher is the pits, I made this an entirely one pan brunch. Drained some of the bacon fat and cooked the omelette up right in that delicious porky pan.

End result: brunch perfection if I do say so myself. My husband said the pork/sweet pepper was like eating a sausage and pepper sandwich. I personally loved the pork/fennel taste. Fennel is just such a great flavor when paired with pork.


Hungry for more? Our Original Greenwich Village Tour makes a stop at Faicco’s.

Visit Faicco’s at 260 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014
(212) 243-1974

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