It’s been a long wait, but we are thrilled to announce the first California-raised Cintas are hitting the Oliveto menu and the results are spectacular.
If you’ll recall, back in 2012 we giddily reported sprinkler-side on the momentous occasion of their arrival and since then, we’ve been patiently waiting to get our hands on the some of these animals for our house-cured meat program. Finally, this past April, we received two whole animals; one was roasted whole in the Caja China (delicious) and the other was broken down for curing. Prized for their back fat in particular, the Cinta Senese is famous in Italy for the prosciutto it produces. With Front Porch Farms taking such care in the raising of these pigs and providing them an environment in which to roam and forage on a wide variety of feed these NorCal Cintas are truly the first of their kind and in turn so is the salumi they produce with a softer, richer fat that is incredibly flavorful.
Currently on the menu featured on the Oliveto House-cured meat platter:
pancetta stecatta – in this method, instead of hanging flat, the pancetta is folded in half and clamped between two boards, which slows down the drying process & reduces the chances of the the exposed fat oxidizing.
both from these California-raised cintas.
Two Pigs. Two Nights. One Chinese Box.
Coming up this weekend, Chef Rhodehamel will be roasting a whole pig both Friday (7/11) and Saturday (7/12) night. We’ve got a Cinta-cross from our friends at Front Porch Farm, and a wild boar from Full Belly Farm. Both of these animals average around 80 lbs and are perfect for roasting using La Caja China or, the chinese box.
Served up with roasted corn on the cob, we’ll only have about fifty orders each night, so it’s likely we’ll run out – you’ve been warned.
On the menu tonight and tomorrow and (maybe) through the weekend:
Farm egg in carozza with hen confit hash cake, Chanterelle mushrooms, and pancetta-sherry vinaigrette
The chanterelles are lovely autumnal harbingers, the egg gooey and warm, the vinaigrette provides a bright balance, and who could turn down a hen confit hash cake?
What else is there to say? Oh yeah…
Three weeks ago, Oliveto got its first delivery from Mac Magruder’s ranch: a 1,187 pound heifer that has yielded about 800 pounds of delicious grass-fed beef.
Chef Jonah has developed a way of working through the animal, cutting off sections as they reach their peak to ensure highest quality and least waste. This meat found its way onto the menu about a week ago, starting with flank and skirt steak, then a ribeye blowout for Mother’s Day. Next week, expect to see sirloin and New York strip.
If you missed your favorite cut of beef this time, don’t worry — we’ll be getting another whole animal at the beginning of June, and expect to see grass-fed Magruder beef on the menu for the next eight months, animals that Mac will be finishing on irrigated pasture.
Mac is the real deal in a world where a “grass fed” label can be misleading. Watch a video here of Mac Magruder at his ranch with his family and animals.
Morels and Porcini are everywhere on the menu alongside peas, fava beans and asparagus. You’ll even find some bing cherries from Hamada Farm in Fresno.
See Chef Jonah explain a bit about his butchering process with one of last year’s Magruder animals here.
Cuts featured this week:
Flat Iron: Chef Jonah’s Pick
The Chef believes this to be the best cut of the animal. Not only is it exceptionally tender with great marbling, because it is against the shoulder and close to the bone it also has great flavor. It will appear on the menu starting this Friday, July 13th through the weekend.
Currently on the menu:
Tagliata of Magruder beef with Tuscan kale, fork-mashed potato, capers, and sugo
Carne cruda with Castelvetrano olives, Calabrian chili, and parsley
Starting Wednesday, July 11th the kitchen will also be making the bolognese sauce with meat from this same animal.
Late last month Chef Jonah took delivery of our first whole grass-fed beef animal of the season from rancher Mac Magruder in Mendocino County. (Beef season is when the grass is at its peak for finishing cattle.) We’ll be receiving two of Mac’s steers per month through September. We can serve the best beef this way: Mac’s beef is exceptional – even among grass-fed contenders, we are able to dry-age the meat to our own specifications, we get to use the whole animal, and, of course, these humanely raised steers are robustly healthy.
With all the talk about whole-animal butchery, there are very few places that will buy whole beef animals in the Bay Area from our great local ranchers. Only a handful of butcher shops in the greater Bay Area buy whole beef and we believe we are the only restaurant at this time with the facilities and knowledge to buy beef as a whole animal. As a result of such a paucity of outlets, local ranchers face the challenge of a grossly inadequate market for their product.
As part of Oliveto’s It’s Complicated series of forums, we’re planning a September event that will consider that problem and other huge hurdles in establishing a thriving, local, small-producer beef economy with good animal-welfare protocols in Northern California. In preparation for the beef forum, throughout the summer, we’ll be passing along information about what we think those challenges are. Stay tuned! In the meantime, come on down for some of the best local grass-fed beef available.
The Oliveto kitchen received three sides of grass-fed, grass-finished beef last week: one whole animal from our friend Mac Magruder, and an additional side from Bauer Ranch in Covelo, CA. Both of these animals are older, producing meat far more marbled than what we’ve seen in most grass-fed beef.
This is the first time we’ve received meat from Sparky Bauer. He runs a very small operation in Mendocino County that is producing some of the finest grass-fed beef in Northern California.
Chef Jonah will be long braising the shanks in the traditional Italian preparation. On the menu one night only.
Last friday, the Oliveto kitchen received delivery of one side of a magnificent four-year-old Black Angus steer raised by Jack Monroe, the owner of Monroe Ranch and Hay Farm in Covelo, CA.
This delivery was noteworthy on many levels but to start, we needed a forklift to get it off the truck. The animal’s live weight was close to 2,100 pounds, and it dressed-out at 1,237 pounds. At present, we have two 300 pound quarters aging in our meat locker.
The size of the animal and sheer amount of energy and care that has been put into producing such a beautiful animal is reminiscent of the great fattened oxen fairs found in Piedmont. With that in mind, Chef Jonah has some special preparations in mind. He will be pit cooking (buried in the ground) a whole leg for his Outstanding In the Field dinner coming up in a few weeks. We are putting together a schedule of some beef-centric events at Oliveto that will be happening in next 5-6 weeks and we will be sharing that with you shortly.
At present we’ve got a few of the smaller cuts available on the menu such as:
Charcoal-grilled skirt steak of bua with di ciccio broccoli, new potatoes, and walnut pesto
Located 28 miles east of Highway 101, on the Eel River, Jack’s herd winter in the coastal mountains of Mendocino County and summer in the valley. Jack says, “We herd our cattle on horseback. Our way of life is natural and sweet, and we think that comes out in the flavor of the beef. Support wildlife — keep cowboys in the saddle!”
The animals are always on pasture, grass-fed and grass-finished producing meat that is well-marbled with great flavor. This is honestly some of the best beef we’ve tasted.