Caffe Boa's Delicious Mangalitsa Head Cheese
Oh, Payton Curry, you rocked my taste buds last night.
The Caffe Boa chef didn't know I was joining a friend for an off-menu culinary stealth mission at the Tempe eatery, but he nevertheless got creative and it showed, both in presentation and flavor.
Dinner started off with luscious mangalitsa head cheese, tender hunks of housemade charcuterie made from the prized heirloom pigs. It was rich, dense, and irresistible spread on freshly toasted bread, with tangy garnishes. Curry's reputation for well-crafted charcuterie goes back to his days at the helm of Digestif, and clearly, he's still delivering the goods.
The simplicity of the next course blew my mind. Just how much can one improve upon impossibly sweet Nantucket Bay scallops? Curry butter-poached them with prosecco (just barely, to preserve their silky texture), scattered them across a pile of toothsome, handmade tajarin pasta (perfectly cooked, of course), and paired them with a tiny pitcher of creamy Meyer lemon and prosecco sabayon. Drizzled on top of the pasta, that light, ethereal sauce had just the perfect note of citrus to make those scallops sing. Every bite made me happy.
Finally, I sank my teeth into a delicate, chewy pumpkin spice macaron that gave me just the right dose of sugar to handle the drive home.
All in all, it was a really great meal that has me scheming another visit to Caffe Boa -- just as soon as I'm hungry again.