It’s Monday morning and the last thing you want to do is to get out of your cozy blanketed sanctuary just to answer questions from people, who are apparently smarter than you as so stated on their business cards. Your phone/alarm clock goes for the fifth time and you realize that hitting the snooze button is no longer an option. You must make a decision and you must make it now. Unlike any other Monday leading up to this magical day, you decide go for it on fourth down and call in sick. This isn’t exactly the: “Good morning, I quit in order to pursue my artistic aspirations” type of call, but at the same time you do feel a sense of encouragement that may be, just may be, today is the day that you can free yourself from the restraints of corporate America. Or may be you just want to go for a walk in downtown Manhattan and buy yourself something nice; most like it’s the later.
Its ten o’clock, you get out of bed, put on Sports Center, take a shower and begin prepare your favorite, yet uncomplicated breakfast; two eggs over-easy, a side of bacon and whole grain toast. Although, you’ve made this dish hundreds of times before, surprisingly bacon will be the reoccurring theme for this prefect day. As its time to leave your spacious Manhattan abode, you throw on your favorite pair of jeans and your favorite pair of sneakers, which by the way you would never attempt to wear to work. You grab your cell, your ipod and you’re out.
As you are strolling down Broadway checking out the latest Adidas Originals releases, with Gnarles Barkley blasting into your headphones, you begin to smell something overwhelmingly delicious and inviting. You can’t put your finger on it, but you decide to follow in the footsteps of the great Inspector Gadget, investigate the situation and follow the aroma to its source. You turn onto Bond Street and as you chuckle on the inside at all the poor souls eating chicken wraps on their uncomfortably short lunch breaks, you realize that the scent is getting stronger at a furious pace, so you must be getting closer to your destination. You’re there and you’re in shock. Luck is on your side, you went for it on fourth down and not only did you make it but you scored a touchdown. Your mind celebrates and your mouth is watering. In front of you is Il Buco’s (www.ilbuco.net) 200lb Ossabaw Pig roasted whole to perfection, being expertly dissected by Executive Chef Ignacio Mattos. This is your sidewalk heaven. This is the reason you called in sick. This is the place where you can be free. And if just for an afternoon your memories of the plastic world to which you have become so uncomfortably addicted are replaced with the primal and the authentic. Its love and it lives on a narrow cobblestone street in the city.
On Monday, September 22, 2008, Il Buco restaurant celebrated its 14th anniversary while hosting its fifth annual “Sagra Del Maiale”, an outdoor Pig and Apple Festival commemorating the Autumn Equinox. Executive chef, Ignacio Mattos began roasting the 200lb Ossabaw beast at 4:30am and he wasn’t finished until 11:30 am. The hogs of Ossabaw Island, off the coast of Georgia, are descendants of “Pata Negra” Spanish pigs brought to the New World over 400 years ago. They are generally smaller in size and have a higher fat to meat ratio, which make them perfect for the “infernillo style” roasting. This particular hog was brought to the city from Cane Creek Farm, Mebane, NC, which specializes in peanut fed Ossabaw pigs. Accompanying the start of the afternoon was a number of delicious complimentary items: Flying Pigs Farm Porchetta Panini on Ciabatta with Blueberry Balsamic Mostarda, House-made Flying Pigs Farm Pig, Apple and Peperoncino Sausage, Farmer's Market Panzanella, Julie's Wild Arugula with Lemon, Red Onion and Pecorino and Apple Ricotta Fritters with Saba.
The afternoon was a spectacular event, which showcased the undoubtedly talented Executive Chef, Ignacios Mattos and his deep knowledge of authentic preparation of Ossabaw hogs. The restaurant, owned by Independent film maker Donna Lennard, boasts a rustic décor which reminds its patrons of its inception as an antique shop. It provides a warm and romantic setting that is perfect for any occasion, from anniversaries to birthday celebrations to simply an enjoyment of a wonderful meal with your loved-one. Il Buco specializes in Mediterranean cuisine and differentiates itself from other neighborhood restaurant by utilizing only sustainable and local agriculture. The pastas are freshly made daily on the premises, the olive oil is imported from Umbria and all meat and produce is fully organic and raised without the use of any hormones or antibiotics. And obviously, we cannot forget about the wine. The extensive boutique wine collection is designed by sommelier Roberto Paris and features a far-reaching selection of Umbrian wines; the list strongly represents Spain, France, Germany and the U.S. as well as other countries. Il Buco’s philosophy is “to seek out wines from smaller, lesser known producers, introducing our customers to a variety of wines they might not otherwise have the opportunity to sample.” Il Buco is also a location that is of legends. Legend has it that Edgar Allen Poe, once a regular visitor to 47 Bond St, took the wine cellar as inspiration for his haunting short story "The Cask of Amontillado". The wine cellar is available privately as well as for regular seating. An ipod dock to the cellars surround sound system is a desired feature that is available for private parties.
The wine cellar reminds me of an underground play-land available only to the knowing, the well-versed and the interesting as if transformed from the “From Hell” movie set. The raw iron, the aged wood and the feeling of escape to the culinary underground will give any patron a pleasant shiver, as well as, mental stimulation in addition to orgasmic palate sensations. The place is raw, organic and unpolluted with ones daily problems. So do your self and your friends a favor – reserve the entire cellar, bring your ipod and take pleasure in the art of the conversation while enjoying the heaviest beats of your favorite artists and the flavorful combinations of Executive Chef Ignacio Mattos.