April 27, 2010

As a part of an anthropology class at Tufts, I have been working with an Italian restaurant in Teele Square in Somerville. YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City has been an on-going project to study and support thirteen first and second generation immigrant owned restaurants.  The class is involved with Project PERIS (Partnering for Economic Recovery Impacts through Service), where Tufts faculty and their courses are paired with local non-profits.  ANTH 149: Economic Anthropology, The Very Social Business of Survival was teamed with The Welcome Project, an organization that works to diminish racism and empower the immigrant community in Somerville.  Along with putting out a YUM Restaurant Card that offers a 10% discount at all of the participating restaurants, The Welcome Project as organized a big kick off event to take place this Friday at Arts and the Armory on Highland Ave. Purchase tickets for the event here.

Along with writing an ethnographic description and writing thematic pieces about our restaurants, we are also to write a food review.  That’s right folks, going out to eat is a course requirement. Here is my review of a meal at Amelia’s:

I can’t say that I wasn’t predetermined to the like the  pancetta. Before ordering I had admired the photo of 12 year old Delio Susi in a white apron.  He stood shyly in front the family butcher shop in Boston’s North End, 1963. Today, Delio and his son cure meats at Amelia’s Kitchen in Teele Square in Somerville, a skill the restaurant owner learned from his uncle and brother long before the thought of opening Amelia’s. Usually a vegetarian, I was sure the baby spinach salad that featured the thinly sliced and carefully fried meat would be worth it. There was no need for dressing this salad as the ribboned shallots held the flavor of a balsamic vinaigrette, balancing the salt and smoke of the firm but tender pancetta.

Visiting the restaurant to film a YouTube review the day before, my mind was fresh with the history and pride displayed on the walls of the place.  As I pointed out some of the pieces to my friend, I realized I felt pride in knowing about them.  There was no doubt that having learned  about Amelia’s would make the food taste better.  I told my friend about the house-made pastas and insisted on trying the famous marinara with a secret ingredient.  We settled on the toasted ravioli for an appetizer.  Almost like a pot pie crust on the outside, the pasta was filled with firm and creamy ricotta and basil. I spooned up all the sauce while my friend photographed her tortellini primavera.

When I walked in and was greeted happily by Mr. Susi, I knew I had to try a pizza as my main course. While most of the recipes on the menu come from his late wife Amelia, he brings the pizza dough to the table.  The high crust, with its tiny grain and moist center was crisped on the bottom. I ditched the fork and knife after the first bite. The margherita pizza was sweet with fresh cherry tomatoes, complemented by pieces of barely bitter basil. When I returned home and offered a left over slice to my roommate,  she gobbled it up and mentioned future plans to order for delivery.  I thought, “Why delivery when you can go to Amelia’s and eat the walls?”

Amelia’s Kitchen

1137 Broadway  Somerville, MA

Est. April 25, 1995

Owner: Delio Susi

Cuisine: south central Italy

Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 5pm-10pm

(617) 776-2800


One Response to “YUM”

  1. Alex said

    Awesome post Sig–where was the pancetta from, local?

    Also, that pizza looks simple amazing. There is a pizza place here called Transfer that uses local and organic ingredients and that picture looks very similar in texture to it. When you are here in May we’ll have to go and sample the eggplant pizza-it comes with whole pieces of cooked eggplant on top and is simply fabulous.

    Glad to see you’re back posting!

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