Barbara M. Houle
The modest, cozy restaurant, aptly named Picosso on Main in West Warren, is an undiscovered spot value a go to.
Vinicio Ayala of Amherst opened Picosso (Spanish for spicy) at the end of the summer season and has created a menu about Salvadoran and Mexican food. He not only will make handmade pupusas (corn flatbread), by considerably the most preferred road foodstuff in El Salvador, and traditional pastelitos (empanadas), but also Mexican sopes, chicarrones (fried pork rind tossed in salsa verde), tamales and tacos.
Picosso on Main advertises reliable Salvadoran and Mexican recipes created from scratch making use of the freshest ingredients and elevated with a modern twist. The cuisines of the two nations around the world have similarities, claimed Ayala, but Mexican foods certainly is spicier than Salvadoran.
The branding of Salvadoran-Mexican places to eat owned by Salvadoran-Us residents is not new to the nationwide restaurant scene, according to Ayala. Several Salvadorans who immigrated to significant towns in the states have labored in Mexican dining establishments, he reported.
The to start with-time chef/proprietor, who found the Warren place on a random Google research, runs the kitchen with assist of his nephew. The chef’s journey has been “interesting and remarkable.”
Ayala tells the story of how he fled war in El Salvador to seek out safety and a better everyday living in the United States. Arriving in Los Angeles at 16, he claimed he was by yourself and did not discuss a word of English. A man or woman he was traveling with available him a place to remain, he stated. He’s endlessly grateful.
Ayala worked section time in Los Angeles restaurants right before graduating from superior faculty. He took the journey from dishwasher functioning up the line to chef over time. His massive crack arrived when he was utilized by Nancy Silverton at her La Brea Bakery. FYI: Famous chef, baker and creator, Silverton won the James Beard Foundation’s Remarkable Chef Award in 2014, in addition to other national awards. She offered her “world famous” La Brea Bakery in 2001.
Ayala explained he received a must have kitchen practical experience at La Brea that led to other job possibilities at higher finish foods businesses. “I’m a quite lucky particular person to have labored for Nancy,” he mentioned.
Ayala left the West Coast to be with family members in Massachusetts. His five siblings settled in the Amherst region, he said, and all of them at just one time or yet another have labored tirelessly in the food items sector.
The chef for various many years labored beside his sister who ran an Italian cafe and most lately was in the back of the home at the Blue Heron Cafe in Sunderland, identified for fine eating. The restaurant shut during COVID-19 and Ayala returned to assist out when it reopened.
At 60, just after several years in other chefs’ kitchens, Ayala recognized his desire to open his own cafe. He describes himself as the form of man or woman who cooks for clients first. He wants friends to get pleasure from a food in a tranquil setting, he explained, supplying them a homey emotion. While opening a new cafe isn’t easy, Ayala said it is also an interesting time. He enjoys meeting attendees and enjoys food communicate with chefs who take in at Picosso.
Ayala pays homage to his upbringing and traditions. His food stuff is authentic. He reported he in some cases closes his eyes when he’s in the kitchen area and envisions his mom and grandmother cooking his preferred hen stew. The Salvadorian variation of the dish is complete of flavor with an exotic spice mix, he said. “The aroma of cloves cooking in the stew even now will get to me.”
Picosso on Principal, 2162 Key St., West Warren (www.picossorestaurant.web) is open up for lunch and supper from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday by means of Sunday. Shut Mondays. It is BYOB and accommodates 29 at tables and counter. Acquire-out and shipping and delivery are obtainable. Phone: (413) 436-8073. Connect on Facebook for day-to-day specials. Parking is in front and back again of restaurant..
Ayala is the artist driving a assortment of portraits hung in the cafe. He always has loved portray and in the course of the pandemic had a chance to shell out far more time on “projects.” His drawings are of family members members, close friends and customers he has recognised.
Gathering cookbooks is a further enthusiasm. The chef owns much more than 250 cookbooks and is a massive lover of culinary anthropologist and cookbook author Diana Kennedy, who has spent 60 a long time learning the regional cuisines of Mexico. “She’s a passionate author,” reported Ayala about the British food stuff writer who celebrated her 98th birthday in March.
The chef’s favored food?
Asian delicacies tops his list when eating out, and he admits he loves rice. “It’s ridiculous, but I could take in it every working day,” mentioned Ayala.
In this job interview prior to Thanksgiving, the chef mentioned he prepared to invest the vacation with loved ones. In the past he has cooked for 35 individuals, but this year would be distinctive. “There possibly will be 4 of us at the table,” claimed Ayala. “The upcoming working day, it’s back again to the restaurant.”
Chatting with Ayala you comprehend how a great deal he enjoys cooking, some thing he has focused his lifetime to.
While there are Salvadoran dining places in the rapid Worcester area, I would recommend Picosso a foodie street journey spot.
Holiday getaway wine dinner at Samuel Slater’s
It is a Holiday getaway Fest wine supper on Dec. 1 at Samuel Slater’s Restaurant, at Indian Ranch, 200 Gore Street, Webster.
Charge is $87 for every man or woman, not including tax and tip. Five classes, with reception at 6 p.m. For reservations, send out e-mail to [email protected]
The restaurant is also planning a Breakfast with Santa 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 19. Older people: $21.95 kids 12 and beneath: $12.95. Reservations needed. Send electronic mail to [email protected] or simply call (508) 943-1639.
Narragansett brings back again Getaway Ale
Narragansett Beer’s signature winter season brew, Vacation Ale, is home for the holidays!
The Belgian Abbey-model ale with notes of sweet orange peel and coriander is in confined release offered now by way of December during the Northeast. Offered in 16-ounce cans with proposed retail of $14.99 to $15.99 for every 4-pack, it’s the initial time this enthusiast-beloved is being brewed at ‘Gansett’s new Providence brewery.
Get prepared to toast the holiday getaway season.
If you have a tidbit for the column, phone (508) 868-5282. Ship email to [email protected]