Ever since Moniz finally closed down after a gazillion years, Bay Area linguica lovers have had slim pickings on the Portuguese sausage front. But our prayers may have been answered.
Joe Barcelos is a Portuguese immigrant who ... well, I'll let his web site tell the story:
Since the day he was born, Joe Barcelos has always been surrounded by Portuguese cuisine. One of his hobbies was making linguica for friends and family from a small garage in San Jose, CA. The linguica was made using all natural ingredients and smoked over an open wood fire, the essentials for keeping his sausage authentic. He was encouraged by his family to expose it to the surrounding Portuguese communities. It was in the summer of 1993 that his traditional home-style linguica sausage began attracting public attention. He began receiving phone orders from individuals across the San Francisco Bay Area and central valley which prompted him to begin a door-to-door delivery service. It didn't take long for his orders and delivery routes to increase. Finally in 2008, a decision was made to commercialize the product. Barcelos Linguica was born!
Joe made an in-store appearance today at The Spanish Table, handing out samples and talking linguica. I don't suppose I have to tell you that we were there. I've been eating linguica my entire life ... heck, even Robin, who is as Midwestern White as they come, has been eating the stuff forever (her family had very good friends who were Portuguese and made their own linguica). She and I used to share linguica sandwiches when we first started going out back in high school.
Anyway, we go down to the store (it deserves a post all of its own), and there's Joe. I shake his hand and we start talking ... and, of course, sampling. He had mild and hot sausages for tasting, and they both were just fine, but you could tell they'd be even better made fresh. So we bought a few sticks, mild and spicy, and promised him we'd be eating linguica and eggs for dinner tonight. (We also bought some Kas limón ... they don't sell Fanta de limón at the Spanish Table, but you can buy cans of Kas for $1.99 each, and you know we did.)
Well, I just finished eating my linguica and eggs, and ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a new linguica supplier! Linguica is an interesting sausage ... well, interesting to me, I wrote a semi-famous essay on the subject many years ago that ended up on the wall of the offices at Moniz ... if you ask me, one piece of ground beef tastes pretty much the same as another, but sausages have actual recipes, which is one reason why, if you like a particular linguica, you stick with it. Moniz tasted different than Silva, which tasted different from Santos. And we were a Moniz family, going back to the 60s.
Barcelos has a distinct taste, which is a good thing. It's not Moniz, but it's pretty damn good, and there's no reason it should taste exactly like Moniz, anyway. The meat in the sausage looks pretty good ... linguica is not the prettiest thing you'll ever see, but these were almost ham-like in the pork department, which was impressive. Like most linguica in recent years, Barcelos isn't as greasy as the good old days. But it's tasty, it's available, and I have a feeling I'll be picking up the occasional stick for years to come.