DeLaurenti Specialty Food and Wine.

Pat McCarthy starts his day sipping Caffe Umbria Crema Gusto while peering out the windows of his one-stop culinary shop DeLaurenti. Watching the unfolding bustle of Pike and First Avenue “is like Noah’s Ark,” he says. “You see two of everything go by.”

In 2001 McCarthy took over the specialty food and wine store from founder Pete DeLaurenti, who opened it in 1946. In 2005 a growing interest in cheese prompted McCarthy to set up Seattle’s beloved annual Cheese Festival (May 15-16). You can catch him Saturdays from 2-4pm when he hosts free wine-and-cheese tastings.

What’s your favorite ingredient of the moment?

Mama Lil’s Peppers. If you like a little bit of controllable heat, they’re fantastic. In pasta, panini, pizza. I had a pasta dish at Tilth a couple of weeks ago and it changed my life: angel hair, Mama Lil’s, bacon and a sous vide egg. The Mama Lil’s made it sing—unbelievable.

What is your go-to cookbook?

The Silver Spoon. The Italian classic translated is the bible of Italian cookbooks. We refer to it more than the dictionary.

When you have out-of-town guests, where do you take them to eat?

Tough one. Crush is good every time. Monsoon is so good and often out of people’s comfort zone, so that’s a great choice. Macrina Bakery down in SODO is awesome for breakfast or brunch. Coffee’s great, too (Umbria).

Tell us your guilty food pleasure?

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish or a lamb burger at Matt’s in the Market.

Do you have a favorite book?

Brunelleschi’s Dome. I’m fascinated by how he built that place and how he had to create most of the equipment needed to build it. It’s a tremendous lesson in patience and fortitude—it helps with work.

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