Palmieri Café moved into the old Pecan Lodge spot at the Dallas Farmers Market last weekend. Better get in line while you can. Never heard of Palmieri Café? Well, you’re about to.
Palmieri Café is the passion of former investment banker and SMU MBA graduate, Corrado Palmieri. Chef Palmieri is from the village of Galatina, located in the heel of the boot of Italy. According to the website, “He moved from Italy to develop an Italian Coffee Shop & Bakery without compromises: Fresh, Authentic & Natural.” And, friends, he doesn’t compromise. Seriously. I mean this guy is obsessed with perfection. During the week, Corrado drives west to one farm for the best eggs and north to another farm for the best butter.
In his charmingly thick Italian accent, he explains to customers, “ Last-ah nit-ah, Ah gotta zay-roh say-kon-dee sleep-uh.” (“Last night, I got zero seconds of sleep.”) He spends the entire weekend baking. He uses seven different kinds of flour. For each bakery item, he blends three to four flours to get the correct consistency. While other bakeries buy puff pastry, he makes puff pastry from scratch, and without so much as a hint of margarine. Folks – do you have any idea how hard that is? Making puff pastry is a twelve-hour ordeal as each layer is folded, rolled and chilled again and again until there are over 1400 ultra thin layers. Now get this: he does it by hand. I told you this guy was nuts. Why does he do it? So those 1400 paper-thin buttery layers, wrapped around ethereal lemon cream can crumble, crush and ooze into your eagerly awaiting pie hole. That’s why.
Every week, Chef Palmieri adds a new item: graffa, connoncini, rustica, calzone. Prices are reasonable. They range from $2.50 to $5.00. If you try only one item, get the taccotto (tahk-COAT-tow). It’s a pastry unique to Galatina. Folks, I tried to get the recipe for you. I whined, begged, pleaded, googled – SHOOT!! – I even offered to help him bake at 3:00 a.m. Niente. Nothing. He wouldn’t even tell me where he went to culinary school. All I know is that the crust tastes like a cross between piecrust and a vanilla sugar cookie. And it’s filled with custard. O.M.G.
Lines are growing increasingly longer as word of his pastry spreads. You’ll see Italian expatriates, SMU buddies and nearby residents. Junior high school girls giggle and blush when Corrado hands them a sample.
Palmiere Café moved to the new location during Galatina’s Patron Saints weekend. Surely, Saint Peter and Saint Paul blessed the cafe. Now, go there and be blessed, too.
Palmieri Café is located at the Dallas Farmers Market, Shed 2, 1010 South Pearl, Dallas. It is open weekends only from 10:00 until 4:30 or until sold out.