Three Little Pigs Outside of Seattle…
Cochon 555 brought five pigs to Seattle in February, but that simply wasn’t enough pork for this roving food writer. In the past month or so, I had a chance to pig out at some notorious, pork-loving restaurants outside of our fine city. My favorite of the three that I’ll showcase here: The Purple Pig, in Chicago. Pictured is pig’s tail braised in balsamic, my “dessert” after also enjoying pig’s ear with crispy kale, pickled cherry peppers, and fried egg; pork neck bone gravy with Calabro ricotta; and milk-braised pork shoulder with mashed potatoes. (Remarkably, I ate all that solo, along with an arugula and sunchoke salad to justify the rest.)
Also spectacular was Coppa in Boston. Above is the beef tongue and pork belly stew with squash and mozzarella. I ate other offal as part of the occasion, and especially enjoyed some spaghetti alla carbonara with bacon, uni, and egg. (Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa won Food & Wine magazine’s 2011 People’s Best New Chef national award, which Jason Franey of Canlis won regionally by a hair over Brian McCracken and Dana Tough of Spur Gastropub.)
Most recently, I visited Incanto in San Francisco. As much as I’d heard about Chef Chris Cosentino’s love for offal, I was surprised to see relatively little of it on the menu. But the food was solid. While my favorite dish was spaghettini with Sardinian cured tuna heart, egg yolk, and parsley, pictured for this pig theme is pork cheeks with cippolini and polenta.
Lest you think I’m feeling sad about the scene in Seattle, I’ll be back shortly with a few of my top pork picks for this area.