Rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated. Thanks for all the support, now lets talk some pork:)
So, this past Saturday the 14th I pulled myself together enough to get out of bed, grabbed my Compadre Beau Bonham, and headed down to Biga in San Diego for their first event, a whole hog roast.
The roast featured three chefs (really five).
Left to right ~ Tae Dickey (Chef / owner) Biga, his Sous Chef Jason, Chef Drew Bent of the upcoming Lola 55, and Evan Cruz of Arterra. Chef Willy Eick of Oceanside’s 608 is hiding behind them working on his snail and caramelized onion sauce.
There is Chef Willy (center) with Tae and Beau Bonham (I was gonna say Chef Beau but more like guru / shaman these days..oh and helper:)
So, as I had said, this was Biga’s first event and Tae’s goal was to bring chefs whose vision and passion for food was in alignment. Use great product, treat it with respect, cook it with love and expressed it with individuality. I would say goal achieved.
The first part of that chain is again the product, in this case pork, and that was provided in spades by the team from The Heart and Trotter.
The guys from The Heart and Trotter ~ David (Butcher extraordinaire) and Co / Owner Tre.
If you did not know about The Heart and Trotter they are a whole animal butcher shop offering San Diego local, sustainable meat products, masterfully butchered and crafted entirely in-house.
Editors note ~ I am inserting a page break because the rest of the article does contain the breaking down of a whole pig. Now this is done by an expert and all the animal is used. I just wanted to give a heads up as this may go against some people’s outlook.
So, in-order to have to have a hog roast you must first have a hog…..
So, the pig provided by The Heart and Trotter was a Cook’s Pig Ranch, heritage raised hog. Located in Julian, Cook’s Pigs are pastoral raised,on a special seasonal CSA based program especially created for them and finished on a nut based diet. This particular pig was standing 5 days before being served for the Hog Roast and weighed approximately 240 lbs.
One half of the pig was given to the Chefs a day prior for roasting while the other was used for the butchery demo.
The demo begins with information about usage of the entire animal and elimination of waste.
…and ends with no scraps or discarded bits.
The crowd ate this up, I have seen whole butchery demos before but I think this was one of the best. Informative, approachable, and David did a good job explaining what he was doing.
In addition to the Chef’s preparations Tae and crew prepared a number of great dishes to accompany the feast. A feast it was as me and Beau were falling asleep on the train home.
The first dish served was Biga’s Porchetta which was started three days prior…
Pork a cook’n
Porchetta served on top of a charred onion and wild nettle sauce.
Huge portion of Porchetta served on an incredible sauce.
Additionally they served..
Japanese Turnips with local root vegetables and chimichurri.
Wood fire cooking just makes everything extremely yummy. Succulent, sweet, and charred. The great thing about food writing is you do not even need to write sentences, just throw adverbs together:)
One of their famous pizzas
From the Chefs..
Arterra and Chef Evan Cruz brought …
A riff on Lechon ~ Roasted pig topped with Foie Gras.
I mean its pork and Foie Gras of course it was great.
A play on Sigsig ~ Pork, Chicharron, and peppers.
This was tied for my favorite dish. It had a perfect combination of textures and flavors. Crunchy against soft and spicy against sweet.
I was talking to a Filipino Chef friend of mine about elevated Filipino food and would love to arrange to go down to Arterra and have Chef Evan cook up some creations.
Next up Chef Drew Bent…
Pazole ~ Pork, hominy, chile peppers, avocado, and lime.
I have never had Chef Drew’s food before but if this is any indication I cannot wait till his restaurant Lola 55 opens this summer. This was tied for my favorite dish of the day, wow a ton of flavor and the right touch of heat. The word I would use to describe it is fresh. You could taste every ingredient and it was not heavy at all but light and wonderful.
Up last, North County representing, Chef Willy Eick of Oceanside’s beloved 608. Me and Beau were like little North County ambassadors. “I have been hearing great things about Oceanside” and we were off..”Well you have to go to…..”
Fresh Pasta ~ Pork, snail infused caramelized onion paste, and I know there is foraged sorrel and Norwegian spinach in there. Norwegian spinach is delicious by the way, I would forage it if I was not worried about poisoning myself.
A great buttery, decadent dish. A small serving, which was perfect because at this point I was done.
They did serve the portion of the half pig the chefs did not use with ciabatta bread but by this time I was porked out (which if you know me says a lot) I should have been stuffing meat in my pockets. Sure, I would of smelled on the train ride back but I’d have sammies the next day.
A truly great event, while it lacked a little organization and I wish the chefs would have spoken about the dishes they created, the crowd, including myself enjoyed it.
I not only think it introduced a lot of people to different Chefs it introduced a lot of people to butchery and whole animal usage.
So, there you go, my first post back. Still not 100% and I am not using my PC. So, you may have to bear with me. Thanks, again for all the love and support. ~ Chris