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Last week, we were somehow invited (possibly via clerical error) to tag along on something called the Philadelphia Pork Crawl
, a breakneck tour of our city's best swine-cooking venues organized by the National Pork Board
. Our very own Jose Garces
led a small group of out-of-town food writers, most of them contributors to restaurant trade publications, plus some reps from the Pork Board through an itinerary that included Osteria
, Percy Street Barbecue
and Garces' Amada
, plus an impromptu stop at Dim Sum Garden
. A few gleaned nuggets after the jump.
- Marc Vetri
and Jeff Michaud
prepared housemade, egg-topped cotechino at the kick-off at Osteria; they also did thin-sliced testa, or headcheese, served with a really interesting walnut mostarda condiment they made with pure mustard extract basically the same stuff used to make mustard gas. Vetri put a latex glove on and walked the bottle around for everyone to whiff.
- The visiting writers love-love-loved
the Arista roast pork sandwich at Paesano's, flipping out about it to the always-welcoming Peter McAndrews
. The chef revealed that the secret to the tender meat's deeply savory flavor is their process of brining the pork in anchovies. Who knew?!
-The PST, or smoked pork belly/slaw/pickled green tomato sandwich at Erin O'Shea's
Percy Street, was also a huge hit. It's more like a Texas banh mi than you'd think.
- There was a trolley taking the group around, but everyone decided to hoof it to Gene Giuffi's
Cochon from Percy Street. A wise decision, as the meat-loving chef dropped an amazing big-boy plate of ribs, crispy skin, a mini cassoulet and grilled pork heart on us. No mercy at Cochon.
- Garces loves Dim Sum Garden
the little neon-lit Chinatown dumpling spot on 11th Street right next to the best Wawa
in the city so he decided to veer off the tour path for quick tastes of their soup dumplings, pan-fried pork/chive dumplings and sliced/marinated pork served cold. "You again?" one of the staffers asked the Iron Chef when he approached the counter. He'd been there the night before, too.
- Couldn't help but ask Garces how pork would play into his upcoming Frohmans Wursthaus
, set for a 2011 opening at 208 S. 13th (formerly Letto Deli
). He says it will not be an exclusively Teutonic operation plenty of German brats and whatnot, or course, but the concept in general will celebrate forcemeats from all over the world, meaning the menu will feature sausages from South America, Greece, Asia and the like.
- Garces' second cookbook will come out in the fall of 2011. Unlike Latin Evolution
, which was designed for the (extremely) ambitious home cook, this new tome will features individual chapters focused on the cooking traditions on various Spanish-speaking countries, including Mexico, Peru and Garces' native Ecuador.
- The cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) at Amada is straight ridiculous. (That's chef MacGregor Mann
killing it on the cutting board above.) Now want to garnish everything with chicharrones and scallions a la plancha.