Thursday, June 3, 2010

a Celebration of Pigs, and Pork at Cochon 555

Sunday May 23 marked the Seattle leg of Cochon 555 , a cross country tour celebrating  heritage pigs. Five, of many wonderful Seattle chefs, were given a different breed of hog.  The result?  A delicious celebration of creativity, sustainability and how we treat and eat meat.
It was a nothing short of a remarkable Seattle evening, deep billowing clouds, diamonds reflecting off the sound and the smell of pork in the air.
I was lucky enough to attend this meeting of the swine courtesy Foodbuzz, as a featured editor.  So it's important to extend my gratitude because the event was not cheap.  And my only beef with the event was that it seemed the pork wells ran dry far too soon.  We arrived at 530, a half hour into the event two of the five chefs were running dangerously close to the 86 mark.  So with camera and a plan, I tucked my camera into my brastrap, pinned my pencil behind my ear, stuck a couple extra forks in my hair and made my way around the room thirsty for some porky delicious viddles.
Tamamra Murphy's paid homage to her Tamworth , said to be the best hog for bacon, with a menu heavy on bacon bits and delicious charcuteries.  While we waited in line we were served a delicious headcheese, smooth and seasoned, wet but not gummy, just the right thing to set ones appetite for pig
The first little piggy yeilded mini hot dogs,  crispy homemade pickles to take on all that rich porky goodness, chili verde, and a sweet and salty bacon brittle that was too delicious to stop at one little bite.  We hovered near the ice cream freezer, trying to both devour and savour our little bites while one of Tamaras team busked us for one of the last remaining ice cream sandwiches,  shortbread with a little piggie cut out and bacon rolled into the dough.  The perfect end to round one. Good thing we hovered, the minute we turned out backs the freezer emptied and the team started packed up shop.
We rounded the next turn and found ourself lined up in vain for Jon Sundstrom of Lark. He was plating the last of a portugeuse sausage made from his Berkshire  that was delicious but not nearly as delicious as the Tart Tatin that was long gone, the dish that won him the competition.     Nary a crumb of puff pastry or a smiggen of filling remained on the tray.  Feeling forlorned and a little let down we rounded second and seemingly stole third as the encroaching pride of carnivours lingered near the table licking the bones, lamenting a missed opportunity hoping maybe another tray was just about ready.
Matt's in the Market's, Chester Guerl took his Red Wattle and dove right into a catalog of traditional mexican fare, all my favorites were there, and I forgive him the green pozole only because he topped with bacon fat popped corn.  Red wattle is said to be beefy and tender and that is exactly how I'd wax poetic about the cochinita pibil.  I was also impressed with the chorizo version of pork rillette, paired nicely with pickled baby carrots.  The mole ice cream on a cinnamon and sugar chicharron was inspired, crunchy spicy fatty and delicious.

By this time Chow foods has put up shop, and Earth and Ocean was running dry of their wares as well.  We were lucky enought to get some of the galentine of pork and a scrap of b.l.t but the well was running dry.
Thankfully the swinery came forth with a whole roast pig stuffed with savory rice and a Flintstones sized leg of prosciutto to finish off the crowd of hungry party goes that were wandering lost with fork in hand and no pig to be found.  It was a festive and glorious end to the event. 
By the time we rolled ourselves out the sun was teasing to set and the glass on the skyline horizon was aflame.  The dinosaurs to the south bowed their head to the west, and little drops of rain fell from what seemed to be a cloudless sky.
Later I sat on the couch rubbing my belly thankful for pork, thankful for dedicated chefs who believe in bringing attention to heritage pigs and farms, thankful that on the horizon there is a chance that people will not judge meat by the cellophane and Styrofoam it's wrapped in but the manner in which it was treated before it became dinner.  I laughed at myself for being a hippie and fell asleep in front of the blue haze of the TV.

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