Sunday, May 3, 2009
Pig Roast with Ryan Farr at the Coffee Bar
Chef Ryan Farr recently gave a course on how to butcher a whole pig. Following up on his class was a demonstration of how to turn a whole pig into an epic pig roast today at the Coffee Bar.
Watching him disassemble and cook a whole animal was not just impressive, it was delicious from beginning to end. It was also a great experience. To see a whole animal turn into the freshest cuts of pork and then onto a golden pile of magical meat was facinating.
It was a rare look at how an animal gets to your plate. We often never have the opportunity to see our food before it's packaged and turned into something nearly impossible to identify as a living thing. It forces you to realize how important it is to make use of the entire animal, to not be wasteful, and how much labor is involved in preparing food from scratch.
But before my philosophical reasons for vegetarianism could kick in, the lightest, fluffiest, melty-in-your-mouthiest, pork rinds, a cold Big Daddy, and homemade corn dogs had convinced me otherwise. Bite-sized corn dogs with a rough sweet and savory batter were delivered on a stick like the original, but don't be fooled, these were dangerously addictive. I could have easily eaten a dozen of these had I not been careful.
My patience would pay off as the first of the roast was served. Section by section, from the shank to the shoulder and eventually to the head, the steady flow of roasted pork through chef Farr's immaculate station, was immediately devoured by his pork-loving audience.
Melted fat in your mouth, the salt, and rosemary flavors sticking to your tongue, and sauce made from boiling the bones of the last roast were enough to cure any questioning vegetarian. A complex salad of fresh local vegetables purchased at yesterday's farmer's market and medley of roasted vegetables made for a satisfyingly square meal. I certainly did not go home hungry.
And if it were not enough to end it with the crispy golden brown cheek fat, the meal was followed up with a chocolate peanut butter cupcake served in a ketchup cup topped with a crispy piece of bacon. If you weren't already overwhelmed by the multiple waves of roasted magic, a delightful sweet polished off one of the best pork meals I have had since Mari Takahashi's Mission Street food.
Chef Farr is not just a great cook, but also a wonderful host. He sets a high standard for himself and his crew and their attention to detail is clearly evident in the great food and experience of the meal.