Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cochon 555 roundup

What's better than free pig? Yeah, not a whole lot.

Sunday I was lucky enough to attend Cochon 555 at the Drake. The event intends to raise awareness for heritage breed pigs and Farms for City Kids. Since it was the Drake I suited up even though I wanted to wear my pig t-shirt.

Walking into the room it was set up like something out of Top Chef with each of the five chefs having stations setup around the room. Before digging in I walked around and got a feel for what was going on. I also ran into Ed, who writes Cooking and Eating in Chicago. We had a nice chat about writing and food.

My first stop was Bluprint and Sam Burman. I first sipped on a Bacon Manhattan that had bacon-infused whiskey, nice and tasty. But then there was the most unusual thing I had all day, Bacon Cotton Candy (picture above). It was served on a piece of bacon and quite tasty, sweet yet salty.

My next stop was the Bristol and Chris Pandel. They had a porchetta sandwich (a reoccuring theme) that was excellent. They also were deep frying some little dougnnut things that had bits of pork in the center that were really good, though looking through my notes I forgot to write it down.

The Signature Room and Patrick Sheerin went Asian with their pork preperation. They also did 12-hour cooked porchetta but with some soy and other Asian themes. It was very nice. Sheerin's miso-cured pork belly was also excellent and had great flavor (picture above).

Graham Elliot Bowles had a very Southern tinge to his food. The pork belly pasty has the lightest and most delicate crust I've ever tasted, really, really good. He also had a pulled pork sandwich on a little biscuit with cole slaw (picture below) that may have been the best thing I has the entire time there. It was so rich I don't think I could have eaten a real sized sandwich like it.

The best thing at the paramount Room from Stephen Dunne was the hog's head broth. Very strong flavors with asparagus was exceptional and rich.

The food overall was very good, though a bit too much head cheese and some other weird stuff that I just don't have the stomach for at this point. I tried some headcheese but the texture just throws me off.

Hopefully a year from now Rory and I will be getting ready to move into out own home and I'll be preparing for my very own pig roast. I can't wait.

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