On Monday night, we were among the fortunate who participated in the Ossabaw Pork Chef's Dinner at the Linkery in North Park. The "gimmick" behind the dinner was that the Linkery had purchased a whole Ossabaw hog and had prepared an entire meal based on the meat, each course featuring a different cut. The Ossabaw is a pasture-raised heritage breed of pork renowned for superior flavor and a high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids in its meat. You can read more about it on the Linkery's website.
The meal began with a Fig and Ossabaw Pork Pate, which was served with a Hopf Helle Weisse Bavarian Wheat Beer - essentially a Hefeweizen. The Pate was chunky and rustic, with a couple of pieces of fig in the middle, and was served on a bed of arugula. We asked for some bread to go with it and it arrived shortly. We gobbled that down - both because it was delicious and because we were starving - and waited for the next course. It was a house-made Ossabaw pork sausage, served with house made mustard. This was one of my favorite courses of the evening - juicy and savory, it was everything a house-made pork sausage should be. The mustard also had a nice sweet bite to it. This course was served with AleSmith's Wee Heavy Scottish Ale, which I find delicious in small doses.
The next course was a pastry puff topped with pulled pork, resting on a bed of arugula with red onion and viniagrette. This was paired with a Vixen Sparkling Shiraz from Australia, which I really liked - my husband thought it was a bit too sweet. This is the second time in the last couple of months that I have had a sparkling red wine, and I think it's rather nice for a change - kind of like a sparkling sangria.
The next course was truly unique and delicious - it was a slice of pork loin - essentially a miniature thin cut boneless pork chop - that had been brined in vanilla and tamarind with some sliced jalapeno. It was served with some yummy chile-infused roasted tomatoes and fried yucca sticks - which were sort of like chewy sweet crispy french fries. This was served with a Malbec - a peppery earthy red wine that had a bit of a bite to it. Because of the spice, I personally would have paired this dish with something a bit lighter and sweeter, maybe a dry rose or riesling, but the Malbec was interesting. You seldom see it offered by itself, it's usually blended into Cabernets or other meritage wines.
After that came the piece de resistance - toffee ice cream with a caramel sauce made with bacon - served with a choice of port or madeira and a grilled fig on the side. I was unable to eat my fig - I was too overwhelmed by the sweetness of the caramel and the ice cream - but I did down the Madeira. It was about this time that I realized I was a little tipsy from all of the beverage pairings! I woke up with a bit of a headache the next morning - no doubt from the dark beer and the red wines - but it was worth it.
Side Note: I have decided that taking flash pictures in a restaurant is almost as rude as using a cell phone, and I am simply not going to do it. (I am starting to understand why Pim of Chez Pim goes out for lunch so often!) With apologies to you, my dear readers - we will all have to make do with the pictures I can manage to take in the dark - or just before dark, as you see here.
Cheers and Happy Solstice!!