One year ago, our first foodventure was to Pig Island on Governor's Island. The lovely folks at Food Karma have organized this great event for a few years now and we were thrilled and honored to be a part of it. It was a beautiful day on Governor's Island and every Food Karma event should be blessed with such nice weather.
First up was Ovelia's stall. They had a couple of spits rolling meat that would become pulled pork with apple coleslaw on a pita triangle. While we were there, they were also cooking up some loukaniko, a traditional Greek sausage. They looked amazing, sizzling in the pan, studded with leeks and orange zest.
Next up was one of the highlights of the afternoon: Edi and the Wolf. The offering was grilled pork belly on top of chopped peaches and a bed of arugula. This little dish was delicious: crisp pork skin (always a plus), fatty pork belly (also always a plus), with the contrast of sweet peaches and peppery arugula. I dunno why but salads always seem to taste better, more complex, with the addition of arugula.
The following stall was a standout hit: Butter/The Darby. Their savory dish (pig wiener with roasted tomato ketchup and spicy cucumber relish) wasn't ready yet, but they had two sweet dishes (!!!) up for grabs. One was a shortbread cookie spotted with bacon bits and topped with a caramel blob, and a blondie topped with chopped bacon and chocolate. While the blondie was a little bit tough and chewy, the cookie was amazing: light, not to sweet, but still with a smoky flavor from the bacon. I could easily eat a box of those cookies for dessert any day.
JoeDoe was the next booth. They had an enormous piled-high hero with black pepper garlic shredded pork. There was also servings of pork boiled in broth, lightly-spicy chili, and pork liver pate. All the individual portions were tasty, but not splurge-worthy.
Two of Jacques Gautier's restaurants were next: Fort Reno BBQ and Palo Santo, where we attended the preview party last week. Fort Reno had a delectable pulled pork slider with coleslaw and barbecue sauce. The meat was succulent, sweet, and savory. The bread was also pillowy and light. Palo Santo next door was serving up the same freshly-made tortillas with pulled pork and salsa. The tortillas were greasy and hot and salty, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, and a perfect vessel for the pulled pork. The pork from both stations were smoked in their homemade bicycle-shaped smoker and then grilled over the fire. I tasted their amazing pulled pork tortillas at the preview party and these did not disappoint: the line for Palo Santo was just about the longest, and when we were eating, someone came over to ask if the line was worth it. I answered wholeheartedly, "yes, it's delicious!"
The actual longest line, however, was for the chocolate bacon fondue. Yep, you read right! A big pot of melted chocolate was bubbling away, waiting for thick cuts of bacon to be dipped and swirled in it. I've had chocolate-covered bacon before, with the chocolate already hardened, and I found it very chewy, which detracted from the experience, but this chunk of bacon was quite good. The bacon was surprisingly tender, super salty and smoky. Definitely a rare opportunity!
Also at the preview party, I met with chef Seth Harkazy with Waterfront Ale House/Fuhgeddabout it BBQ. We talked about...headcheese: boil a pig's head, peel off the bits of meat, mix it up with gelatin and solidify it into a terrine. I promised I'd try it at least once, so I sucked it up and took a small bite of headcheese at Pig Island. It was...cold, meaty, gelatinous. There were lots of mystery meats in the square of jelly meat. I was a little surprised by the temperature and texture, and decided it wasn't for me. But, what's important is I tried!
|and ... after|
Finally, the table of the jefe, Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy's No. 43. They had a slice of pork chop with slaw and a peach wedge and a knockwurst with Sriracha mayo. Honestly, the pork chop looked tough and dry at first glance, but was surprisingly tender and soft! I also enjoyed the sausage slices with the just-spicy-enough hot sauce mayo. Very successful dishes!
|We definitely needed a nap after!|
(Sadly, however, we seemed to have waning stomach capacities, because both Alex and I were full after going through about a quarter of the booths. So, disclaimer: we didn't get to try as much as we would have liked, and certainly we missed out on some undoubtedly delicious offerings. Next year, I should go on a pre-Pig Island fast...)
I regret that I was too full yesterday to try many more tidbits, but I definitely can't wait for next year's Pig Island!!