Photos By Franz Mahr, Words By Logan Hollers
5 pigs; 5 chefs; 5 wineries… Shit got buck. I ate like six pigs tonight. Never been more proud of myself.
I walk in, see a giant pig just chilling on the stage, sprawled out. Sorry, boss – butcher it, I’ll eat it. More? Sure. Cut it up – so, so impressive. A whole pig gets broken down in, like, ten minutes, I’m sufficiently intimidated. Need booze/wine.
Wait, more? Can’t handle this… If I must, alright. Scarface-style (sorry, Swineface-style) pork-caine; no lines cut up (until the after party, at least), just a dusting on top of miso guava glazed meatballs. OK, fine. I guess I’m ready for “Her Womb is So Polluted” – pig head, belly, and chili smoked uni. Say hello to my little (piggy) friend.
Bacon, egg, and cheese empanada with caviar and smoked hollandaise (Another “Empanada” She Gonna Love Me Again) – best bite of the night. Easy. You really haven’t lived until Victor Albisu blasts you with his machine gun / super soaker. Move over to grilled pork butt…great – black beans, habanero, and greens sell it. “Greens” apparently means pork soaked something or other from the garden. Wow. The theme nails it for me. Free cigars help.
Wait…is that Mike Isabella, randomly planting #Cochon555 stickers on unsuspecting victims? Sure is. See a sticker on someone’s ass, laugh, then immediately watch my back from here on out. Lurker.
Heard of Yona? Yeah, they kill it. Kimchi jiggae, but more porky. Homemade kimchi, pork shoulder, and rice cakes make me squeal (pig-like and all). Time for pork belly? Alright, I’ll take it. Gimme those chiles… Then a Korean barbecue pork shoulder slider, THEN pork loin tan su yuk. But it’s the opposite of yuk…charred pineapple, fresh peppers – so much fat, so goddamn good. Melts. Nice work, Jonah Kim. Nice work.
Gonna be honest, the pink pig costumes help. Like, a lot. Sweets are needed; time for some pork blood and chocolate cream puff. More like dream puff, ya feel me? HA! (too many Old Fashioneds / “Drunken Pigs” with Whistlepig whiskey, natch – my bad).
I now know so many breeds of pigs. I’m like a pig-storian… Berkshire? Knew it. Duroc? Knew it. Kune Kune? No clue. Ossabaw? No clue. Mangalitsa? No clue. Gloucestershire? Get a better name, pig. Mulefoot, Yorkshire, Red Wattle…all of you are just so goddamn delicious. #sorrynotsorry
Vidalia’s here, too? Goddamnit…have to eat it. Pork jowl soup – oh my… Get it. Crispy pork fritter? I’m in. Grillades and grits make me reevaluate the night. Revelatory. Can this get better? Only once you snag a nugget of homemade boudin with beer mustard and pickled okra – the white, not the black. Sweet. Savory. Porky. Done.
I find Mike Isabella chilling by the stage, sticker-free. Can I cover an event and still be starstruck? Yes. Yes, I can. We hug, I pretend we’re old pals. Instagram!
Oh, Spike Mendelsohn’s slanging some pork pho? Sold. Blood sausage? Love it. Pure pork fat on a toothpick? Done. I see him cracking quail eggs over a crisp of pork face, taste it, then immediately wonder why I’m not eating more pork face crackers. Or quail eggs. His setup is all about Animal Farm – “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” I’ll eat ‘em, regardless of equality. #preach
Mandu’s here, too? Great! First bite: jokbal. WTF? Trotter, endive, radish, herbs. Boom. Better: bin dae dduk, a teeny pancake with pork loin and mung and soy beans. Baller. Too many consonants for you? Same. Decide to rock out with some dwejee galbi jjim – crispy. Spare rib (slow braised), gochugaru, apple puree. Hahahahahaha – getting drunk fast (chill)…
Watch the chef’s mother pull out plates of dumplings. Need one. Wait, three…six! Ground pork shoulder, housemade dumpling skin, and chives? So fucking good. Send this guy to Aspen.
He wins. Pulls his mom up on stage to thank her. We all feel feelings. Amazing. #Cochon555