Tag Archives: pig

Charcuterie Masters 2019

It’s that time of year!!! One of my favorite meat events is coming to Flushing Town Hall again next week on February 23rd. That’s right: Charcuterie Masters is BACK, hosted again by NY Epicurian Events.

They are a Catskill Mountains-based producer of premiere farm-to-table food and wine festivals and educational programs. They pair the agricultural bounty (including grass-finished beef, organic produce, artisan cheeses, smoked fish, and wines from the region’s lush mountain valleys and fresh water streams) with New York City’s most innovative chefs and the culinary community.

Their goals include creating jobs, driving economic development by assisting family farmers and local artisans, and fostering culinary and agricultural tourism in the Catskill-Delaware New York City Watershed. This exposes everyone – from chefs to culinary professionals to foodies to gourmets – to delicious, fresh, sustainable and healthful foods.

From the ticketing page:

“Sink your teeth into the best of the best charcuterie as artisans—makers of sausages, patés, hams, salumi, and more—gather once again to vie for top honors at the fourth annual Charcuterie Masters. Enjoy unlimited tasting of more than 60 varieties of charcuterie, including sumptuous Portuguese Alentejano ham from Rodrigo Duarte who will also be doing a butchery demonstration of this forerunner to the pig that produces Spain’s famed jamon de pata negra. Like what you taste? You can also purchase charcuterie on site.

In honor of the Year of the Pig Chef Stephen Yen of Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill will be roasting a pig in La Caja China and preparing sumptuous roast pork bao with garlic hoisin, scallions, and cucumber.

Meet the charcutiers and taste exquisite dishes prepared by top NYC chefs, including Pitmaster Josh Bowen of Queens’ very own John Brown Smokehouse and Alfonso Zhicay of Casa del Chef Bistro. Savor pairings, including beer from Queens’ Mikkeller NYC as well as cider as well as cider and top-rated wines from Rooftop Reds.
VIP guests will have access to the entire festival one hour earlier and exclusive access to the Charcuterie Masters VIP Experience, which includes exclusive charcuterie selections from Muncan Food Corp., top-shelf spirits, and a charcuterie surprise prepared by New York Epicurean Events president Chef David Noeth, as well as an exclusive charcuterie demonstration.

In addition to the prestigious Charcuterie Masters Awards there will be a People’s Choice Awards where attendees will be able to vote for their favorite charcuterie booth and restaurant!”

A $70 general admission ticket entitles guests to explore unlimited tasting and sampling of all food and beverages. Additionally, there will be $150 VIP tickets sold, which will allow access to a special hour with early access to the entire festival. You can get your ticket HERE.

Maybe I’ll see some of you meat maniacs there!!!

Wu’s Wonton King

My wife and I came here with a big group of foodie friends for a pre-Thanksgiving blowout. We ate a shitload of dishes, but the stars of the show were these two:

That’s right: a crispy skin suckling pig, and a 9lb king crab. Here’s some video of that pig being carved up for us, table side:

Those buns were amazing but the pork meat itself was the best I’ve ever had in terms of suckling pig. The flavors penetrated deep into the flesh of the meat. And if one pork dish wasn’t enough, we also fried this one as well:

The crab was prepared three ways: steamed, fried and in a steamed egg porridge:

We ate two kinds of clams:

We even ordered a steak. This was no good though. I tried one slice of this breaded t-bone and it was too tough for me to even finish half. 2/10. I left two points on the table because the sauce was interesting at least, and the broccoli was good with it.

All the other dishes were excellent though, including this chicken:

And this fluke:

Yes, we did eat some greenery:

And of course wontons, as per the name of the restaurant, in soup form:

There was even dessert that we somehow managed to eat: mango flan/jelly and a warm pumpkin soup that was reminiscent of Indian desserts:

I definitely recommend this joint. This was the best large format pig I’ve had to date. It runs $168 and you need to order a day or two in advance. It would probably feed five or six people if you ate just that and some veggies on the side. As for the crab? Skip it. It was delicious as fuck, but that shit runs $50 a pound.

WU’S WONTON KING
165 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002

The Cannibal

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED

The Royalton burger is fantastic (named for the farm where they get a lot of their meats). I usually don’t like brioche buns, but this one held up just fine. What’s inside? Dry aged wagyu beef, beef heart, malted bacon jam, Vermont cheddar, smoked tomato and frisee.

For $27 it comes with fries, and they’re great: crispy shoestring style, nicely seasoned, crisp and flavorful.

But they also sell “animal fat fries,” where the animal fat used to fry the potatoes changes on a nightly basis. When I went, it was beef fat.

These are really nice, but I kinda liked the shoestring fries better.

Next up, General Tso’s pig face!

This thing is insane, and for $85 it can easily feed four people. It comes with cilantro, pickled onion and pancake wraps.

We also tried a few starters. First, the kielbasa pigs in a blanket. The mustard on these was awesome! Great puff pastry, really nice flavor on the meat.

Soy-chili beef jerky. So tender and flavorful!

And finally, an array of desserts. Peanut butter pie, raspberry cheesecake, and an assortment of cookies.

I’ll definitely be coming back to this place to try some steaks. In the meantime, I highly recommend you get your asses over here for the Royalton burger.

THE CANNIBAL BEER & BUTCHER
113 E 29th St
New York, NY 10016

Feast

As many of you know, I occasionally gather with various friends to devour entire carcasses of animals. We call ourselves The Carcass Club. This latest “meating” went down at a joint aptly called Feast.

A buddy of mine, NYCFoodFomo, organized this as an Instagram influencer meal. It was on the house, given that we were going to glaze Instagram’s face with our “cam-shots” from this “pork-fest.”

I used “quotes” there so that you knew I was actually making a reference to something else besides food photos…

Anyway, here’s what you get at Feast, for just $75/pp:

First Courses

Flat bread with fried egg, smoked gouda, arugula and horseradish cream.

This was nice and crispy, and the arugula is even lightly dressed, which was very nice. This dish would make for a great breakfast, actually.

Brussels sprouts with lap cheong sausage, creme fraiche, grain mustard, dried cranberry and cider vinaigrette.

The sausage really works perfectly with the sprouts. Instead of the typical bacon, this swap for lap cheong was smart, because it has a similar meaty sweetness.

Second Courses

Suckling pig with gravy.

I was shocked at how well the flavor of their 24-hour brine penetrated the flesh of this 28lb pig. The meat really took on the peppercorn flavors. And one of their secrets is to use the whey byproduct from their homemade cheese making process as a tenderizer in that brine. So awesome.

They break the pig down for you and plate it into sections: head area, shoulder area, rib area, and ass/legs area. Apologies for not getting a shot of that stuff for you. It wasn’t super pretty, but it was pretty cool to see piles of meat and a pig skull.

Chicharrones with lime.

They also give you a bowl of the crispy fried skin, which some would say is the best part of the suckling pig.

Kabocha mac n’ cheese with gruyere and toasted pumpkin seed.

The sweetness of the pumpkin in this dish threw me off a bit. Perhaps I just needed to be in the Thanksgiving holiday zone to fully appreciate this one. Nonetheless, it was tasty.

Taro fries with miso aioli.

It’s always a challenge to get taro fries good and crispy. The sauce was excellent, but the fries themselves were more like mashed potato logs. Not a bad thing: just not crispy like a French fry.

Smoked mushrooms with a soy glaze.

These were fucking incredible. The smoke added such a great woodsy flavor to an already earthy and woodsy mushroom (oyster). This was my favorite item of the night.

Indochine ratatouille.

I’m generally not a huge fan of ratatouille, but this had some nice robust and savory flavors.

Dessert Course

Chef’s seasonal selection, which, during this visit, was a caramelized apple cobbler with cold maple whipped cream and pomegranate seeds. I think there was even some diced up zucchini mixed into this unique dessert.

That about does it. I highly recommend giving this feast a go. You’ll need a minimum of eight carnivores to take it down.

FEAST
102 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003

NYCWFF Grand Tasting 2016

This year, I kept it pretty simple at the New York City Wine & Food Festival. Instead of snapping a billion photos, I only whipped out the camera for a few items that I wanted to remember in particular. I do wish I recorded some video of the kitchen staging tour we got behind the scenes of some of the ShopRite booths. But anyway, three pics. First, a mountain of beef bones that served as a stage for holding baked clams.

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Next, wagyu beef. This was a tray of rump roast.

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And finally, Strip House’s table had these awesome pig heads on display, where they were serving delicious bacon with fresh apple.

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That’s it. Nice and quick.

DBGB Whole Beast Feast: Pig

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED

Many of you know that I’ve talked about Tabelog in the past, a Japanese food review website that recently launched here in the US. They approached me about helping them to attract new users to the website, so I co-planned and co-hosted a whole beast feast with them at DBGB, where we and a crew of hungry food writers and photographers tore into a delicious suckling pig like a bunch of ravenous carnivores!

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This pig, which is sort of like a giant pinwheel or sausage full of various pork cuts, feeds up to 12 guests and comes with salad, grilled flatbread, veggies, pork rinds and Baked Alaska for dessert.

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At $575, this is a pretty good value, and you can throw in unlimited select beers and wine for just $30 more per person.

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The pig is plated really beautifully when it comes out to the table.

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From those shots you can really see the “pinwheel” or sausage thing that I was talking about. It isn’t just a roast pig like you might see at a Flip joint. The meat was really tasty, and consists of all parts of the animal, just packaged and presented in a different way from a standard pig roast. The only downside, for me, was that the skin was not crispy. That’s the best part about roasting pigs!

In any case, I got a bunch of incredible shots of this handsome bastard’s face.

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I even managed to convince some of the dinner guests to pose with the pig’s head. Here’s Doug:

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Jesse (@scrumphsus):

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Jeremy (@NYCFoodFOMO):

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Jay (@TheDishelinGuide):

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And Yuka (@TabelogUS):

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My boy Ben (@StuffBenEats) was a bit shy and didn’t pose with the pig. Oh well. Next time. I certainly posed with it! This shot was taken by Jay from The Dishelin Guide:

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And here’s a shot of me getting ready to dig into the nasty bits like the brain, the face meat and the nose, taken by Jesse of Scrumphsus:

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If you’ve got a big group and you’re into this kind of “Carcass Club” dining like I am, then I think you should add this to your list of potentials. It isn’t the best roast pig that I’ve had, but it certainly was pretty tasty and made for a fun night.

DBGB
299 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

Drums of the Pacific Luau

Drums of the Pacific Luau

The Hyatt in Kaanapali puts on a great show via Tihati Productions. This was a double whammy for my two big hobbies, other than writing: photography and eating.

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Dinner at the luau consisted of the following menu:

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As you can see, if you look closely, it says “Huli Huli Chicken!” I was really fucking excited for this, almost as much as the imu pit pork… but my boo-hooing started again when the sign at the buffet actually said teriyaki chicken. They must have went with teriyaki instead of Huli Huli that night. Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to make it myself.

We started with a shitload of all-you-can-drink items. Blue Hawaiians, Mai Tais, Beer, Pina Coladas, etc.

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Anyway, the performers had a nice little ceremony where they unearthed the pig from the imu pit. This is called kalua pork. The pig is roasted whole in a shallow pit in the ground. The pig is wrapped in banana leaves to keep in the moisture (steamed), and flavored with Hawaiian salts and spices. Since it is cooked directly on hot lava rock and charcoal, there is a really nice smoke flavor to the pig when it’s all done.

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I don’t think, however, that the pulled pork we had from the buffet line was from the same pig that was unearthed in the ceremony. First, it was ready too quickly (most of the buffet was already set up and covered prior to our arrival as well). Second, there was no skin or hot drippy fat to be seen. Most of the meat was on the dry side, though it did have a lot of flavor.

Here’s the buffet line:

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Here’s my plate, locked and loaded:

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The ahi poke was much better here than in Hana, by the way.

Dessert was pretty nice here too. There was macadamia nut fudge brownies, macadamia nut chocolate mousse, coconut custard, bread pudding, and pineapple upside down cake. All of it was really nicely done.

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The luau show itself was really fun and entertaining. Check out some of the pics below. There was even some crazy fire knife dancing!

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Cow Pig Bun

Cow Pig Bun

What a fucking weird location for a reataurant. I can understand the brewery being there, as this area is an office park or business park. I suppose people hit this joint for lunch while they’re at work nearby.

The place is like something out of Williamsburg Brooklyn. The decor is corrugated metal, reclaimed wood, filament bulb lighting and industrial meat facility chic.

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The food is great. It’s a small menu, essentially a burger joint with fancy apps and lots of different whiskey and bourbon to sample.

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We tried a flight of flavored whiskey – one was just a blend, then coconut, chocolate macadamia nut, and coffee flavored whiskeys followed. Macadamia nut was my favorite. Sweet and strong.

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We also sampled some of their mixology style cocktails. My wife had an awesome tequila and pho broth based drink, called “Cannibalistic,” and I had a pineapple, lime  and Maker’s called “Butcher Town.” Good shit.

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I ordered the bacon jam burger. This was a potent and powerful burger. The blue cheese didn’t overpower the meat, nor did the bacon, but altogether it was super heavy. I liked it, but I could only put down half (I ate the rest a few days later).

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My wife had a poorly worded sandwich that was called banh mi, but was really more like a pulled pork sandwich. It had pork belly, pulled pork and really nice fois gras butter, but none of the pickled veggies, fish sauce or fresh leafy cilantro that you usually associate with the banh mi flavor profile. In short, it was still good, but not banh mi.

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Along with the drinks, I think the best part of this place is the pork rind chicharones that come with each entree instead of French fries. These morsels were real pig skin fried up to warm, golden, crispy goodness. Amazing.

Whole Roast Suckling Pig

Occasionally I whip up a quick blurb about something awesome that I ate aside from steaks. Last night I had an amazing meal at Pig & Khao, which is run by Leah Cohen of Top Chef fame. Seven of us feasted upon a whole roasted suckling pig. It was done perfectly. The meat was tender, juicy, and it packed a lot of flavor. The skin, though, is always the best part of a dead pig. DELICIOUS. Check out the pics below, and when you get a group together you should definitely try this place.

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PIG & KHAO
68 Clinton St.
New York, NY 10002

Marc Forgione

Iron Chef Marc Forgione’s restaurant in Tribeca is amazing. Recently my wife came upon an article that featured the pig face platter; a dish that comprises a half a pig face and some side items that vary with each week (our week was a taco theme, as is pictured in the article, with a ramp sour cream, jicama salsa, etc.). They don’t offer it every week, and when they DO offer it, it is only on Thursdays. Well, our anniversary fell on a Thursday this year – so it was perfect. With nervous anticipation my wife called several times inquiring about whether pig face would be on the menu. Yesterday morning they gave the definitive “yes.” We were psyched.

Look at this delicious face! The cheek meat was incredibly soft and juicy, and the skin all over was unbelievable; you know the kind… sticky and fatty on one side, crispy and savory on the other. Perfection.

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For our meal we started with a nice octopus salad – really fantastic. Then we had the piggy face. Afterward we shared a massive 40oz french cut cowboy rib eye. Take a look at how amazing it looks (if only you could “see” how amazing it tasted too). I can’t rank Marc Forgione on this website because it’s not a steakhouse, but, if I were going to, this would get a 10 for flavor.

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As you can see in this shot it came with side items (a composed dish, as they say): carrot juice glazed carrot, some roasted potatoes, and roasted bone marrow. The steak itself was topped with a chimichurri sauce and little blobs of cold rosemary butter, which was nice because it didn’t melt into the meat and drench the plate in butter. You could pluck them off and spread it to your liking.

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It was a heavy meal, and would’ve been heavier if we started off with the fois gras instead of the octopus. The waiter, Jason, was helpful in making sure we didn’t have a richness blowout when he suggested we go with the octopus based on the other stuff we were ordering. He was great by the way. So were the cocktails. The service here in general is fantastic (definitely a 10). We even had a personalized “Welcome” / “Happy Anniversary” letter signed by Marc sitting at our table when we were seated, and at the end of the meal we had the pleasure of getting a glimpse of the culinary genius before we left.

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We were also given a nice manager’s discount on the bill!

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I hope Marc and his staff get a chance to see this post and this website. As a Carnivore Connoisseur, I think they would appreciate being mentioned as one of the best steaks in town, even when measured against establishments that ONLY deal in steak.

MARC FORGIONE
134 Reade St.
New York, NY 10013