November 20, 2008
Ford's Filling Station: Whole Suckling Pig as Blogger's Delight
I believe Epicurus once said, "We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink." Thanks to rising food review aggregator FoodDigger, a hefty number of food bloggers descended upon Ford's Filling Station, so named after chef Benjamin Ford (who always seem to be identified as actor Harrison Ford's son though I don't see how that has particular relevance to the food). Bloggers aren't as social a creature as Yelpers though considerably more liable to gather than Chowhounders (from my belief). Two bloggers would be considered a food event. More than five is a bash.
Nine bloggers is a recipe for culinary fiesta, so count 'em: Sarah from The Delicious Life/Tastespotting, Matt from Diglounge, Javier from Teenage Glutster, Fiona from Gourmet Pigs, Ila from I Nom Things, H.C. from LA/OC Foodie, Aaron from Gilded Palate/Food Destination, Kevin from Kevin Eats, and myself, Mattatouille. Joining us was a coterie from Fooddigger: Will, T, and Marshall whose passionate website worked to bring us together (though many of us knew each other from previous occasions).
They're anticipating the whole pig, hearing from this man:
I must say, his visage does resemble, ever so slightly, the subject of our consumption. I jest, of course, as Chef Ford was a delightful host and passionate about what he was about to present us. Which was...
Yes Friends, that is is an entire suckling pig (sans innards) prepared over the course of two days for this group of 12. You could see the awe in all of our faces as the swing was cut into various cuts and preparations. Porchetta, pronounced "por-KEH-ta, is a roulade of pork seasoned with fennel and onions. Tongue salad laced the bottom of the dish, but I don't actually remember trying it amid the chaos in distributing the food! I heard it was delicious.
I did get to try the pig eye stuffed with ham hock and deep fried with a cornmeal crust. The confit of pork shoulder and hams was very tender and flavorful, a nice contrast to the crispy fried pork skins that were richer than street-issue chicharones. The only blase part was the panchetta-wrapped pork loin which was a bit too salty and dried out.
While the food wasn't ground-breaking, it was extremely fulfilling to dine on such a Falstaffian meal with a bloggers who share the same passion for food as I do, albeit in their different perspectives and approaches. It was lovely sharing three bottles of wine, especially Will's 2005 Bordeaux, a stellar Château Monbousquet St. Émilion that was balanced but full of delicate notes of fruit. Texture was velvety and definitely could have benefited from a decade or two of aging, but it was great to try at it so early in its life. Definitely one of the better wines I've had this year, as it was elegant, graceful, but quietly powerful on the palate with the finish. Extraordinary.
The meal concluded with some solid desserts, Hawaiian bread pudding with candied kumquats (or apricots...couldn't tell) as well as Chocolate Walnut Torte. A good meal always needs a memorable finish and these fit the bill.
I've heard through the grapevine that while this meal isn't typical of an experience at Ford's Filling Station, a similar one could be had for around $700-800. Get a gaggle of your buddies to pitch in and you could feast on suckling pig as we did. Sometimes small plates and multi-course degustations won't do the trick.