Happy Monday, Noshers! Okay, okay – I get it. The words “happy” and “Monday” don’t usually go together. But hopefully this little re-cap of my visit to PIG ISLAND 2013 earlier this month will turn a little of that frown upside down. Featuring 25 chefs, 80 whole hogs, craft beer and wine, and live music, Pig Island was the motivator for me and an eating buddy to take the free IKEA ferry to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Hellooooo pig – get in mah’ belly!
Pork preparations abound, whether it was fried, smoked, sweet or savory. There were even several takes on what I call the “fake-healthy” pairing that I know and love so well…Crispy pig skin with salad; by the laws of food averages, this is healthy…..right?
The above was dubbed the Ménage à Trois by creater Neuman’s Kitchen, and yes, my teenage self giggled at the moniker. Featuring roasted pig, crispy pig’s ear, and bacon vinaigrette, the Ménage à Trois was a good way to kick-off this porcine party.
Not to be undone, I then moved onto the crispy pigs ear lettuce wrap (first photo) by Ducks Eatery. This satisfyingly crunchy dish also included smoked pork pâté, fermented chow-chow, and black sesame seeds. YUM!!
My goodness, the delicious dishes kept on coming. I knew I was in for a treat when the third dish I sampled was omgamaaaazing – pork sliders with bacon jam:
I could think of at least 4 things that would be made even more amazing with the addition of bacon jam right this very moment. I wanted to have about 8 more of these, but food festivals are all about pacing so I soldiered on.
I haven’t yet made my way to Umi Nom, but I absolutely loooove Kuma Inn – if you’re ever in the LES, check it out! So I definitely had high hopes for their lechon and pulled pork adobo – and it certainly lived up to my expectations:
Even though this was first and foremost a pig-centric event, featuring and celebrating this much-adored and regaled meat, my eating buddy and I decided to take a little break with some non-meat offerings. I know, crazy, right? But the line was surprisingly long for some grilled corn, so ever lemur-like in our festival-going, eating buddy and I joined the queue.
I won’t divulge how long we waited on line for grilled corn that really had no more than lime juice and salt for flavoring – just add some tequila and you’ve got yourself a party – but this was absolutely mouthwatering. SO GOOD! I’m a pretty big fan of heavily buttered corn, but this one might replace my usual. Wow.
I was a little skeptical of the next selection, but eating buddy wanted to try it so I was game – and I was pleasantly surprised! This quartet of salads from Bittergreen was refreshingly chock-full of produce such as watermelon, radish and cilantro. I was a fan.
I was thoroughly freaked out by the below watermelon sculpture -
…but what they were preparing behind the sculpture forced me to overcome my fears. And what exactly was it?
Bacon Brownies with whipped cream and candied bacon from Davis Famous, of course! I might have gone back for this…twice.
We then moved pretty enthusiastically into the sweet/savory offerings. Next up was a study in perfection by Clay Gordon – a bacon-fat grilled peach with peach confit, on a white chocolate butterscotch bacon buttermilk biscuit from. Yes, re-read that, savor it, enjoy it. That’s what I did.
My stomach was pretty much at capacity by this point (okay, over capacity), but when I saw these lardo-glazed cinnamon rolls with bacon bits from Michael Jenkins from Butter, I couldn’t not try it, right?
Right next to the cini-minis was the Oink McMuffin, also by the peeps at Butter – so I added one of those to my napkin as well. Good decision, NoshGirl. Good decision.
As with last year’s Pig Island event, I enthusiastically looked forward to this event with high hopes and left thoroughly satisfied. Featuring pig and pork products in all their luscious glory, I highly recommend checking out Pig Island 2014 next year! And yes, a fight amongst hipsters might have broken out while we were all waiting for the free ferry back to Manhattan – but hey, I’ll just chalk that up to the true Brooklyn experience. All taken in stride for the chance to stuff yourself silly on pig.
Which one of the above dishes would you most like to try?