Hello, my friends! This past week, I visited with my family and dogsat my two favorite pooches Indy and Gavin, so I have my fluffy dog fix, and am ready to get back to the SF food life! What a great surprise it was to find myself included in Culture Trip’s list of 6 Food Blogs You Have To Follow as well! It was from last month, but I guess no one told me until today! Thanks, Culture Trip! I am honored to be among such esteemed company!
That aside, I was thrilled to receive an invitation from DRY Sparkling [affiliate link] beverages to attend an “Asian Speakeasy” dinner event in San Francisco, part of the Cochon 555 US tour. All proceeds from the event benefitted the Piggy Bank, a non-profit organization working to preserve heritage pig breeds by sharing genetics, information, and livestock among farmers. In the age of highly commercialized agriculture, we are losing food diversity on all levels. Here’s hoping we can protect our culinary patrimony in all of its diverse glory.
I have been a huge fan of DRY Sparkling since I discovered them a couple years ago, especially since I don’t always drink alcohol at parties (I have ridiculously low alcohol tolerance). With one of their pretty little bottles, I feel like I can still mingle with a drink in hand without compromising my adulthood. My costume designer friend Sarah joined me that evening, and she LOVED tasting all of the Dry flavors there that evening—fuji apple, juniper berry, blood orange, and cucumber. Noticeably absent, though, was the lavender flavor. :(
The dinner consisted of several courses, each one created by a different Asian-American chef from a different cultural background. These guys were all young, adventurous, and passionate about their work. Each dish was paired with wine to great effect. Here’s what we tasted:
Pomegranate & chia shooters
Chicken liver pâté and shrimp chip
Adobo pork silog
Lap xuong sausage and shiitake rice cracker
Charred pig heart with chicories, coconut vinegar, chilies, shallot (2013 Twomey Monument Tree pinot noir)
Pork Rib mesquite smoked, char siu style (2012 Twomey Soda Canyon Ranch Merlot)
Charcuterie board: Spam and blood orange preserve, pig ear terrine, chicharrones, sisig croquette and brain gribiche (2012 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet, 2007 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet)
Sausage of pork and shrimp, banana leaf, coconut (2011 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet, 2007 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet)
24 hour pork belly with peppercorn, soy, coddled egg, yau choy (at this point, I don’t think it really mattered what wine came by)
Tupig à la plancha with glutinous rice and banana leaf (Glenfiddich 12 year, Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve 14 year, Glenfiddich 15 year)
With the alcohol freely flowing as soon as the door opened, the evening quickly turned a little raucous (but still good-natured). I enjoyed the guided Glennfidich whisky tasting as well as the wine, but Sarah and I also quickly amassed many Dry Sparkling bottles in our rush to try everything.
The cuisine was excellent. Being of Vietnamese descent myself, I especially loved the pork belly course at the end, which was inspired by the comfort dish thit kho—caramelized and stewed pork belly and eggs. When we were little, my cousins and I (I want to say there are about 20 of us) would fight each other for eggs, so my grandmother would add tons of eggs to accommodate everyone. The glutinous rice tupig for dessert was perfect, marrying soft, chewy, crispy textures and delicate sweetness. The pork rib was also excellent. I especially loved the dash of mustard, which livened up the slightly sweet meat. The sausage had a surprisingly tender texture, and the charred pig heart opener was at once refreshing and complex, setting us up for a true chef’s meal.
These Cochon 555 Tour events take place all over the country, and in various forms. I’m still hoping I can attend one of their heritage barbecues one day! They offer a casual way of exploring new chefs and cuisines, all while supporting the cause of heritage pig preservation. Cochon 555 always seems to find amazing food and beverage partners to work with, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for. I know I do.
THANK YOU, DRY Sparkling, for inviting me to this event! I am so glad to have had the opportunity to finally attend a Cochon 555 Tour dinner!
I was invited to attend this dinner for free. All thoughts are my own.
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