Breaking it down swine-style.
Fifty inches of snow will do bad things to you. The white stuff makes us hallucinate, and when we go to our happy place, it’s May, and we’re sitting on the curb of the Second Street sidewalk just south of Lombard, balancing an hourglass of Mexican Coke on uneven cobblestones, knees in our necks, hunched over a takeout container of Los Taquitos de Puebla’s succulent cilantro-flecked tacos al pastor, trying to keep pineapple and pork juices from sliding down our forearms and hoping only that inquisitive shih tzus see when exactly that happens and we use an unattended stroller blanket to clean them off.
Los Taquitos de Puebla, 1149 S. Ninth St. 215.334.0664
According to Christian doctrine, on the day of Resurrection a trumpet will blow and the world will become a bizarre zombie battle ground where we’ll all be sorted out to spend eternity in either heaven or hellfire. While everyone’s waiting for that to happen, we’ll be getting all sinful on a sour beer and pork belly with pumpkin puree and prunes at Resurrection Ale House. The salted, crispy skin and pulled pork consistency of the tender meat of the belly is rounded out by the sweet, creamy pumpkin puree and caramely prunes. It’s like heaven on earth and made us fall right off the Lenten wagon.
Resurrection Ale House, 2425 Grays Ferry Ave. 215.735.2202. resurrectionalehouse.com
Like tightly wound rubber bands folded into a hammy country-style pate, the cartilage in the Gio Thu popped as it yielded to the will of our chomping teeth. The crack and crunch echoed through our head after each bite like tiny offal fireworks. It was at once repulsive and a lot of fun. This black pepper pig ear loaf at Ba Le Bakery is comprised of bacony pork bits, black fungus mushroom also called cloud ears, sugar, fish sauce and garlic then tightly bound cylindrically in a banana leaf. It’s kind of like cold sliced pork pho, if that were a thing.
Ba Le Bakery, 606 Washington Ave. 215.389.4350
Truth be told, we had no idea what guanciale was—or its proper pronunciation (gwan-che-ah-lay)—until very recently. It’s jaw bacon, people, and it’s awesome, especially when it’s tossed in an herby pecorino cheese sauce with peas, a poached egg and fusilli pasta at yet another Jose Garces home run.
Garces Trading Company, 1111 Locust St. 215.574.1099. garcestradingcompany.com
A classic combination deconstructed is the best way we can describe the house-made mortadella pizza with mozz and Sicilian pistachio at Osteria. Traditional mortadella is made with nutmeg, black pepper, chunks of pistachio and 15 percent fat from the neck and the back folded throughout the fine forcemeat mixture. But the minds at Osteria pulled the pistachio out of the meat and put it into a pesto sauce. The result is a lunchmeat-like bologna’s older, more successful European cousin, and the pizza is amazing.
Osteria, 640 N. Broad St. 215.763.0920. osteriaphilly.com
The Berkshire pork loin roast at Cochon has a hammy quality thanks to a relaxing bath in moisture-ensuring brine and the addition of pancetta (cured rolled pork belly) in its accompanying red pepper sauce. The Berkshire pork heritage pig is like the heirloom tomato of the pig world harkening back to a day where quality and not mass production was at the front of everyone’s mind. Quality is present throughout the menu at this ode to the pig in restaurant form in Bella Vista.
Cochon, 801 E. Passyunk Ave. 215.923.7675. cochonbyob.com
Like little ham and cream napalm grenades, the Serrano ham croquettes at the Spaniard style BYOB Apamate are bite-size explosions of flavor in your mouth. The dry-cured pig leg imparts a rich gaminess throughout the golf ball-sized bites.
Café Apamate, 1620 South St. 215.790.1620. cafeapamate.com
Growing up Muslim in America has its temptations. Of the rules ripe for breaking, there is none less enticing than indulging in the forbidden pork. But it took just one prosciutto-wrapped melon slice for me to never look back.
If you're too lazy to chew it, read on...
“Making bacon at home is so much easier than you might think,” says Café Estelle’s breakfast meat maestro Marshall Green. “It just takes a little bit of time.”
if you want to dress it up Back in 2008, then-Sen. Obama caused a flap when he compared John McCain’s presidential campaign to “lipstick on a pig.” Feisty liberals shuddered with pleasure and Sarah Palin, as usual, looked confused. Let us be clear, pigs don’t need no gussying up! They’re beautiful and tasty creatures just as God made them but if you must play dress-up, stick to just a few modest accessories. Apple Cider It’s amazing to think that the Mennonite and Amish lifestyle, after so many years as the butt of bad jokes (see Weird Al’s “Amish Paradise”), is now somehow hip. Organic farming practices, locally sourced products and kick-ass beards are all the rage in Philly. The next time you’re in the mood for pork chops, grab a quart of Kauffman’s freshly pressed preservative-free apple cider from Lancaster County Dairy (51...
More than 20 years ago, the National Pork Board started pushing the leanest, cleanest parts of its little piggies with the slogan, “Pork. The Other White Meat,” and the American people—including my mother—totally bought it. And then, for almost the next 20 years, most of us—you, me, our mothers, omnivores all over the country—dutifully ate our tenderloins and center loin chops. They tasted only mildly of pork and had the texture and chewiness of dishtowels, but dammit, they lived up to the slogan and we felt good about eating them. Only, I didn’t. I was unsatisfied and confused. How could the pork we ate for breakfast—crunchy-tender, salty, smoky, juicy, soul-satisfying bacon—be so different from the bland, tough, utilitarian pork we ate for dinner and still come from the same animal? I longed for something more. I wanted bacon—or at least the magical je ne sais quoi of bacon—every time I ate pork. It wasn’t until I was more or less grown up that I would discover—at a...
Geek Invasion 2013