I've been traveling, New York, Calgary and on the road pork is my meat of choice. My first stop in NYC, straight from the plane was Ippudo. We started with the hirata buns, a steamed bun with a choice of chicken or pork, we chose pork. Everything is right about these buns, from the fatty pork and sauce, to the crisp iceberg and the ratio of bun to filling.
Then it was ramen. Narita airport has been my only stop in Japan and although I've watched Tampopo several times, I am no expert in ramen. However, my friend David spent an extended time in Japan and as he doesn't like sushi, he became a noodle expert and claims these are the best he's eaten outside Japan. They swim in silky, rich, pork broth topped with more pork, pickled ginger, mushrooms, mena and scallions. The only way it could be better is if they replaced the loin with belly.
The weather was so threatening on Saturday night in NYC that we didn't dare wander too far from the hotel. Luckily the Breslin was close and my husband had wanted to try April Bloomfield's cooking. We began with a tonic and grapefruit cocktail, which contained gin, tonic, grapefruit bitters and a very large piece of grapefruit zest, a very good drink. Then we shared the pig's foot while watching a table of 6 devour a suckling pig, pork was everywhere.
On Sunday I met my friend Michael from Mosefund Farm at the New Amsterdam Market where we gave out samples of whipped lard and thinly sliced lardo made with the fat from his fabulous Mangalitsa (Woolly) pigs. Pork, pork and more pork.
Then I was off to Calgary and the Cookbook Company to give two classes. The evening before the classes I was taken to Charcut where I ate a fabulous pig's head mortadella, with pistachios My first was on fat, which was full of pork fat, with a good quota of suet, duck fat and butter too, then a class on offal where as you can see pork featured again, by way of fat, ears, head cheese blood sausage, and blood pancakes. And because it was the home of the prairie oyster, we also managed some testicles too.
Thanks to Matthew who helped me with everything and took this photo.
On my return to Toronto I went out for dinner with friends, but I took a break from pork opting for the grilled mackerel and then the trout. If you are in Toronto try Actinolite, chef Justin Cournoyer has a deft hand in the kitchen.