The Accidental Locavore reluctantly turned down my invitation to attend this weekend’s Pig Island festivities. This shocking lack of priorities did not go unnoticed by the nation’s food bloggers; they have her in a secure location and she is currently being reprogrammed. She’ll be back with you soon, but until then, you have Zhu Zhu, which is Chinese for “Piggy Piggy” and thanks for asking!
And this is the century of the pig! Pig Island, in its fourth year (second at Red Hook, Brooklyn), provides ample evidence that we’ve learned to appreciate this amazing and delicious creature. $80 gives you access to all the pig, ginger ale and beer you can consume. The free water taxi
and a 30 minute wait in line will leave you in hog-heaven with 80 locally-sourced pigs and 30 chefs.
I noticed plenty of amateur eaters at this event. Pro-eating Tips: avoid salad on principal. Eating corn bread, rice and noodles is not going to get you to the finish line. But there were plenty of
seasoned pros who sailed straight through. I’m never able to resist pork-saturated carbs, so I steered a middle course. A short nap on the grassy knoll helped me make it to the end.
Top of my list (in order of eating):
Butter (love the name): served the most amazing chorizo tacos, seasoned with watermelon and serrano chile sauce. There was also fantastic banana bread with pralines topped with candied bacon.
Joe & Misses Doe: really great sliders, mouth-wateringly tender and perfectly flavored pork.
Randall’s Barbecue: more sliders, with definitely the best barbecue sauce at the event.
Waterfront Ale House: head cheese and garnishes on black bread. Really great. I tried, but failed, to eat a million of these.
Neuman’s Kitchen: Roasted pig, caramelized corn, bacon, pig’s ears and razor clams. Awesomely delicious and a nice change from the endless sliders.
Pacifico’s Fine Foods: crispy fried bits of pork marinated in fruit and lime juice, really great. They were also serving a peanut dessert dish, with a sauce made from salted pork and caramel. They were already out of the dessert when I found them, but they let me ‘scrape
the bowl’ and I managed to get two complete spoonfuls. Wow!
Good but with some reservations:
Pizza Loves Emily: really delicious “mini-pizzas,” and I was excited to see them garnished with deep-fried slices of pig’s ear. I could live on deep-fried pig ear, but I nearly broke a tooth on Emily’s. But the rest of the pizza was delicious. In fact, I ate several, carefully
removing the ear each time. I will definitely be giving them another chance.
The Merpig, perhaps because it was so greatly hyped, was a disappointment. This is an entire hog, wrapped in seaweed and pit-roasted. It was good, but not as amazing as it sounded.
Tavern on the Green’s dishes get marks for creativity, but not for flavor. Pork belly on ramen noodles and candied pork belly with garnishes. Disappointing. Pork belly needs no help. If you add something, it needs to be an improvement, guys.
Worst of Show:
Revolving Dansk wants to bring Danish street food (basically a hot dog) to America. Good luck on that. The “Polser” poses no threat to any hotdog truck in NYC. They also served a crackling pork and Scandinavian pickles on a toasted baguette. That was modestly better.
Egg produced the only thing I couldn’t eat. An inedible piece of pork presented on a completely raw piece of dough. It was disgusting.
Pig Island is already on my calendar for next year.