A Hamburger Today
A Sandwich a Day: Swinery BLT at The Swinery in Seattle, WA
There's a little butcher shop in West Seattle that's popular with locals, but worthy of a wider audience. The Swinery is a "Temple of Porcine Love" that actually sells a variety of sustainable meat sourced within 300 miles of the store, buying whole animals, butchering in-house, and offering items head-to-hoof.
While you can get many meaty goods to go, the shop also features the Swinery Courtyard Cafe, where the menu includes burgers, sandwiches, Swine fries (cooked in rendered pork fat), and chicharrones. I opted for the Swinery BLT ($9). The "B" in BLT stands for belly, as The Swinery makes the sandwich with pork belly. It's cut considerably thicker than bacon, a generous amount of fat still on, and crisped until crunchy—though not as crisp as the crispiest bacon. Lettuce and tomato help cut the fat while providing freshness.
What makes the BLT special is what's slathered on the lightly toasted Macrina Bakery brioche bun: chicken liver paté mayonnaise. The Swinery makes its own mayo, folding in a generous amount of housemade paté at the end of the process. The spread has a rich, mineral-like, earthy (and yet sweet) flavor, combining with the pork belly in elevating the sandwich from comfort food to something more elegant, sophisticated, and delicious.
About the author: Jay Friedman is a Seattle-based freelance food writer who happens to travel extensively as a sex educator. An avid fan of noodles (some call him "The Mein Man"), he sees sensuality in all foods, and blogs about it at his Gastrolust website. You can follow him on Twitter @jayfriedman.