The Porktastic Scenes from Cochon 555 in San Francisco
I think my body is only just starting to forgive me for the havoc I wreaked on it at Sunday's Cochon 555. Now, I take full responsibility for my bad behavior—the end-of-night mezcal shots were probably not totally necessary. But really, when it comes to an event honoring the literal whole hog, you gotta go big.
Serious Eaters, I have no regrets.
Cochon 555 really did go big in its fifth year of championing snout-to-tail butchery and cooking, heritage breed hogs, and, of course, the delicious eating and drinking that can happen when all of these factors are combined. San Francisco was the 7th stop on Cochon's nationwide tour, with five top chefs competing for the Prince of Porc title, and a trip to Aspen to compete in the Food and Wine Classic this June.
In addition to multi-course pig-filled menus from five stellar San Francisco chefs—Omri Aflalo (Bourbon Steak), Mark Richardson (Four Seasons), Adam Sobel (RN74), Scott Youkilis (Hi Lo BBQ), and Christopher Thompson (A16)—attendees could try lamb heart tartare, selections from an amply-stocked cheese bar, and bacon, everywhere. There were countless bars with free flowing wine, beer, rye, bourbon, and mezcal (but already mentioned that one, didn't I). There was bacon, everywhere.
But, there could only be one Prince of Porc. The honor went to chef Sobel and his Magruder Ranch Tamworth-Boar (Sobel only recently took over the kitchen at RN74). We were certainly in favor of his big win; his ma po pork fat 'tofu' and Chiang Mai-style pork meatballs were decided highlights.
We didn't skimp on the sampling. In addition to tastes from all five of the competitors, we loved the entries in the Breckenridge bourbon-sponsored Punch Kings cocktail competition: 15 Romolo's concoction of bourbon, rum, Earl Grey, lemon, cara cara orange, and raw sugar took home the prize (and was a delicately sweet, delicious drink), but we loved the creations from the Bon Vivants and the Alembic, as well.
A decadent line-up, to be certain, but the local spirit and ardent creativity of all of the chefs and cocktailers present made the event an excellent showcase of the San Francisco food and drink scene (if a rather hog-skewed view of it). One of the decided highlights was a preview of Dennis Lee's Korean-tinged Dogpatch BBQ, his upcoming project in partnership with Magnolia beer's new brewing space (Magnolia had a bacon-infused oyster stout on hand too, of course).
Overwhelmed? Don't worry, we made sure to try some of (almost) everything for you. Hungry? Craving bacon? You can bet you will be.
Check out some shots of this truly memorable event in the slideshow above! And feel free to fry up some bacon to go along with. Like I said: no regrets.
About the author: Lauren Sloss is a bicoastal food-lover who is based in San Francisco. Some of her favorite things include The Black Keys, goat gouda, and guacamole. You can follow her on Twitter @laurensloss.