It feels good to do good things for other people. It really does. So when Anne and I saw a pork-themed dinner hosted by Um Segredo who was going to donate all proceeds to the Red Cross for hurricane relief, well...the least we could do was open our wallets and our stomachs to this event.
Anne and I sat at the bar overlooking the kitchen, which offered a neat perspective on the food preparation for the eve, which included the use of our favorite tool, the blowtorch!
My most favorite part of the meal was definitely the beginning - this amazing bread that chef David Santos bakes in his own apartment which is equal parts amazing soft-gushy-fluff with crispy shell augmented by
"Portuguese butter," which is somethin' like loads of pork fat rendered from roasted pig, garlic and black pepper. (David, please make this into a face mask, so I could put it on my face and eat my way through it. Thanks.)
The meal began with a pork terrine, featuring exceptionally fattalicious parts of the pig (pig hooves and other things, due to apparent pig ear shortage post-Sandy), topped with piri piri cabbage, and a vibrant chimichurri / parsley puree.
Second course involved Manila clams with bits of braised pork shoulder and a tall slice of crostini.
Dish was solid with tender chunks of pork and chewy clams, but the broth was pretty salty, and while Anne drank her bowl down, I ate five more pieces of bread to balance it out (or mainly because Ilovethebreadsofreakinmuch).
Crispy chunks of pork belly came next, dusted with red spices, and nestled in a shallow bath of smoked tomato sauce and rice. David instructed us to swirl the rice and tomato sauce together, so that it resembled a tomatoesque risotto, but really, it just resembled regular rice in tomato sauce, which was still quite good. And honestly, pork belly in any shape and form is stellar in my book.
The main course was pork tenderloin, which David seared in the pan and finished off in the oven.
The pork tenderloin was served alongside braised black kale, heirloom potatoes and topped with onion vin.
For dessert, David fixed up french-pressed coffee from Porto Rico Importing Company,
served milk in these awesome Zebra pitchers
(like, so awesome),
(like, so adorable)
to be served alongside bowls of poached figs / cherries / mixed berries topped with bay leaf ice cream and brown sugar crumble. Uhm...wtf is in this brown sugar crumble, and why is it making me so profane because I think it's so ridiculously delicious and I want to sprinkle it on anything and everything? The rest of the dessert was good too - a balanced flavor composition of textures and temperatures, and I ate the whole thing like a good girl.
Afterwards, Anne and I assessed the meal and both agreed the pork belly was the best. I think maybe that should be a meal in itself - a five course treatment on pork belly. Am I a genius? I am beginning to think so !
Thanks, David, for cookin' up this Red Cross benefit event ! Can't wait to check out your restaurant soon !
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