Number 76: Chicharrones from 4505 Meats
Some of the city's cult dishes earn their rep for sheer ballsiness ― Humphry Slocombe's Jesus Juice, for example. Other dishes become favorites because they're so damn addictive. Ryan Farr's chicharrones appeal on both fronts.
The pork rinds, each a curl of glassine bubbles, are lighter and more translucent than the chicharrones you'll find at carnicerias and corner stores. You put one in your mouth, and it grips the tongue, creating pinpoints of pain wherever it touches. Bite down, and the rind shatters with a crunch louder and more satisfying than bubble wrap. True to their appearance, Farr's chicharrones are so insubstantial that it's easy to pretend you're eating mostly air; then a pocket of liquified fat bursts across the tongue, reminding you that you're in guilty pleasure territory (that is, unless you're still an acolyte of Dr. Atkins, RIP, who brought some measure of respectability to pork rinds in the early naughts).
Most chicharrones taste of roasted pork fat and salt, and lord, that's potent enough. But Farr tricks the palate, hitting it first with a dusting of sugar. Just when you're getting over the surprise of the sweet, the salt kicks in, then the pork ― and finally your tongue starts prickling again with some chile heat. Eating a chicharron offers a small arc from pain to pleasure and back to pain. You find yourself reaching into the bag seconds after you've finished one of Farr's pork rinds, eager to follow the arc again.
4505 Meats, 4505meats.com. Available at Farr's stand at the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market and at chichi grocery stores around the city
Hungry for more? The dishes in our countdown thus far are linked below:
No. 82: Scallop Crêpe from Ti Couz
No. 81: Gin and Tonic from Pizzaiolo/Boot and Shoe Service
No. 80: Quesadilla from Rico Pan
No. 79: Turkey Kati Rolls from Kasa
No. 78: Emperor's Pancake from Suppenküche
No. 77: Lasagna from Zuppa