A carnivore to the core, I possess a deep appreciation for meat prepared in every way: I love it grilled, braised, sautéed, sous vide, even raw. And when I encounter a expertly-cured piece of pork, I am damn near euphoric. At Locanda, I fell madly in love.
At the popular Mission restaurant, chef Anthony Strong serves coppiette, supremely-satisfying sticks of cured meat. To create his version, he combines the traditional Italian recipe with one for Mexican jerky that uses beer and lime. Strong begins by cutting pork loin into long thin strips and submerging them into a brine of Peroni, Campari, lime juice, and salt for three hours. He then dusts the brined pork with fennel pollen and chili flake, hangs it for six days, and gives it a light smoke over a smoldering log. The resulting meat is a tender, perfectly-spiced piece of Roman heaven.
In my book, there is little better than sitting at the bar, sipping a Campari (or a Menabrea Bionda beer), and munching on classy meat sticks as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs play over Locanda's speakers. And for just $2.50 per coppiette stick, this form of enjoyment can be found often. While the coppiette is a favorite among bar patrons like myself, it is available in the restaurant's main dining room, and as I recently discovered, to go. Things just got even better.