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Thursday, April 28, 2011

No. 14: Adesso's Lonza

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 2:35 PM

click to enlarge Adesso's lonza, pork loin cured with salt and coriander, $9. - JOHN BIRDSALL
  • John Birdsall
  • Adesso's lonza, pork loin cured with salt and coriander, $9.

SFoodie's countdown of our 92 favorite things to eat and drink, 2011 edition.

click to enlarge sf_92.jpg

Good charcuterie is an act of transcendence, a narrative of redemption for an animal's grosser parts, including ― maybe especially ― its fat. It's a narrative that plays out up and down the menu of three dozen pâtés and salumi (from a repertoire of more than 60) available six nights a week at Adesso, Oakland's 2-year-old aperitivo bar. You could settle down here with a cocktail, close your eyes, and stab your finger anywhere on the salumi menu and land on something with a polish that outshines the same selections anywhere else in the Bay Area.

Chad Arnold, Adesso's full-time charcuterie maker, has spent the last four years, salting, fermenting, poaching, and waiting ― prosciutto, the thing Arnold is proudest of, can take two years to reach its optimal state (check back, oh, around Halloween; the prosciutto currently in-house has cured a mere 16 months).

Lonza, cured pork loin, takes significantly less time to ripen, usually a

month or two. The meat is from the short loin, the muscle that stretches

from a pig's last rib to just above where the leg starts, lean flesh beneath a half-inch cap of fat. Arnold salts and seasons

it with ground coriander seed, something he devised

himself. "It's like the squeeze of lemon on a cooked pork chop," he

says, "something lemony-tasting that just tastes good with pork." He

sheaths the loins in hog casing, sprays them with starter culture, and

leaves them to ferment. Within a week, they're covered in powdery white mold. 

It's fermentation that gives Addesso's lonza its gorgeous

fragrance, tart and nutty, the fat infused with the citrus-blossom scent

of coriander ― porky, sure, but pork that skill and patience have

nudged far beyond the animal.

Adesso: 4395 Piedmont (at Pleasant Valley), 510-601-0305.
Dishes in our series so far:

92: Goat tacos from El Norteño

91: Faux shark's fin soup at Benu

90: Esperpento's alcachofas a la plancha

89: Poco Dolce's olive oil chocolate bar

88: Decantr's chicken-liver mousseline

87: Outerlands' levain bread

86: Fraîche's frozen yogurt

85: Gyro King's spinach pie

84: Tandoori fish from Lahore Karahi

83: Braised oxtail and daikon from Namu

82: Golden Gate Bakery's custard tarts

81: Commonwealth's cured foie gras with umeboshi purée

80: Star Stream's Liège-style waffle

79: Mexican hot chocolate from La Oaxaqueña

78: Meatball sandwich from Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe

77: Cheesecake from Zanze's

76: Chicken pepian at San Miguel

75: Macau iced coffee at Vega/Special Xtra

74: Comstock Saloon's Pisco Punch

73: Hai Ky Mi Gia's duck leg noodle soup

72: Sauerbraten at Walzwerk

71: Boudin noir at Cafe Bastille

70: Blackstrap molasses gingerbread at Lotta's Bakery

69: Plow's crispy potatoes

68: Prospect's Catcher in the Rye

67: Pork banh mi from Little Vietnam Cafe

66: Nakaochi at Ippuku

65: Sidekick's chocolate spritzer

64: Farmhouse Culture's horseradish-leek sauerkraut

63: Destination Baking Co.'s challah

62: Cotogna's roasted carrots

61: Hard Knox Cafe's chicken and waffles

60: The Rebel Within from Tell Tale Preserve Co.

59: The Slanted Door's Whiskey Cocktail

58: Carnitas burrito from Taqueria San Francisco

57: Sakura mochi from Benkyodo

56: Birria at Gallardos

55: BBQ pork skewers at Fil-Am Cuisine

54: JapaCurry's katsu curry

53: Vegan flan at Gracias Madre

52: Cinderella Bakery's pelmeni

51: Locavore's maple andouille sausage

50: Lumpia from Hapa SF

49: Moonlight Brewing's Reality Czeck

48: Filetti pizza at Una Pizza Napoletana

47: Pupusas revueltas at La Santaneca

46: Khoresht ghaymeh at Maykadeh

45: Los Muertos at Gitane

44: Sandwich cookies from Sweet Constructions

43: Nicasio Valley Cheese Company's square

42: Nopalito's quesadilla roja

41: Croissant from Sandbox Bakery

40: Cultured's burdock kasu-zuke pickles

39: Sticky chewy chocolate ice cream at Swensen's

38: Maverick's warm Brussels sprouts with slow-cooked egg

37: Roast chicken from Limón Rotisserie

36: Seven Hills' raviolo uovo

35: Morning bun from Pinkie's Bakery

34: Kaw soi dok at Mandalay

33: Fatted Calf's meatloaf sandwich

32: Duck larb at Thai House Express
31: Lark Creek Steak's burger

30: Barbacco's chicken thighs with olives and almonds

29: Mow Lee's lap cheong
28: Dollar oysters at Bar Crudo

27: Fava greens from Tairwa'-Knoll Farms

26: Nopa's mussels with harissa

25: Salt-and-pepper crab at Kam Lok

24: Recchiuti Confections' caramels to the third power

23: Mandarin lamb from Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant

22: Tataki and Tataki South's faux-nagi

21: Blacksmith Cellars' chenin blanc

20: Sardine and avocado toasts at Contigo

19: Chocolate babka French toast from Wise Sons

18: Pralines from Southern Sweets

17: Wayfare Tavern's steak tartare

16: Russian River Brewing's Consecration Ale

15: Kimchi burrito from John's Snack and Deli

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