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Monday, September 21, 2015

Photos From Oakland's Town Eats Pig Roast

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll

As a part of this year's first annual Town Eats, a low-key alternative to Oakland's annual Eat Real Festival (both of which were located in Jack London Square September 18-20), five local chefs threw a hat in the ring — or rather a hog in the roaster — and took on the challenge of presenting the tastiest plate of perfect pig parts. Participants included alaMar's Nelson German, Haven's Charlie Parker, Lungomare's Craig DiFonzo, Tracey Belock of Chow Haus, and Lev Delany of Chop Bar. At $4 per plate (or $20 for all you can eat), this was one food frenzy that anyone could afford to take part in. Check out photos from this weekend's competition.


click to enlarge Sunny Saturday and festival goers seek out the shade - A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
  • Sunny Saturday and festival goers seek out the shade
click to enlarge A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
click to enlarge alaMar serves up a healthy slab of pig - A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
  • alaMar serves up a healthy slab of pig
click to enlarge What's a little competition between friends? - A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
  • What's a little competition between friends?

On the sunny summer-like Saturday shade was high in demand and plentiful pours of Drake's 1500 IPA, Huckleberry Hangar 1 Punch, and crisp Urban Legend Sauvignon Blanc were clenched in the hands of festival-goers and passersby. DJ's set the tone for a chilled out afternoon that made us forget that summer is on its way out.

click to enlarge Here piggy piggy - A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
  • Here piggy piggy
click to enlarge A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
click to enlarge A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll

Each chef offered a take on the perfectly prepared pig, with home team Lungomare doing a brined bore cross-breed stuffed with nduja (an Italian melange of salami, pork belly, ancho peppers, and cayenne), and served with heirloom tomato, cucumber and watermelon salad and Sicilian potato salad made with anchovies, eggs, and capers.

click to enlarge Lungomare - A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
  • Lungomare

Chop Bar'
s pig was de-boned and filled with an ambrosial concoction of morcilla blood sausage, Spanish chorizo, pimento, and lardo, then served over braised garbanzo beans and a roasted garlic tomato salad.

click to enlarge Chop House - A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
  • Chop House

Haven
brought a Cuban-inspired slow-roasted pig that had been marinated for three days and was served with cabbage slaw, roasted sweet corn, pickled veggies and a spicy savory puree made with tomatoes, jalapeños, lime and hatch chiles.

click to enlarge Haven - A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
  • Haven

Chowhaus served their pork on a buttery housemate bun smothered in bacon aioli and filled with pork and shoestring onion rings. Alongside the sandwich were pickled house veggies and a traditional potato salad.

click to enlarge Chowhaus - A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
  • Chowhaus

alaMar rounded out the options with a pig that had been smoked for 27 hours, injected with a "secret trio" of ingredients, roasted and wrapped in banana leaves, and finished with a bacon honey glaze. Sides included coconut rice and a warm plantain salad prepared with sermons and bacon.

click to enlarge alaMar - A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
  • alaMar

Five plates was more than plenty and with picnic-perfect weather cooperating with the summer-themed offerings, the choice of favorites was a tough one to make. Do I dare to admit that the chorizo won me over, with its spicy savory notes saturating my plate of pig? Though each offering was terribly tasty, the full-on flavors of Chop Bar were my favorite.

click to enlarge Decisions, decisions - A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
  • Decisions, decisions

click to enlarge A. K. CARROLL
  • A. K. Carroll
Votes for first, second, and third place were collected in a Raider's piggy bank and tallied at the end of the evening. (Check back for results.) Festivities continue Sunday with $4 drinks and small plates from local restauranteurs set up in Jack London Square.

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A. K. Carroll

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