When I saw that the “secret ingredient” at The Salty Pig’s Porkapalooza event was “Pork Trotter” I immediately reached for my phone to ask trusty Google what the hell I was about to eat. One of my dining mates then informed me that it was what it sounded like – pigs’ feet. Makes sense. We were in for a fun ride!
Dartmouth Street’s The Salty Pig has been hosting their own version of an all pork food throw-down called Porkapalooza. For one flat price of $25, you get to sample two family-style dishes made by the two “competing” chefs (it’s all friendly competition over here) and vote on which one is your favorite. This week’s visiting chef was Karen Akunowicz from Myers & Chang fame vs. The Salty Pig’s executive chef Kevin O’donnell.
Once I got a drink, it was time for business. Each dish was separated by numbers, Chef #1 and Chef #2, so as not to spoil the surprise. After a round of small appetizer plates, it was time for the main attraction – the pork!
Chef #1’s dish was braised pork trotter with collard greens, pickled green tomato, and a soft boiled quail egg marinated in soy sauce.
Chef #2’s dish was stuffed trotter with lentils and a grape mostarda.
I loved the spice in chef #1’s dish. It wasn’t overpowering and grew stronger as you ate. The quail eggs were crazy good, and the pickled green tomatoes cut through the richness of the trotter cake and the spicy sauce.
Chef #2’s presentation was insane. That is a pig’s foot…right there…on my plate. The lentils were perfection and the grape mostarda gave a nice sweetness to the really rich trotter.
Choosing a winner was difficult – they were both so surprisingly (given the somewhat unsettling ingredient) good! After sampling both, all the diners got to vote for their favorites, while the two judges submitted their favorites. Tonight’s judges were Drew Starr, contributing Editor at Eater Boston and Tom O’Keefe, everyone’s favorite man on the street, Boston Tweet.
After tallying the votes, the winner was Chef Karen! Competition aside, it was a really fun way to spend a Monday night. Good company, amazing food, and wonderful atmosphere. I will definitely be checking out The Salty Pig for dinner very soon. If you want to go to Porkapalooza yourself, keep an eye out on Eventbrite’s website. This looks like it’s an event here to stay.