It’s the day after our Big Ol’ Pig pop-up at Washington Square Tavern and we’re in a blissful porky hangover. 400 lbs of John Crow Farm pig = SO MUCH DELICIOUS pork. In case you missed the fun (or want to relive it with a series of pork-intoxicated photos), here’s a rundown of the amazing eight courses put together by Irene, Max, Chris & co.
We started getting excited a few days before with these amazing rib chops and these hanging boudin noir. As someone who has had many blissful full Scottish breakfasts with black pudding, I need more of this in my life.
Irene went cheese shopping and tried to gnaw on every wheel of local cheese they had in stock. Sheesh. Can’t take that girl anywhere.
She managed to tear herself away from cheese tasting to actually purchase some Bayley Hazen blue and creamy bark-wrapped Harbison from Jasper Hill in Vermont and a semi-firm Landaff from New Hampshire.
After lots of hard work and lots of important tastings, the real fun got started last night at 6pm. Washington Square Tavern + Mei Mei = porky happiness!
First course: a badass charcuterie plate featuring pate en croute, Brambly Farm coppa, Round the Bend Farm prosciutto, char siu rillettes, rhubarb chicharrones and our fave pork liver pate cone. Craft beer & cider pairings were a huge element of this meal and we were honored to host some of our favorite brewers at the dinner with us. First up with the charcuterie was the Peak Organic Summer Session Ale from Portland. Great to meet you Toby!
Course two was scarfed up before I could even snap a photo – Spring Roots and Greens featuring a confit pork collar, turnips, radishes, green garlic & Eva’s Greens with a buttermilk vinaigrette. Lexi (our amazing cousin) and Brian said this was one of their favorite dishes, paired with the High & Mighty Purity of Essence out of Holyoke. We <3 Rebecca from H&M (and the awesome Massachusetts Girls Pint Out!) – so nice to finally meet you in person!
Next up came Chris’s awesomely funky Offal Bolognese. He used a lot of special bits from our big ol’ pig and ladled the delicious sauce over olive green wild ramp orecchiette with shavings of Ascutney Mountain Cobb Hill cheese. So chewy and rich and perfect with a nice crisp Berkshire Brewing Company’s Czech Pilsner out of South Deerfield, MA. Nice to meet you guys, we love all your BBC brews!
Now here’s where things started to get serious, and by serious I mean enormous. Remember that rib chop from up top? The talented kitchen crew of WST put some hard work into making these spectacular rib chops, laid out family-style on huge wooden boards for each table. These ginormous hunks of meat took up most of the space on everyone’s table and had everyone whipping out their iPhones to document the meatstravaganza (and make their Instagram friends jealous). The biggest one hit the scales at just about 4 lbs – that’s a hell of a lot of pork chop. WST’s addictve smoked cheddar grits came alongside, as well as some roasted apple, maple bourbon vinegar, mustard seeds, housemade butter, shiitake mushroom pickles. Because a double cut pork chop always needs more butter, right? Right.
This picture truly does not do it justice. Just imagine the largest pork chop you’ve ever seen and triple it. Like the size of Arnold’s forearm, circa these days.
My favorite pairing of the night was the chop alongside Bantam Cider’s La Grande, made with heirloom apples and aged in bourbon & rum barrels. We love Michelle and Dana of Bantam and this dry, complex, lightly bourbon-y cider offset the pork to perfection.
I had kind of expected the Big Ol’Chop to be the showstopper of the evening, but if at all possible, the Homage to Street Food topped it. The board, loaded up with a smoked and braised trotter tostada, a creole sausage po’boy with fried oyster, our pork bun slider, and some Thai red currywurst for EACH PERSON at the table was so heavy that I saw our BU food truck buddy & WST server extraordinaire Julia struggle to even hold it up. Now that’s some street food.
Hilarious. Of course, don’t forget the frito pie with pork chili (stirred with a whole damn leg of prosciutto and smoked cheddar as enjoyed by Calen. Or the ridiculously delicious Smoked Maple Lager from Jack’s Abby in Framingham. So nice to meet you, Jack’s Abby Ben!
Everyone barely had room for dumplings, but these might be some of my favorite dumplings yet. Tons of Chinese aromatics, and so teeny and cute. Ate them in one bite and washed it down with some Night Shift Trifecta – too fast to photograph! Always a pleasure, Mike.
And then came cheese with Pretty Things Jack D’Or, by which point we were pretty damn drunk on pig & beer. Obviously not too drunk to finish off the night with BBC’s Coffee Porter – like an alcoholic carbonated iced coffee of deliciousness. And then we all spilled out onto the sidewalk for the finale – a fresh-made donut with pig’s blood chocolate pudding. Don’t knock it till ya try it.
It was an ideal moment to hang out, stretch your legs, stretch your stomach, say hi to friends, and eat lots of donuts.
I’m pretty sure the Big Ol’ Pig will go down in Mei Mei history as one of our favorite nights ever. How could it not, filled to the brim with all of our most beloved things in the world – family, friends, craft beer & cider, dumplings, street food, local veggies & cheese, donuts and a big ol’pig!?
We had a phenomenal time working with the Washington Square Tavern team – y’all rock our world. We can’t wait to do it again sometime…after the porky hangover is finally over. A huge thanks to Chris, Jerry, Ricky, and the whole WST crew for making the whole night super smooth and seriously fun.
And a last menu perusal for you…can’t wait to see you at the next one!