Angie Mar’s creations included a pork Wellington. Photo: Galdones Photography for COCHON 555.
It takes a little more than a snowstorm to keep down a good chef and a good event. So while the rest of city especially my home borough of Queens was reeling from Jonas, it was business as usual at Cochon 555 in Brooklyn on Sunday night.
Before I set for the long bus ride to Billyburg, I told a friend about the event. “Be sure to get a picture of the red velvet cake,” he said. “I’ll be it’ll be made with pig’s blood,” I said.
With each chef given a heritage breed pig to work with, there was plenty of exquisite pork: from meatballs and stuffed shells to a salad enriched with ham and chicharrones from Upland’s Justin Smillie. As a card carrying carnivore I’m loathe to say that I enjoyed Smillie’s porcine take on panzanella, but if I could eat a salad gilded with chicharrones every day I would. I also enjoyed the tacos de canasta, or basket tacos from Julian Medina. The little wraps of stewed pork rinds and chile guajillo were lovely. For adventurous eaters like myself, Medina whipped up moronga, a pistachio blood sausage topped with chapulines, crunchy grasshoppers flavored with garlic.
“We came with 13 preparations,” Chef Angie Mar of the Beatrice Inn said as she sliced what appeared to be a red velvet wedding cake. The red came from pigs blood. The over-the-top confection also featured candied guanciale, cream cheese and lard frosting, and pork neck caramel. Before I dug into the cake though I sampled Mar’s lovely pig head pozole. And after the cake I sampled something Mar called “My Jewish Childhood.” It consisted of luscious pork fat challah, truffled lardo with smoked pork honey and liver and onion pate with ruby port jelly.
I didn’t get to try many of Mar’s other preparations—frankly I’m not sure how the judges have the stamina to try eveyrone’s dishes—but based on what I tried I knew I had to vote for her. P.S. if you liked Cochon 555, be sure to check out next month’s Charcuterie Masters. These are meaty times, indeed.