NEW YORK: BYE BYE NYC, NO BUTTS
As on many occasions before, one of my most anticipated meals on a visit to NYC would be at the house of my aforementioned good chum, Cathy.
She has a beautiful house on the Upper West and a garden large enough to fit a Big Green Egg. For those not up to date with their BBQ, a BGE is a smoker and, on previous visits Cathy had cooked sizeable bits o’ pork in there with excellent results.
This time however, and in honour of EAT MY GLOBE she decided to, if you will, go the whole hog. Well, not quite, but, when I visited her at her office on the Tuesday, she proudly took me around the corner to the kitchens of The Tribeca Grill and showed me a 40lb leg of the porcine variety that she was planning to cook for my last night in the city.
While I was off being a tourist, Cathy was busy putting the whole thing together with the help of other food folk who were bringing different dishes and the butchers at The Tribeca Grill getting to work cutting Mr Pig into manageable chunks
On Sunday, twenty of us gathered to see the results and what results.
The pig had been sitting happily in the smoker for the best part of 24 hours until the smoke penetrated the flesh and the rub on the outside formed a crust that I couldn’t help but pick at as I helped Cathy carry the meat to the kitchen.
In a Primal Scream moment, I stood in the kitchen and tore at the meat until it was in shreds and ready to be served with a Carolina style vinegar based sauce and an array of sides which included collard greens and Mac & Cheese. Now, I am on record as saying that the latter dish is one that, like pizza, I just don’t get, but this was a revelation and I went back for seconds before the tray was cleaned out by the descending hordes.
The pork was moist and well, as you can see, there was plenty of it.
Desserts were another hit with my chum Sandy baking a Shaker Lemon Pie which involves leaving lemon slices in sugar overnight and then baking in pie with beaten eggs. The buttery crust was as good as I have tasted.
Plates of peanut brittle and cookies were perfect accompaniments to gelato brought along by another chum, Meredith, who makes them for Mario Batali’s joint, Otto.
I have mentioned Meredith’s gelato before I think. If I have not, shame on me. Her olive oil gelato is worth crossing the Atlantic for on its own and, I would argue, is one of the five great tastes in New York City. Tonight she brought a Guinness Stout gelato and a chocolate. Both excellent.
We started early and finished early. I did, after all, have to be up at 5am the next morning to head to Mexico. But, as I sat in the lounge at Mexico City Airport waiting for my connection, I couldn’t help but think that it has been a hell of a week in NYC and that is almost entirely down to the many people there who took time to spend with me, dine with me, cook for me or give me advice.
So long NYC, I’ll be back again soon. Very soon