So tonight we went out for Don's birthday dinner to a very cool Spanish restaurant where we had preordered their specialty--a "suckling pig."
But first things first--they had some interesting sangria on the menu and we got a pitcher of the one the waiter recommended which was sangria with mango--delicious!
Then we had this amazing selection of cheeses--fresh "cow milk" and "goat milk" cheese--each paired with an interesting preserve. The first was apple lavender, then black olive caramel and then my favorite--chocolate hazelnut puree--OMG!!
The stuff in the background was some kind of crazy-delicious focaccia-type bread. I only had a little taste though to save room for the pig.
We did want to try a couple of tapas--so we had one of my all-time faves--dates and almonds wrapped in bacon:
Then it was time to get our pig on!! Now, let me say that I was excited to try the pig--but I was also feeling nervous as there was some sort of table side "pig presentation" and I was feeling kind of worried about seeing the pig head, etc.So without further ado--here is the pig:
The chef prepared the pig for us and explained how it had been cooked which included a 24 hour soak in a brine of water salt, oranges,herbs and spices. Then it was slow cooked for many hours at a low temperature, then something about a brick oven--I started losing track because there were so many steps!
Anyway--it was truly delicious and I am glad we tried it for the experience--but I must say that I am feeling a little funny about the whole thing. Now, I'm no vegetarian--but I guess I like being "detached" from the animal and this was a little too close for comfort! I might be turning vegetarian after this!!
I was taking a walk this morning with a friend of mine who is from Spain. I told her about the suckling pig--which she seemed to know a lot about--and she said her favorite part was the brain! So when the chef asked us if we wanted to try it--we said yes. Now this part I felt REALLY weird about--but decided to try it just to say I had. I had just a little tiny bit and it was ok--but nothing I would seek out again. Don wasn't crazy about it either.
The pig was served with some very nice sides dishes. Fingerling potatoes:
Delicious white beans with bacon:
And spinach with apples:
But wait--there's more! We managed to save room for dessert. Don had a creamy orange concoction with cranberries and chestnut cake:
And I had a pineapple upside-down cake with cucumber poppy seed relish and--dig this--molasses flavored Pop Rocks!!
Those are the Pop Rocks on the spoon.
We have quite a big of the pig leftover which we brought home for the kids to try--I'm sure Pickle will be all over it considering her love of all things pork!
So that completes Phase One of Don's birthday bash--more to come!
Happy Birthday Don--nice couch!!