Sunday, December 11, 2005
This little piggy went to Norman's
piggy in his caja china
...and cried oink, oink, oink all the way home. Norman's on the Sunset Strip has decided to extend the Friday night Pig 'n Paella nights into the winter, even though it's too cold to eat outside on the patio. That's ok, because then you won't be able to get to know the nice little piggy too well before you dig in. Vegetarians, time to stop reading.
So anyway, we were invited to taste the pig 'n paella, and we took Billy and Amy along to try it out. We started with mojitos for the others and a Pisco sour for me, all very refreshing. The pig plate threatened to be a lot of food, so we just got two appetizers for the table -- the shrimp ceviche and the amazing conch chowder. The chowder was served with a pile of conch meat, corn and other chopped items in a bowl, and the server then poured a decadent mixture of slightly sweet cream and coconut milk into the bowl. It was wonderfully seasoned with star anise, but so rich that one bowl was plenty for four people.
Peter, the wonderful sommelier, whose descriptions of wine are like comforting bedtime stories, brought us a carafe of Pasanau, a Spanish red made predominantly from cabernet with some garnacha. The wine's smoky character stood up well to the succulent roast pork. The pork is roasted in a caja china, the traditional wooden roasting box, right outside the restaurant. I don't want to know what happens after that, but soon we were presented with plates brimming with roast pork, crispy pork skin, paella, coleslaw and fufu (mashed plantains and sweet potatoes).
roast pork with crisy skin in foreground, paella in background
The pork was incredibly moist and I'm afraid I devored every bit of the crunchy skin as well. The horseradish-flavored coleslaw also helped cut the richness of the pork, but the fufu was too starchy and filling for me to explore with so many other flavors. We were glad we opted for the paella pairing, since an entire plate of roast pork would have been a lot. We finished with a cheese plate and their small complimentary plate of cookies. Our server Andrew was extremely attentive and friendly, and we all gave the place pretty much our highest compliment: "We would return here on our own dime," especially since the pig 'n paella is only $19.
at 10:56 AM