Friday, May 26, 2006

Tale of Two Pork Bellies

The porkbelly on the left was my entree last Friday night in New York, at WD-50, the stupendous culinary frontier that was the subject of this site's most recent post. As described on the menu, it is prepared it with (dried) sauerkraut spaetzle, and romaine. Our wonderful waiter had mentioned when I ordered that it was a specialty at WD-40.

The porkbelly on the right was Mrs. Yi's appetizer on Saturday night, when we dined the louder and larger 5Ninth, in the nocturnal Disneyworld of Manhattan's Meatpacking district. On the menu, it is described as "crispy and glazed, garlic chili paste, candied lime zest. New York Magazine refers to the chef at 5Ninth, Zak Pelaccio as a "wizard with pork belly."

Just as Chef Dufresne pushes the envelope with New American cuisine, so Chef Pelaccio pushes it with Asian fusion. As self-proclaimed "Baltimore bumpkins," we wish to raise awareness about how popular pork belly has become in New York. So many culinary trends, certainly on the East Coast begin in New York. Then, after ten years or so, the ones that endure find their way to other cities. Fatty cuts of pork have been wildly popular at many of New York's top restaurants for more than a decade. I even enjoyed pig's feet at the Le Cirque of old, and Babbo says it all. Why not Baltimore?

Health issues relating to animal fat and cholesterol are no excuse. We're talking relatively small portions to be enjoyed in the course of an expensive splurge. Until this catches on in Baltimore, we're left with larger portions of chitterlings on the cheap.