Well, everyday is a good day to make bacon. Today is particularly great since its Sunday, Easter, and gorgeous outside.
Cedarbrook Lodge, Seattle
March 17th, 2013
COCHON 555 – five chefs, five pigs, five winemakers, five years! Do not miss it when this one-of-a-kind traveling culinary competition and tasting event comes to town and marks a culinary milestone with its 5th Anniversary Tour. Created to promote a national conversation around the sustainable farming of heritage-breed pigs, each event challenges five local chefs to prepare a menu from the entirety of one 200 pound family-raised heritage breed of pig, nose-to-tail. Twenty judges (culinary luminaries) and 400 guests help decide the winning chef by voting on the “best bite of the day”. The winner will be crowned the Prince or Princess of Porc and will compete at Grand Cochon event at the FOOD & WINE Classic, at the recently renovated Hotel Jerome, in Aspen on Sunday, June 16.
New additions to the events in 2013 include the launch of an exciting cocktail competition called “Punch Kings” featuring Breckenridge Bourbon, prepared by  local bartenders, plus the new TarTare Bar paired with SIMI Wines. VIP hour also sees a special engagement with Black River Caviar. All attendees enjoy butcher demonstrations, sustainable oysters, creative pork dishes from all the chefs, a visit to the Manhattan Bar or new Chupito Bar featuring Mezcals, plus the infamous Cheese Bar saw bold enhancements, ice-cold brew from Anchor Brewing, pork-spiked desserts and cold-brewed coffee will close out the evening.
The COCHON 555 event is 100% inclusive and always on Sunday.
So today a Norte blew in, and closed the port. Rather than dwell on the fact that I’m loosing a day of diving (and we only have one day left to dive) we decided to make the most of it and head over the East side of the island for the day. The house we are staying in has some really nice people that we met recently, so 5 of us squeezed into our little rental car, and headed to the east side for adventure.
Mark knew of a little place that made tortas on the South end of the island. We headed there first and I ate one of the most amazing things I’ve ever had. I have no idea what it was, but trust me it was good stuff. The second stop was a little place where they make drinks in real live coconuts. Wow, that was cool, and not as cheesy-touristy as I expected. Then we found a spot on a remote beach and hung out for a few hours until the wind started kicking up sand. Further up was another bar where we drank margaritas out of clay pots and enjoyed the view of “Naked Beach” (no one was on it, so it was naked…. Get it?)
I played with my camera in the afternoon finding things to shoot. Mexico has great textures and colors.
Beth and I headed to Le Chef for dinner, then walked around the square for a bit. The wind is still REALLY strong. I’m not sure if the port will be open or closed tomorrow. Since we fly on Monday tomorrow is our last opportunity to dive. Hopefully things calm down tonight.
While I’m eating like a cave man, and dreaming of all the things I can’t eat I spend a lot of time thinking about all the damage I’ve given myself permission to do while diving in Cozumel. All food is fair game. Over the years we’ve found some great places to eat on the island. I hope to add a few new places to the list. Here is where I plan on gorging myself on the trip.
Kinta- Kinta is a beautiful place right near Melgar and the plaza. Great food, service, and consistency. Nice and romantic.
Kondesa - Kondesa has the same owners as Kinta. Similar, but not TOO similar of a place. Again, great food, and nice atmosphere
Wet Wendys - Wet Wendys is THE place to go for margaritas. They make some of the craziest drinks you can imagine, and manage to pull them all off. The owners make their own tequila, and it’s worthy of packing a few bottles to bring home. Food is also great here. We wind up here for drinks after diving, and when Chad is playing live music come around for cool tunes.
El Moro - El Moro is a about a 15-20 minute drive away from the waterfront into the residential area of San Miguel. It’s one of the most friendly places on the island, and has some amazing local cuisine. I’ve had many wonderful, and happy meals here (and memories) here.
La Choza - We usually come here for a post dive lunch. Great food and service.
La Candela - La Candela is right around the corner from one of our dive shops. Same owners as La Choza, and the food here is less touristy, and more local. I like it that way.
Los Otates - Los Otates is pure taco joint. Great tacos, cheap beer. No frills, but great food.
los chilango’s - los chilango’s is something most Americans don’t usually experience. It’s basically a home, that does really inexpensive lunch, and does it really well. Expect to share a table, and for them not to speak much English. It’s cheap with prices averaging $5-$6 for a meal.
Fellini’s Pizzeria - Fellini’s Pizzeria is amazing. I would have NEVER thought you could compare Mexican pizza to something you’d find in NYC or Chicago. But heres the deal. When I’m back in the states, I dream of Fellini’s Pizzeria. When I’m on the Island, I eat it as much as possible. Oh, and their homemade chimichurri compliments a pizza like nothing else.
So I’ve started experimenting with curing my own meats. This seems like the next evolutionary step from smoking meats to me. Around New Years I cured 5 pounds of pork belly, and was super happy with the results.
I talked a few work friends into going in on a larger haul with me. Here’s how I’m doing it;
First off, you’ll need to get some Curing Salt. I bought mine here. A little goes a long way, so you won’t need a ton. The rest of the items you’ll need are pretty simple. Kosher Salt, Dark Sugar, Maple Syrup (true Vermont syrup)
Here is the recipe I used for the curing, per 5 pounds of pork belly.
- 2 tsp curing salt
- 2 oz Kosher Salt (1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup Dark Sugar
- 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
Put all the ingredients in a bag, with the meat and seal the bag. Now you just need to let time do it’s work. The whole process takes 7-9 days. Keep the bag refrigerated, and turn the contents over every day to redistribute the curing ingredients.
When the curing is done, I’ll post on how to smoke the bacon for extra flavor.