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Roli Roti’s Porchetta

Other than this post by “little big al”, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/39149... , the ‘hounds are being much too close-mouthed about the delectable porchetta from Roli Roti’s truck at Ferry Plaza. It’s addition to the menu makes the scent of this traveling rotisserie wagon even more irresistible. A porchetta breakfast became a must on Saturday morning and now I think it’s high time to blow the lid off.

I ordered the porchetta sandwich, $7. If you ask for “authentic”, the cut ends of the Della Fattoria roll are rubbed over the cutting board to swab the fatty juices, as shown here.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2265/1... Of course, that’s how I wanted mine. I tried to connect through a porcine telepathic channel with the proprietor, using all my might to mentally will him to offer me the shard of crispy skin that was tossed aside on the board. When it was my turn to order, he did!

Here the porchetta is a pork loin rolled up in a pork belly with herbs and garlic. A nice slice of this spiral is sandwiched in the roll, sprinkled with sea salt, and topped with some braised sweet onions and tender parsley. It’s nestled in an aluminum tray and looks like this.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2054/1...

Even though the near-black skin looks burnt, it’s not. The roasting takes it all the way to the edge to get a crackly skin. The sandwich had too much bread in proportion to meat, and the slice of meat should have been scored to make it easier to eat. That said, I cannot fault the porchetta itself at all. Juicy and full flavored with a good lean to fat ratio, and of course the lovely skin. A new thing to crave.

This may be available only at the Ferry Plaza market. The porchetta can be purchased for $10.50 per pound. The pork is sourced through Heritage Foods USA. Roli Roti uses Fulton Valley Sonoma Select range chickens. i overheard someone ask about onsite catering minimums and a party of 30 works.

New since my last visit are pig’s knuckles, and duck too. C’mon, someone’s gotta tell us about them.

And, just for kicks, here’s a photo of the near 1,300 pound pumpkin from Half Moon Bay on display in front of Market Bar.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2361/1...

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Roli Roti
, Hayward, CA

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  1. I am feeling a bit admonished with this post because I've known about it for a while. Thomas has been doing it on/off for about 6 months. So far, my favorite thing to do is buy the porchetta by itself, buy ciabatta from Della Fattoria, and then take it home to make my own delectable sandwich. One of my favorite bites this year.

    Eating Asia has my favorite photos of the porchetta:
    http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatinga...

    1. Thanks for the report. Nice shot of porchetta and the roll being rubbed over the cutting board. Wonder if the truck makes other regular stops in the bay area.

      7 Replies
      1. re: wanderlust21

        The link to my post (thanks FM) brought me here - Thomas told me he is in Marin, I believe, on Sundays. And on Thursdays he is in Daly City where he does roast pork knuckles (a take on Philippine crispy pata) for the local Filipino crowd. Now THAT I would really like to try.

        1. re: foodfirst

          You're right, foodfirst. He's at the Sunday San Rafael market -- I'm just not sure if he's doing the porchetta there? He tends to change around what he's doing for different markets. Also, I noticed the porchetta wasn't at the FPFM a couple weeks ago and it happened to be a day that Thomas wasn't there, so I started a theory that he only does it when he's there.

          I couldn't sleep last night and found myself plotting a trip to the Saturday FM before a trip just to get a porchetta sandwich.

          (P.S. - Didn't know you were on CH! Glad to know! -- Jen)

          1. re: Fig Newton

            And I didn't know you were on CH, FN! It really is a small world!

            1. re: Fig Newton

              Here's the website calendar, http://roliroti.com/locations_new.html , but no indication of when/where the porchetta is available.

              (Clicking on the Places link for Roli Roti will lead to the Places page with the website link too)

              1. re: Fig Newton

                Unfortunately, they are not doing the porchetta at the Sunday market, but I got a fabulous piece of lamb there on Sunday and the leftovers made an awesome sandwich.

                1. re: Sharon S.

                  He's been doing different things at different markets, you're right. I don't think he usually does the lamb at the Saturday market, for instance.

                  This weekend, he basically said that he has no plans to bring the porchetta to the Sunday San Rafael Market.

              2. re: foodfirst

                Hey there, LTNS!

                Here's a link to a thread on the wine board for suggested wines with porchetta.
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/456726

            2. Correction: the greens are curly cress aka pepper cress, not parsley. And, Thomas, the proprietor has confirmed that the porchetta is only available on the days that he is personally at the market.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                There is an interesting little blurb about Roli Roti in this month's F&W (I got it for free). It mentions that he also cooks rabbit and lamb. The online version has his recipe for pork rib roast.

                http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/t...

                1. re: wanderlust21

                  Cool, here's the discussion thread for the Napa site.
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/492687

                  Have you had a chance to try it?

                  Would love to hear from anyone who can report on the rabbit, lamb, duck, or pig's knuckles!

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Herr Thomas gave me a taste of his lamb once and it was better than I could make. Rosy pink and herby as all get out. The hocks are all you could wish for. Eat the cracklin's for a snack and put the meaty bits in yer beans.

                    1. re: little big al

                      Ah, there you are Al, thanks much for the original tip. And, I appreciate the word on the lamb and hocks too, will have to plot to try them.

              2. I sent an e-mail to the address listed on the Roli Roti website asking if there were any plans to offer the Porchetta at the Friday Old Oakland farmer's market.

                Thomas Odermatt replied within a couple of hours. His email said, in part:

                "Currently, porchetta is only available at the SF Ferry Plaza farmers market on Saturdays. It is normally ready between 9:00 and 10:00 (depending on the size of meat) and sold out by noon time. It is available by slice - $11.50 lbs or as a sandwich - $7.50.

                One of the reasons why it is available only in SF is that porchetta is such a sensitive product and I’d like to cook it by myself at the moment. So sometimes when I am not at the SF market, porchetta will not come out."

                I appreciate his very timely and polite reply. I hope he doesn't mind me posting it here but I felt it might clear up some questions.

                1. A few months ago he was also selling pig cheek sandwiches which were amazing. He only had enough for probably a dozen sandwiches so you had to be there right on time (started selling them at 11 am I think). Anyway, the meat was delectable. That great crispy,chewy, fatty, succulent nature of good slow cooked cheeks. I wonder if he is still making those.