Roli Roti’s Porchetta
Other than this post by “little big al”, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/391492#2481503 , 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/2265/1954486268_06a06f4f7a.jpg?v=0 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.
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.
, Hayward, CA
I was just introduced to Thomas last weekend by my friends in the city who have availed themselves of his catering services in the past. As a gourmand, former chef and traveler I have to say that this may be the best rotisserie I have ever had. The pork is incredibly well cooked, perfectly done regardless of the hours it may have spent on the rack. I was lucky enough to be able to take home some of the leftovers from the whole loin that my colleagues purchased for their Superbowl/wine party, skin/belly included. I have been baking chicharrones from the skin for the past few days and making more sandwiches from the meat, doing everything I can to stretch my gift to its end. As a newcomer to the bay area I will make all possible sacrifices to return to the foodie mecca that is the Ferry bldg market. Roli Roti will always remain a necessary destination.
Out here in Vancouver, I routinely wake heartbroken by the realization that I have only been dreaming about biting into a Roli Roti porchetta sandwich! What a boon to have read this thread and discovered one of Herr Thomas' recipes to try to fake up a reasonable fascimile to tide me over till our next trip to SF. Here's my encomium from Nov 2008 and a link to that thread if you want to see the pictures:
Thank goodness we only split one turnover or we would have had no room for the porchetta sandwich from Roli Roti (www.roliroti.com). The rotisseur (and I surmise owner) Thomas Odermatt was so proud of his product and so keen to help us enjoy it optimally that it really added to the experience. He asked if we wanted our $8.50 sandwich “authentic” and then showed us that meant sopping up the meat juices in the ciabatta bun (the answer was yes please). He happily posed for photos and the one attached was taken as he was explaining to two English visitors how to pronounce porchetta even if you don’t speak Italian. The fresh and peppery arugula and balsamic caramelized onions created the perfect meaty treat along with the ridiculously yummy spiced and roasted pork with built in crackling.
We shared a sandwich and were completely stuffed, especially after the half turnover.
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.
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.
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)
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: