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Where's your fave porchetta?

  • Cicely Oct 28, 2009 01:29 PM

I was struck by Melanie Wong's comment (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/662892) that "just a few years ago we were whining on this board about our unmet cravings for porchetta. Now it's everywhere, so many that I haven't been able to try them all yet."

I haven't seen a thread bringing all those porchetta picks together, so thought I'd start one. Where are the top temples of roast pork?

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  1. Oliveto, Camino, and Corso all do great roast pork.

    Some of the best I've had locally was, ironically, at Sea Salt. For a while they were doing it every Friday. Maybe the chef will do it as a special.

    Why is only Oliveto Cafe in the places database?

    -----
    Sea Salt
    2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

    Oliveto Cafe
    5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

    Camino
    3917 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610

    Corso
    1788 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

    1. I love kitchenette's porchetta sandwich. Did not like 54 Mint's porchetta (bland, not cooked that well).

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      Kitchenette
      958 Illinois Street, San Francisco, CA

      54 Mint
      54 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      1. Had a great sample at Fatted Calf, Napa.

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        Fatted Calf
        644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

        8 Replies
        1. re: wolfe

          I've had his roast pig at events, he's a master. Per their newsletter, those were 4-7 lbs. each at $13.75/lb.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Fatted Calf!

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            Fatted Calf
            644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

            1. re: mick

              Agreed - Fatted Calf is Amzaing - great selection of others meatsa as well and take a look at the classes that they offer - been to a few you learn a great deal and you get to leave with some amazing treats - the Truffle and Foie Class was to die for.

          2. re: wolfe

            We were sampled generously on the porchetta at Fatted Calf in Napa. I liked the flavor, but the piece of meat was quite dry and lean on the cut we tasted. Also, the skin was too tough to chew. Another slice of the pig might be better.

            I had the porchetta sandwich at Il Cane Rosso on Sunday. I asked for some of the skin when I ordered, but didn't get any on my plate.

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            Il Cane Rosso
            1 Ferry Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94105

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              What did you think of the sandwich?

              1. re: JasmineG

                It's a good sandwich but not crave worthy for me.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6628...

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I cooked a Fatted Calf Porchetta (well, half of it--the other 7+ lb. chunk is in my freezer) for Thanksgiving and it was excellent. The loin section was not dry at all. It even reheated well for hot pork sandwiches over the weekend. The skin was, however, definitely very crunchy and a bit chewy. It would have been a disaster in a sandwich, but it was great on its own.

                2. re: JasmineG

                  I actually liked the porchetta sandwich at Il Cane Rosso. It was both tender and tasty, at least the day I got it. And I loved all the additions in the sandwich.

            2. Hehe, I've had it at A16, Delfina, Roli Roti (napa), Santi (geyserville), Mark Malicki catering, and Fatted Calf in Napa. So far, Rolli Roti's my fave. Not mentioned yet, haven't tried Poggio in Sausalito. And, I heard from Tootsie's in Palo Alto that a source of small suckling pig has been located, so it will serve it too soon.

              Actually, while waiting for our local restaurants to come around, I learned how to make it myself at home using a 8 to 10# pork belly, salted/seasoned for two days in advance, rolled up. My homemade is my favorite, actually.

              -----
              A16
              2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

              Delfina Restaurant
              3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              Roli Roti
              , Hayward, CA

              Fatted Calf
              644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

              Poggio
              777 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

              10 Replies
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Sounds more like pancetta than porchetta. Other recipes appear to use shoulder or loin.

                1. re: wolfe

                  The traditional porchetta in Rome is a whole boned pig (maybe minus legs and trotters, usually with the head), so one part's no less traditional than another.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I see, there is a company with Tronchetto di, Pancetta di and even Proscuitto di along with whole pig di porchetta. Mouth watering pictures of the products.
                    http://porchettaprimata.com/index.html

                  2. re: wolfe

                    The belly is called pancetta. The porchetta trucks that roam Umbria truss up an entire suckling pig from head to tail. Since the belly is the best part and our pigs are bigger, I use just that. The skin crisps up much more evenly. For a big group, rolling the fresh uncured belly around the loin also works, but I don't need more than 10 lbs of meat at my dinner table.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      In Rome, they're not suckling pigs. I'd say some of the ones I saw at the Festa di Noantri and at the Sunday evening market in Frascati were 300-lb. hogs.

                      Can I get porchetta in the East Bay around 9:30 tonight? This is making me hungry.

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                      Frascati Restaurant
                      1901 Hyde Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I'm pretty sure the porchetta I bought from a stall at a fair in Rome was from a suckling pig. And the lamb in the butcher was real spring lamb. Is there anywhere in the Bay Area that serves *real* lamb and not young sheep (I had a lot of it on my recent trip to Patagonia)?

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          I've seen real lamb in halal butchers.

                          Here are some pictures of a porchetta stand at the market in Frascati. That's one's only about half the size of the biggest pigs I've seen there.

                          http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/05/fr...

                          Suckling pigs max out at around 20 pounds. A porchetta made from a little pig like that would be gone in a few minutes at a busy stand.

                          -----
                          Frascati Restaurant
                          1901 Hyde Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Here's a photo of the porchetta at Poggio from the restaurant's website.
                            http://www.poggiotrattoria.com/images...

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              $16, Mondays only.

                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Interesting, I think I prefer the mobile version. (g) Maybe cooking it on a van's small spit calls for the smaller size. The hanging roast pigs in our local Chinatowns are about 150 lbs, so the Romans go twice as big?

                  3. Tried Rolli Rotti at the Oxbow Market a few weekends ago and waited forever...more than an hour..kept telling us it would be ready in 15 minutes. Now it's nice to get something freshley cooked, but they ought to be ready for business by 1pm -- not nearly 2:15. We walked around and took care of some shopping but when they finally had our sandwich ready, didn't even apologize or offer a free glass of water. Maybe we'll go back, but it was good, not great, and after waiting all that time, it was even dry.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MRMoggie

                      I've had the porchetta sandwich from the Roli Roti at the Thursday FB farmer's market. Meat not particularly tasty, huge hunks of fat, the skin tough as leather and unchewable. The carmelized onions are a nice touch, but I won't bother with this sandwich again.

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                      Roli Roti
                      , Hayward, CA

                    2. I've also found the Roli Roti porchetta to be too salty.

                      1. Is porchetta available in any market in Marin? Meaning prepared and ready to cook.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Mick Ruthven

                          You mean a rolled pork roast with skin on the outside? I think any real butcher that could do that by special order: Mill Valley Market, Bryan's or Paradise Foods in Corte Madera, Santa Venetia or Rocky's in San Rafael. Maybe Mi Tierra, though you might need good Spanish to explain what you wanted.

                        2. Perchetta tonight at Oliveto as part of the Randall Grahm dinner. Menu:

                          Thin-sliced smoked swordfish with arugula and candied orange peel
                          2008 Ca' del Solo Albariño

                          Bay Shrimp and green garlic ravioli
                          2004 Le Cigare Blanc

                          Porchetta with sauce made from Nero d'Avola jelly, Castelvetrano olives, and olio nuovo from Puglia
                          vertical of 2001, 2003, and 2005 Le Cigare Volant

                          Cheese course with chestnuts, and figs
                          1997 Le Cigare Volant

                          Dessert
                          2007 Le Vol des Anges

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: lexdevil

                            I just need to say that this was among my favorite overall dinners ever at Oliveto. A wonderfully cohesive effort with excellent service throughout.

                          2. Fatted Calf is taking orders for porchetta-style country rib roasts, ready to cook or precooked. We're taking one to a party tomorrow, I'll report back.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              The Fatted Calf porchetta-style roast was a big hit. $13.75/lb ready to cook, slightly more cooked. This is a really great and easy festive dish for a party, just stick it in the oven. Helps to have good kitchen shears to cut up the crunchy skin. Our seven-pounder took 2.5 hours following their instructions: http://www.fattedcalf.com/cooktips.html

                              Pickup times:

                              Saturday, December 19
                              Berkeley Center Street 10 am-3 pm
                              SF Ferry Plaza 8 am-2pm

                              Thursday, December 24
                              SF Ferry Plaza 10 am-2pm

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                How do these sandwiches stand up to the Porchetta at the big Sunday Market , Porta di Portese, Trastevere iirc. Perfumes the mind to seek the source of the of browned spit-roasted pork, garlic and rosemary. TDF.

                                We followed the heavenly scent to the source.

                                1. re: stanbee

                                  That Fatted Calf roast was one of the best pieces of pork I've had. It's hard to compare with the whole pig where you can point to the piece you want. Probably better. I suppose a head-to-head is probably impossible.

                            2. Sea Salt is bringing back porchetta for New Year's Eve.

                              1. We had a delicious Porchetta at Starbelly last night. Great crisp skin and moist meat. It is served with some salsa verde and and a spicy chili puree. Yum. As an aside, the sardines with preserved lemon were also really good.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: srr

                                  So new to the thread (and I didn't see it posted anywhere) -- the porchetta that my fiancee craves is the roast suckling pig that is stuffed with pig innards, giving it a completely different taste than the "pork roast" style one that we've been able to find up here in Toronto (Canada). She had hers in Spain, so I'm not sure if that was a local interpretation or if it exists in the San Francisco area. If so, we'd love to know as we're headed to San Fran for our honeymoon!!

                                  Have a great weekend of eating Chowhounders!

                                  1. re: Tony Calgary

                                    Check out what's happening at Incanto.and Oliveto those are perhaps your best chances of finding pork and innards.
                                    Incanto example.
                                    http://www.incanto.biz/quintoquarto.html

                                    -----
                                    Oliveto Cafe
                                    5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                                    1. re: Tony Calgary

                                      I've never heard of that before or seen it here or in Italy. Seems problematic to me as the innards would tend to end up overcooked.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        I have heard of including the liver, but not the other organs. But haven't seen it around here.

                                      2. re: Tony Calgary

                                        Which innards were in this suckling pig besides kidneys and were they in a stuffing like haggis?

                                        1. re: Tony Calgary

                                          Hi Chowhounders,

                                          Apologies for the slow reply -- I've been busy with wedding planning and doing research for the rest of our mini-Honeymoon trip (as well as life in general!). Upon checking, the fantastic porchetta that she had had was a suckling pig, but with pork loin tied inside the pig, not innards.

                                          Upon reviewing the options listed here, it seems like the best option for us during our Tues-Sat trip is stopping by the Fatted Calf during our day in Napa. Oliveto looked promising, but it doesn't seem to have Porchetta on a regular basis.

                                          Any other options I'm missing? (some of the market options sounded like they weren't up to par). Grabbing some Porchetta for lunch would be perfect as we had Porchetta the day after I proposed in NYC!

                                          Thanks again everyone!

                                          Tony :D

                                          -----
                                          Fatted Calf
                                          644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

                                          Oliveto Cafe
                                          5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                                          1. re: Tony Calgary

                                            Did she have it here?
                                            Botín
                                            The restaurant Botín is located just off Madrid’s Plaza Mayor in calle Cuchilleros (knife makers street). The Guinness Book of records lists it as the oldest restaurant in the world (1725, the building dates from 1590) and it is said that the painter Goya actually worked as a dishwasher here. The restaurant is renowned for its suckling pig...
                                            The baby lamb was not bad either.

                                            1. re: wolfe

                                              hey wolfe -- she can't remember if it was at Botin, sorry.

                                              Just another Porchetta sandwich question -- found another recommendation for Perbacco -- has anyone had their porchetta sandwich? Thoughts?

                                              Thanks!

                                              Tony :D

                                              -----
                                              Perbacco
                                              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                              1. re: Tony Calgary

                                                I haven't tried it yet (more's the pity, next trip I hope), but I think the porchetta sarnie is at Barbacco... at least, I couldn't see it on the menu at Perbacco, and it was recco'd in this Barbacco thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6919...

                                                -----
                                                Perbacco
                                                230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                                Barbacco
                                                230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                      3. I'd recommend the method taught by the Tuscan foodie meat god, Dario Cecchini, via the accolyte Riccardo Ricci at the swinefest at Viva's place is Sebastopol - this writer lacking the lucre to do so in the holy-of-holies, Antica Macelleria Cecchini. They cut the legs and head off of a side of pork, boned out the meat - the ribs from the inside, covered it up the interior with rosemary, garlic and fennel pollen, a little herb salt if that's what we can with inadequate speech call 'profumo di chianti', rolled it all up, cut the fat the long way, so it would roll tight, tied it up with kitchen twine and tossed it into the oven, first real hot and then down. Wow, it was good. The pig came from a Mormon farmer via Willowside Meats. It was without doubt, the best pork I have ever had, and I've had more than my share. One can get the fennel pollen and the profumo di chianti, expensive but not that bad in such a cause, but the knife skills, that's hard. I can bone meat, but it the ribs from the inside work would look like the end results of a knife fight, Signor Ricci was an artist.

                                        The meat was terrific because of the mix of fat and lean and the seasonings didn't detract from excellent meat.

                                        It was a great event. There's nothing like eating ground up pork back fat mixed with a dropper of balsamic vinegar, and a little rosemary and salt on a crostini. it looks horrible, and is horrible, but it was awful good.

                                        No critter cooking in sight but here's their website: http://www.saiprograms.com/viva/cours...

                                        1. I'm planning to do an Italian style porchetta pig roast in San Jose. Anyone know of any mobile pig roast/porchetta service in the South Bay?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: rogerspringall

                                            Call to see how far south Roli Roti will go.
                                            http://www.roliroti.com/catering_new....

                                            -----
                                            Roli Roti
                                            , Hayward, CA

                                            1. re: wolfe

                                              Roli Roti sends a truck to the Tuesday farmers market in Monterey, so a catering gig in the South Bay is not out of the question.

                                              -----
                                              Roli Roti
                                              , Hayward, CA

                                          2. Has anyone tried the one at Avedano's in Bernal Heights?

                                            http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/07/din...

                                            -----
                                            Avedano's
                                            235 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                            1. New entry as yet untried by me, shrink wrapped mini porchetta, 2-3+ lbs at $8.69/lb at Costco. Can be served cold but suggested warmed 20min/lb. Anyone tasted it.
                                              http://www.porchettaprimata.com/produ...

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: wolfe

                                                I made this tonight - 2.63 pounds about $22 total in cost - put in oven at 425 for 35 minutes - great crispy skin - pretty good flavor - a LOT of White Fat - really a lot of fat - even for me - who loves the stuff - Hubby only ate the herb covered dark meat - Daughter ate some of the same - son and I ate all the skin and a little of everything else...not sure if porchetta always has this much fat to meat ratio....

                                                1. re: takuhead

                                                  If that was the "petite porchetta" mentioned on that Web site, it's rolled pork belly, which has a much higher ratio of fat to meat than the traditional whole pig.

                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                    it was the petite porchetta - but really there was almost no meat compared to the amount of fat....

                                                    1. re: takuhead

                                                      Sorry for the unpleasant experience. The wording accompanying the picture describes the product but the picture suggests white and dark meat not just fat. Thanks for the warning.
                                                      http://www.porchettaprimata.com/produ...