At the 2010 Hogtoberfest, a group of somewhat squeamish guests quickly relaxed listening to Matt and Michael’s chatter during the 10 a.m. demo when low-on-the-pig cuts earned a place on American Seasons’s innovative menu of pork choices. At 2 p.m., in the outdoor dining area of the restaurant still warm and flower-scented on an autumn afternoon, guests gathered to sip tasty local beer from island brewmaster Jeff Homer of Cisco Brewers at a Beer Master Class. Different brews, including some particularly good red and deep orange varieties, were perfectly paired with pork delicacies, including several melt-in-your-mouth pates served with artisanal mustards, pickles, fresh ginger, and hand-crafted breads.
Michael LaScola and his wife, American Seasons’ sommelier Orla Murphy LaScola, were on hand to answer guests’ questions. “We decided to do this event because there are so many interesting things that can be done with pork—it is such a versatile meat,” said Michael, sitting in the restaurant’s cozy, creatively decorated bar area. “And the Hogtoberfest is a great way to bring people back to the island between the busy summer season and the December holiday stroll weekend.”
At that evening’s “All Things Pork” dinner, a sell-out crowd of guests gathered in American Seasons’ intimate, candle-lit dining rooms, ready to pig out on pork specials, paired with wines from the restaurant’s all-American wine list, featuring 500-plus vintages chosen by Orla.
The dinner started with a bang when guests were served a small glass of John Jameson’s distinctive Whiskey 1780, the precursor to half of a steaming roasted pig’s head for each guest, served with tart pickles and nose-tingling Baboo’s Mustard.
The pork was cooked to fall-off-the-bone perfection and set the stage for the second of six courses: “Breakfast of Champions,” sweet and comforting with maple glazed pork belly, foie gras sausage, oats, and bacon granola, topped with a sunny quail egg. Served with a classic Bloody Mary, the course was a wake-up for the zippy third course of spicy fired pork and ricotta meatballs, piquillo pepper, and chimichurri, washed down with a zesty Porkslap ale.
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