Pig, Glorious Pig

From snout to tail, the tastiest dishes in Orange County

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A. FRIED PIG EARS
Do these golden curls dipped in fiery mayo taste like crunchy bacon or chewy chicharrones? Either way, chef Craig Brady deliciously transforms ear leather into a snack you can’t quit. Haven Gastropub, 190 S. Glassell St., Old Towne Orange, 714-221-0680, havengastropub.com

B. PORK CHEEKS
Dense with flavor but meltingly tender from gentle smoking, these jowls earn howls of joy thanks to chef Daniel Hyatt’s genius for teaming them with seasonal complements. Juliette Kitchen & Bar, 1000 Bristol St. N., Newport Beach, 949-752-5854, juliettenb.com

C. CANDIED PORK BELLY
Intrepid chef-owner Dave Emery’s dark sugar-cane cure makes this indisputable pig candy, and the aromatic bourbon sauce adds simpatico caramel notes. Sol del Sur Bistro, 31115 Rancho Viejo Road, San Juan Capistrano, 949-487-5225, soldelsurbistro.com

D. PORCHETTA
Butterflied pork butt, rolled with fresh rosemary, fennel, and garlic, then roasted and sliced into fluffy ciabatta makes a sandwich that has no equal in O.C. One bite delivers an indelible culinary moment. Paninoteca Maggio, 195 E. City Place Drive, Santa Ana, 714-426-8095, paninotecamaggio.com

E. PETA NEGRA
Complex and rich, this marbleized Iberico cured ham hails from Spain’s prized black-footed pigs. Chef Steven Mary lets it shine in thin rosy slices on a deluxe charcuterie platter along with other meats and cheeses imported from España. Catal Restaurant, Downtown Disney, 1580 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, 714-774-4442, patinagroup.com/catal

F. PIG FEET STEW
Okinawans do the pig proud, so this twee hole in the wall offers many porcine delights. The softened trotters swirled with chewy soba in rich, salty broth are hard to resist. Habuya, 14215 Red Hill Ave., Tustin, 714-832-3323

 

WHOLE HOG
Inspired by the success of Haven Gastropub’s whole roasted suckling-pig meals, executive chef Greg Daniels thinks big with his new six-course Head-to-Tail Dinners. The feasts offer locally grown organic seasonal ingredients for what Daniels describes “an exciting adventure.” Pricing starts at $125 per person, requires two weeks’ notice, and a party of eight or more. head2tail@havengastropub.com

 

Read our 2013 Best New Restaurants here

This article originally appeared in the April 2013 issue.


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