Napoleon Ridge pork loin with sorghum drizzle at Bouquet
’Tis the season for reflection on the year gone by. I’ve had some amazing food adventures that I still haven’t blogged about. I’ll try to remedy that in January, but here’s my first installment. With thanks to the chefs and farmers who made these meals possible, the fine folks I’ve had the pleasure to share a table with, and the new friends I’ve met along the way, Happy New Year!
We’re not talking pig roast here. Last March farmer Tricia Houston of Napoleon Ridge Farm asked if I would like to partake of a tasting dinner Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar in Covington was preparing with one of her pigs for a potential customer. There is only one correct answer to an invitation like that: “Yes!” At the last minute, she insisted my meal would be on her, and although I grappled with the blogger ethics of accepting a free meal, I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world.
This herby porchetta followed an appetizer showcasing a sous-vide Napoleon Ridge egg atop quinoa, mushrooms, and sherry cream.
Napoleon Ridge porchetta from Bouquet
The pork loin at the top of this post followed, then a single plate featuring these two pig cuts I'd never had the opportunity to taste before.
Napoleon Ridge pork bicep from Bouquet
Napoleon Ridge pork kidney from Bouquet
While you’re not apt to find pig bicep on the menu at Bouquet on a regular basis, the restaurant's specials are not to be missed. (They are sometimes mentioned on Bouquet's facebook page.) Chef Stephen Williams and his team, including the talented Bhumin Desai, are firmly committed to cooking seasonally and letting their carefully sourced local ingredients shine. One of the coziest rooms in Greater Cincinnati, Bouquet also offers a great wine selection, gracious, unpretentious service, and phenomenal housemade sorbets like this one.
Bouquet's mint sorbet
During 2012, Bouquet expanded its kitchen, and I'm hoping they will open their second floor during 2013. P.S. The “potential customer” the kitchen was cooking for that night was Jim Cornwell, who sometimes carries Napoleon Ridge products at Dutch’s Larder, which has since opened.