Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 199

Pig's Feet Tostada: Today's post was luckily another surprise food find. I seem to be on a roll with surprises lately, and I love it when something materializes that I wasn't planning on. I was all set to blog about something else today, but I noticed an interesting post online that made me change my plans.

I follow a lot of restaurants and chefs on Twitter, and sometimes the flow of information becomes overwhelming. However, every now and then, something pops up on a restaurant's page that I can't resist seeking out. I'd never been to The Original El Taco in the Virginia Highlands, and when I noticed that they had a pig's feet tostada on the menu this week, I knew I had to try it. I've eaten a lot of pig parts during the course of this blog with varying results, but never feet. I like tostadas (and Mexican food in general), and anytime anything is offered with a strange, new animal part, I can't resist. I called the GF and told her about the special, and she agreed to check it out with me.

Once we got there, I was worried that someone in the kitchen may have had cold feet (pun intended) and pulled this strange item off the menu at the last second. Offal can be a hard sell, especially for a restaurant that usually offers more standard items. I was relieved to see the pig's feet tostada listed under the "Carnavale" portion of the menu, which is running through March 6. Score! It was described as being served with Mexican oregano and avocado. Good enough for me.

After ordering, our server brought our food a few minutes later. I wasn't sure how the pig's feet would be served on the tostada, and for some reason, I was picturing a whole foot lying on top of the dish. Ridiculous, I know. My hunch was disproved quickly - the meat was actually cut into a square piece, then layered on top of the refried beans covering the tostada shell. The avocado and oregano were arranged on top of the meat, and the whole dish looked really tasty. I couldn't wait to taste what pig's feet were all about.

For my first bite, I decided to try a piece of the pig's foot by itself, then try a bite with all the other components after. I noticed that the meat looked like a mix of the fatty, gelatinous stuff that I love, plus some leaner parts. The flavor was good - much like brisket, only much fattier. I know that meat with this much fat content freaks some people out, but it's not like eating the tough, chewy fat off of a piece of steak. It was more like the center of a good piece of pork belly, only without the crispy exterior. The other ingredients worked well with the pig's feet, and I devoured the whole dish quickly. Yum.

I hope other restaurants take El Taco's cue and start featuring more offal dishes. Aside from making my blog much easier to write, it also introduces restaurant-goers to some great new things they may not normally try.

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