*** Disclaimer! Warning! Alert! This post is very meaty and not at all vegetarian or PETA friendly. This post is not representative of how I normally eat, but it happened, and there may or may not be a picture of a cooked animal head below (there is). Do not read this if that will make you uncomfortable. However, If you want to yell at me and express your opinions about it, carry on.
While in NYC last weekend, one of Mr. T’s hipster friends recommended that we dine at Peasant – an Italian eatery in Little Italy. This friend is one of those hipsters who actually realizes that his hipster ways are slightly ridiculous, and who also seems to have pretty good taste in food and the like – so I was excited to try the place out.
After a day of exploring the city, we arrived at the restaurant prepared for a delicious meal.
Neither of us were starving, and I was suffering from a skin-burning allergy attack of some sort (Central Park is pretty, but I was so allergic to something), so our spirits were a little low.
We were seated next to a couple who were clearly on their first or maybe second date and the girl was awkwardly raving about the ricotta she had just eaten. Never have I heard so many sex noises at such a sophisticated establishment.
I took this to be a good, albeit awkward, sign.
As our waiter approached and filled our glasses with water, he started in on his schpeel.
“This”, he said, “will be the best Italian food you’ve ever had in your life. Therefore, don’t be pussies about it and order something cool.”
That was a slight paraphrase, but he basically called us out saying that if we ordered the spaghetti with meatballs, we were losers for life and might as well put paper bags on our heads right then and there.
Then he listed the specials. I can’t remember them all now but they were all indeed slightly outside the box. Some kind of liver dish, some kind of quail dish and then… the grand finale – the suckling pig’s head.
Honestly, I wasn’t really paying much attention to all this. I was eying the bread salad with fresh heirloom tomatoes (which I did, thankfully, order) and the risotto primavera.
Vegetables. Grains. Cheese. My usuals.
As I looked up from my menu and met Mr. T’s gaze, I saw trouble brewing in his eyes. The waiter had gotten to him.
“Want to order the pig’s head?” he asked me.
I could have just said no. I don’t let boyfriends tell me what to do or what to eat – but here’s the thing – I also never back down from a challenge.
I’ve eaten a lot of weird stuff. I pride myself on my willingness to try anything at least once.
Besides, the waiter had said that it would be the best food we’ve ever eaten and that nothing that came from the kitchen was bad. I could do this. I’m sure animal head is a delicacy in some cultures. Right?
I looked longingly once more at the risotto, and said, “Why not?”
To make this happen – we needed wine.
I didn’t really listen too closely to the description of this wine because I was too busy thinking about the fact that I had just ordered a pig’s head for dinner. I think he said something about plum undertones? Anyways, it was really good and I could, in fact, detect the plum undertones. It had a sweet, smooth finish that wasn’t overpowering at all. I normally hate sweet wines, but this was fantastic.
It came with a glass cork, which I thought was cool, so I text the SIL about it to brag. She replied that she always buys wine with glass corks from [insert fancy wine region I can't remember]. So then I tried yet again to impress her by telling her I was about to eat pig’s head. Her only reply was that I was gross and she was eating a gyro. I can never win with that woman. Whatever.
At about this time, we were eating bread salad and drinking wine and it was a perfectly lovely dining experience.
Then came the main event:
Head of pig.
I actually took the picture like this for effect, it was served the other side up (the insides, more specifically, I think Mr. T has that picture) with Italian bread crumbs sprinkled on it.
We were given a little spoon for the eye, which we were told would taste like calimari.
I will not lie to you, this was probably the worst culinary decision I’ve ever made in my life.
I am not a big meat eater. My least favorite meat is probably pork.
Also, when I’m eating, I prefer to know exactly what I’m putting into my mouth.
That was not the case with this pig. I never really knew what part of the head I was eating.
Then, once I deduced that the soft, juicy meat substance I was eating was probably brain – I was done.
Mr. T did a lot better than me. He even said he kind of liked it. And he ate the eye. Power to him.
I ate the amazing polenta that it was served with and drank another three glasses of wine and tried not to think too much about what had just happened.
Do I wish I could take it back? Not really. You only live once and sometimes you just have to eat ethically questionable meals. Whatever. You can judge me if you want to.
What’s the weirdest or most questionable food you’ve ever eaten?