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Pork Five Ways at Magpie Cafe, a true expression of farm-to-fork.

Pork five ways at Magpie, a tour de force becomes a tradition

Published: Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013 - 1:24 pm

I had a very impressive meal at Magpie Cafe the other night, and even though you probably won’t be able to have the very same meal at this point (it’s in very limited supply), I wanted to tell you about it because it’s a great example of “farm-to-fork” done very well.

It’s a reflection of what Magpie is all about. I’m referring to its latest incarnation of “Pork Five Ways.” This one was beautifully presented, well thought out and deliciously realized.

The pork is special, too — a guinea hog raised locally at Soil Born Farms, one of only seven or eight the farm raised this year. Magpie managed to get one of the pigs.

The Pork Five Ways dish includes a pazole (in the middle), a chop with creamed leeks and herb potatoes; a seared pork belly with heirloom tomato panzanella; and what the cafe is calling “trotter and cheeks” but is really the meat from the face of the pig; and sausage with marrow fat bean puree and cabbage braised in red wine.

I called chef/co-owner Ed Roehr to ask about this latest version of the dish I enjoyed so much.

“I think this is our fifth incarnation and I like this one a lot,” he said. “Our dinner chef, Kelly Hogge, brought a lot of passion to use the whole pig. I really wanted to do something that was fun. It seemed it was something everyone could rally around.

“Everyone is interested in butchery and everyone in the rest of the community feels it is something people should know about. We feel this was the time to do it, take apart a pig and see what comes out of it. I think this is our best attempt at using the whole animal.”

I was at Magpie last night and heard there were only two of the dishes left. The cafe still has sausage made from this hog, and the pork chop remains on the menu and is a great achievement, too.

Call The Bee’s Blair Anthony Robertson, (916) 321-1099. Follow him on Twitter @Blarob

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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Note: The Appetizers blog switched blog platforms in August 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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