“There is poetry in a pork chop, to a hungry man” – Philip Gibbs (NY T[Cr]imes 1951)
Let me clear something up right off the bat so as to save you ladies a breath. Which breath? The one you likely gasp every time your boyfriend retrieves leftovers from the fridge and eats them without first warming them up. Don’t have a boyfriend? Well, this applies to all men – your husband, father, nephew, uncle, son, and even your son’s moochy friends who come over and clean out our fridge.
We know it tastes better heated up; we are not complete idiots. I say, “not complete idiots” because I recognize that through a woman’s eye, much of what we men do falls into a special category of idiocy, but we have our reasons (most of which are a mystery, even to ourselves.) But, we are hungry now, and want to eat now; not a minute and a half from now. Hell, a minute and half from now I will have already disposed of the primary leftover and be rooting through the fridge for some sort of back-up leftover, secondary leftover, side dish leftover…or quite possibly will be interviewing for the Zert position on my meal “team.” And yes, by “interviewing”, I mean that I will be tasting, with the fridge door wide open, everything even remotely sweet, until I find a qualified candidate.
I use the say “rooting through the fridge” because that is a perfect description of how we men forage for food in an urban setting. For as methodical and precise as we are when we hunt, we are equally the opposite when rummaging through the kitchen, pantry, and fridge for sustenance. If you have ever seen wild pigs “rooting”, you understand why the word is so appropriate. Pigs stick their nose into the ground in order to sniff around. Then they use their powerful jaws, heads, and necks to plow through even the toughest ground. By the time they are done you could not have rototilled the earth better with a John Deere tractor. When you are driving through the countryside and notice a field or a hill that appears to have been struck by a bomb, you can assume that wild pigs have been “rooting” there recently. Well, in case you had any doubts, we men are called pigs for a reason. We are the domestic version of what is running around in the wild “rooting” for its food.
And if you think writing your name on the top of your leftover box makes some sort of difference, you are right. We will either take enough to fulfill our hunger while still leaving enough to think we have fooled you OR we will open the carton in a way that allows us to convince ourselves we never saw the name and didn’t know that it wasn’t meant for us. See, writing your name on your leftovers does make a difference, although not in the way you had hoped. And even though we were at the restaurant when you specifically told us not to eat your leftovers, our memories are conveniently short as well as prone to short circuiting when we are hungry and rooting around for food. But, one thing you should know about our decision to grab something out of the fridge and eat it cold – we have taken into consideration the “cold fridge factor” and still, yes still, want to eat it NOW…unheated.
Why am I telling you about men and some of their eating habits? Because last Sunday I ate the best pork chop of my life, and it came directly out of the fridge…and for all you women reading – no, I did not heat it up. (Don’t fret; with enough time, you will learn our patterns, even if you never develop an appreciation for them.) Although my mother usually can’t help herself, she didn’t bother to ask, “Don’t you want to heat that up?” Or else, a minute and a half elapsed between the time I closed the fridge door and when she first noticed I was eating, at which point I was already done.
Why was I eating a cold pork chop out of my mother’s fridge on Sunday? That is a silly question. Obviously, there was no cold pork chop in my fridge. Also, she had dined at Sugo on Saturday night and had order the last of their most recent special — Grilled Pork Chop, Mustard Brussel Sprouts & Basil Mash.
On Friday the GF and I had a hankerin’ for the best bacon cheese burger in town, which is served at Sugo. Okay, it isn’t technically a “bacon cheese burger” – it is a “grilled angus burger, gorgonzola, caramelized onions, prosciutto, greens, ciabatta” and it is the best burger in town, and sits within a spot or two of the top of my list of best burgers I have ever eaten, anywhere (and for a third to a half of the cost of my all time favorites.) When we arrive at Sugo for our burger, the place was abuse with talk of a magical pork chop. We actually overheard more than one table talking about it. We had a hard time ordering our burger when yet another table, the table next to us, was overheard telling Pete (one of the owners) how wonderful the pork chop was. Don’t let Sugo’s status as the best Italian restaurant in town fool you. Unlike most Italian places, meat is not a mere afterthought when they add it to their menu. If you haven’t had their filet (or filet salad), it is not only incredibly tasty but it is very reasonably priced. Gleaming with pride, Pete was describing what made Sugo’s pork chop so special. Sugo has brought back “brining” which is a technique of preparing meat that ensure it will stay moist and flavorful. Brining has been around for thousands of years but rarely do you see the process being used in anything but five star restaurants, and even then, it is rare. I can only imagine it takes more time and effort, but Sugo spares no expense to bring us the best of the best.
Anyway, we ordered our burger and enjoyed it thoroughly. But we couldn’t stop thinking about Sugo’s pork chop. So, the next afternoon (Saturday), we called my mother to see if she wanted to join us for dinner, prior to our departure that evening for our curling league. (Yes, I said “curling”…but that will have to wait for another blog.) Knowing she loves a good pork chop, she was thrilled at the invite and a bit disappointed when we found out that we had to leave for curling prior to Sugo’s dinner hours. You can imagine my surprise when I arrived home after a night of curling only find out through Facebook that my mother had gone to Sugo without us, and not only tried the pork chop but ordered the very last one available. What a scamp! When I called on Sunday morning to give her a hard time, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she had filled up on the Scallop Risotto (which is one of my favorite dishes at Sugo) so she still had half the pork chop in her fridge. (She also might have been thinking about her #1 son and how much he wanted to try the pork chop…that is kind of mom she is.)
So, why did I just spend a thousand words telling you all this? Well, first of all because I talk a lot, which means I also write a lot.
But more importantly…Sugo’s Grilled Pork Chop is back by popular demand!!! Their kitchen is only so big, so they don’t have an endless supply of these things. I suggest you get down there as soon as possible if you want to taste a truly phenomenal pork chop. If it was that fantastic as a cold left-over, I can only imagine how good it will be when served as Sugo originally intended. Sugo has become quite popular in the evenings so don’t be afraid to head down for lunch. Although the short wait on a Friday or Saturday night is well worth, if you need your pork chop post-haste, I highly recommend going in today for lunch. What goes better with a beautiful, sunny, crisp Petaluma winter’s day than a warm grilled pork chop? …I can think of nothing.
And in case you didn’t know; you can order Sugo’s food to go. So, if you want to spend your evening in, you don’t necessarily have to cook for yourself. Their menu is available on their website at www.sugopetaluma.com Also, Sugo has a special every Tuesday (all day and night) — Bruschetta Trios are only $5, as are ALL their wines by the glass. (They have added an incredible white bean & panchetta to the list of Bruschetta Trios choices (you get to pick three flavors from a list of many) and unlike a lot of restaurants, Sugo offers all their wines by the bottle or the glass.)
See you there!