Well, last night was Refuel’s annual Whole Hog Dinner. There were three seatings offered: 6:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. In preparation for my senior years, I opted for the early bird special, arriving maybe five minutes before the scheduled seating. As I neared the restaurant, I noticed a group of people milling about outside. Assuming they were anti-foie gras protestors, I prepared to launch a verbal barrage their way. I don’t know what made me hesitate, but it’s a good thing I did because it turned out they weren’t protestors but diners waiting for the restaurant to open its doors.
Finally, the door was opened and we were welcomed inside. Unlike the previous Whole Hog Dinners I attended, this one was family style. We were seated at one of three long banquet tables along with some forty other strangers, and the festivities commenced…
A great dish, but this was the first hiccup of the family-style service. The previous two courses went well as we were served one platter to be shared between four people. Those who wanted more could eat more while those who wanted to save their appetites could opt for smaller portions. But when the boudin noir arrived, we were informed there were six portions, one for each diner (meaning the four diners to my left, myself, and the gentleman sitting across from me while his wife and my date would have to fend for themselves). Another two platters were served to the other side of the table. Normally, I would have offered the platter to the ladies but, since they were seated to my right, they were technically on the opposite side of the dividing line which meant that serving them the boudin noir would deny the foursome on my left their portions. The platters to our right never found their way over so we all sat there awkwardly and made idle chitchat until one of the foursome on my left finally made the move and helped themselves. In the end, the ladies elected not to go for the boudin noir so the six portions for the eight diners worked out fine, but given the singular nature of the servings, I didn’t understand why this course wasn’t served individually.
Then, it was time for the big show. The confit pigs’ heads were trotted out for display purposes. They were given a place of honor at the front of the room so that guests could take advantage of the photo op.
Alas, my pic of the actual crispy-skinned pork served with roesti potato and sauteed savoy cabbage came out to blurry. I only had the briefest of opportunities to snap a pic before the platter was whisked away. By the time it came back, everyone had helped themselves to the pork cheek so I had to settle for neck and snout. Listen, pork neck and snout are great – but they’re no cheek.
So, overall, some truly wonderful dishes. But I can’t even begin to tell you how much I really, REALLY, REALLLY HATED the family style dining. I’m sure it works well – if you actually happen to be dining with family, maybe even friends – but it’s all sorts of awkwardness when dining with strangers. Especially strangers who think nothing of helping themselves to all of the pork cheek.
Chef Ted and Chef Rob bid us a fond adieu as they prepare for the next sitting…
27 thoughts on “October 28, 2010: Refuel’s Annual Whole Hog Dinner!”
Big brain? I mean for the 18 months I’ve read you blog I’ve envied your food endeavors…but this is one I wouldn’t mind skipping. Lol
Thanks so much,
Major D. Davis
Akemi! Woo! 😀
Just a quickie t’night…
@ Shirt’n’Tie – What interesting news you have! Keep us posted how things go…seems you’ve stirred up quite the pot! Also, those cufflinks were fab!
@ Tim Gaffney – Thanks for the link to Chris’s interview! I don’t get to Gateworld much these days, so I probably would have missed it. I really love him as The Big Guy, but…ya know…my heart will always belong to Todd. Sounds like maybe he misses the character as much as I do. 🙂
Love the chef’s shirt: “Bacon is meat candy” haha that’s great!
I must say I’m somewhat neutral to caprica being canceled although I never got into bsg. Now if sgu were to get canned I think I would go ahead and die right then and there.
Brain?…really?…and it was the best dish you say? Well we knew you were a little odd but even still, brain is a whole other kind of freaky. 😛
@Antonio Chavez: blueberry aliens = extraterrestres color de arándano?
(còmo cream-colored ponies = caballitos color de crema)
Hey Joe, You might find this interesting:
(don’t worry, it’s nothing nasty, its a story on deep fried chocolate covered bacon)
It’s not my thing (not a big chocolate fan TBH), but you might find it worth a look.
Pig heads? Ugh creepy.. Brains even more so.
I hate stuff like that.
It’s not Halloween yet :O
Hey Joe, last episode was good. Not really bringing anything forward in the series though.
Question: In Cloverdale, was the cinema used in Smallville as the Talon? And the town as Smallville downtown?
I am a bit concerned with the ratings for SGU. When will we know if there will be a season 3? How significant are the DVR-offset ratings in determining the show’s performance? Or is the network only concerned with live + same day ratings?
Spend more time in Europe. Family-style, or as I generally call it, Stranger-Style, dining is typical. The tables may be set up similar to here but if you have any spare seats, expect them to be taken up with other people.
I noticed on the syfy website that they just cancelled Caprica.
I really am starting to like the show in season 1.5 , it is a shame that they are cancelling it.
Since they are cancelling the last 5 shows, then what are they going to play after stargate ?
I am really hoping for the best with SGU. I am praying it gets another season! I see the nielson numbers have been hovering right about the same every week.
Do you think it will be eneough as it is now for the show to be renewed ?
Did they (SYFY) give you any numbers that they feel the how needs to average ?
Also does the show have to be played on SYFY or does the Stargate franchise have the ability to sell the show to another network ?
Agree about family style, eggplant & the beer sounds excellent!
I bet you’d probably kick ass at any of the eating stunts from Fear Factor.
What a nice feast and they had 3 sittings!, Wow, they are good. I would have taken the early seating as well, can’t imagine eating all that at 1100pm, what a night-mare that would be. A pigs head chasing me down the street and the chefs with those big knives. Uh, were the pigs heads empty and just for show?? crispy. Family stlyle eating, maybe that was the best way to go to get everything served in a timely fashion, but I am not a fan.
Hi Akemi, good to see your smiling face again. Thanks for sharing with us Joe.
@das, did you see where they commissioned a second season of Sherlock?
@Shirt’n’Tie, cool cufflinks, good idea! Best wishes on the job front, such a radical, lol!
Totally Iron Chef stuff. Pity about the seating. And such a waste. All those people with no appreciation with whom they were sitting. Not to mention being rude enough to eat the cheek without so much as a by-your-leave to the rest of the table, i.e. you.
Looks delicious. A shame it’s a once in a year thing. My only consolation is that I’m ever so slowly finding eateries about town that offer their own distinct menus. Still nothing to match reFuel thus far, but I’m optimistic I’ll find some place worthy of comparing to reFuel. I haven’t decided whether I should thank or curse you for expanding my dietary curiosity. All these years I could have been practicing my cooking and trying out places around the world…enough to make me cry.
Thanks for sharing, and here’s hoping you have a great week.
Good to see that Refuel is carrying on the Fuel tradition of whole hog dinners (though I, too, must admit that the idea of eating pig brains is distinctly unappealing). I thought Akemi had headed back to Japan? It’s good to see her on the blog again!
@ Airelle – Yes! I am so excited about this new Sherlock, and can’t wait for more! Love Watson, too. I saw were they are making three more films, and so this has me very happy. Just so glad that British mysteries are still alive and well!
@ JOEY!!!! – Yes, I just shouted because I need your professional opinion (book-wise). Someone who knows my thing for paleness just suggested I read the Agent Pendergast (Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child) series. I read Pendergast’s bio, and in appearance, style, and intelligence he sounds like the spitting image of Monsieur Zenith the Albino (though I don’t think Pendergast has albinism). This guy sounds right up my alley, but I was wondering if you are familiar with the stories themselves – are they worth a read??
Have a good day, sir!
I hear they released Randy Quaid and his wife in Vancouver. I hear they sent an advance team to scope out your house last year.
hey to all the grate people of this blog and to Joseph……..all of you watch this vid:
when you see it,at the end of the vid,on a crop the aliens left a message,akwardly the message is written in Ancient Language,when i saw it i was like Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
the aliens look to much like the asgards and vanir.
Gilder, thanks for responding to my request of blueberry aliens name.
Das: I’ve read that series. Liked it for a while but it kind went too far for me. Give it a try though, it was a fun character.
Mr. M.: the food and pictures looked great..until you got to the pig head. Yuck!!!!
For all of those Caprica fans, I got a kick out a friend’s FB comment this morning (he is totally bummed about the cancellation): would like to inform any TV execs that might be reading… With the cancellation of Caprica, I am now starting a new company. I do not watch much TV. But the few shows I do watch seem to get canceled quickly. So, if you would like me to NOT watch your show, I will agree to not watch it for a paltry $50 and episode, $25 for a rerun.
@ Tammy Dixon – Too far, in what way, if I may ask? Like, in violence and sex, or did the stories just become too sensational to believe? Don’t worry, you can’t spoil anything for me. 🙂
Das: The main character just became too farfetched. It was almost like he developed “super powers”. The stories were fun/fascinating, though.
Family style is not for me, except on the Capitol Limited where they seat you with strangers in the dining car but you only share good conversation, not your meal.
I made the mistake of watching General Hospital; the show is like listening to an obnoxious stranger’s cell phone conversation; disjointed rambling dialogue, cryptic allusions to scandalous past events and lots of preening.
@ Tammy Dixon – Oh, okay. Thankies. I can handle that, seeing as how I read stupidhero books. 😀
Akemi is back. NO wonder you are in a better mood! Yeah, the whole hog thing–no, not me. I barely eat ham anymore.
Those 2 that “elected” not to take that one dish so the others could have it were just being kind. I bet they wanted some too, but someone had to give. Leave it to the ladies to make the sacrifice.
I do not like family style unless you are at home cooking for a bunch of family. I’m usually the cook and I make lots of food so nobody goes hungry. Recently went to a family style restaurant were someone said they just keep bringing the food out until everyone has had enough. So I get the delicious green beans after 2 others have had some, I take the rest, leaving 2 others without. It took FOREVER for them to bring more. I felt like a heel for getting a big helping.
I want my own plate anyway. Growing up with only brothers, and lots of them, you reached across the table during dinner time and might get a fork stuck in your hand! So just give me my own plate and nobody gets hurt!
Akemi is back and more beautiful than ever! Is one of your super secret projects planning a wedding?? It should be.
@Antonio Chavez: ¡A lo ordén! Si Ud. necesita ayuda con idiomas estadounidenses, sólo necesita pedir.