COCHON 555 – CHICAGO 2016

As soon as the weather starts to warm up, it seems that everyone and everything comes out of hibernation here in Chicago. And what better way to do so than by enjoying some of the city’s best food!

First up this foodie events season was one of my favorites – the 8th annual COCHON555, which was held at the Loews Hotel on Sunday, April 24th. Last year it was at Morgan Mfg. which I really loved (for the streaming sunlight), but I must say the Loews Hotel provided a beautiful space and layout! There are seemed to be a much larger crowd this year – and why shouldn’t there be? If you’re a pork/good food lover, you should be at Cochon 555. That said, if you haven’t heard of Cochon555, let me give a brief overview. 555 = 5 different pig breeds, 5 restaurants/chefs, 5 winemakers.

This is also for a great cause! Per Cochon’s Mission page: “Since 2009, we have given more than $400,000 to local charities, and invested over a half million in family farms by purchasing whole pigs for events, more than any other live-event in the country.”

Amazing, I know.

This year’s competitors were Cory Morris (Rural Society), Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde), Alfredo Nogueira (Analogue), Sarah Rinkavage (Lula Cafe), Phillip Foss (EL Ideas). Each chef focused all of their dishes around a particular breed of pig, truly showcasing the flavors and their creativity.

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Not only do you have the 5 featured chefs’ tables, but there are countless other tables as well! Everything from charcuterie (Pastoral), to tartare, to oysters.. and lots of alcohol to wash it all down. Needless to say, this is definitely an event you arrive to with an empty tummy!

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{disclaimer: the sister and I ran into quite a few friends, so there was lots of socializing over food/drink. aka a great time, and not a ton of pics taken!}

2 SISTERS + 2 PETERS = 4 VERY IMPORTANT PIGGIES

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PULLED PORK | collard greens [EL Ideas]

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I’ve never though of adding collard greens onto the actual sandwich, but WOW did that make this pulled pork go from good to amazing! I’m quite sure it’s the only way I ever want to eat a pulled pork sandwich from here on out.

SHAVED ICE | toasted coconut, condensed milk [RURAL SOCIETY]

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Complete set of dishes from RURAL SOCIETY – Chef Cory Morris

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This was easily my favorite complete station. Everything ran smoothly, dishes were served hot and freshly plated… Overall great work from Chef Cory and his team. Also… the meatball, and empanada was nothing short of amazing!

BONE STEW | hog oil roux, ribs, back bone, shoulder; cooked with andouille sausage [ANALOGUE]

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This bowl of bone stew was so full of flavor! I want a pot of this come next winter.

Now onto what was one of my favorite dishes of the entire event.

SPICY PORK TAMALE | served with a tequila/pickle back shot [MONTEVERDE]

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I mean… a perfect tamale is difficult to execute, even from the most experienced Mexican abuelita whose made thousands in her lifetime. This tamale was perfect. Spicy pork, creamy masa, great texture from the radishes and cucumber. The hearts in the eyes emoji – that was me upon first bite of this. It also happens to be from Chef  Sarah Grueneberg who took the win  for this year’s Cochon555 in Chicago! She’ll go on to represent Chicago in the National competition next month. If she serves this tamale again, she should just win it all! 🙂

Congrats to all of the participating Chefs and their staff, though! Everyone had a wonderful time, and enjoyed some seriously delicious food. Here’s to counting down until 2017’s Cochon555 Tour!

{side note: Not pictured was the Cashew Magna Milk Flat with Mandarin sorbet from Lula Cafe. I really hope they serve it at the restaurant! And if so, I’ll take a large, please. It tasted almost exactly like the Indian dessert, kheer. YUM}

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