Pig out in the slow lane

Slow food chef Billy Ngo will dress your pig in a tin foil hat.

Slow food chef Billy Ngo will dress your pig in a tin foil hat.

Photo By nicholas wray

The Slow Beer Movement Dinner occurs the third Monday of each month; for more information visit www.facebook.com/sactownslowbeer.

I’d already observed the full pig in the brick oven wearing a tin foil hat reminiscent of a woman getting her hair highlighted, when the first item was placed in front of me: a single slice of plum, wrapped cozily in … back fat. No fancy-food-name-alias available; it was what it was. I’m not normally an adventurous food person, so, deciding it was now or never, accepted the challenge head-on and devoured the snack in one bite.

From there, the adventure continued through five courses, four sour beer samplings and two pigs (one of whom was named Huey).

A Slow Beer Movement Dinner, co-hosted by Formoli’s Bistro and Red Lotus Kitchen & Bar, is not your typical date night. If anything, it’s simpler. No need to plan on drinks, dinner and then a show; the dinner is an event itself (and drinks are included).

Most importantly, don’t breeze past the “slow” in the title—doors opened at 6 p.m., dinner began at 7 p.m. and, in the case of August’s meal, was not over until after 10 p.m.

This is the activity for the night.

Every course began with a slow clap (slow claps for slow beer? I think so!), a detailed explanation of what we were about to eat and, of course, what delicious brew we would get to drink alongside it. In the downtime between courses, the family-style seating allowed us to get to know our neighbors, solidifying the event’s emphasis on local community.

The first official course (post plum-and-back-fat snack) was fried pork belly with frisee honey demi sauce and citrus vinaigrette, a scrumptious start, especially when paired with Telegraph Brewing Company’s reserve wheat ale. I’d never consumed sour beer before this evening’s supper and was pleasantly pleased with its flavor—strong, and not for the weak of palate, but certainly a must-try for any beer lover.

By the time we arrived at course three and the cleverly disguised tacos de cabeza, my palate was in full-swing and ready for anything. I could have blissfully bitten in, having no clue, in my nonfoodie state, what “cabeza” actually meant.

But then my wary cohort nudged me and whispered, “Wait, cabeza … isn’t that head?”

We speculated for a moment, received confirmation and then dug right in.

After four courses of various forms of pork, I must admit, I was a tad relieved when the dessert arrived pork-free.

Instead, we enjoyed frozen watermelon soaked in vodka and sake, topped with brownie powder in balsamic reduction and vanilla bean ice cream.

If you can swing it, embrace your inner foodie and get to a Slow Beer Movement Dinner, which happens the third Monday of every month. Once you’re there, sit back, relax, enjoy the show and plan on leaving perfectly full, because you’ll eat at just the right speed.