Yesterday the Daily Dish discovered chefs like Daniel Boulud and Mario Batali have bought whole live, acorn-munching pigs from La Quercia, a prosciutto company in Iowa. We don't talk about products too often, but we learned that here in LA, chef Joseph Gillard bought one of those pigs for Westwood's Napa Valley Grille. The organic Berkshire pigs are fed on acorns, just like incredibly difficult to get jamon iberico from Spain. Gillard gets every part of Porky, head to hoof, from fresh meat to the cured stuff like prosciutto, coppa, pancetta. He'll start getting shipments in December and well into 2009. All for you, eaters.
We haven't been to NVG for a long time; it's not always a place we think to go, but last night we were invited to revisit (gratis). We're surprised at how much we enjoyed it. For consistent, farmers market-friendly fare, it fits the bill. Gillard took over after Anne Conness left earlier this year, and he brings a Midwestern sensibility combined with Patina training, and knocks out things like lump crab meat in a crisp, sweet brioche "tunnel," fresh local spiny lobster with buttery organic rummer beans, and Duroc pork New York strip with...wait for it...bacon butter. Groundbreaking? No, but it hit home with us. What we've liked about NVG in the past, with Conness especially, was that the focused menu makes that big corporate space feel a bit more intimate. Gillard delivers, too. For a restaurant that size to be so full on a regular weeknight, they're doing something right. When Gillard starts making porcetta this winter, we'll be there.
· Want to buy a pig? [Daily Dish]