We woke up early this morning. It was light out, but the sun had yet to rise. I looked at Ruka and I said, Hey do you want to go for an early walk? It's customary that we walk in the morning and walk in the evening. It's just our special time together. I said, if we leave soon we’ll be able to see the sun rise. “Sure.” She said, and away we went. “It's been a long time since we've been to the ocean,” Ruka says me. “How long will it be before we get to go walk in the waves again?” I said, I don't know. She retorted, “Yea, when pigs fly.” Geez, I said, I didn't know you felt that way about it. If you really want to go to the ocean we can go today.
Well, we haven't been to the ocean since we were in Seaside, Oregon. Okay, I told her, I'll do you one better, let's go to Oceanside, California. We packed a few things and off we went. I know of a great place to have dinner; do you want to join me? “Well yeah, what's the place called?” The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen. She laughs. “Oh, really you mean pigs really do fly?” When we get there, you'll see. I told her. “Great’, she says, “because I want to order the wings.” Pig wings! OMG LOL
"The place is the epitome of what is not pretentious."
The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen is just a block off the Pacific Coast Highway in the lovely town of Oceanside. When you drive up to the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen you’ll see a white concrete block building with three-foot letters across the top of the front of the building that read: FOOD & DRINK. While you’re looking at the building, you're wondering what kind of place could this be. Frankly, for some reason, I was surprised that there weren’t motorcycles outside of the entrance. [You know how bikers love their hogs.] Yet out front were a few tables and chairs and a couple of umbrellas for sitting outside (because the climate here is very mellow) along with a couple of wheel barrels filled with desert vegetation and off to the side is a rusty sign of the logo of the restaurant. As you walk in, you are truly convinced that this eclectic décor is just indicative of a neighborhood bar and restaurant.
Well, the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen is a lot more than that. Inside, the tables are all different, there are no tablecloths, the floor is concrete, no candles or flowers and the silverware is wrapped in a napkin. The lighting is good and the music fittingly works the room. The place is the epitome of what is not pretentious. I walked up to the bar and sat down and talked to the bartender, Dennis Perez, who has worked at the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen for almost five years. He could recite the menu in his sleep.
It turns out the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen has a very eclectic list of local beers, a nice selection of wines by the glass and Pigtails, cocktails made with low alcohol vodka and tequila. Wisely, the beers have been selected to pair with the food. Sorry you’re not going to get a Heineken here. Here is a partial list of the breweries that are on the list. If you have the time click the links below to see how small, ambitious and enthusiastic these brew masters are in creating their craft beers.
I enjoyed two of the beers, Mission Brewing, Amber Ale and the 32 North Brewing, ‘Best Coast IPA”, both from San Diego. They were delightful. The Ale was smooth and drinkable and the IPA was not over hopped like some of the brews that make it to India.
But the reason you come to the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen is for the food. This farm to table concept presents to you some of the best New American Cuisine you’re going to find. They make the effort to source the menu items from small farmers in the local surrounding communities. Their pastas are made fresh in house and their meats are sourced from small ranches. One item is worth a special notation: the Jidori® farms Airline Chicken. “Jidori® means chicken of the earth. It started in Los Angeles, where asian-fusion culinary pioneers were looking for a chicken as fresh and great tasting as the finest sushi. …. Our chickens are raised free range, humanely, at small farms in California. They’re fed all natural grains, without meat by-products, hormones, or steroids.” Another item the Duroc pork Chop sourced from Salmon Creek Farms. “Salmon Creek Farms offers you the finest, most consistent pork available today. Our Natural Pork Lineup of products come from hogs with superior genetic lines – specifically Duroc boars and “white line” sows, both of which are known for their robust health and great taste. Our farmers feed these hogs high-quality western wheat and barley. They never use hormones, antibiotics or animal proteins.” These producers are very serious about what goes on your plate and the chefs that prepare the food at the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen are serious too.
There were so many great items on the shares menu, which is their version of an appetizer menu, but the one I just had to try was the Bacon Mac. It was a very good version of Mac and Cheese and the presentation was impressive. I believe that it was made from Ham Hocks in addition to thick cut bacon.
Then, I enjoyed one of their special steaks of the day, which was a center cut rib eye, about an inch and a half thick, pan seared in a cast iron skillet and basted with beef tallow and served on a bed of grits. Okay they called them grits, but I thought it was polenta. In looking for the difference between the two, I found it interesting that you can make polenta from popcorn by grinding it in a blender then straining the final grind. Grits are a food made from corn that is ground into a coarse meal and then boiled. Hominy grits are a type of grits made from hominy with the germ removed, which is corn that has been treated with an alkali in a process called nixtamalization. Grits are usually served with other flavorings Grits should not be confused with boiled ground corn maize which makes "hasty pudding" or "mush" or when using coarse ground corn, which may be made into polenta, or the "mush" made from more finely ground corn meal.
The other entrée that you just must try is the 12 ounce Duroc Pork Chop, which is first rubbed with coriander and mustard then served with Purple Brussel Sprouts, Capers, Cipollini onions, Grits and Butter. I’ll have to return to the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen and try the Jidori® farms Airline Chicken. It’s not the first time I have seen it on a menu, but it’s the last time I’ll pass it up.
If you’re in Oceanside stop by the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen. It will be a meal you’ll truly relish.
On our way home, I asked Ruka what she liked the best. She said, “the fact that the pork Chop was served on the bone. Now, that’s a class act”
Please log on to ChasingCuisine.com and follow my journey….
Enjoy life, drink responsibly.
© Copyright Chasing Cuisine 2017 all rights reserved
Author : Neal Murray
Designed By : Sean Derning