This past weekend marked the seventh annual Healdsburg porkapalooza known as Pigs & Pinot, in which host Charlie Palmer of Dry Creek Kitchen and a group of celebrity chefs and local Pinot producers mingle with hard-core winos and foodies, all for charity. This year’s event came off without a hitch, and featured cooking by Michael Mina, Michael White, and Top Chef alum (and soon-to-be Napa chef) Casey Thompson. Grub Street snagged a seat for Saturday’s Eat 100 dinner at Spoonbar, which provided a glimpse into the food stylings of chef Louis Maldonado, who recently took the executive chef post after several years as chef de cuisine under Mourad Lahlou at Aziza. And, because he’s been at the Moroccan-focused Aziza so long, it’s actually been years since Maldonado’s cooked with pork, and he did a fine job. He also benefited from the wisdom of chef Mateo Granados, who prepared two of the evening’s four courses, and who coached Maldonado in the ways of the pig.
The pair prepared an all-pork menu, using a single heritage pig from Preston Vineyards, and sourcing all their ingredients from within 100 miles — hence the title of the dinner. The menu kicked off with Granados’s fine-dining tribute to the taco, titled ‘The Evolution of the Taco,’ and concluded with a simple dish of grilled loin by Maldonado. The dishes were paired with wines by Sonoma County winemakers Cartograph and Emeritus, showcasing two different styles of Pinot winemaking — the former more classically Russian River in style, and the latter a bit more lean and French. Check out our slideshow below.
Maldonado, a native of nearby Cloverdale, appears happy in his new home. He tells Grub Street that his complete new menu, which will represent a total makeover for Spoonbar, will take effect in a couple of weeks. Additionally, the bar program is getting a bit of an update as well as Scott Beattie has departed and one of his acolytes, Cappy Sorentino, has taken over as bar manager. We’re told he’s been doing some experiments with CO2 carbonization in cocktails, so stay tuned for more on that.