| Meat! |

Porcine Pleasure and Cherry Cheer at BRC's July Pig Dinner

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I've salivated from afar over the menus for BRC's monthly pig dinners and even marked my calendar to remind myself to make reservations. Again and again, however, I failed to get it together in time to attend, but on July 24, I finally made it. Now, I have decided to tattoo a reminder on my face so that every time I look in the mirror, I remember to arrange my schedule around the upcoming pig feast.

Co-sponsored by Green Flash Brewery and CherryMan, the July pig dinner, like others before it, featured three courses plus for a pint for $34 (tax and gratuity not included). I don't have to tell you that's a pretty damn good deal, considering you're thrice presented with a bountiful plate of food and get to whet your whistle with some terrific beer or a themed cocktail.

Although I would have been more than happy with just a pint of Green Flash, the unexpected mixed-drink option was too tempting for me to ignore. Combining champagne, frozen red maraschino cherries and double stout, the "Red Cherry Velvet" was a sweet, spritely yet sneaky little bugger of a cocktail that was light to swallow (too) quickly but offered a hefty alcoholic finish that quickly reminded you to pace yourself.

With the dining room completely packed with oink-happy patrons, the atmosphere was boisterous and the waitstaff understandably busy. We experienced a small delay in the arrival of the first course, but our server, Cody, was quick to apologize and offer us another round of beverages. Anticipation fuels the appetite, so when we finally did dig into our salad, we absolutely relished the well-balanced mixture of arugula, blue cheese, almonds and buttery red cherries lightly dressed in a sour cream vinaigrette.

The main course was like a pork blue plate special of which one can only dream: a hill of tender shredded pig meat flanked by sweet cabbage laced with onions and bacon, a salty cherry "mustard" and plump new potatoes just about to shed their skins due to a generous infusion of butter. It's a good thing, for BRC at least, that pig entrée and fixins were already plated for the guest because if I were left to fend for myself in a buffet-style setting, I would have gone back for seconds. This is not to say the portion sizes were at all insignificant but rather to emphasize how little shame I have in purposely over-serving myself delicious food and taking the rest home in a doggie bag.

Despite the fact that "cherry" is my favorite fruit flavor for pie, I wasn't particularly looking forward to dessert. Experience has shown me that the third course of any prix fixe meal is often the weakest in terms of quality, creativity and serving size, and I assumed the same would be true for this dinner. Well, the only moment I regretted cleaning my plate of roast pig and its accoutrements was when I took one bite of the full mini-pie (made by Petite Sweets) placed before me. I knew then that I wanted so badly to be able to eat every last flaky sheath of thick crust, every swollen sweet cherry and every morsel of the spiced crumble topping, but it just wasn't going to happen. Unless I suddenly transmogrified into some sort of bovine creature with four stomachs. Which, of course, would have been disturbing on many levels, including because now a cow would have eaten his barnyard friend, the pig. I don't think Old MacDonald would approve.

Anyway, all's well that ends well. I enjoyed the remainder of my pie for breakfast the following morning while I updated my Google calendar and set two reminders to clear my schedule for BRC's next pig roast. You should, too.

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