Recently I’ve come down with a serious “girl crush” on Rashida Purifoy, the chef/owner of Cast Iron Gourmet. Or maybe I’m just crushing on her bacon.
Rashida and I first met at Artisinal LA back in December. Although I was there to purchase tasty holiday gifts from various vendors (including ghost-chile popcorn from All Spice Cafe and bacon FAT caramels from Morning Glory Confection), I had a difficult time breaking myself away from Rashida’s bacon booth, which was basically a shrine to swine.
As you may or may not know, I was born on the island of Okinawa, also known as the “Island of Pork”. I’ve never taken for granted that this makes my love of all things pork an actual BIRTH RIGHT.
Needless to say I eat a great deal of pork, sometimes lean but usually not. Pilates twice a week and regular runs with my dogs help to keep me a “healthy” size gal (I eat my share of beef, seafood and fresh veg too by the way), but nothing makes me happier than a fatty piece of bacon.
This doesn’t make me an expert on pork products by any means (I’ve yet to make bacon at home), but my good friend Phil (aka @MyLifeAsAFoodie) brings me his spectacular home-made bacon instead of flowers when he visits (I KNOW, he’s awesome). Up to this point in my life, I’m pretty much just a hard-core bacon enthusiast.
Cast Iron Gourmet specializes in making small-batch bacon and “bacon-inspired goodies” such as a signature Couch Mix™ (caramelized bacon with dried fruit, chocolate, and nuts), and Bacon Fat Pimento Spread™.
On the company website Rashida writes: “Our process is simple. First, we take fresh, sustainable pork belly, then cure it for days. Next, we take one of our hand-crafted rubs (each of them made with a unique blend of spices), and coat the pork with the its sinfully good flavor. Finally, we smoke the meat using fresh hickory wood, which helps give our bacon a rich hearty taste.”
Last week Peter and I attended a “Swine and Wine” dinner at CorkBar downtown. Chef Albert Aviles (loved meeting him!) collaborated with Rashida on a 3 course tasting menu featuring her beautiful, sustainable pork. The cost was $25 per person with an optional $13 wine pairing. Such a deal… of course we went for both!
All hail Rashida… the Queen of Bacon!
Photos below from Swine and Wine:
Swine & Wine event date: 2/2/11
403 W. 12th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015