Primal Alchemy and I go back. My husband occasionally covered them at local events when he worked for the LB Post, and recently I competed in their Top Fish challenge. The thing about them that keeps me so intrigued is how they look at food and the act of getting together around a table. They align themselves with farmers markets and the chef's own garden to make dishes that go directly from farm to table, and that utilize the season to assure their best flavors.
One recent night, we sat around a table of 12 and ate a seven-course meal that utilized two pigs completely from head to tail. One was a 350-pound Berkshire raised by Rinconada Dairy in Santa Margarita, known for its handcrafted sheep and goat cheese. The pig was fed the whey and by-products from the cheese production along with acorns from the tree directly over the pen. The second pig is from Old Reminisce Farms in Mira Loma raised on open pasture grass. The breed of this pig is Kune Kune, a smaller pig originally from New Zealand.
The courses were:
Mesculn Greens, Chef Paul’s Crispy Red Duroc Pancetta, Foraged Fuyu Persimmons, Local Goat Cheese & Aged Sherry Vinaigrette
Grilled House made Mazzafegati Sausages. Herb Spatzle Golden Raisins, Pine Nuts, Brown Butter & Winter Greens
Berkshire Pork Flank w’ Chef’s Veggies & Natural Jus
Crispy Kune Kune Loin Roast w’ Soft Polenta & Pomegranate Gastrique
Bourbon Brined Mangalitsa w Flambéed 1890 Heirloom Apples
Smoked Bacon Madeleines with Bittersweet Chocolate
Beer & Bacon Nut Bars topped with Salted Caramel Ice Cream
It was very tough for me to pick a favorite; every single course had something that had me going back for more, but I would have to say the house-made sausage took the cake – with every bite there was a new level of flavor. I'm not sure if I will ever be able to go back to eating sausage and not look for the complexities that this sausage had. Of course it was fatty but not in a greasy way. Instead, in a comforting way. It was raining outside and I could have just warmed up eating a bowl of sausage on the bed of the herb spaetzle; the brown butter really gave it an earthy flavor that I will try to accomplish at home.
Then there was the sweet piggy. I am not usually a fan of desserts; if I have the choice, I would rather have something salty then something sweet. But that is how they got me, by bringing out the smoked bacon madelines and I have never tasted anything like them. Sure, I have participated in the chocolate bacon craze but no one has been able to touch this level of perfection. The bacon remained crispy while inside this small cookie cake and the saltiness was enough to hold up again the bittersweet chocolate.
The food was of course the shining star of this event, but also this brought together a lot of different people who have a lot to give Long Beach and they were all exciting to meet. As we sat around a table with our BYOB wine bottles, we talked about what brought us here and an underlying thread was that we all cared about the food we put into our bodies. We all felt that this kitchen gave us more information than most do and they offered food in an interactive way that left us feeling not only full on pork but also full on information. Because of this event, I hope to go to Rinconada Dairy in Santa Margarita for a farm stay; otherwise I would have had no idea that this dairy was not only nearby but had so much to offer. You can stay there for a weekend, pick your own eggs from a hen house and experience the typical ranch day while you work in an organic garden.
I highly suggest that you add Primal Alchemy on Facebook and check out their website, because these events should not be missed. They also cater events from weddings to corporate functions. The amount of care that they put into the food that they present to their guests is unmatched. Looking forward to the next event at this exciting little kitchen.