Friday, December 18, 2015

Lardo Love: Dirty Fry Fetish (Portland, OR)

Anything with the word, “pork scraps” in its description commanded my full attention. And I had to admit that this massive pile of pig and potatoes from Lardo, which would normally be considered a side dish, was possibly my favorite meal of the trip. Here’s why:

1) The component that I originally turned my nose up at, ended up being my favorite part (I secretly poo-pooed the banana peppers' entire existence in the dish. What a fool I'd been!).

2) The strange simplicity of three or four ingredients, the likes of which I’d seen and tasted a million times before, combined in a way that made me feel like we were meeting again for the first time.


Dirty Fries: pork scraps, marinated peppers, fried herbs, parmesan ($7)

What exactly was a pork scrap? Well, apparently it was all the crispy odds and ends left over from Lardo's array of pork parts which graced their menu. 

Dirty fries were the potato equivalent of a Ben and Jerry’s pint chock full of chunky treasures, but instead of chocolate chips and cookie dough, pockets of bacon curls and shredded pork popped up between crackly trees of fried parsley and basil. Half melted pearls of grated parmesan were melted just enough to wrap it all together into one cosmic cocoon of cheesy, pork fatty, potato goodness.

But what really threw me were the marinated, banana peppers. I was worried they were going to overwhelm the dish, the way many marinated items often do, their liquid seeping heavily from their pores into every aspect (I’m talking to you sundry tomatoes!).

But this stayed balanced with sour bursts comparable to English “chips” doused in malt vinegar; dressed, but still with an audible crispiness and stiff heartiness that easily bore the load of toppings with the effortlessness of Atlas. It was a feat of French fry strength, and I couldn’t wipe the pig-eating grin off my face.

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