Friday, April 30, 2010

Bukowski's Pork Belly Sliders

This past week was one that illustrates the irregularity in life. Now more than ever, I feel like a part of the growing mass comprised of those who make things work despite the fact that every facilitating mechanism in our civilization is broken.

I left for Massachusetts on a Friday, picking up my brother and his fiancee on the way. My father was throwing them an engagement party, of course one separate from the one my mother threw last summer. Neither was invited to the other's.

Following the weekend party, I planned on staying on for a couple of days so that I could see my doctor one last time. You see, I'm turning 26 next month, and that's the age at which our system of government has decided I no longer need health insurance. I'm lucky I got as much as I did. Thankfully, I'm able to work from anywhere and didn't miss too many steps as a result.

While I was at it, I figured I'd see the dentist. Or rather, a dentist. I didn't know who this person was, and her friendliness seemed genuine until she started tacking on recommendations for dental work that would end up costing me over a thousand dollars over my insurance limit. If you're not getting a visual of this situation, picture an insurance company and a crooked dentist fucking my ears from either side until money falls out of my ass.

My closing mission in the state of Massachusetts was to bring the Kominas back to Philadelphia with me to play a couple of shows with my band Sunny Ali & the Kid. As it went, we ended up meeting at a place I'd been before to meet a guy I've known for a long time. Cory, bass player for Boston metal band Black Thai, sat across from me in Bukowski in Cambride and told me what I'd missed.

The Boston Bacon and Beer Festival happened last Saturday, and by missing it I hurt myself and anyone who enjoys my pork musings. Without regard for my feelings, Cory continued to relate tales of the delicious experiments he'd witnessed and tasted. I sought to redeem myself quickly, and staring at Bukowski's menu momentarily revealed an immediate pork option.

Both Cory and I ordered the pork belly sliders. I should note here that technically, these weren't sliders. A slider is not the same thing as a miniature burger. Rather than having me paraphrase, hear it from a guy who really cares and knows.

These little bastards looked pretty damn good next to my Maker's Mark. Piled with homemade red cabbage cole slaw, the layering of textures in these tiny sandwiches was very close to perfect. Though the pork belly felt a little overcooked at first bite, the resulting slight rubberiness fit just right between the chewiness of the mini brioche bun and the crunch of the slaw.

Because pork belly is uncured, some chef's can get a little seasoning crazy and over spice it rather than allowing its natural flavors shine. The danger of over salting pork belly was expertly avoided at Bukowski's, each sandwich a picture of balance. They went down fast, as did the bourbon depicted, as well as the one that followed it.


  1. thanks! my name is aaron parsons, i am the new chef at bukowski tavern in cambridge. i am glad you liked the the pork belly buns. i hope you can come in again, we will be having a lot more porky dishes going on very soon. also, we will be doing whole piglet dinners in the upcoming months

  2. a whole piglet dinner!? let me know, aaron, and I will be there with bells on

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