The Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau recently hosted me on a car-free media trip that spotlighted some of the area’s more compelling local, organic and sustainable eating and drinking options. For Monday’s dinner, we experienced a three-course dinner at Doug Margerum and Mitchell Sjerven’s Wine Cask, a Santa Barbara institution. We sat at the 14-seat chef’s counter, a communal concrete table (and recent addition) in the dining room. Executive chef Brandon Hughes and/or pastry chef Rosie Gerard presented each course, which came with a pairing of local wine from the compound’s new 16-tap system, a method that reduces the carbon footprint, allows the Wine Cask to source local, limited edition wines, and reduces bottle waste. The kegged wine concept is interesting and gaining traction at other progressive restaurants like Lukshon.
Still, Dose of Vitamin P isn’t a wine column. We’re focused on pork, and it was in full effect as an entree. Hughes cooked the belly low and slow in a convection oven, rendering the majority of fat from a premium Kurobuta pig, before crisping the skin in a salamander. The luscious steak appeared on earthy Mama Farms split pea puree with roasted BD farms spring green garlic, which were crispy, and offered less intensity than a full grown bulb. Ojai Valley wildflower honey reduction added a hint of sweetness. ’09 Melville Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills that held up to the rich dish.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.