At Redbird in downtown Los Angeles, Cadillac featured the food of chef Neal Fraser as part of their “road to table” dinner series. After Cadillac cars transported guests through rush hour traffic at a glacial pace, Redbird’s family style food started arriving in waves. Fraser and Saveur editor in chief Adam Sachs explained the menu throughout the night. Fraser said he served “not the most mundane or exotic dishes, but the meat of the menu.” The second wave of plates featured four entrees, including huge sea scallops, the soon-to-be legendary Veal Fraser, smoked tofu and my favorite course of the night: Rack of Red Wattle Pork.
Red Wattle is a breed of hog that has a clay-red coat and pronounced, seemingly useless wattles protruding from their necks. The red wattle is often pasture-raised and carries meat that has a rich, concentrated pork flavor. Fraser puts sizable cuts of this pig to good use on his dinner menu. Lean white loin slices with wonderful fat rims arrive with a single prized rib bone. Accompaniments include crispy spaetzle that soaks up the pork juice, crushed Oregon hazelnuts, sweet tart apricot mostarda, and a sticky sauce crafted with Calvados and pig’s blood. This was a beautiful preparation that was surprisingly light for pork, which point toward Fraser’s skill at balancing dishes, and the inherent strengths of this kind of pig.