Although PigOut 2.0 was a glorification of all things related to the eponymous beast, we were very grateful that we weren’t sweating like one as we enjoyed the day’s festivities. Organized by voracious food fanatic and vanguard Bobby Navarro of 100eats to benefit Inspire Artistic Minds, the event took place at the Noguchi Gardens in Costa Mesa, where somehow we were blessed with a blanket of balmy shade despite the sweltering temps elsewhere.
The abstract sculpture “garden”, christened California Scenario by the celebrated artist/architect Isamu Noguchi, is a hidden and welcoming retreat between two commercial buildings. If the name Noguchi sounds familiar, he’s the designer responsible for the iconic modernist table by the same name. Commissioned by the Segerstrom family, the space is the artist’s depiction of our West Coast landscape combining stone, granite, water, metal, earth and native California plant materials into a unique outdoor microcosm.
Apparently, there are many theories milling about regarding the interpretation of the gardens. Some say that is part and parcel of Anton LaVey’s satanic stronghold in the city; others, that it is based on Dante’s Inferno, referencing the nine levels of hell. In contrast, the only thing that was sacrificed for the PigOut event that day was hog and there were about 25 levels of heavenly indulgence in the way of chefs’ preparations and bartenders’ concoctions in combination.
Some of the most notable little piggie-centric chefs in Orange County, our very own Cody Storts of HopScotch (see, there’s the Fullerton relevance); Noah Blom of ARC; Greg Daniels of the Haven Group; and other kitchen luminaries , went to market and then they went to town — whee, whee, whee! — serving up a collective smorgasbord of savory and delectable oinksters. Small plates ran the gamut of porchetta, pork cheek tacos, rillettes with bacon onion jam, cavatelli with pork ragout, a charcuterie platter and countless incarnations of Wilbur. Then there was the pork blood chocolate pudding by The Cannery. That’s right, pork blood chocolate pudding. We came, we saw and we ate it. And it was good.
Of course, what would a great party be without libations? Free-flowing cocktails were slung merrily by top-notch bartenders as Ricky Yarnall representing Broadway by Amar Santana, Casey Dion of The Blind Pig, Jason Schiffer of 320 Main, plus several other mixology fiends. There were whimsical adult sno-cones; tequila drinks garnished with chicarrones; Laird’s and Stone IPA beer cocktails; brews from the dudes at Noble Aleworks and so much more.
To balance out all the excess with some healthiness, Melissa’s Produce was on hand doling out fresh samples of their sweet varieties of grapes such as their Witch Fingers, Champagne and Cotton Candy (yes, it really did taste like it). Young Thai Coconuts were awled with a special tool and their nutricious-ness served up with a straw for a tropical, exhilarating and non-alcoholic summer treat.
Aside from the stellar roster of chefs and bartenders, what really impressed us the most about this gathering of swine lovers was the acute camaraderie and esprit de corps. This was not just your typical “all you can eat and drink until you can squeal no more” kind of affair. At the heart of the matter, PigOut was really about family fun, community revelry and promoting the culinary arts.
In the words of Arthur Hoggett in the movie Babe, “That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.” That is, until next year.
Bobby Navarro is currently on his quest for the best. This collector of edible experiences studied culinary arts at the Art Institute of California-Orange County before he dove into the biggest dining adventure of his life: 100eats100days. Inspired by hunger, Robert Anthony Navarro has made headlines in multiple publications, including Taste Magazine, the Orange County Register, the San Diego Union Tribune and is a featured contributor in LOCALE magazine’s food section for his fantastical feat of dining in 100 eateries in 100 consecutive days, which he victoriously performed twice.
Inspire Artistic Minds is an organization dedicated to strengthening the culture of the locale and encouraging the growth of local economy. Their goal it to utilize the talents and funds raised to educate, through hands-on experience, a particular artistic field, bringing renewed passion to that industry. There are passionate individuals overflowing with talent and potential and they are looking to inspire those who want to elevate to the next level.
To keep abreast of the next PigOut event and to follow Navarro’s culinary journey, visit www.100eats.com
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