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Recap: Swine and Dine at Bündok
Chef Ryan Hotchkiss and his culinary team were the latest to take on the Swine and Dine challenge - sharing a five-course menu featuring Alberta Pork from appetizer to dessert to a packed house at Bündok last week. Throughout the event, chef Hotchkiss showcased a variety of Alberta pork producers and artisans. To start things off, chef Hotchkiss featured Secret Meat Club by Meuwly's Coppa made with Bear and the Flower Farm pasture raised pork.  For our starter, chef Hotchkiss layered the coppa alongside baby artichoke, hazelnut oil, puffed wild rice, and dressed with a currant vinaigrette. The puffed wild rice added a lovely crunch to our welcome dish which featured a beautifully cured cut from Meuwly's (which should be opening their store front deli on 124th street any day now). Our next was one of the best bites of pork belly I have ever had, which is saying something, because I have eaten a substantial amount of pork belly since Swine and Dine started almost six years ago. Our second course featured a glazed Irvings Farm Fresh pork belly served in a bowl alongside beans and fried leeks in pea broth. [caption id="attachment_75738" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Chef Hotchkiss ladling out my favourite dish of the evening - glazed Irvings Farm pork belly, beans, and fried leeks in pea broth.[/caption] I heard from two different guests, that while they normally don't enjoy pork belly, that the dish was amazing. I would choose this dish again and again should it ever make its way onto the regular Bündok menu.  Chef Hotchkiss' gnocchi is a favourite among many of their regular patrons, so I was not surprised to see a handmade pasta on his Swine and Dine menu. For our pasta course, chef Hotchkiss and culinary team plated a chickpea tagliatelle in a Messinger Meats pork shank ragu with fried chickpeas. Chef Hotchkiss made me a special gluten-free version of the chickpea tagliatelle, which looked identical to the original. It is the second time I've had chef Hotchkiss' gluten free pasta, and I can easily say both batches made for the best I have had since becoming diagnosed as a Celiac. I mentioned the glazed pork belly in pea broth was my favourite, but it was a challenge to make that decision as the night went on. The hand-made chickpea pasta was a real treat for me, as was the main course of the evening - a Tonkatsu pork cutlet. Tonkatsu is a Japanese dish which consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet, which is often served with shredded cabbage. Chef Hotchkiss and his team served a Messinger Meats Millefeuille tonkatsu stuffed with gruyere cheese, grainy mustard alongside cabbage in honey reduction and yeast.

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When I arrived at Swine & Dine last week I ducked in the back to see what chef Hotchkiss and his team were up to in the kitchen. At the time, he told me he was most excited for the dessert because he didn't use bacon. Rather than keep it simple with a candied bacon - the Bündok team got creative. For dessert, chef Hotchkiss and his crew served up a Saskatoon semifreddo made with whipped @bearflowerfarm lardo and topped with chicharron and candied hazelnuts. The cool smooth texture of the semifreddo against the crunchy nuts and puffed pork skin made for an interesting bite, which also made for a light and refreshing end to our swine and dine indulgence. My friend Simone most often skips dessert. Conveniently for my boyfriend, she often hands her Swine & Dine desserts for the set-menu dinners over for him to enjoy. This time, she came to apologize to him because she did an unusual thing - she ate every last bite! If you have yet to experience a meal at Bündok I hope this blog inspires to add it to your restaurant-hit list. Every meal I have had at Bündok from brunch to lunch to dinner have all been exquisite. Chef Hotchkiss has the ability to take seasonal, local ingredients and make them shine on the plate. Thank you to chef Hotchkiss and his culinary team for sharing their passion for Alberta pork. It was so good they'll have to do it again - can't wait to see what you come up with next time! Until then - check them out at: Bündok 10228 104 Street NW Edmonton, Alberta
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Swine and Dine at Bündok April 18
Save the date! Chef Ryan Hotchkiss will be hosting the next Swine and Dine dinner at his restaurant Bündok on Wednesday April 18, 2018. The five-course menu will be $60 and feature Alberta Pork from appetizer to dessert. Bündok, which was recently named one of the top new restaurants in Edmonton by Avenue Magazine, is a great addition to the downtown Edmonton dining scene. This event is sure to sell out, so if you have a passion for pork,  contact the restaurant directly at 780 420 0192 or info@bundokyeg.com to book your space. Swine and Dine at Bündok Wednesday, April 18, 2018 7:30 pm $75, Seating is limited (call 780 420 0192)
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Recap: RGC Bench Creek Brewery Swine & Dine
Last Thursday night, chef Steve Buzak at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton's river valley teamed up with Bench Creek Brewing to deliver our first Swine & Dine of 2018. Two years ago, chef Buzak was the first to deliver a beer-paired Swine & Dine to rave reviews, and last week's event was another Passion for Pork success. [caption id="attachment_72501" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Irvings Farm back wrapped prunes with blue cheese.[/caption] I arrived early so I could sneak a peek in the kitchen. Chef Buzak was happy to show off the sous vide Bear & The Flower pork belly, Memphis Style ribs, and devil on horseback appetizer with a prune and blue cheese twist. [caption id="attachment_72503" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Bear & the Flower Farm ribs.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_72502" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Bear & the Flower Farm Alberta pork belly[/caption] Guests were welcomed to the tray passed appetizers of Memphis Style Ribs (a recipe that chef Buzak shared during a previous June is Pork month), and bacon-wrapped prunes were paired with Bench Cree Brewery's Black Spruce Porter (5.8 %). After all guests were seated we were greeted by chef Buzak and the Royal Glenora Club (RGC) team, who shared his excitement at hosting another beer-paired Swine & Dine. After explaining that beer is easier to pair with food than wine - he introduced his first course for the evening - a fennel roasted pork belly served with a sweet potato puree, smoked corn, apricot and orange gastrique. Our first course was served with  Naked Woodsman Pale Ale (5.2%), which was introduced by our Bench Creek Brewery guru Cassandra. The beer is known for notes of fresh bread and light caramel malt flavours mixed with bright floral, grapefruit and orange hop aromatics. There’s a sweetness to it – apricot and peach hop flavours combine with subdued citrus. It finishes with a star of anise spiciness that makes you think this somewhat fruit-forward brew. We joked with chef Buzak that my boyfriend's only complaint with the first course was that it was too small - he could have eaten six more! Chef Buzak warned us there were many courses to come - and our second surf & turf course was sure to fill us up. I loved the seafood chowder chef Buzak served with double smoked Irvings Farm bacon croutons. The potato veloute soup was velvety smooth and served with blackened prawn & scallops and topped with a citrus foam.

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Our soup was served with Bench Creek's White Raven IPA (6.5%), a robust beer with huge aromatics of orange, grapefruit, passion fruit and mango with a touch of pine. The signature flavours of Munich and crystal malts contribute a complex toffee-caramel backbone that nicely balances the bitterness from the hops. As our main course was being plated, I snuck back into the kitchen for a preview of our main course. Once our plates were ready to be served, chef Buzak came back to the dining room to introduce our next dish - the RGC signature spice-rubbed Bear & the Flower Farm pork loin. The tender Alberta pork was served with a cider jus and accompanied by Brussels sprouts and a Fuge Meats chorizo and northern bean cassoulet. Our main was paired with Bench Creek's Northern Grace Red Rye India Pale Ale (6.2%), which boasts flavours of rich toffee, dark caramel, dried plum, and spicy, earthy malt notes mixed with juicy orange, passionfruit, geranium, and stone fruit flavours. For dessert, chef Buzak turned my memories of building fireside s'mores into a flavourful creme brûlée that had my spoon searching for just one more bite.

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Chef Buzak's s'mores creme brulee & maple candied Irvings Farm bacon was accented with cardamom marshmallows, Peruvian cacao nibs, and an espresso melt away chocolate that chef made with coconut oil. I've confessed it many times while recapping swine & dine dinners - I'm not a fan of chocolate, but I was a huge fan of this dessert. There were so many flavours and textures at play in this playful dessert - I would happily order this dessert again! Our final Bench Creek pairing of the night was from the brewery's Villainous Series - with the can showcasing an ode to Drexl Spivey from the movie True Romance. The Drexl Blackstrap Imperial Stout (11%) is barrel-aged, pitch black, dark and I'm told it paired wonderfully with Chef Buzak's campfire creation. I'd like to thank the chef Steve Buzak, Derek, and the entire team at the RGC for hosting another incredible Swine & Dine dinner. It was great to learn more about Bench Creek Brewing (I know a few people at my table were more than happy to claim this gluten-free girl's beers throughout the dinner). Chef Buzak is a great chef that is consistently hosting unique food events at the RGC that are open to non members. Check out their website or follow their social media feeds to learn more about upcoming events, including their monthly brunch series. I'm hoping to work with chef Buzak to come up with some way to celebrate June is Pork month at the RGC, so stay tuned! That river valley patio sounds like the perfect place to enjoy some pig & pinot.
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