The Ad Hoc Swine and Wine

by arnold on March 26, 2009

Ad Hoc’s fried chicken nights have made every other Monday night in Yountville a lot of fun, but last night’s “Swine and Wine” was so good that Ad Hoc might be the place to be on the last Wednesday of every month. The four-course, prix-fixe dinner featured whole pigs that were roasted Cuban style in La Caja China or Chinese box.

La Caja ChinaStep 1: Put the pig in a box…

The meal was an opportunity for Ad Hoc to showcase some of their purveyors and they were on hand throughout the evening to talk about their products.

Wines were provided by Dave Miner of the Miner Family Vineyard. I’m not a wine expert or aficionado, but I do like them easy to drink, and the Miner wines fit the bill perfectly. Before the first course, we were served a really nice white wine sangria, and the dinner wines were their Viogner (white) and Enigma (red). I also got a taste of their Oracle, a Cabernet Sauvignon blend, and I liked that one too.

Tucker Taylor, The French Laundry’s Culinary Gardener, started growing all of the vegetables for this dinner six weeks ago, and his salad, which featured a selection of baby lettuces, hosui asian pears, toasted pine nuts, shaved radishes, Fra’Mani soppressata and sherry vinaigrette, was the epitome of freshness.

TFL Garden SaladThe French Laundry Garden Mixed Baby Lettuces

Pigs from Ross Shoop of Alexandre Farms where the focal point of the main course. The platter of roasted pork featured pieces of meat from various parts of the pig and was topped with a nice piece of crispy pig skin. The pig was really good, and it was served with a diverse selection of condiments, but honestly, it wasn’t my favorite part of the meal.

Roasted PorkCrispy pig skin might be one of the best things ever.
Assorted GarnishesPork condiments included (clockwise from bottom left) romesco sauce, garlic and blood orange vinaigrette, fennel mustard, and purple carrot mustard.

Bohemian Creamery provided the cheese course and overall I really liked their offerings, especially the really funky smelling one. :-) The smoked Marcona almonds were killer as were the four different garnishes: marshall farm’s honey, kumquat marmalade, fig jam, and cippolini onion chutney.

Bohemian Creamery CheeseBohemian Creamery Cheese Course

I think I’ve said before that while I like Ad Hoc’s cheese courses, I’m generally looking past them towards dessert, and this evening’s dessert was something special. Claire Clark, the former French Laundry pastry chef who’s been working at Ad Hoc for the last few months before returning to the UK, offered up an exquisite chocolate pave with popcorn sherbet and caramel corn that looked like it came straight off The French Laundry tasting menu. This was definitely the best dessert I’ve ever had at Ad Hoc and I’m glad Claire’s influence on Ad Hoc’s desserts will be lasting.

Chocolate PaveChocolate Pave with Popcorn Sherbet and Caramel Corn

I wasn’t able to confirm, but it looks like these “Last Wednesday” dinners might be an ongoing event at Ad Hoc. This would be a nice addition to their schedule and give diners another marquee night of dining to look forward to every month.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

mike d March 26, 2009 at 10:18 am

What an incredible looking meal. The desert really looks FL-worthy.

I’m quickly running out of reasons not to get a caja china.

A way to somewhat replicate a smoked marcona taste is to put hot marconas in a paper bag with smoked paprika and shake it up.

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Phil H. March 26, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Arnold, do you know if Claire will still be around this weekend? I’m heading to Ad Hoc on Saturday for dinner.

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Carnie March 27, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Phil, got a chance to talk to Claire Clark at the Swine and Wine. She will be there until Sunday this week. I think the dessert put the meal over the top. I am sad to see her go.

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euge l March 31, 2009 at 8:34 am

good thing about wine is that theres so much variety… i wasnt a big fan of the miner shit when i visited awhile back……

pork WASNT the highlight!??!?! either youre turing hoaly on me or dessert mustve been REALLY good.

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Sooj March 31, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Holy s**t…I am jealous.

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HoineDiersl September 1, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Looks interesting. Anyone else have opinions?

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