The EDGE Steak Bar Prevails at Cochon 555
If you are a swine lover, a bad Jew or just Cuban, you are going to feel like a jackass for missing Cochon 555 this past Sunday April 21st. Cochon 555 returned to Miami a second year in its five year history at the Four Seasons in Brickell. The traveling tour gathers five chefs, five pigs, and five wineries at ten cities throughout the country promoting sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs. This gourmet exquisite tasting featured five of Miami’s most talented chefs in an epic pork cook off competition. Each chef had to prepare dishes using an entire 200 pound heritage-pig from snout-to-tail. Both judges and attendees voted for their favorite. The competing chefs were: EDGE Steak & Bar Aaron Brooks, Timon Balloo from Sugarcane, Jeffrey McInnis from the gem Yardbird, David Thomas of the trendy SLS’s The Bazaar and Cesar Zapata of The Federal. Even if you’ve never been a fan of “the other white meat” with a line-up like this, this would have been the place to try it.
The well-deserving Chef Aaron Brooks of EDGE Steak & Bar destroyed the competition and took home the trophy. In addition, guests were treated to wines from five boutique family-owned wineries including Elk Cove Vineyards, Bethel Heights,Hamacher, Montinore, and Alloro. As well as tastings from Vibrant Rioja, Anchor Brewing, Eminent Domaine, Crispin Cider and the delectable Kerrygold Cheese. Their Dubliner Cheese with Irishstout and Cashel Blue Cheese were both magnificent.
Its refreshing to attend a food competition where the judges have sophisticated palates that actually concur with our own. All five chefs had awesome food but only EDGE had zero misses. Everything they served was stupendous and earned first place by a mile. Besides the food being marvelous, they were fully stocked with a full sampling of all dishes the entire night. Other teams were incessantly missing dishes and racing to get them out, some never to be restocked, to our disappointment.
Since EDGE was beyond sensational we are going to highlight every glorious dish they graciously served up. They started with a head cheese pastelito. The pastry was the perfect balance of salty meat and sweetness. The highlight was a deliriously addictive kielbasa that was easily, the best dish of the night. The kielbasa was served on a skewer with a cube of pink lady apples, smoked maple syrup and mustard. A porchetta sandwich with shaved foot, pickles and habanero jelly was solid, as well. Next up, was a mix of clam & pork with roasted garlic, three chilis and coconut. The way all the tastes intertwined in a savory eye-opening fashion was heavenly. There was a scrumptious smoked pork rib chili with blue cheese and fried tortillas. For dessert, an appetizing hot chocolate bacon brownie with chocolate ice cream and piggy crumbs. Kudos to Chef Aaron Brooks and his team. Flawless Victory!
We adore the Yardbird. It’s one of our favorite spots. We thought its addictive corn dog (cornmeal crusted head cheese pate with adorable tiny tubes of pork rendered dijonnaise) was the second best dish of the night. The cheese and relish stuffed mortadella dog was quite tasty, as well. They were our second favorite pork outlet.
The Bazaar by far had the most inventive dishes but only two really stood out — The butifarra fabada (Spanish style sausage, cannellini beans and cilantro) and their oaxacan chocolate, smoked lard and salt chocolate bars. They were quite creative with the bourbon and bacon cotton candy and dragon’s breath pork rinds.
Sugarcane had a scrumptious dish with its sticky rice wrapped in lotus (char Sui loin, soy marinated bacon and homemade Chinese sausage). We unfortunately never got to try their Vietnamese bun with lemongrass and tea smoked pig butt, steamed pork meatball and chili pig ear but we hear it kicked major pig ass.
The Federal also had some great dishes with its Chicago hotdog (mortadella mousse, tomato jalapeño relish and spicy mustard) as well as their cracker jacks (lard popped popcorn, salty whiskey caramel, pork skin, peanuts, cocoa nibs and chiplote).
The fest was ridiculously fun. Phenomenal food, drinks and cool people all out for a great cause. Your sexy Shedonist was blowing nitrogen smoke with Deco Drive’s Louis Aguirre and Maria the Foodaholic. There was a piggy photo booth, a cocktail competition, a tartare bar manned by Todd Erickson of Haven Lounge (one of our favorite spots in Miami), a pig was butchered and auctioned off and even a game of “Pin the tail on the Piggy.” Chef Brooks will have a chance to compete against the nine other winners at the Cochon Championship in Aspen. We probably will not be able to make it there to show our support, but based on his stellar showing he has a great shot at taking home the golden pig.