Perfect Pairings: The China Doll and Pork Meatball Banh Mi

By Kara Pound

 

Contributed

From the original bridge crane on rails above the bar to the brickwork and mosaic tile, the attention to detail at Ice Plant Bar on Riberia Street is stunning. Opened in the fall of 2013 and housed in a renovated ice plant manufacturing facility nearly a century old, Ice Plant offers up locally sourced dishes and seasonal cocktails in an old-timey, factory setting.

Though patrons keep coming back for the restaurant’s fresh and focused menu, the Ice Plant is perhaps best known for its craft cocktails.

Bartender Joe Nicol says it’s the novelty of creating original cocktails that keeps things interesting.

For this perfect pairing, Chef Laird Boles and Nicol drew on their experience with and shared love of Asian flavors.

Nicol’s concoction, The China Doll, was inspired by memories of a traditional Indian meal with friends, and Boles drew from his experience as a chef in San Francisco to create the Pork Meatball Banh Mi.

“My good friend is Indian, and I was invited to a traditional sit-down dinner,” Nichol says. “The meal was prepared with curry leaves from their yard and homemade roti (unleavened bread) among other ingredients. We sat Indian style and ate with our bare hands. The family gave me curry leaves from their garden to bring home and that was the inspiration behind this cocktail.”

The tropical, earthy, not-overly-sweet cocktail is paired here with an item off the restaurant’s lunch menu.

The Pork Meatball Banh Mi is served up on a toasted baguette with pickled daikon slaw, black garlic aioli, cucumber, cilantro and basil.

“When I lived in the Richmond District of San Francisco, I fell in love with Banh Mi,” Boles says of the Vietnamese street sandwich with French colonial influences. “My latest rendition is made with pork meatballs. I think it goes well with our cocktails because it touches the palate on a lot of different angles — spicy, sweet, sour and salty.”

The China Doll

.75 ounces St. Augustine Distillery Pot Distilled Rum

.75 ounces Sherry

1 bar spoon Jamaican rum

4 dashes of bitters

.5 ounces ginger syrup

.5 ounces pineapple juice

.75 ounces toasted coconut-curry syrup*

TO MAKE THE TOASTED COCONUT-CURRY SYRUP: Set your oven to 350 degrees. Dust 8 ounces of sweetened coconut flakes in 2 tablespoons of yellow curry powder and spread on a sheet pan. Bake until the coconut is evenly toasted. Put the coconut in a blender with a cup of water and ¾ cup of sugar. Blend and then strain through a cheesecloth. Shelf life of the syrup is four to six days.

TO MAKE THE CHINA DOLL: Add all ingredients to a Julep Cup and fill with pebble ice. Swizzle for 30 seconds to blend all of the flavors. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and sprinkle the top with curry coconut flakes.

Pork Meatball Banh Mi

TO MAKE THE MEATBALLS:

2 pounds ground pork butt

¼ cup minced cilantro

½ cup chopped basil

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

¼ cup fish sauce

2.5 teaspoons sugar

¼ cup Sambal hot sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoon corn starch

4 cloves grated garlic

DIRECTIONS: Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand. Scoop and form 2-ounce meatballs. In a skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons canola oil and brown the meatballs on all sides. Transfer the skillet to a preheated 400-degree oven and roast for 10 minutes or until cooked through.

TO MAKE THE PICKLED CARROTS AND DAIKON

DIRECTIONS: Peel 3 large carrots and one medium-size daikon radish. Julianne-cut them using a mandolin slicer. Separately, in a sauce pot, combine 3 cups apple cider vinegar, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, 4 tablespoons pickling spice and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Pass the pickling liquid through a fine mesh strainer over the vegetables. Let the vegetables pickle for at least 1 hour before using.

TO MAKE THE UMAMI DRESSING

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek ground chili paste

5 tablespoon sugar

2.5 ounces of fish sauce

3 ounces fresh lime juice

3 ounces of water

DIRECTIONS: Whisk all together in a mixing bowl until sugar dissolves.

How to make the slaw: Mix the pickled carrot and daikon mixture with a liberal about of the umami dressing, sesame seeds, sliced jalapeño, sliced cucumbers, picked leaves of basil, mint and cilantro.

TO MAKE THE BLACK GARLIC AIOLI

DIRECTIONS: Place 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of pureed black garlic and 1 teaspoon lime juice in a food processor and process until smooth.

Finally, assemble the sandwich by smearing some of the aioli on a toasted baguette, pile in the slaw and meatballs and serve.

 

More

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 06:52

Girl Scouts honor women who make a difference

The Record

Read more