Friday, June 3, 2011

The Noblest of All

Tucked away in the recesses of Cedar Park, TX (aka suburbia) you expect to find many a big-box chain restaurant and fast food location. If you guessed those are the only things in Cedar Park you guessed wrong! Alongside the soccer-fields and the mall you can find Noble Pig, the brain child of two talented chefs, John Bates, who you may be familiar with from his time at Asti and/or Wink, and Brandon Martinez, has spent time at the Inn at the Anasazi, in Santa Fe and Aquarello in San Francisco. At the core Noble Pig is a sandwich and breakfast shop, however if you step back you realize it is the convergence of a bounty of locally sourced foods, handmade condiments and breads and delicious food.

Mid-May I was one of a few lucky food-writers/bloggers invited to a tasting dinner at the shop. We enjoyed a multi-course menu that explored the breakfast, lunch and dessert offerings regularly featured on the menu as well as a terrific treat, a charcuterie platter to start off the evening.

The charcuterie platter was delicious, a Country Style Pork Pate, Sweet Italian Sausage, Linguisa Sausage, and Shiner Bratwurst. served alongside olive-oil pickles and a homemade mustard.

The country style pate was probably my favorite, I'm a sucker for a good pate! Each sausage had robust flavor, on previous visits to Noble Pig I have seen some of their sausages for sale in the case, after tasting each of these I will certainly be back to purchase some.

After the charcuterie we were served a selection of two of the breakfast items, a Biscuit Stuffed with Pecan-Smoked Pork Belly and Cheese and a house-made Chorizo and Egg Torta.

While both were quite tasty the biscuit remains my favorite, I'm a good Southern girl and any kind of biscuit is close to my heart!

Up next were the sandwiches two by two, first up were top-sellers Smoked Duck Pastrami with Russian Dressing and Rye Pickles and The Noble Pig, an unctuous combination of spicy ham, pulled pork, provalone and bacon. For this pig-obsessed pork lover The Noble Pig is a little slice (or big if you're ordering the regular size sammy) of heaven. The Duck Pastrami is also made in-house and is a delicious twist on a classic sandwich.

Note the house pickles on the corner of the tray, as some one who is picky about pickles I found these to be delicious, just like something mom would make. The second tray of sandwiches featured the Thai Chicken with Jalapeno-Cabbage Slaw and Cilantro and the second was something that would be more of a 'feature' than a regular item, Beef Tongue, slowly braised then sliced and seared, served with Manchego cheese, roasted red peppers and a fresh made mustard.

I adore all things Thai and found the Chicken sandwich delicious, the Jalapeno-Cabbage slaw is a great addition to the sandwich but can also be found as a side on the regular menu (it's well worth grabbing a full-sized serving of it). I've only eaten tongue a few times but if it all tasted like this sandwich I'd eat it far more often! The manchego cheese was a perfect accompaniment to the beef, paprika and peppers.

The last course of our tasting was one near and dear to my heart, dessert. My previous trips to Noble Pig had ended with a jar full of their ambrosia-like nectar of Spiced Chocolate Pudding so when I saw it on the menu I was already in heaven. The trio of desserts was Pecan Meringue filled with Spiced Pudding, Buttermilk-Basil Pie and Nutella Stuffed Blueberry French Toast. And yes each one was as good as it sounds.

While I don't think I could pick just one of these in the future, and I dearly love the pudding I think the Buttermilk Basil Pie was the biggest eye-opener for me. I love buttermilk pie as a rule and found the addition of basil to be enlightening, it truly opened my eyes to all kinds of possibilities for one of my favorite classics!

While our servings were smaller (tasting menu and all) the regular servings are generous (although sharing might turn into a fight over the goods instead!).

I highly recommend a stop by The Noble Pig, if you're in Cedar Park check them out, they are open Monday-Thursday 6AM-3PM and Friday-Sunday 6AM-5PM.


girlichef said...

Gee thanks, now I'm craving it and I think it's way too long of a car ride =( ...seriously delicious stuff going on there!

Kerri said...

I can't wait to head to Cedar Park (I'm in RR) to try this out. It looks wonderful and the Nutella Stuffed Blueberry French Toast sounds beyond AMAZING!

grace said...

well, even by the name alone, i can tell i'd like this place. looks like a great find, and while all the grub sounds yummy, buttermilk basil pie would be the first thing i'd definitely like to try!

The Duo Dishes said...

A biscuit stuffed with pork belly! That sounds crazy good.

Tangled Noodle said...

I am tempted to plan a special trip to Cedar Park just to go to the Noble Pig! I couldn't choose which of these scrumptious dishes I love most. I could eat them all! Thanks so much for sharing the experience. 8-)

grace said...

a basil-flavored buttermilk pie is definitely intriguing. it makes me want to try lots of savory, herby desserts. :)