Mercat a la Planxa, Sunda offer pig roasts

Holiday season is here, and for many of us, that means visitors from out of town and you can take the gang to a pig roast, now that Mercat a la Planxa and Sunda offer these gluttonous feasts. All you need is a few days' notice, and a big appetite.
December 7, 2013 9:20:16 PM PST
The plan for whole pig service at Mercat a la Planxa, in the Blackstone Hotel on South Michigan Avenue, stemmed from a research trip.

"I guess the impetus was a trip to Spain in Madrid, and going to these as adores.you just see these cooks putting these large chunks of pork into a wood-burning clay oven," said Executive Chef Jose Garces.

So now, with just 48 hours notice, you too, can bring your group of about 10 people in for a whole-roasted 15 to 25 pound pig for about four hundred dollars. Carved tableside, it comes with roasted potatoes, a salad of spinach, apples and garbanzos, plus charred green onions with an addictive romesco sauce. Garces says it's a great way to make an impression.

"You have this crispy skin, the meat falling off the bone, it's pretty impressive," said Garces.

In River North, Sunda's new Asian approach goes a step further. A whole pig that's been de-boned, then roasted for three hours, served on a bed of white rice.

"It takes about, a little over an hour to de-bone the whole pig, and then that's when we stuff it with our special Sunda stuffing," said Sunda chef Jess DeGuzman.

That includes Filipino sausage, sweet Hawaiian bread, onions and papayas. The spread is impressive: a mound of lumpia - those tiny eggrolls - plus scallion buns and lettuce leaves for wrapping up the pork, and a couple of dipping sauces to boot. A Filipino salad containing tomatoes, onions and fish sauce offers some tart, acidic balance.

"The whole plating of it is literally on a table with all the sides and you're just all going at it. Good meal for 10 to 15 people," said DeGuzman.

The Filipino pig feast is available only for brunch on the weekends and they require at least a week's notice; now it is $500, however, that feeds at least 10 plus and I guarantee you will not be hungry the rest of the day.

Sunda hopes to eventually offer the pig at dinner, but for now, just during brunch.

Mercat a la Planxa
638 S. Michigan (in the Blackstone Hotel)
312-765-0524
http://mercatchicago.com/

Sunda
110 W. Illinois St.
312-644-0500
http://www.sundachicago.com/


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