"The Three Little Pigs" at The Piggery

FOR THIS FARMERS-MARKET-STAND-TURNED-DELI, it is a surprise to step into a daffodil yellow, oak- floored establishment packed with customers along Route 13 in Ithaca. A colorfully chalked menu sign with mouth-watering menu options hangs above the counter. To the left, a black wall adorned with names of local farms tells where they sourced their meats, dairy, and produce. The neighboring hand-drawn map of a pig shows me exactly what a “hock” and a “butt” are (it’s not even close to the butt). Little pig ornaments pepper the counter top, from furry stuffed piglets to a piggy-handled whisk.
The bloody flanks I was expecting to find hanging from the ceiling are actually stored in a glass meat case in the back of the room. Amongst your typical charcuterie of sausages, beef patties, and shoulders are T-burg dogs, Boston butts, pâtés, lards, and even whole chickens. The Piggery will only offer what local farms can offer, so the selection of products available changes almost daily. Like the name of the restaurant, the dishes The Piggery have to offer are exactly what they say they are without much embellishment at all, but they defy expectations.
My friend and I quickly nab a table under the orange-tiled ceiling, armed with our coffee, hot cider, breakfast burrito, and “The Three Little Pigs” (a taco, hot dog, and slider). I start with the hot dog and go nuts with the condiments: ketchup with far more texture interest than the creepy smoothness of Heinz, Dijon mustard, sweet relish, and some amazing picked red onions with the perfect amount of vinegar. Yet, I quickly realize that there is absolutely no need to layer all of this stuff on; there is no artificial hot-doggy meatiness to cover up at all. On the contrary, if you can imagine what a real hot dog would taste like made from real quality pork, then this is it.
Next, the pulled pork slider. The pulled pork is moist and flavorful, spiced just enough to let the pork speak for itself. It is topped with cabbage slaw, which adds a beautiful purple color, crunch, and freshness to contrast the sumptuous meat. The mini-bun, with a nice egg shine on top, is simply the perfect carrier for these flavors and textures.
To complete “The Three Little Pigs” trilogy, there is the carnitas taco. Filled with pork, cabbage, carrots, and a delightfully tangy and zingy green sauce, this taco is the third standout in this meal. The simple yet delicious corn tortilla holds up perfectly beneath the mound of ingredients it carries. Think of your imaginary (or real) Mexican grandmother kneading together corn flour straight from the farm and water. Think of the heat from the burner as she toasts them, the authenticity of the whole process. That’s what this tasted like. And the best part? You can smell them on the pan as you wait in line.
Any breakfast burrito sold in the Ithaca area has some tough competition to live up to with famous competitors such Solaz at the Farmer’s Market and Mexeo in Collegetown. The Piggery’s version is packed full to the brim with their signature pulled pork, local black beans, and egg. As someone who likes a lot of stuff in my burrito like veggies, salsa, and even a nice helping of guacamole, this burrito was lacking in the area of salsa, but nevertheless it is quite an enjoyable burrito to wake up to in the morning.
I would like to argue that The Piggery is serving up some of the best cider in the world. Unlike that dark brown whipped cream-covered stuff popular these days, Indian Creek Farm’s cider is a light golden colored drink that tastes exactly like fresh apples. Refreshing, tart, and spiced ever so slightly, this is probably the best cider of my life.
The cooks at The Piggery prove their ability to let the best of ingredients just be themselves, pairing high quality meats cooked to perfection with simple yet creative complements. As a college student too cheap to buy her own meat and too afraid to over or underdo it, The Piggery is the perfect niche for my dose of delicious free-range protein. No frills, no fuss, reasonable prices, and environmentally friendly without being pretentious, The Piggery is an indulgent change of pace.

This is article was written by Iona Machado and will appear in the Crème de Cornell Fall 2011 magazine to be released DECEMBER 2nd, 2011. Look for the magazine at many locations around the Cornell Campus!


I’m a sucker for cold seafood dishes. Ceviche, tiraditos, tartare, sushi, seafood salad (withOUT mayo), whitefish, lox, herring. They all make my mouth water and my heart skip a beat in hungry anticipation. Some day I’ll live in a wood shack on a beach somewhere and go into the bay every morning to dig my own clams and pick sea urchins off the floor of tidepools. But that’s neither here nor there.

It’s hard to find a reasonably decent deli in London and during my five capicola-less months there in the spring I was on a constant quest for what I consider the pinnacle of lunchtime takeout eating: the Italian deli. When I did (and it turned out to be two blocks from the building I lived in) I managed to make it through two frequent buyer cards in the last month of my stay. The highlight, without a doubt, was the seafood salad sandwich. Circles of octopus, rings of calamari, little curled squid, all in lemon vinaigrette with parsley and celery. Truly ethereal on an Italian wedge or huge hunk of ciabatta.

I haven’t tried my hand at duplicating it yet, maybe in reverence, but I’m sure I will someday. Until then, enjoy the photo and if you feel like trying one of these recipes please report back and suggest any modifications.

Food Network’s Venetian Seafood Salad

Chef Wanabe’s Seafood Salad (with beautiful food porn photography)

Italian Food Forever’s Antipasti di Mare

In honor of my upcoming trip to San Francisco, I decided to try and recreate a salmon BLTA I had several years ago at the Ferry Building Farmers Market. Even though it’s been ages since I’ve eaten that sandwich, it still stands out in my mind as one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had and a great example of Calfornia cuisine at its best.

For my rendition of the salmon BLTA, I used my friend Eli’s salmon recipe and made extra of his secret sauce (which is not so secret anymore, since I’m sharing it on the blog!). The sweet and spicy tang of the sauce went perfectly with the smokiness of the bacon, the delicate flavor of the salmon, and the freshness of the tomato and avocado. I also toasted the ciabatta bread to add a little extra crunch. This sandwich is perfect for lunch on a hot summer afternoon, with a tall glass of iced tea.

Salmon BLTA

(Serves 1)

Approx. ¼ lb. salmon fillet (can use more or less—depending on how big you want your sandwich to be!)

1 ciabatta (can be any type of crusty bread, i.e. baguette, sourdough, etc.)

2-3 slices center-cut bacon

Handful of romaine and/or red lettuce, washed and rinsed

1 tomato, sliced

1 avocado, sliced

Eli’s secret sauce: 1 T mayo, ¾ T BBQ sauce, 1 t brown sugar

For Eli’s salmon:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. For Eli’s secret sauce, mix together the 1 T mayo, ¾ T BBQ sauce, and 1 brown sugar. (This makes enough for the salmon. For extra to spread on the salmon, I would double the recipe.)
  3. Spoon the sauce over the salmon. Roast in the oven for 7-10 min until center is light pink. Set aside and cool.

To assemble the sandwich:

  1. Cook the bacon in frying pan. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a separate pan, pour 1 t of extra virgin olive oil (and little bit of bacon drippings, optional). When oil is heated, put half of the ciabatta face down onto the pan for approx. 2 min. until lightly browned and crispy. Flip and toast the other side. Do the same for the other half of the bread.
  3. Spread Eli’s sauce onto both sides of the bread. (If you don’t have the sauce, you can substitute plain mayo).
  4. Place salmon, lettuce, sliced tomato, and avocado onto the ciabatta.

Enjoy this tasty California update of a classic–I know I did!


Inspired by a portabella sandwich I got during my layover in O’Hare Airport and the Michigan Hollow from CTB, I decided to try and play around with portabellos in my apartment. Portobello mushrooms pack so much flavor and automatically transform any dish into a gourmet delight. So here was my attempt at a Spinach Portabella Sandwich. So easy, healthy, and yummy!

Spinach Portabella Sandwich

1 portobello mushroom, sliced
2 slices of Italian Bread (can use any roll or even buns)
1 or 2 slices of Provolone (or any cheese you prefer)
1 cup spinach leaves
2 or 3 slices of tomato
mayonaise (optional)

Heat up a pan on medium-low heat. Coat pan with olive oil and add the portobello mushroom slices. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 4 minutes, or until soft.

Drizzle some olive oil on both sides of each slice of bread. Put the bread on a separate pan, lay the portabella slices on one of the slices bread, and place a slice of cheese on top. Toast on low heat for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned and the cheese has melted into the mushrooms.

Take the slices of bread off the heat. Stack the spinach and tomatoes on top of the cheese. Spread some mayonnaise on the slice of bread without the mushrooms and cheese. Place this slice of bread on top of the stack. Secure sandwich with toothpick.