Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Ubiquitous Pork Knee

CA Scotch Chick always does her homework before she travels, and, as Loyal Scotch Chix Fans can probably tell, a big chunk of that research revolves around food. For her trip to Prague, the research turned up a Czech classic that the CA Scotch Couple had not heard of. They had tried the goulash and the dumplings and all that those entailed when they had made their last trip to Prague, but they had not run into what appeared from the research to be a very common Czech dish - pork knee or pork knuckle.

Now, the Scotch Chix don't completely coordinate in their palate preferences. DC Scotch Chick is a savory/salt fiend, while CA Scotch Chick has a very dominant sweet tooth. Soon after they met each other, however, they discovered that they both shared the same guilty food secret. They both have a weakness for fat - not mushy wimpy fat, but fat that one finds around a good grilled steak - crispy and chewy and oh so bad for you.

So, when CA Scotch Chick discovered a dish that was described on Chowhound as "a chunk of bone-in pork, full of luscious dark meat, encased in a chewy slightly crackly rind," she had to try it. She chose a restaurant called Sherwoods for this "little" Tasty Tidbit because it was close to her hotel and also supposedly had good ribs.

On their first day in Prague, before CA Scotch Gent succumbed to the the Slavic Supergerm, the CA Scotch Couple made their way to Sherwoods for lunch. CA Scotch Gent ordered the pork knee with a Pilsner Urquell, a classic Czech beer, and CA Scotch Chick ordered the ribs with an Aberlour 10. Aberlour 10 had been present in all the government run liquor stores on her recent travels, and she was curious as to what it was like.

Pilsner Urquell and Aberlour 10

The beer and whisky arrived first. CA Scotch Gent liked the Urquell so much that he downed the first one and ordered another. This was a rare act for CA Scotch Gent. Despite his time in Belgium, he does not drink a lot of beer. He described the Urquell as light and refreshing.

CA Scotch Chick was not as impressed with the Aberlour. It had a creamy enough body, but the nutty fruity palate just didn't have an impact. 

As soon as the pork knee and ribs arrived, the CA Scotch Couple realized that they had ordered way too much food. They decided to focus on the pork knee and eat the ribs cold in their hotel room for dinner.

The skin and fat were everything CA Scotch Chick had hoped for. The skin was almost pork rind-like in how crispy it was, and although one had to discard a layer of the mushy fat, the layer of fat between the skin and the mushy fat was very chewy. Unfortunately, in order to get the skin that crispy, the restaurant had to cook the dish so long that the meat was extremely dry. They also didn't use any spices on the dish, so although the visceral pleasure of chewing on fat was there, the flavor was not. For CA Scotch Gent, who does not share CA Scotch Chick's penchant for fat, it was extremely disappointing.

Fat on a Spit

Alas, when CA Scotch Chick passed him the ribs as a substitute, they were even more disappointing. They weren't tender and the rub gave them a distinctive burned flavor. The CA Scotch Couple did their best with all that food, but in the end they boxed up the meat and ribs and found a homeless person who would appreciate them more (the CA Scotch Couple never throw away food!). 

That was a lot of food!

Ah, well. At least the beer was good. Below, please find CA Scotch Chick's review of Aberlour 10.

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