Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.
76: Pork Chop at Salt's Cure.
I didn't like pork chops as a kid. Growing up in a home where pigs were raised in the backyard, this was often a point of contention at the dinner table. Maybe it was because my trichinosis-paranoid mother cooked them too well done; maybe it was because I slathered everything in way too much applesauce.
One night my father, while searing some chops in a well-oiled pan -- his preferred method -- told an off-hand story that he had heard from his father, who had fought on the German front during World War II. I don't remember the exact details, but it went something like this: My grandfather's division was on an early morning patrol through the French countryside and came upon a farmhouse occupied by German soldiers. After a firefight that lasted about an hour or so, their unit finally took the main house. Out of the kitchen wafted an irresistible, intoxicating smell. An aroma that smelled of home, even though they were a continent away. The German soldiers had been cooking breakfast. A couple of fat meaty pork chops sat sizzling in an old cast iron skillet. My grandfather, wearied and weakened by months of cold meal rations, apparently described it as the best meal of his life.
The pork chop at Salt's Cure, the West Hollywood kitchen for which whole-hog butchery is a veritable mission statement, is a bit like what I'd imagine that chop of legend to be like. A thick slab of bone-in meat, rimmed by juicy rings of fat, brined in salt, and cooked with the astuteness most chefs would reserve only for the finest ribeye. The meat is not really plated, just pulled from the grill and left to rest on a large plate where its juices mingle with a sweet onion sauce and a wedge of butter-roasted apple. Men's Health named Salt's Cure as one of the "Manliest Restaurant in America" last year -- they must have tried the pork chop.
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
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