In the end, it’s kind of hard to say what won the day for Ray Garcia.
Sure, the Fig chef rocked the Cochon 555 competition Sunday at the jam-packed House of Blues with a tender blood sausage served on cotija grits, a letter-perfect pozole and a quirky “Pelon Pelo Puerco” -- a squeeze tube that oozed an astonishingly delicious paste of organ meats, tamarind and orange.
But really, how could a guy dressed in full luchador gear not win?
Garcia came to the event, held on Cinco de Mayo, in Mexican wrestler regalia, including tights. He was one of five chefs who served nose-to-tail dishes from heritage breed pigs at the packed pork-a-palooza -- the final event in a five-city tour.
There was also a pork butchery demonstration by the Lindy-Grundys (Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura), barbecue by craft butcher Chris Fuller and Short Order chef Christian Page and, of course, ample pours of all kinds of alcohol.
As for the food, there were lots of highlights.
It was hard to choose between Wigham’s elegantly composed modernist bites (balanced by a delightfully funky pork-stuffed squid stewed in its own ink) and Jet Tila’s profoundly flavorful pork khao soi and “deviled Berkshire” -- pork rilletes smeared on a pig-shaped lard cracker, dabbed with cherry jam.
Then again, Lansdale’s ramen made with supple "noodles" cut from cooked pig skin had the judges talking. And Dent’s "Spanish Slider" -- house-made chorizo on a ciabatta bun with date and saffron jam -- also had its admirers.
Still, it’s awfully hard to argue with a chef in tights.