The Endless Road Trip — San Diego’s Top 10 Eats: 7. Pork, It’s What’s for Breakfast
“Part of me really has a hard time looking at someone straight in the eye after they tell me they don’t eat bacon and not laugh….”
This is what my friend told me he added to his online dating profile after meeting too many women who didn’t eat meat. I don’t know what’s worse; the fact that these women exist or that he kept meeting them. Regardless, I found a place he should probably take women on dates.
I walked into Imig’s Kitchen and Bar in the Lafayette Hotel & Swim Club expecting run-of-the-mill breakfast that you so often get in a hotel restaurant, even if it was in San Diego. I was pretty tired and haphazardly ordered the braised pork and applewood smoked bacon hash (above), which the menu told me contained the hash, plus poached eggs, chile de arbol, and hollandaise on a crispy corn tortilla. My lovely dining companion, BS, went with the breakfast sammy: grilled country bread, eggs over easy, arugula, avocado, prosciutto, oven roasted tomatoes, fontina and chive pesto:
When our meals came out we just stared at them in awe, which was par for the course on our adventure this far. On my plate there were huge, tender, crispy pieces of pork peeking out from under the eggs, all covered in the hollandaise and childe de arbol, which mixed together to make one creamy, spicy sauce.
A few bites into our meal, the chef sent out a few of his signature elements that make up the huevos rancheros: pork green chile and drunken beans (the other elements being eggs sunny side up, Oaxaca cheese, chile de arbol). Green chile is most popular throughout New Mexico, so I was surprised to see it appear on my table in California, especially with pork in it. I wasn’t complaining though. Or refusing pork.
Then there were the beans. Oh, the beans. The beans were cooked in three types of pork fat and with the accompanying meats: lard, andouille, bacon, and chorizo, yet they were still firm and not mushy. After dipping soft flour and corn tortillas into each (who needs spoons, really?) we stopped and realized there were EIGHT different porks on our table: two in my dish, one in BS’s sandwich, three more in the beans, and one in the chile. And we hadn’t even ordered any of Imig’s signature bloody marys, one of which comes with bacon salt and a “meat stick,” another with a prosciutto skewer.
I think it was at this point when I said “I can’t eat any more pork,” a phrase that I thought was only reserved for jokes and not real life. I think if I had to die in public at a restaurant, it would be this one. After my meal, of course.