Chances are, if you’re a foodie who lives within driving distance of Shreveport-Bossier, you’ve already heard the buzz about the Gulf Pig Underground Dinner Club. Chef Michael O’Boyle’s passion project is making waves for successfully introducing an entirely new concept in fine dining to Shreveport-Bossier: the secret supper. Secret suppers, which have cropped up in lots of larger southern cities like Austin, TX and Charlotte, NC, typically feature highly-adventurous cuisine served in unexpected surroundings.
For their Jan. 29 meal at Zocolo Eatery, the Gulf Pig crew offered a menu entitled “Contemporary Southern.” The three courses included a spectacular Korean fried chicken wing with sweet potato waffles and cabbage slaw (pictured above), coconut broth-poached catfish soup, and a magnificent Coca-Cola-braised pork belly with griddled corn bread, pickled shallots, and fried collard greens. That final course was honestly unlike anything I have ever eaten, yet it made so much sense. In general, this entire dinner took familiar flavors (Coca-Cola, buttermilk, sweet potatoes) and presented them in completely unfamiliar contexts. For dessert? Buttermilk pie with mayhaw jelly ice cream in a white wine golden raisin sauce.
When’s the next Gulf Pig underground dinner? No one knows. That’s part of the appeal of it. To receive e-mail updates from the Gulf Pig crew, sign up here. Another fun way to follow the Pig’s progress is via their mouth-watering Facebook page, where organizers often post photos of past meals and solicit input on upcoming menu items. Tickets are about $50 each. Only around 40 tickets are sold for each meal. A cash bar featuring a few themed cocktails as well as suggested wine pairings is usually available.
For what it’s worth, there’s a definite possibility that Gulf Pig fans (including the author of this blog post) are so inclined to breathlessly praise the Pig because it’s cool, it’s new, and it’s an opportunity that we never expected to have in Shreveport-Bossier. We thought we’d just have to read about underground dinner clubs in Oxford American and Garden & Gun, cursing the spoiled foodies of Austin underneath our breath. But here it is in our own back yard, rooting around in familiar food traditions and serving them up completely transformed.