Best Carnivorous Feast: Highbrow debauchery

Oliveto's Annual Whole Hog Dinner

Is it a coincidence that Oliveto holds its Whole Hog Dinner around Fat Tuesday time? You have to wonder, especially if you've just stuffed yourself on six courses of pork. Over the past seven years, this annual event -- in which chef Paul Canales serves porcine delicacies like pig's-ear terrine, blood pudding, and pork trotter with brains -- has earned cult status, and Oliveto's packed reservation books could double as a who's who in the Bay Area food scene. Most diners start with a selection of Canales' housemade salumi, some of which take eighteen months to prepare, and then plow their way through a twenty-plus-item menu whose vegetables are scarce and often cooked with lard. The bravest of the brave -- and if you can eat more than two bites, you qualify -- finish the meal with bacon ice cream. Which tastes just like you'd imagine.
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