Is there a lovelier thing than a whole roasted pig? Not when it's roasted with as much skill and love as the guys who run Oakland's Chop Bar. For a few months now, chef-owners Jesse Branstetter and Lev Delany have been hosting a monthly pig roast at their restaurant, a few blocks from Jack London Square, and it's quickly becoming one of the most popular food events in the city. Buy your $12 meal ticket at the window outside and, if you've arrived early (a good idea, to beat the crowds), wait patiently until dinner is ready and laid out, buffet style. Watching them cart out the whole pig is great theater, so feel free to take out your cell phone and snap some pictures! In addition to a fairly generous portion of pork, you'll also get several seasonal sides: maybe some lightly dressed greens, a potato salad, housemade flatbread, and several different kinds of salsa. But the real star is the pig itself, with its perfectly tender meat, deeply charred crisp skin, and tasty gelatinous bits. Check the restaurant's web site to see when the next pig roast will be held, and, since it's tough to roast a whole pig indoors, keep an eye on the weather forecast.
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