Ford’s Filling Station’s 5th Anniversary party
Culver City, California
You can mark off a pretty good week on the calendar when you’ve had the pleasure and the privilege to attend two extravaganzas several days apart as was the case this past week. Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City hosted a private party to celebrate 5 years as the premier purveyor of perfectly prepared pork; several days later Fig & Olive hosted a no expenses spared shindig for the opening of their newest location in West Hollywood, California. Both events featured signature cuisine, free-flowing spirits, music and the presence of the restaurants’ founders, but they couldn’t have been any more different from one another.
Chef and Ford’s Filling Station founder Ben Ford held his anniversary party on what would normally been a quiet Tuesday night in the heart of Culver City’s dining and entertainment area. The first thing to catch the eye approaching the premises was Ford’s portable smoker, its gull-wing door ajar to reveal its two passengers – a couple of whole, gutted hogs, deep red and crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. A basket of snouts and ears (accessories and not snacks, unfortunately) was available at the bar, the perfect accoutrements for making a pig of one’s self, both figuratively and literally. A power trio provided the joyful noise, with additional singers and musicians sitting in at various times.
Cocktails started immediately, and being the DD for the evening I stuck to a refreshing booze-free drink featuring orange juice, crushed blueberries, mint and sparkling water, but there was plenty to keep the revelers happy. Hors d’oeuvres were circulated liberally – these included dark Medjool dates wrapped in crispy, smoky bacon so that the date was broken down into a delightful sugary goop; crispy taquitos filled with the most flavorful brisket you can possibly get your head around; a variety of cheeses with accompanying walnuts and quince paste; and what looked like spicy cheese-laden squares that I unfortunately dropped before I was able to taste it. Ben made his rounds throughout the evening seeing to the needs and desires of the small but rowdy crowd – at one point he led me to the kitchen to try his Head Cheese 2.0. The last time I had it at Ford’s, the head cheese had a creamier consistency, and Ben lamented that he wanted to achieve a more traditional chewy, gelatinous suspension of porcine bits – he achieved that with flying colors. The thin slices had the perfect variety of textures and consistency and were nothing short of delicious.
The line formed to get heaping plates of Porky and Petunia, and I was lucky that my favorite parts were intact; I had the carver slice me off a generous hunk of pig cheek, complete with crispy skin and an eyeball thrown in for good measure. The pork was served on a cross between a roti and a tortilla, thick and bubbly and able to hold up to the moist pig flesh. The party lasted about three hours, but oh, what a party it was. I am grateful for having been able to attend and will undoubtedly remember it for a long time. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: Ben Ford is still the big cheese, the head honcho.
NOTE: This cost for this private event was provided by Ford’s Filling Station. The content provided in this article was not influenced whatsoever by Chef Ben Ford or any of the staff of The Filling Station.