The King of Culver City. Ford's Filling Station 5th Anniversary Celebration. Culver City, CA.
Jo Stougaard of My Last Bite doing what she does best!
It wasn't just because I had a drink with Harrison Ford while discussing his son Chef Ben Ford's deep fried pig eyeballs that made the 5th Anniversary Celebration of Ford's Filling Station in Culver City an extraordinary night.
Me & Ben's Dad.
It also wasn't just the feeling of great privilege when Chef Ford took time away from hosting his anniversary soirée to invite me and Valentino Herrera of Trippy Food back into his kitchen to sample a preview taste of the headcheese he'd been experimenting with, finally achieving the ideal texture and flavor.
Impromptu headcheese tasting.
The headcheese was pitch perfect. The gelatin distributed throughout the clumps of tender head meat like mini bodies of water in a flesh archipelago. This is the kind of cooking Chef Ford really enjoys and it shows.
Lindy of Lindy & Grundy, Josh Lurie of Food GPS and me.
And it wasn't the schmoozing with A-listers like Josh Lurie of Food GPS, er, I meant the other A-lister like film and television star Calista Flockhart. Later in the night, I mentioned to Mrs. Harrison Ford that I own the complete box set of Ally McBeal...on VHS! That's old, old school! Funny enough, she responded that she owns the VHS box set too.
Ah, cocktail hour(z)!
Maybe it was the outstanding cocktail menu specially designed for the evening with my favorite being the Cucumber Martini. I discovered a new favorite beer as well, the Lagunitas Brewing Co.'s Pilsner, smmoooth and refreshing, baby.
Reunited and I feel so good. Really good!
Or it could've been reuniting with Daniel, my long lost bartender buddy from my old Dublin's Irish Pub days on Sunset Blvd. Daniel is still making really great libations but he's also made a name for himself on the very popular Craigslist TV.
Perhaps, it was the raucous yet rockin' band that kept the energy going all night long.
Rockin' out & piggin' out!
Don't even bother trying to cut in on either Lindy or Grundy of Lindy & Grundy, if they're dancing. Nobody can get between these butchers in love.
Lindy & Grundy, bad ass butcherz.
It could've been the porgy aka pork orgy since it was National Pig Day. Two whole hogs slow cooked until butter tender, meat sweet and beet red.
Yes, it's National Pig Day and this is how we celebrate.
Blurry vision. Need food!
More pig flesh.
Bacon wrapped dates = pig candy!
Pig ears "sound" pretty good right now.
A plate of pig cheek, ear and eyeball washed down with some amazing mac n' cheese, a small salad (to prevent a minor coronary) and finished with bacon wrapped dates for dessert put me in hog heaven. Actually, it put the two unfortunate pigs in hog heaven. I was just a very happy earthling, even happier as I watched the incredible Jo Stougarrd of My Last Bite turn my pig ear into a chew toy.
You go, Gavin!
Chef de Cuisine Gavin Lansdale kept the porgy going all night but made it a point to mingle with the celebrants. He's definitely a chef who is happy making people happy with his cooking.
Chef/Bartender Ben Ford.
It very well could've been Chef Ford himself who darted around his famous gastropub, entertaining the standing room only crowd, playing bartender when necessary while wearing a radiant smile on his face. His lovely wife Emily fluttered about the room with grace and her signature dazzling charm. And what's not to be happy about? When you can keep a restaurant going in this town and in this economy for 5 years, it's time to party.
These little piggies went to Ford's.
Pig nose, the new bowl of peanuts.
Ford's Filling Station was the first real anchor restaurant for an up and coming Culver City. Back when there was no nightlife and no destination in C-town, Ford's was and is the place to be. With Chef Ford keeping things fresh by always using the local and good stuff and using his ingredients in novel ways to keep his customers coming back, his joint should be rockin' for years to come. It's always a good time with special food events like Ford's famous "whole pig feast" and, sometimes, the night just calls for a really fun bunch of musicians and Ford's does that too.
So, really, this night was special because of the sum of all its parts. It was a one-of-a-kind party with great friends, delicious food, a childhood hero, a genuinely cheerful staff, a proud, talented and conscientious chef and a connection to Ford's Filling Station that goes back 5 years. Here's to many more!
Ford's Filling Station
9531 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-2618
Open Mon-Wed 11am-10pm