Luau at the Four Seasons
You always want what you can't have, and growing up, that was pork for me. Like a lot of Jewish kids, I grew up in a half-heartedly Kosher house. By that, I mean we didn't cook bacon in the house (unless Dad was out of town) and we weren't outside grilling pork steaks or enjoying a big ham for Christmas. Things like pepperoni, shellfish, meat & dairy, salami, and pretty much every other kind of traif were fine. It makes no sense. All I wanted was for my mom to carve up a ham or smoke a pork shoulder. As I got older and gained the freedom to eat whatever I wanted, I had to check off all the porky goodness I had missed out on. My love of pork knows no bounds these days—and if there's a whole pig roasting, I want to be there. That's the pinnacle of pork eating.
When I got the email for about a rooftop luau at the Four Seasons St. Louis featuring the house team, led by Gian Nicola Colucci and Michael Pastor, PLUS Sidney Street Cafe's Kevin Nashan and Justin McMillen, PLUS a whole pig, I replied YES immediately.
I came as a guest of the hotel, but the price—$48!—was ridiculous. And that included (very strong) cocktails, 4Hands beer, and wine. I definitely ate and drank $48 worth of food and drink.
The spread was bountiful enough that I made my way down the line twice...or three times...to make sure I hit it all. It started with Chef Pastor's enormous red snappers, stuffed with burnt citrus, then steamed in banana leaves, plus some crispy fried coconut shrimp. Next came the spicy Hali Hali chicken and crispy plantain tostones.
The middle table were the healthier options—ono poke, tuna poke, a strawberry slaw, and a corn and edamame salad. They were all good, but let's be real: when you go to a buffet, the healthy table is the one that gets the least amount of love. Instead, I just tried to eat as much of the chicken and fish as I could before reaching the pork table so I could have more room on my plate. On the opposite side of the terrace, Chef Colucci was making a tangy coconut and salmon ceviche—easily one of the stars of the night.
The star of the show was that beautiful crimson pig. Everyone on the terrace came to take pictures of the pig when Nashan and McMillen took it out of the coffin carrying case. I can't fault them. Look at it. You can smell it, can't you? 125 pounds of pork, smoked overnight at Pappy's. If you're one of the people who's thinking, "Ew! That's so grosss" stop being a baby. You eat tons of pork, and this is where it comes from. Grow up or stop eating it.
Nashan served the pulled meat from the pig with chimichurri, something I'll be doing from now on. He also brought pork belly, which he slowly crisped up as the night went on. I saw quite a few people decline the belly—it's too fatty—and those people missed out. You don't know true bliss until you eat a piece of belly where the fatty side melts in your mouth and the skin cracks like a chip, all in one bite.
And they brought spam paella. Because Hawaii.
I forgot to take a photo of the massive dessert spread, but I'm sure you can imagine how decadent it was. To be honest, I didn't eat a single thing off of it: I instead chose to fill my belly with only City Wide and pork. Just like male model/chef Justin.
I don't have any details yet, but it sounds like Four Seasons St. Louis is hoping to continue doing these collaborative events with local chefs. I would most certainly attend another one.