I started to smell it several blocks away, the shifting breeze alternating between the briny low tide of the adjacent San Francisco Bay and sizzling pork fat. It’s a smell like no other, a magical mixture of memories of a Eastern North Carolina hog roasting over a pit fire, a just opened Kalhua pig on Maui and the My Big Green Egg smoldering all day.
This particular array of aromatherapy was coming from the Roli Roti truck at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s market. The truck arrived early in the morning to set the Porchetta in motion, whole pork middles have been seasoned and rolled up in their own skin, mounted on long skewers and set spinning on the side on the mobile rotisserie.
The smell gets stronger as I approach, within 100 feet, I feel my mouth begin to water and the scent of the potatoes roasting underneath begins it’s little interplay like a clarinet in the background of a Mozart piece. By the time I get to the line to wait my turn to purchase, my stomach is growling audibly and I can’t wait to order my Saturday morning indulgence. They make amazing sandwiches by soaking the mini ciabatta loaves in the juices, then loading on arugula and caramelized onions; fine for some, but I want only the gold. I order a half pound of pork, sliced for immediate eating, don’t skimp on the crispy skin, please…
I find a bench nearby and the flavors meld with the still-present aromas, it is always even better than expected. Succulent and juicy, the meat melts in your mouth; the skin is a perfect juxtaposition, salty and crunchy and so obviously decadent.