The Thirsty Pig Brings Home the Bacon

17 Nov

There are few things I love more than dinner and drinks with friends on a Friday night. I recently met Susanne and her boyfriend Jay who are fresh off their move to Portland from San Francisco. They’ve only been here since July, but it seems like much longer, because I have enjoyed Suzanne’s company since the minute I met her. I knew that Mark would really like them too, so I arranged a little double date to kick off Maine’s First Annual Beer Week and try out The Thirsty Pig for the first time, which has been getting rave reviews from other Portland area bloggers.

I may go straight to hell for saying this, but as much as I love beer, I have an extreme dislike for IPAs. I know, I know, people think I’m insane, but the hops overtake the beer and make them unmanageable for my taste buds. I much prefer a good porter or stout any day of the week over an IPA…so, when we arrived at The Pig and found only IPAs on draught for beer week, I was ready to just get up and leave. I knew Jay was going to fit right in with Mark and I when he confessed he didn’t enjoy IPAs very much either, because they, “bite back.” I thought this was the perfect description of what happens and the most obvious reason not to like them. After some discussion with our waiter, a tasting, and some serious coaxing, Mark and I ended up with New Guy IPA from Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor. Mark and I are huge fans of Atlantic Brewing Company and their Coal Porter is actually my favorite porter around, so it was only natural that we would be attracted to this IPA. I thought it was fantastic, not nearly as hoppy as many I have tasted, and it went down smooth. Suzanne also had the New Guy and Jay had the Lunch IPA from Maine Beer Company located in Portland on the Marginal Way, I think it bit him a little as he didn’t say too much about it.

After we had some beers in hand we placed our orders and were told we could grab some peanuts to shell and eat while we waited. I could hardly think of anything better to do while waiting on house made sausages than eating peanuts and drinking beer. As Jay pointed out though, it was a little awkward as we all shelled our peanuts and made neat little piles on the table instead of throwing them on the floor, but since no one had instructed us on The Pig’s peanut etiquette (and there were no other visible patrons eating them so we could follow their lead) we stuck with our neat little piles and primly ate our nuts and swilled our beer over conversation of San Francisco, snow, and teaching Suzanne to drive a standard. It was filled with laughter and jokes, just how every Friday with friends should be.

It didn’t take long before our sausages started arriving.

Suzanne ordered the daily special which was Bacon Sausage with a Fried Egg on Top and beans on the side.

Bacon Sausage with a Fried Egg on Top

In Suzanne’s own words,”My bacon sausage didn’t taste much like bacon. It was a little boring, though the egg was perfect and the beans were delicious.”

Jay went with the basic dog, an all beef dog topped with mustard and sauerkraut, with chips on the side.

The Classic Dog with Sauerkraut and Mustard

Jay mused,” It was pretty good. Had a nice snap to it, which is what you want in a dog.”

Mark went for the Lithuanian Kielbasa, a pork sausage with lots of garlic, parsley, and mustard seed steamed in Shipyard Export beer then topped with mustard and sauerkraut, with beans on the side.

Lithuanian Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and Mustard

He raved about it and said he would definitely be having it again the next time we pop into The Pig.

I deliberated over several menu items and actually ended up going with what was probably the worst choice—the Hot Italian Sausage. I am very particular about my Hot Italian Sausage since I grew up in an area where making a Hot Italian Sausage sandwich is an art form. This one didn’t quite live up to the standards set by the Italians in the greater Pittsburgh area. It was hardly what I would call hot, even topped with giardiniera, a “spicy” pickled pepper topping. This topping is most famously used on Italian Beef sandwiches all over Chicago (how did I bring up Italian Beef two posts in a row? I must be craving it or something?). It was all so extremely lackluster for me. Maybe I am not expanding my tastebuds enough that I was expecting the old and familiar Italian Sausage of yesteryear, but this just really missed the mark for me. I left sad, and my mouth wasn’t even on fire from the sausage to ease the pain in my heart from having something I love so dearly, butchered in the way that they have. I wouldn’t order that again. I liked the chips though, salt-n-vinegar. Those had to speak to me, since the sausage didn’t. *Sniff.

Hot Italian Sausage

All in all, it was a good experience. I never should have ordered the Italian sausage and the next time I go I think I will try the Greek Chicken (so many people have been raving about it). Now, to find some other places to take our artsy San Francisco friends to! I want them to love Portland as much as we do, and I’m sure with their great taste it won’t be a problem.

The Thirsty Pig on Urbanspoon


6 Responses to “The Thirsty Pig Brings Home the Bacon”

  1. Allison November 17, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    I think most people prefer their 1st sausage flavor memory. I also think New York and Pennsylvania have some of the beat sausages outside of Europe. We will work on the hot Italian recipe. Thanks for checking out the thirsty pig, and for your thoughtful feedback.

    • Eat Here. Go There. November 18, 2011 at 12:46 am #

      Allison, I have the recipe for the Pittsburgh way to make it 😉 It could be a menu addition. Don’t worry I will be back! The overall experience was stellar!!

      • Allison November 18, 2011 at 1:34 am #

        We’d love to try your recipe. We make a new flavor every week.

  2. forefrontfash November 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    i love the thirsty pig! i am refraining from making a dirty joke based on your food porn shots.

  3. kate. November 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    i love it there! they’re so friendly, the prices and environment are great, and the sausage, well, how can you beat a menu full of tube meat?!? sorry to hear your ital. sausage wasn’t up to your snuff. 🙂

  4. Eat Here. Go There. November 18, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    @ Kate and Fore Front: This place is awesome. I love meat in tube form! I couldn’t have married my German man if I didn’t! He never would have had me…now to find a place that serves/sells Weisswurst!

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