Fried Peanut Butter and Pig Face at Local 360

Introducing The Weird Food Column -- a weekly column dedicated to all things edible, odd, unusual, strange, wacky and/or slightly tacky. We're not talking International District, Uwajimaya or anything south of Rainier strange (that could be it's own column); we're talking mainstream stuff. Have any suggestions? Leave them in the comments section. For now, you'll have to settle for this inaugural weird food du jour...

Photo by Julien Perry
These little nuggets of melted peanut butter (left) are courtesy of Local 360 -- a restaurant whose fried pig ears quickly put them on the map when they opened in the old Flying Fish space in February. They're listed as Peanut Butter Bon Bons on the menu ($4), but more accurately, they're one of the most satisfying fried snacks you'll ever have. It's like chocolate molten lava cake, but with peanut butter. And a deep fryer. And no cake.

The bon bons are super simple to make: just take scoops of peanut butter, freeze them, batter them up and fry them. Finish off by sprinkling with sea salt and placing atop a dollop of jelly. Serve with a shot of milk.

And because this is the first Weird Food Column, I'm giving you a twofer...

Photo by Julien Perry
It's Local 360's take on TĂȘte de Cochon ($5). While this is nothing new to many folks who consider themselves gastronomes, it is still an oddity to the majority of us. The dish is made by cooking down the head of a pig, taking out bits of the face (cheek, brain, jowl), cooking it down again with orange, thyme, oil, salt and pepper, and then wrapping the entire thing in the skin of the pig's face. It's sliced, fried, served with a sunny-side egg and brioche french toast with maple syrup.

The consistency is soft and a little mushy, like cutting into a veggie burger. You can really taste the orange which complements the syrup and sweetness of the brioche nicely. Despite the marination in orange juice, herbs, oil and spices, there is no masking the sharp taste of the pork scraps. It's a bit of an acquired taste, but the flavors and textures are really quite brilliant and worth the five-spot during happy hour.

Bon appetit!

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