SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition
The lengths to which chefs like Bar Tartine's Nicolaus Balla are going to ensure the authenticity of their creative vision are reaching the poetic. In age when he could order up an entire menu from Sysco, it's a pre-industrial -- even Benjamin-inspired -- act for Balla to culture dozens of types of pickles, cure his own meats and fish, bake his own bread (well, that's courtesy of Bar Tartine owner Chad Robertson), and recycle the bread yeast into beer.
So it goes without saying that the blood sausage Bar Tartine serves is made in-house. It pays homage to the sausages Balla ate in Hungary, the country that most inspires his cooking here. He stuffs the sausage with a forcemeat of pig blood, ground meat and skin, pork fat, buckwheat flour, and brown rice. The fat links, roasted until they sizzle, are meaty rather than custardy, and fervidly spiced. Unlike the blood, which tints the filling a purplish cocoa color, shades its flavor with an underlying richness, perhaps a hint of iron.