Saturday, May 30, 2015

Good Taste: Hamming it up at brunch

Aged country ham plate with Col. Newsom´s Kentucky ham with rye-pineapple jam from the Twisted Tail. (Craig LaBan/Staff)
Aged country ham plate with Col. Newsom's Kentucky ham with rye-pineapple jam from the Twisted Tail. (Craig LaBan/Staff)

With the farmer's market bustling again on Sundays at Headhouse Square, the Twisted Tail is a prime spot for brunch.

Chef Leo Fourneas' Southern-inflected menu is appealing, from a steel crock of Castle Valley Mill's grits topped with huge shrimp to crawfish mac-'n'-cheese and red velvet pancakes. But with its extensive list of bourbons, the Twisted Tail is especially suited for grazing on sharing plates.

It has a particularly impressive selection of 14 artisanal cheeses, from Cato Corner's Hooligan to Condor's Ruin from Georgia. But I also loved digging into a platter of American country ham, each paired with a smart house-made condiment. I'm always partial to the intensely smoky Benton's from Tennessee.

But for something completely different, we ordered the Col. Bill Newsom's ham from Kentucky. It's far moister than Benton's (and even more so than the prosciutto-like Burger's Smokehouse that rounds out the trio) with a sweet, piggy freshness that I found hard to resist.

Fourneas' finishing touch, though, was a golden, shimmering dice of pineapple jam made with white Dad's Hat rye whiskey that lent the sheer ribbons of pink meat a note of tropical sweetness edged by Pennsylvania liquor spice.

- Craig LaBan

Col. Bill Newsom's country ham plate, $10 at brunch, 509 S. 2nd St., 215-558-2471; thetwistedtail.com.

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