Lunch with saucy Porchetta and Chimichurri

Those luscious ladies, Porchetta Banh Mi and Chimichurri Aioli, waiting for our lunch date at District Seven in San Jose (south of Palo Alto). Or so the restaurant’s owner, John Le, announced in a posting yesterday:

Coming soon for lunch: Porchetta Bánh Mì, Chimichurri Aioli & Truffle Fries.

Well, it was late in my day; I hadn’t yet looked down at the photo; and I was momentarily led astray by those capitalized names, which I took at first to be delightful feminine names: flirtatious Porchetta, fandangoing with a rose clenched between her teeth, and silk-gowned Chimichurri, gliding elegantly through the restaurant’s doors.

For some centiseconds I disregarded the suspiciously alimentary surnames Bánh Mì and Aioli. Until I got to the businesslike Truffle Fries, when the foodie truth dawned on me.

And I looked at the picture:

(#1) Clockwise from left: truffle fries; sliced porchetta; and porchetta bánh mi with two chimichurri aiolis, red and traditional green (professional-quality food photography by John Le)

First the food, then on Porchetta, female characters, and feminine names.

Lunch stuff. From NOAD:

noun porchetta: (in Italian cooking) suckling pig that has been boned, seasoned with garlic and herbs, and roasted, typically sliced and served as a filling in sandwiches: you can’t go wrong with a crusty bread roll stuffed with porchetta | tasters found the wine a nice match for the thinly sliced porchetta. ORIGIN Italian, feminine diminutive of porco ‘pig’.

(So, neither kosher nor halal.)

Then, from my 8/21/12 posting “Three from Vietnam”, about spring rolls, pho, and banh mi:

banh mi, essentially a Vietnamese-French submarine sandwich. As I wrote recently about French dips:

The sandwich is also known as a French Dip sub, linking it to the big world of submarine sandwiches of all kinds (see postings here and here), a world that extends all the way to Vietnam, with its baguette-enclosed banh mi sandwiches.

Next, from my 7/9/16 posting “chimichurri”:

Yesterday’s breakfast was salmon chimichurri — something of a blind venture, but I do like salmon. The chimichurri turned out to be a nice green sauce [originally from Argentina]

And from NOAD:

noun chimichurri: (in South American and Mexican cooking) a piquant sauce or marinade traditionally used on grilled meat, typically containing parsley, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and flakes of chili pepper: often billed as ‘Argentine barbecue sauce,’ chimichurri extends its influence far beyond the grill.

This is a description of regular (green) chimichurri; there’s also a red variant (chimichurri rojo) with roasted red peppers, paprika, and chili peppers.

Finally, District Seven is offering not plain chimichurri, but chimichurri aioli, aioli blended with chimichurri. From NOAD:

aioli (also aïoli): mayonnaise seasoned with garlic.

Porchetta and her friends. Considered as a name, Porchetta is explicitly marked as feminine and has a diminutive suffix as well (so connoting endearingness). I see Porchetta as saucy, flirtatious, maybe seductive and on the brassy side: think Carmen, the gypsy cigarette girl, in the Bizet opera, and imagine her singing the “Habanera” (and hold the thought, because Carmen will come up again soon).

Of course if you consider the Italian source, Porchetta is not just saucy, but also clearly porcine. Like, say, Petunia Pig:

(#2) Petunia Pig is an animated cartoon character in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons from Warner Bros. She looks much like her significant other, Porky Pig, except that she wears a dress and has pigtailed black hair (Wikipedia)

For a seductively dancing pig, here’s a Valentine from ca. 1940s:

(#3) This figure later served as the model for a pig named Marilyn Monroink in an ad; see my 5/24/18 posting “Crude japery”

But now I’ll think of this dancing pig as Porchetta. Porchetta and her saucy girlfriend Chimichurri working the vaudeville circuit as a sister act, in matching pink and red costumes. Dancing, singing, and sometimes a bit of stripping; they were hot.

Turning then to name associations: the name Porchetta suggests Conchetta, which is a variant of the more common name Conchita. And Conchita is a gold mine.

From my 5/13/14 posting “An epicene protest”, about Conchita Wurst, a bearded drag queen, winning the Eurovision Song Contest:

(#4) Conchita Wurst in their gown

From various sources, I learn that Conchita  (clipped version Chita [Chita Rivera!]) is a variant of the common Spanish women’s name Concepción, referring to the Immaculate Conception, but it can also be understood literally as ‘little conch, little seashell’ and so is available for a metaphorical slang sense ‘little cunt’. Meanwhile, German Wurst has a phallic referent (again metaphorical). So Conchita Wurst as a name alludes to both the female and the male genitals

However, for me, the great Conchita will always be the fabulously named Conchita Supervia:

(#5) From Wikipedia: (8–9 December 1895 – 30 March 1936) … a highly popular Spanish mezzo-soprano

Among her favorite roles was that of Carmen in the Bizet opera. I just listened to a recording of the “Habanera”, which shows off her powerful resonant voice. She must have blown her Don Josés off the stage.



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