what: pork loin chops
where: @116 Espresso & Wine Bar, 116 State St., 791-5663
This week’s Bite is a boneless pork loin chop (or three of them, as the case may be), brined in a bright, citrusy, piri piri-spiced marinade. The large-enough-to-share tapa comes on a set of herbed and roasted butternut squash and apples. Worth noting on the menu is the pork’s provenance: Carolina Heritage Farms out of Pamplico, S.C., a heritage pork farm raising breeds like Red Wattle, Guinea hogs and Hereford, in the woods and pastures of the Pee Dee. And if, like me, you’re curious about the similarities between terms like piri piri, peri peri and pili-pili (or pil-pil) in Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, they share a common origin in the Ronga language word for an African bird’s eye chili (piri-piri, meaning “pepper-pepper”). The chili was transported from its origin in Mozambique by Portuguese colonists around the 16th century and then cultivated, making its way into regional European cuisine. @116 is open for dinner Tue-Thu from 5 to 10 p.m., and Fri-Sat from 5 to 11 p.m. It’s also a popular spot for brunch: Sat-Sun 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
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