Livestock raised traditionally, humanely and sustainably produce the finest tasting meats…
Oddly enough, I had never had pork cheeks prior to this trip to Grant Grill. Even more surprising than that, I had never heard of Niman Ranch. I am overjoyed that I was honored to experience both. Realizing that I want to be a pseudo-professional foodie, not just some random guy who eats for the sake of doing so, I took the time to learn about Niman Ranch and the rearing of livestock which later becomes food. I always assumed a pig just kind of gets hit in the head one day and eventually ends up on a plate—that may be true for factory farms but certainly is not the case with Niman Ranch raised livestock.
Raised traditionally, humanely and sustainably? What does that mean? “A farmer doesn’t have a group of animals locked in cages, waits for ‘em to grow up then bats ‘em over the head with a blunt object, bleeds ‘em then sells ‘em and they become food?” No Cue, they don’t! You’re an idiot, by the way. Niman Ranch was started in 1969 by hippie and elementary school teacher, Bill Niman (William Ellis Niman). Since inception Niman Ranch has become synonymous with raising livestock in a healthy and organic environment. Livestock raised by Niman Ranch—a network of more than 600 small U.S.-family farmers and ranchers committed to supporting the protection of the land and well-being of livestock —ranchers are raised outdoors in pastures or in bedded pens; Niman Ranch does not allow confinement of any kind; they are true to the animal husbandry factors. There are no antibiotics, hormones or meat products in the feed; the animals’ diet is strictly vegetarian. Niman Ranch goes above the call of duty and is significantly different from factory farms. Not only do they feed the animals quality and organic food, they preserve the land where the animals roam, they treat them with care and dignity on a daily basis, and they connect with the community and people—and subsequently the world—around them. These practices have been recognized by restaurateurs and since 1971 many market menu items with the Niman Ranch name and company logo—a time-honored business model which began with celebrity chef Alice Waters and her iconic Chez Panisse restaurant.
Grant Grill understands the importance of raising animals in the manner of Niman Ranch’s husbandry; which is why I believe they feature a menu item with Niman Ranch raised meat. The Niman Ranch Pork Cheeks dinner at Grant Grill, an upscale restaurant located in the hotel lobby of the U.S. Grant Hotel in Downtown San Diego, are wonderful, moist and savory. The meat is soft and virtually melts in your mouth. Not ever having pork cheeks before, I was not sure what to expect but I can best describe the taste and texture as something similar to stew meat. I don’t exactly know what “stew meat” is, other than the meat that is usually in stew, when I eat stew—go figure. The dish is comprised of: Asian pears, Swiss chard, cipollini onions and rooftop garden tomato jam—made from tomatoes which are actually grown on the rooftop of the U.S. Grant Hotel. The tangy pears mixed with the sweet taste of the tomato jam base compliments the pork cheeks very well.
Whether for the tomatoes grown in the California sun atop the roof of the US Grant Hotel or to experience organically-raised meat, Grant Grill is certainly a place to visit. The pork cheeks are delicious. The Foccacia Bread is so good that it got its own blog post. I didn’t like the Carrot Juice so much but ahhh, that matters less. Grant Grill is alright in my book, try it for yourself and let me know what you think.
Grant Grill (located in the iconic US GRANT Hotel)
326 Broadway Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
MAKE A RESERVATION
Mon-Thurs: 6:30-11:00AM, 11:30-2:30PM, 5:30-10:00PM
Fri: 6:30-11:00AM, 11:30-2:30PM, 5:30-10:30PM
Sat: 6:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30-10:30PM
Sun: 6:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30-10:00PM
The Lounge: 4:00-11:00PM, 4:00PM-12:00AM