Friday, January 21, 2011

Patrick Ryan interview, Part 3: The menu at Port Fonda and an Airstream restaurant

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM

This 27-foot airstream will become Port Fonda.
  • This 27-foot airstream will become Port Fonda.

This week, we've learned that chef Patrick Ryan cut his teeth under Rick Bayless and takes his orange juice pulp-free (parts one and two of Fat City's interview with Ryan are here and here).

Today he walks us through the plans for his 27-foot Airstream trailer (pictured above) and the regional Mexican dishes that will populate the menu at his new mobile restaurant, Port Fonda.  


click to enlarge The interior of the trailer is ready to be built out in the coming weeks.
  • The interior of the trailer is ready to be built out in the coming weeks.

Ryan found his future restaurant in August after months of scouring eBay and Craigslist. A Kansas City couple were looking to sell a 27-foot Airstream. With partner Max Watson, who is also currently cooking at the River Club, Ryan began the process of building out the trailer. The interior has been designed and outfitted by local artist Peter Warren.

"His designs are rustic, gritty. And with accents even on the outside of the Airstream, his style will definitely be obvious," Ryan says.

You can expect to see found objects, lots of woodwork and possibly a chandelier inside the rehabbed trailer. The cooking area will be like a pizza prep station with a six-burner range, tortilla press and stand-up glass refrigerator. But the real surprise will be on the trailer-hitch end, where diners can experience a new kind of chef's table.

"The part we were going to use for storage? That's where we're going to put a table and booth. It will be able to seat six, possibly eight, depending on how good a friends they are," Ryan says.

He expects the rehab to be done by March, and that's when he'll unveil the new menu. It will consist of four daily tortas (a Mexican sandwich, $6 to $8), four tacos ($2 to $4), and a caldo (soup) of the day. There will be bottled drinks like Jarritos and Mexican Coca-Cola, as well as atoles (a masa-based hot drink), agua frescas, and horchata. 


"We'll probably never be a place that serves ground beef or sliced chicken tacos," Ryan says.

Instead, he'll pack tacos with braised short ribs, tripe, and meatballs with cotija cheese. Ryan intends to make his own chorizo verde (a pork sausage with chili peppers) and blood sausage. You can expect to see a twist on a banh mi with house-made chicken-liver terrine (with Campo Lindo chicken livers) and head cheese. The tortillas will be fresh corn tortillas from a press inside the trailer.

"We want this to be fast, affordable and approachable," Ryan says.

He also intends to put his training at the Frontera Grill to work. The sauces will be as important as the proteins. He'll make a burnt orange sauce to serve over duck and a mole amarillo -- a classic Oaxacan sauce made with tomatillos.

"The food just needs to be really, really good. Awesome good and good-sized portions," Ryan says.

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