The Tour de Pork is in full swing here in Durham, and we are proud to be partnering with chefs at 20 local restaurants who are using their creativity to utilize the whole hog. Chef Carrie Schleiffer at Alley Twenty Six went above and beyond with her recipe, taking on the challenge of creating an all-new dish using our pork shank. Carrie says she is always looking for local ingredients, so teaming up with Firsthand Foods on the Tour was only natural.
Carrie began her culinary career at home in New Jersey, where she was inspired by her mother. “She was really into cooking,” Carrie remembers, and when her mother was forced to stay home because of poor health, she and Carrie would watch cooking shows and try the recipes together. After earning her undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona, Carrie returned to school at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, where she launched her career at such culinary icons as Tabla and Gramercy Tavern. Here in the Triangle, Carrie brought her experience and creative style to Bar Virgile, G2B Restaurant and Brewery, and finally Alley Twenty Six, where she helped build the food menu from the ground up. After two and a half years at Alley Twenty Six and one year running the full kitchen, Carrie’s culinary philosophy is: “If it doesn’t taste good in the end, it doesn’t matter.”
Carrie’s commitment to crafting great-tasting recipes shines through with the braised pork shank dish she created especially for the Tour de Pork. Cooked in coconut milk and spices, this pork dish is light and perfect for a summer evening. Completing the meal is a side of warmed potato salad with bacon and brown butter dressing. In true Alley Twenty Six fashion, a craft cocktail pairs perfectly with the dish’s flavor profile: the Vacation Plan, a mixture of Plantation pineapple rum, Amaro Montenegro, and Cap Corse quinquina. If this description appeals to you, hurry on over to Alley Twenty Six while you can: Carrie plans to change the recipe every couple of weeks to keep it fresh.
With this new recipe, along with other Alley Twenty Six favorites like the Alley Burger, Carrie hopes to get the word out about the bar’s gourmet food options in addition to its reputation for craft cocktails. Since the kitchen opened in February 2017, business at Alley Twenty Six has been growing, Carrie says, but “there are plenty of people out there who think we’re still just a cocktail bar and they forget that we have food, too.” Carrie herself is dedicated to supporting Durham restaurants whenever she has a night off. “It’s a small community here in Durham,” she says, “We all know each other.”