On Writing: Bear Stew at the Pigpen Penthouse
In the future, the Pigpen's owner, Gary McIntire, plans to rent the place out for parties, weddings, retreats. I can't imagine a better place for that (I imagine he'll set up a website for the place when the time comes). When I was at the Pigpen recently talking to Jeff Potts, the man who made the bear stew I wrote about (and ate) in my story, he said, "Go up on that deck, open your eyes wide, and you can see forever." He's absolutely right. This photo (right) is the hot tub on the deck, and the view beyond.
I first found Gary while doing research for my NY Times Magazine article on Baristas, a pub and cafe in a nearby West Virginia town. I spent a wonderful day at the Pigpen talking to Gary about local food, The Pigpen, and what he hoped to do with it. He only made a one-sentence appearance in the Baristas story, but at that point, I knew I'd write a whole story about him someday (I often stumble on my best stories while doing research for other pieces). In the following months, my boyfriend David and I visited the Penthouse as guest chefs ... We made beet soup using fresh beets from the garden; I made my infamous Caesar salad (with real anchovies and coddled egg, none of that creamy Caesar stuff). David made his unbelievable grilled pizza, and we ate at this table (above) on the deck, with the most incredible wine, and view. It simply doesn't get much better than that.