Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bacon Cocktails in the Red Eye

A short article on bacon cocktails in Chicago's Red Eye. I'm not generally a Red Eye reader, but this piece was brought to my attention by my better half, who works at Nacionale 27 with Adam Seger, the mixologist featured in the article. Non-Chicago readers may be excited by the url to purchase Bakon vodka (for $29.99 a bottle), though be forewarned that it doesn't actually contain bacon.

Incidentally, I infused my own bacon vodka ages ago and for some strange reason, haven't tasted it yet. But there'll be a post on that sometime soon, I imagine. I may have infused mine for way too long - Seger apparently only does his for 72 hours. Mine was significantly longer than that. The color of my creation is... unappealing, to say the least. But I'll report back soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baconfest Chicago Pro Bacon Cook-off

If you're living in Chicago and love Bacon, you might wanna check out the Pro Bacon Cook-Off, part of general Bacon Fest events (though Bacon Fest isn't until April), which will be held at The Publican (and they are definitely worthy hosts - their pork is awesome). It involves 10 chefs competing for best bacon dish. The audience not only gets to watch and enjoy the sweet scent of bacon in the air, but will also receive a tasting portion of each chef's dish, 10 2 oz samples of beer (I wonder if these are official pairings or just, you know, tasty), and a bacon gift bag. Sounds pretty awesome. Tickets are available here.
You may notice that they are not cheap. It's times like this I sort of wish that I had a wealthy benefactor, or wrote this blog in some kind of professional capacity that would involve me being sent off to cover the event with a free ticket. Oh well. I'll cook MY OWN bacon! Yeah! So there!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bacon-Maple lollipops, again

As you may or may not recall, I did purchase, sample, and review these lollipops over a year ago. However, awhile back (longer than I'd like to admit, actually), I received a very friendly email from a guy at Lollyphile offering to send me a free box so that I'd review it. I told him I already had, and sent him a link, but he said they were new and improved and he wanted to send me some***. So of course, I said yes, though I have to admit, I was kinda skeptical.

But actually, they DO taste better! There's definitely a more pronounced maple flavor - kind of a maple-y burnt sugar taste. The bacon tastes bacon-ier as well. Definitely a huge improvement over the weird cotton candy flavor they had before. They're actually kinda good now.

Still, my old gripe persists - these are really, really sweet. I'm not a big sweet tooth in the first place, though I do enjoy a good lollipop here and there, but these are intense.

Also, while I appreciate that this is probably because they're made with natural ingredients, they did not hold up to Chicago summer temperatures so well. They were pretty melty when they arrived, and became sort of a gooey mess within 2 days. Though looking at the site now, they seem to have reinvented them all over again - so who knows. Huh. I wonder if they sent me those just to get rid of old stock and spread some goodwill. Um. Well. I hope the new new ones are continuing the trend of improvement!

*** I gotta say, the offers for free stuff still really surprise me. I still find it hard to believe that anyone thinks its worthwhile to give me free stuff just so I'll say something about it. But it's awfully nice. But never you fear, dear reader! My praise cannot be bought with free products, and I will always tell you if I've received something for free or been otherwise asked to mention it, and I refuse to post something that I think is of inferior quality - unless, of course, it's to tell you that it's of inferior quality. But I occasionally get emails from people that are basically like "Hey! I sell something vaguely bacon related at an outrageously inflated price! Wanna advertise for me on your blog, despite the fact that you know nothing about me or my product and would have to pay that outrageous price to learn more?" Uh, no. Sorry. Does that work on anyone?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tia Linda's Scrambled Eggs

You want product promo? Here's a product promo. I was strolling through my local grocery this morning and happened by a free sample of Tia Linda's Grilled Salsa. Holy crap y'all. It is delicious.

Definitely not made in New York City.

Upon arriving home I discovered that my assumption that I had chips was incorrect. So I had to come up with another way to get that incredible substance into my belly. I considered a spoon, but that seemed unworthy of its greatness. So I decided to make some eggs.
I don't always put bacon in my scrambled eggs, but I thought the salty porky flavor would compliment the smokiness of the salsa beautifully, and you know what? I was totally right. Aside from the pig, I added half a chopped onion, a handful of sliced bell pepper (more product promo - Trader Joe's sells bags of frozen sliced bell pepper. It's one of the more convenient inventions ever, maybe.) and a diced jalapeno from my garden, just to give it a little kick. I sauteed all that together over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until the bacon was darkened and the vegetables were softened but not overdone, then I cracked two eggs in the bowl and commenced struggling with the lid of the jar. Why in the hell am I having such a hard time with jar lids lately? I banged on it with a knife a few times and thankfully, it came right off. I glooped some into the pan and stirred it, breaking up the yolks and initiating the flavor meld, then let it sit for a minute or so while I made toast. I contemplated adding cheese, but decided it would cover up the other flavors too much, so I settled for sprinkling a little on some of my toast (another reason why toaster ovens are so fantastic).

Now, if you are seeking to recreate this at home and you don't live near my grocery store, you're going to run into a big problem, namely, the lack of Tia Linda's salsa. I suspect it doesn't get particularly wide distribution, but the label does include an email address - - so you might try emailing and seeing if you can mail order it? Otherwise, explore your local possibilities. You want a salsa, not a pico de gallo (though that'd probably be tasty too, really) - something with a good smoky flavor. But try emailing Tia Linda. I totally want to give this person more business, because goddamn, it's a good salsa. I've been seeking a good jar of salsa for ages - I've tried Rick Bayliss' Frontera Brand - they're great at the actual restaurant - and numerous options from Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, etc, but none of them gets it right. They verge from uninspired and vaguely preservative tasting to bland and uninteresting to straight up yuck.

Man, I think I need to go back to the store and get some chips.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

International Bacon Day

... is coming up this week. I meant to post about it earlier and forgot - I got an email from Alexa with a link to her International Bacon Day blog. She's keeping track of worldwide festivities and has plenty of recipes, activity ideas, and general enthusiasm. Check her out.

I also received an email from Lindsay, who I suspect is probably an employee of a certain brand of bacon because the product gets mentioned an awful lot in the email. Lindsay thought I might want to embed some videos of Food Network chef Aaron McCargo Jr making some bacon dishes with the aforementioned brand. I'm not jocking anyone's product unless I've tried it and embedded videos irritate me BUT because Lindsay took the time to write me, I did watch the videos and the food is pretty impressive.
He's got one for Bacon, Egg and Cheese Cups and one for Bacon Stuffed French Toast. I've never really understood how stuffed french toast works, actually, so I gotta admit, the video was useful. The Bacon Cups looked incredible. And the videos are mercifully short and to the point, aside from the copious product placement. Might give it a gander - you could even prepare them for your International Bacon Day breakfast.