Bacon Unwrapped

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Trader Joe's Pre-Cooked Bacon

Apparently today is Microwave Oven Day (how is it possible there is a day for celebrating the microwave oven yet there is not a National Bacon Day?!?). Regardless, I celebrated the day by microwaving a few slices of Trader Joe's pre-cooked bacon.

My palate for bacon really has evolved over the last couple years since starting this blog, and I hate to admit that I've become a bit of a snob. I really can't stand the taste of pre-cooked bacon (or pretty much any generic brand bacon, for that matter). But I decided to give the Trader Joe's pre-cooked bacon a chance in the spirit of this holiday. So Happy Microwave Day and cheers!

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Je t'adore Pâté en Croute

I made pâté en croute for dinner last night. While not specifically bacon-related, the result was a heavenly pocket of pork and pastry goodness that was too delicious not to share with you. Best of all...they were really easy to make. And they are pretty decent as leftovers the next day.

The contents of pâté en croute are pretty basic - I used pork pâté and Dufour puff pastry dough, both of which I purchased at Whole Foods. For each pastry, I dusted both sides of a sheet of dough with flour and placed it on a greased baking sheet. I put a couple slices of pâté on one half of the dough, then folded the other half of the dough over the top of the pâté and pressed the edges together. Then I brushed the top of the pastry with a mixture of beaten egg and water and let it sit for about 15 minutes before putting it in the oven. I baked the pastry at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, at which point the dough had puffed up and had a nice golden color to it.

I could've kept it real and figured out a way to add bacon to the pastry, but that would've been a little over the top - even for me.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bacon Dinner in DC Next Week

Next week, the DC Bacon Nation can finally stop mourning the closure of David Greggory, a restaurant that once served as the de facto clubhouse for bacon lovers in the Nation's Capital. Rejoice and be glad, for The Landmark Restaurant at The Melrose Hotel is bringin' bacon back in the form of a dinner featuring bacon from The Grateful Palate and wines from Teusner Winery (Barossa Valley, Australia). And as usual, Chef Greggory Hill will be in the driver's seat.

If you were a diehard fan of the Bacon Aphrodisiac Dinners, or even if you are a bacon dinner virgin, here's your chance to experience one of these fun-filled events. If you want to play, be sure to call in advance for reservations - they are required.

Date: November 13, 2007 (Tuesday)
Time: 7 pm arrival, 7:30 pm seating
Place: The Melrose Hotel, 2430 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC
Reservations: (202) 669-1888
Cost: $80.00 per person plus tax and gratuity

MENU
Getting Started
Tempura Bacon Wrapped Bananas
Ground Pork Loin and Hempler's Black Pepper Bacon
Wine: Paringa Sparkling Shiraz

1st Course
Nodine's Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Roasted Corn Risotto
Wine: Paringa White Blend

2nd Course
Braised Beef Cheek and Carlton Farms Alderwood Bacon with Smoky Spinach
Wine: Teusner Joshua Red Blend

3rd Course
Roasted Turkey Breast with Oscar's Applewood Bacon and Mole'
Wine: Teusner Riebke Shiraz

4th Course
Seared Lamb Loin and Loveless Cafe Bacon
Wine: Teusner Avatar Red Blend

Dessert
Dan's Secret Bacon and Chocolate Truffles
Artisanal Cheese Plate
Wine: Teusner Albert Shiraz

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Monday, October 01, 2007

BLT Steak

It's not often that I am disappointed by bacon. It's also not often that I speak negatively of bacon on this blog. But unfortunately I had a negative bacon-related experience last Friday while eating lunch at BLT Steak in Washington, DC.

The NYC-based BLT restaurant group opened a Washington location late last year, and some of the initial reviews weren't very good. So I had been waiting to visit in the hope that they would work out the kinks after a few months. I was pretty excited about the idea of a restaurant with the letters "BLT" in the title (even though it doesn't stand for Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato - it's a play on words and the chef owner's name, Bistro Laurent Tourondel), so I wanted to wait and visit when I thought the restaurant would have been open long enough to have found their stride.

Apparently 10 months wasn't long enough.

Even though the name of the restaurant doesn't translate into a bacon-focused menu, they do pay tribute to the Best Meat Ever in a few small ways. One of which is the Grilled Double Cut Bacon appetizer. A dish that has so much potential. And that fails miserably.

The dish consists of a few slices of thick cut bacon that have been grilled and topped with a garlic and vinegar based garnish. The bacon was very meaty and had almost no fat (not a good thing in this case). The grill preparation was weak - rather than enhancing the smokiness of the bacon, it just kind of burned it in the spots where the bacon had hit the grill, and the rest of the meat was limp and bland. But I could have gotten past all of that if the garnish hadn't been so bad it was distracting. The garlic mixture was just too overwhelming. And I admit I have a small personal bias against vinegar, but it just really did not work in this application. I split the appetizer with two friends. I could barely finish my own piece of bacon - something that doesn't happen very often.

For my main course, I resisted the temptation to have steak, which was really hard given that the smell of grilling beef dominates the dining room (the most positive part of the BLT Steak experience). Instead I decided to continue my quest to have an all bacon meal at the restaurant called BLT by having the soft shell crab BLT special. I've had some really good soft shell crab BLTs in the past, so my expectations were high. And I was hoping that the one thing a restaurant called BLT could do well is prepare a BLT. But once again I was disappointed (and the $13 price tag only added insult to injury). The sourdough bread was over-toasted, to the point I actually scraped the roof of my mouth on it. The crab was of average quality - the taste was quite bland. And while the crispy bits of bacon were much nicer than the bacon I had encountered in the appetizer, they weren't good enough to save the sandwich.

Washington, DC is a city full of top notch steakhouses that charge a lot less than BLT Steak for meals that are much better in quality and service (I haven't even mentioned the horrible service we experienced at BLT Steak). I love the name of the restaurant, but it's just not enough for me to return.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bobby Van's Bacon

When most people think of Bobby Van's, they think of steak. But until recently, I'd never noticed how many bacon items they have on their menu. For lunch your bacon options include Harry's Salad, Spinach Salad, Cobb Salad, bacon on your hamburger, BLT, Crab BLT, Rigatoni Carbonara, and even Eggs Benedict with Canadian Bacon. That's 8 bacon options. Maybe it should be called Bobby Van's Baconhouse instead of Bobby Van's Steakhouse.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

The Essence of Bacon, Egg and Cheese

I recently dined with a couple friends at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, VA. Yes folks...I crossed the Potomac River for dinner for a second time in 2 weeks! (And no, I have not broken out in hives yet.)

Chip over at Cork & Knife has written about our positive experience with the kitchen's willingness to make a modification to our pre-set tasting menu. Even though all of us were set on doing the 9 course menu, the "Bacon, Egg and Cheese" that the restaurant is known for - and an obvious item that a bacon blogger such as myself would need to try - unfortunately was not one of the 9 courses. But fortunately they accommodated our request to have it served midway through the meal and we were able to include it in our dining adventure.

It probably comes as no surprise to any readers of this blog to learn that the Bacon, Egg and Cheese was indeed my favorite course. The entire meal was very nice, but this was definitely my favorite course and not just because it involved pork belly (mmm...pork belly). The dish is truly well conceived and executed. It is comprised of braised pork belly, a poached egg, and a potato pancake. I'm a big sucker for a properly cooked pork belly, and Restaurant Eve's version did not disappoint. I definitely recommend checking out Restaurant Eve for this dish alone, even if you don't have the opportunity to have an entire tasting menu experience.

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Farewell...for now

It is a very sad day for bacon-lovers everywhere, particularly in our Nation's Capital. Today was the last day of service at David Greggory Restau-Lounge in Washington, DC. The restaurant is being re-opened under a different name with new ownership later this Fall.

Regular readers of this blog know that I've been a big fan of Greggory Hill's "Pork and Pinot Happy Hours" and "Bacon Aphrodisiac Dinners" for a while now. I've also had the pleasure of getting to know Greggory during that time and the restaurant has become a favorite neighborhood haunt of mine. Fortunately I was able to have one last round of tempura bacon at my final lunch there today!

I'm sure whatever Chef Hill does next will be even bigger and better (and will no doubt involve pork!). In the meantime, I wish him the best and hope he enjoys some well deserved time off.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Rustico Bacon

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of dining with a couple girlfriends at Rustico Restaurant in Alexandria, Va (fellow blogger Matt is a chef there). Rustico is known best for their beer selection, but they also have a very creative and interesting menu. In addition to reading about the restaurant on Matt's blog, I've also read a few good reviews recently that happened to mention some things they were doing with pork. So across the river I went.

I decided to make my entire meal pork themed (surprise). For the appetizer, I split the chicken liver and bacon club with a friend. I'm personally not a huge fan of chicken liver, and the portion was a pretty decent size so I'm definitely glad I shared it, but it was actually quite good. Of course the strip of bacon helped.

For my main course I chose 4 items from their Mosaic menu. The Mosaic menu is a series of small plates grouped by food type (ie pork, peppers, beef, mac & cheese, etc) and each grouping has three options. You can either do an entire flight of one type of food or you can mix and match. I chose to do the pork flight along with one selection from the mac and cheese group. The pork flight was comprised of an Edwards Tender Ham and Bandage Cheddar grilled cheese sandwich, Nora Mills grits and fried pork belly grillades, and crispy pig trotters with garlicky mashed potatoes. My mac and cheese selection was made with house cured pancetta and peas. Everything was delicious. The pork belly was just the right texture and was served on a bed of creamy grits. The ham sandwich was served on fresh toasted bread that was grilled to perfection. By my favorite of the three pork dishes were the crispy trotters served on a bed of mashed potatoes. It had a lovely savory taste. I ate every single last crumb.

We also had a couple fantastic desserts, including a chocolate Guiness cupcake. Chocolate, Guiness and cupcakes...you just can't go wrong with that combo.

On the whole, Rustico was an excellent pork-themed dining experience and definitely worth crossing the Potomac for.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

From the category of "Things You Wrap in Bacon and Deep Fry"
















Observe Chef Greggory Hill's latest creation - the deep fried bacon wrapped banana. Yummmm...

Visit David Greggory RestauLounge in Washington, DC for this and many other culinary adventures in bacon.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Another reason to love Five Guys














Allow me to introduce you to the Five Guys Bacon Cheese Hot Dog I had at Ronald Reagan Washington National Our-Airport-Is-Better-Than-Yours-Because-Its-Name-Contains-More-Words Airport last night.

There's nothing like inhaling one of these puppies before a 5 hour cross country flight! Mmm hmm!

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Flying DCA just got a little better...thanks to bacon

The US Air concourse at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC has long been a culinary black hole. When it came to deciding whether to buy food at the airport versus buying food on the plane, sadly the plane food was usually the better option. But not anymore. As of this month, there is a Five Guys in Terminal C.

Five Guys not only serves some of the best burgers on the east coast, but they also have several options on their menu that include bacon. So if you really want to drive your fellow passengers crazy, I dare you to carry a bacon egg sandwich, BLT, bacon cheeseburger, bacon dog or bacon cheese dog from Five Guys on the plane with you.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bacon pizza bliss

What's better than pizza with bacon on it?

A pizza with bacon, proscuitto, pepperoni and sausage on it!

Earlier this evening I dined with a friend at the restaurant Matchbox in DC. Matchbox has a pretty extensive menu, but they are best known for their pizzas. So that is what we had. On one half of our pizza we had the "Matchbox Meat" special, which includes bacon, pepperoni, spicy sausage, tomato sauce and mozarella. On the other half of the pizza we had the "Proscuitto White," which included proscuitto, kalamata olives, garlic, ricotta cheese, olive oil and mozarella. It was a de-li-cious combination!

Matchbox is just around the corner from the Verizon Center in DC and is a fantastic place to pop into before or after an event (although there is usually a wait, so consider yourself warned). Unfortunately my Hoyas lost tonight, but at least we had a good meal beforehand. And while it doesn't involve bacon, it is worth mentioning that the the mini-burgers at Matchbox are also quite yummy.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bacon mushroom pizza

Smith and Wollensky Grill in DC is currently featuring a bacon and mushroom thin crust pizza on their menu. I had it for lunch today. Yes, I realize it's a bit odd to go to S&W and not have steak, but the last several nights of holiday parties and big dinners (and booze) left me just wanting something simple and greasy today. So the bacon mushroom pizza was the perfect choice.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Equinox Bacon

Last weekend, three of my friends and I took a cooking class with Chef Todd Gray of Equinox Restaurant in Washington, DC.

We had two requests for ingredients to be used during the class - risotto and, of course, bacon.

The way the class works is that the Chef sets up cooking stations at the bar, and 'students' sit at the bar and taste each course as it is prepared (in addition to consuming a healthy amount of wine - particularly for 1 o'clock in the afternoon - but I'm not complaining!).

Chef Gray prepared three courses for us. The first was a Butternut Squash Risotto served with scallops, leaks and truffle sauce. I'm generally not a big truffle fan, but the truffle sauce was done so well that it complemented the other flavors in the dish and was not overwhelming at all.

The main course was a BBQ pork loin with potatoes, sweet onions and applewood bacon. That dish was delicious, of course - you can't go wrong when pork loin and bacon are together in the same dish. Chef Gray also prepared a batch of his signature BBQ sauce for us to taste - his BBQ sauce has bacon in it, is relatively simple to make and is very tasty. I'll definitely be whipping up a batch next time I throw something on the barbie.

For dessert, we had a yummy chocolate "Maker's Mark" cake, along with a few glasses of port to leave us properly pickled for the rest of the afternoon.

The class was a lot of fun, and I would definitely recommend it as a fun thing to do with friends on a Saturday afternoon. But in general, Equinox is one of the best restaurants in DC and I recommend checking it out if you're ever in town.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Baaah-con

Earlier this evening I dined at Equinox Restaurant in Washington, DC with a colleague who is a regular patron there. This popular establishment located just down the street from the White House is known for its top notch mid-Atlantic cuisine.

We had a delightful 6 (ok, really 8) course meal. All of the courses were delicious, but the bacon blog-worthy course was the unexpected treat served to us by Chef de Cuisine Ethan McKee (Executive Chef Todd Gray was on vacation this week). That treat was lamb bacon.

I have to admit, I've never heard of anyone making bacon from lamb before, so I was definitely intrigued. But it was actually quite good. The bacon was cut from lamb underbelly and cured to give it that delicious salty 'bacon' taste. I likened the texture to corned beef, which probably seems kind of weird but there was just something about it texture-wise (not the way it tasted) that reminded me of corned beef. My dining companion thought it was similar to pancetta. His comparison is probably more accurate. Either way it was delicious. And for those who don't eat pork bacon for religious or other reasons, it's another way to enjoy the 'candy of meats.'

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Baconvision: DG Pizza

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Baconvision: Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Here's another video from Chef Hill of David Greggory RestauLounge - bacon wrapped shrimp.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

An Extra Special Baconvision: Chef Hill's Tempura Bacon

Earlier this summer, Chef Greggory Hill of David Greggory RestauLounge in Washington, DC taped a series of videos to promote his bacon dinners and happy hours.

Featured here is the video about Tempura Bacon. Which, if you haven't been to David Greggory, is a sinfully amazing dish. And look out for the guest appearance from yours truly!

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What happens when you mix bacon with wine on a Monday night?

A hangover on Tuesday - that's what happens when you mix bacon with wine on a Monday night. But it was a hangover worth the pain, because it was induced by Chef Greggory Hill's monthly Aphrodisiac Bacon Dinner.

As a continuation of our 'adventures in pork' at David Greggory RestauLounge in Washington, DC, we finally were able to attend one of these highly regarded dinners last night. And once again, Chef Hill did not disappoint.

When you walk in the front door of David Greggory on the night of a Bacon Dinner, you are immediately hit with the scent of cooking bacon. It is amazing to me that people were able to eat in the regular dining room and order non-bacon dishes while being immersed in the bacon aroma. After a pre-dinner cocktail at the bar, we were escorted to the back of the restaurant where the private dining room had been set up for the event. At the entrance to the dining room was a display of pig paraphernalia that Chef Hill has collected over time. We were particularly fascinated by the pig lighters.

A representative from The Grateful Palate was on hand to host the evening and take us on a tour of the Australian wines we were 'sampling' (sampling being a loosely used term). We had a couple pre-dinner glasses of wine and bacon appetizers. The Nodine's Garlic Bacon wrapped tempura bananas were definitely my favorite appetizer. A bacon wrapped tuna loin was also served. The appetizers were matched with Scarpantoni Chardonnay from McLaren Vale, Australia.

We were then seated at our table which was garnished with miniature rubber pigs that quickly became the focalpoint of entertainment for the evening. Several of the photos I've posted here include the various poses that were produced with the pigs, although I have censored out some of the more X-rated versions. :)

The first course was Shad Roe wrapped in Burger's Country Bacon and served with potato crisps and lemon-thyme butter sauce. This course was matched with Paringa White Wine from South Australia. Next up came Newsome's Smoked Bacon roulade with corn beef, cabbage and vegetable puree in the spirit of St. Patty's Day, which was matched with RBJ Theologicum from the Barossa Valley. That was one of my favorite courses. After that came the Hempler's Bacon and chipotle-cherry sausage with Guinness Glaze and mashed potatoes, which was spicy and also fantastic. That course was served with Trevor Jones' Boots Grenache (and yes, Jayne, Grenache is a grape). Last, we went back to Burger's bacon again which was served in a pork ravioli with a smoky spinach and tomato sauce. I actually had to have someone remind me this morning that we had ravioli, but once I remembered I do recall it being very delicious! The last course was served with Burge Family The Redoux, also from the Barossa region.

And of course there was the grand finale - bacon dessert - which was a chocolate truffle with Edward's Brown Sugar Bacon and a caramel-almond sauce. Absolutely outstanding - once again, I was pleasantly surprised by how good bacon can taste for dessert. And the dessert was matched with Jonesy Old Tawny Port - I'm a big port fan, which is actually something I acquired a taste for while studying abroad in Australia many years ago, so I might have stolen a couple extra glasses from my dining companions but just can't remember for sure...

The night was capped off with parting gifts that included a pound of bacon. And of course we had one more cocktail at the bar to shut the place down properly. The Aphrodisiac Bacon Dinner is an awesome dining experience and an absolute blast. We're not worthy, Chef Hill.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

And I'll have bacon for dessert, too!

Tonight I had the pleasure of dining at David Greggory, a Washington, DC restaurant that has taken bacon cuisine to the next level.

Every Wednesday night, David Greggory hosts an evening of "Pork and Pinot." Chef Greggory Hill prepares a collection of small plates of pork prepared in a variety of ways. And they match the dishes with Pinot Noir wines.

Chef Hill gets all of his bacon from The Grateful Palate. And he has a table set up in the dining room to carve meat straight from a whole roasted pig.







Chef Greggory Hill and the whole roasted pig




There were 10 items on tonight's menu, so we ordered one of each along with a couple flights of wine. The items were bacon & bleu cheese salad, pork tenderloin, tempura bacon, bacon wrapped shrimp, pork "burger" with bacon, bacon risotto, Tuscan ham sandwich, pork quesadilla, pulled pork on a bacon biscuit, and soft tacos carved to order from the whole roasted pig.

Everything was absolutely delicious. But there were a couple items that stood out for us. Given that rice and bacon are my two favorite foods in the world, I found the bacon risotto to be quite delicious. I've always wondered what deep fried bacon would taste like, and now I know - the tempura bacon was absolutely yummy. And the soft tacos were also really good - the meat from the roasted pig was tender and juicy. And a piece of crunchy pork skin was served on the side - mmm hmm!








Tempura Bacon and Pinot Noir




But the best thing about the meal was not on the menu and was entirely unexpected. After chatting with Chef Hill about my blog, he generously offered our group the last serving of bacon dessert. He called it a "Bacon S'more." It's a chocolate bacon souffle topped with bacon ice cream. We were all skeptical at first, but it was seriously one of the best desserts I've ever had. There was a slight taste of smokey bacon, which was strong enough to give the chocolate souffle and vanilla-based ice cream a kick, but not so overwhelming that we got weirded out about eating bacon for dessert.

David Greggory also hosts Aphrodisiac Bacon Dinners on the third Monday of each month. We've been told by a few people that this is a very delicious and entertaining evening that any true bacon lover shouldn't miss. We're hoping to go in March. In the meantime, Pork and Pinot can be experienced every Wednesday night. If you live in the DC area or are just visiting, this is a bacon event you must experience!

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