Best Bacon of 2009

I started rating bacon at the beginning of this year so as it comes to a close it seems appropriate to take a look back at the best bacon I’ve had this year. Below is a list of all the 4-strip ratings of 2009... Happy New Year!

Sala - datil (dates stuffed with almonds, wrapped in bacon)

Applewood - applewood smoked bacon

Char No. 4 - cheesy bacon grits

S’mac - 4 cheese mac with slab bacon

Salt - honey-glazed, bacon wrapped dates

Char No. 4 - grilled asparagus with bacon dressing

Irving Mill - bacon cheddar burger

Hale & Hearty - sweet corn chowder with bacon

Nolita House - mac & cheese with bacon

Permanent Brunch - Hungarian smoked kolozsvari
(also available at Grateful Palate)

Bacon, It’s Cold Outside

At least here in New York it is. I think it was about 10° out yesterday so I decided to break out my Bacon Cookbook to find a hearty winter recipe. Maytag beef and bacon stew? Perfect. Except... I'm not a huge fan of blue cheese or peppered bacon. I am however a big fan of traditional beef stews with potatoes & carrots which this recipe doesn’t call for. Here’s my take on beef & bacon stew:

6 slices Berkshire thick-cut bacon
3 large onions
2-3 carrots
2 potatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 lbs. beef shoulder cut into chunks
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup ale/full bodied beer
pinch of dried thyme, crumbled
pinch of dried rosemary, crumbled
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste
2 cans beef broth
1 tablespoon cider vinegar


1. Chop onions, carrots & potatoes into large pieces.

2. In a large pot fry the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels & crumble. Set aside.

3. Add the onions to the bacon fat & cook slowly over very low heat for about 10 minutes.

4. Add the carrots and cook another 10 minutes or until onions are nicely caramelized. Transfer to a plate.

5. Dust the beef in flour, tapping off any excess.

6. Add vegetable oil to the pot over high heat & brown beef on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

7. Add ale to the pot & deglaze.

8. Put the meat, onions, and crumbled bacon back in the pot. Add in the rest of the ingredients & bring to a boil.

9. Reduce heat & simmer covered for about 3 hours or until beef is very tender & vegetables are soft.

10. To thicken: take about 1-2 cups of liquid from the pot. Place into a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk until smooth. Add back to the pot & mix well.


Piggy Bank

There are plenty of interesting bacon-themed gifts you can give the bacon-lovers on your list. But if you don’t have the desire or time to hit the mall, why not give a pig? This is not like Daily Candy suggesting that you give pigs as pet presents—really Daily Candy??! Heifer International animals are like “living savings accounts” for struggling families and the pig yields the highest interest. Donate a pig in the name of whoever you wish for $120 (or just $10 for a share). Each pig is a valuable source of income provided by the sale of offspring and manure to nourish crops.


Review: Mandansui

Dinner at Mandansui on 35th between 5th & 6th in K-town.
Daepae Sam-gyeop-Sal:

Lazy Pig

WIth the all the craziness of holiday season, I’ve been getting very very lazy... posting less on the blog and opting to share links on Facebook instead. So, I do apologize for neglecting the baconista blog lately. I know not everyone is a Facebook user and probably a lot of you are just as lazy as I am. So to help you impress at holiday dinners, Flying Pigs Farm has this handy thaw-and-roll pie crust made with pork lard! I recently had food catered by Flying Pigs at ILWTR’s engagement party. Everything from appetizers to cupcakes (and especially their pork!) was delicious. No pie... but I did have General Greene’s apple pie with a pork lard crust. It was insanely good & I would love to try to create my own version—when I’m feeling less lazy of course. You can find Flying Pigs at the Union Sq. or Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets on Saturdays.


Review: Prime Meats

Dinner at Prime Meats on Court & Luquer in Carroll Gardens.
Black forest bacon (part of the Vesper Brett):


Like actual bacon, this wild boar colored dachshund named Bacon is a bit fatty. But I think he's just adorable. Unfortunately, he has been in rescue for nearly 2 years! Who wouldn’t want to bring Bacon into their home??!! For more info on Bacon (the dog) click here.


Great Gifts for Baconistas

Besides the ultimate gift of bacon, there are other bacon-related items you can give your bacon-loving loved ones this holiday season. Below is a list of a few places to find them.

Gorgeous letterpress pig posters.

All kinds of crafty, hand-made bacon items: art, accessories, housewares, toys...

Lots of bacon-chocolate treats to choose from.

Pig tees, the perfect apron, and actual bacon too.

Find delicious cookie recipes for a special, home-made gift.


4 Cheese Mac with Bacon

Not the best picture—had to use my cell phone. Below is the recipe I used based on Emeril’s but with rotini instead of elbow pasta and adding bacon of course!

2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 tablespoon
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup Half & Half
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus 3 teaspoons
1/2 pound rotini pasta
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
1/8 cup fresh bread crumbs


1. Cook and drain 4 strips of bacon. Crumble and set aside.

2. In a heavy, medium sauce pan melt 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add flour & stir constantly for about 3 minutes.

3. Increase heat to medium & whisk in the Half & Half little by little. Cook, stirring frequently for about 4 minutes or until thickened.

4. Remove from heat and season with salt & pepper. Add 1/2 cup of Parmigiano and stir until melted and smooth. Cover & set aside.

5. Cook pasta per package directions. Drain and return to pot.

6. Add garlic and 1 tablespoon butter to the pasta. Stir to combine.

7. Add bechamel sauce and bacon to pasta. Stir until well combined. Set aside.

8. Preheat oven to 350°and grease 8" x 8" baking dish with remaining butter.

9. Combine remaining Pamigiano with 3 other cheeses.

10. Place half of the pasta mixture in the dish. Top with 1/3 of the cheese mix. Repeat, covering the 2nd half of pasta with the remaining 2/3 of cheese.

11. Combine bread crumbs with 3 teaspoons of Parmigiano. Sprinkle over the mac & cheese.

12. Bake for 40 minutes or until bubble & golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Scrapple Snarkiness

Who knew that a mess of pig parts and cornmeal could cause such a stir? When this recipe for Scrapple ran in the New York Times in 1872, it sparked a 2 week long discussion via snail mail amongst readers. Today it’s just too convenient to click a button & leave a snarky comment on any subject matter online. Imagine actually having to write a letter, mail it, and then wait for it to possibly be published. Technology has made it faster & easier for us all to showcase our inner foodiot. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not... care to comment?



Thanksgiving Day is by far my favorite holiday—it's all about food (and well, family of course). My 98 year old grandmother is who I attribute my love for all things greasy. This is the woman who, on many occasions, would make my brother and I a pile of bacon for breakfast because that's all we wanted. Sadly, she had to spend Thanksgiving this year in the hospital. When I first arrived, she was asleep... as she finally began to stir, I moved in close to let her know I was there. The first thing she said? “Barbecue.” Yeah, we are definitely related.


Purple Yam

I am unbelievably excited for Purple Yam (or ube as Filipinos know it) to finally open. I had my first taste last night and was not disappointed. It may be the only Filipino restaurant in all of Brooklyn with the exception of Umi Nom which I have yet to try and seems to be more Thai-leaning. Purple Yam, like Cendrillon before it, is also Pan-Asian but they use traditional Filipino flavors in most dishes and use them quite well. Everything was familiar yet very new to me. Rather than organize their menu by the typical salad, entree, etc., they have categories such as “the pig.” My kind of place.

We started with the tocino sliders above (photo by flatbushnelson) and Korean meatballs. The sliders were served in a homemade ube pandesal—that takes 2 days to make—with pickled persimmon. And the Korean meatballs came in a canoe-like ube pocket with pickled carrots, cucumber and kimchi on the side. It was what my dining companion described as a “deconstructed banh mi.”

To drink we had kalamansi soju (another example of mixing Filipino & Korean flavors) and classic San Miguel. I haven't seen that beer since I last went to the Philippines. The coolest thing my dad has ever owned was an old San Miguel t-shirt from maybe the 70s that he wore until it was threadbare.

Next was the beef tapa salad—probably my favorite dish of the night. A salad?! Yes... It was a simply dressed salad, light on greens and heavy on the meat—intense, flavorful, amazing, meat. We also had the pancit which came in a deep bowl with a bit of broth and topped with slices of some kind of sausage. It was pretty tasty but I prefer a more traditional, broth-less pancit. Although I must say that it was better than most of the pancit I’ve had in a restaurants which always fall short compared to my mom’s.

Another reason to be grateful that PY has opened 4 blocks away (besides the fact that there are no decent Asian restaurants Ditmas Park) is the dessert. I have gone to far ends of Queens with a little cooler to find my favorite ube ice cream & bring it back home. The purple yam ice cream I had last night was better than any store bought version I’ve had. And it’s no wonder, as chef Romy later informed me that they make their own ice cream there. We also had the macapuno ice cream on top of buko pie—coconut heaven. I’m told that they also serve one of my favorites, bibinka—a coconut rice cake with a texture similar to mochi—during brunch.

I can’t believe that this wonderful restaurant used to be just another 99¢ store. PY is a great addition to the neighborhood and I’m sure I’ll be there quite often.


Bacon Bird

Dress (your turkey) to impress this Thanksgiving... bacon-wrapped turkeys are said to be moist, flavorful and create a delicious gravy. Not to brag, but I have made very moist, flavorful birds before—with butter, not bacon. But this seems even more alluring. Why not forgo the ham and just cook your pig and poultry in one pan? I’m not going to attempt this but if you have the time and space, knock yourself out—and send me pictures! Recipe here.

Bacon Mmmvelopes

Leave it to the bacontrepreneurs at J&D to create bacon flavored envelopes or as they like to call them, “mmmvelopes.” I only send letters via snail mail to my Grandma who can’t hear on the phone (or in person, really). I’m typically against fake bacon flavor but I can't imagine it’s much worse than your standard envelope seal. Too bad it comes in this gaudy design...


Chicago Baconfest

Some interesting bacon concoctions at Chicago’s Baconfest... If you are in Chicago like my friend Karen (who sent me the link), you should consider checking out one of these bacon-loving restaurants.

Reverse pig in a blanket from David Burke’s Primehouse—also home of the bacon fat candle.

Boka featured chunks of bacon braised in black mole paired with quince sauce.

Signature Room’s carbonara cooked in bacon water and topped with a topped with a piece of seared, smoked pork belly.


East Meats West: Social

Meatpaper—one of my favorite magazines—is at long last doing a food event on the East coast. Better yet, in Brooklyn! The Bay Area meets (or “meats”) Brooklyn to celebrate indie food magazines and great seasonal food from both coasts. Unfortunately, I already have plans that were made quite a while ago... even meat does not take precedence over good friends. For those of you who are free, you can purchase tickets here. Details are below:

A launch party for Meatpaper and Diner Journal
Specialty cocktails
Beer & wine
Charcuterie and prepared dishes from west and east
Roasted New York goat
And of course, more meat.

Marlow and Daughters
Nico Monday
Jerome Waag
Taylor Boetticher / Fatted Calf
Ryan Farr / 4505 Meats
Morgan Maki / Bi-Rite Market
Scribe Winery
St. George Spirits
Bols Genever
21st Amendment Brewery
Hudson Valley Whiskey

... and more

560 Manhattan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
8pm - 11pm



Blondie Loves Bacon

Seems like this could be more effective. Via baconbaconbacon. (click to enlarge)


Be Thankful...

...if you get these butternut squash soup shots with candied bacon to start off your Thanksgiving dinner. Recipe here.


Review: Wifie & Nell

Dinner at Wilfie & Nell on W4th between 7th Ave & W10th street in the Village.
Pigs in blankets (the blanket is bacon):


Trick or Treat...

Bacon is always a treat—especially when you have double the bacon! Thanks to Nicole for sharing her Halloween bacon adventures and to Rosa for sending the picture of her neighbor’s dog Gomez. I love this plump, little baked potato... but he needs more bacon bits!!!


Candle / Condiment

Most of you know that I am anti-condiment. However, should there be a bacon fat votive adorning my table, I would certainly be inclined to drizzle the melting fat onto whatever I’m eating. Rick Gresh of David Burke’s Primehouse created this dual-purpose candle which is also available in a beef suet variety. If you can put one thing on your table to make your meal both prettier and tastier—this is the thing.

Thanks to Gavin for posting the article!


Best Bacon

The Village Voice has voted Karczma’s peasant lard (dotted with smoked bits of bacon) as New York’s Best Bacon. Congrats to the Greenpoint Polish food favorite... too bad my one Greenpoint friend is moving this week.

Image from flickr.

Review: Permanent Brunch

Selections from the bacon bar at Permanent Brunch on 1st Ave between 5th & 6th in the East Village:

Hungarian smoked kolozsvari:

Burger’s sugar cured bacon:


Bacon Tantrum

Little man is serious about his bacon!


PETA vs. Paris

This adorable swine version of Bodoni is Miss Piglette—Paris Hilton’s soon to be pet pig. PETA made a statement that she treats her pets as “disposable as her friends and fiancees.” Ouch. The heiress who paid $4,500 for her new companion/accessory says “I treat my pets like children. I think it’s a lot better for the pig to be at home with me than be made into bacon.” I’m not so sure about that. I’ve seen Tinkerbell struggling to walk in what are probably $300 doggie booties and wearing stupid ballerina get ups. That's just cruel...

Pigs would actually have a much better life rooting around in manure on a free range farm somewhere. Ultimately ending up as bacon is a small sacrifice to pay to avoid a lifetime in humiliating costumes being carried around like a purse.



My favorite Brooklyn bar Sycamore has live music & BBQ every Saturday this month to celebrate Oktoberfest. This Saturday (10/17), Tom Kearny of The Farm will spit roast a whole 100 lb pig—pasture-raised of course—in Sycamore’s backyard. $25 gets you pig parts, sides and 2 beers.

“Macon Bacon”

That’s how it’s done, alright. Buy this Howe t-shirt here.

Thanks to ILWTR for the always fabulous fashion tips.


Even Bacon Can’t Help Boston

After Friday’s loss, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said the team had a remedy for Game 3:

“We’ll show up tomorrow, do what we always do on early games—have 12 pieces of bacon, a Red Bull and go get ‘em.”

Looks like it didn’t quite work out. The Red Sox lost to the Angels on Sunday 7 to 6. But, I don’t know... it still sounds like a pretty good plan. Next time I have to get up early for something (say, work maybe?) I should try this out.


More Mr. Bumble to Love

No update on whether Mr. Bumble—the bacon-loving skunk—has lost any weight yet. Thought I’d share more pictures of the plump little fella (courtesy of metro.co.uk and dailymail.co.uk). I had no idea how fat he was from the initial picture I posted—still rather adorable though. This should be a clear warning that an all-bacon diet may just be too much of a good thing. I’m not saying bacon is bad—in fact it can be quite good for you! It’s all about balance... and contrary to popular belief, I do eat a vegetable every now and then. No one wants to end up Bumble-sized.


The Red Cat’s Bacon Tempura

Earlier this summer I got a tip from baconista followers about this dish featured on Food Network. Unfortunately, it was no longer on the menu at the time. But due to popular demand, it recently reappeared on the Red Cat menu and I was ready to try it with three eager & willing friends.

We met at the Standard Grill for drinks. When you start the night off with tasty cocktails and a plate of pork perfection—jamon iberico, chorizo, and sopressata—you know it’s going to be a good night. Then off to Red Cat for a good dinner with even better dessert. We of course had the bacon tempura which was much lighter than I expected and made for a very good combination with the corn salad sprinkled on top. Also shared was a decent duck entree, a crab appetizer and an amazingly decadent polenta (that was basically all cheese—delicious, delicious cheese). Strawberry shortcake was fresh & light with a very interesting cornmeal texture. But my favorite part of the meal may have been the banana ice cream sandwich with caramelized bananas & caramel sauce. I’m done with my ice cream ratings for now but for this I make an exception—3 scoops!

Photos courtesy of Patty.

Review: The Red Cat

Dinner at Red Cat on 10th between 23d & 24th in Chelsea.


Bacon Hits the Spot... or Marks the Page??

I personally have found plane tickets, metrocards, receipts, photos, postcards—even a clover—in second hand books. Never have I been so lucky as to find a slice of bacon! Artist Dan Thompson has been finding and collecting all kinds of odd and interesting things used as a bookmark in library books. They are now on display in Worthing’s main library. The bacon itself is not in the showcase, however, you can download your very own bacon bookmark here (minus the inevitable mess).

Thanks for the link Karen!


Skunks Do Not Eat Bacon in the Wild

So please do not feed them bacon sandwiches because they will get super fat like this dude. Mr. Bumble the skunk is now on a strict diet of greens and melons as well an exercise routine of two 30 minute walks a day. Apparently, skunks are a popular pet in the UK. Crazy Brits... I guess they are pretty cute little guys, even when they are a bit chunky. Unfortunately, many are being abandoned as a new law prohibits the removal of their scent glands.

By the way, no pets should be fed bacon. It’s bad for them (yeah, I’m talking to you Grandma)! Not even my own Bacon Bit snacks on real bacon—Beggin’ Strips for him means more bacon for me.


Review: Nolita House

A special surprise courtesy of the bartender at Nolita House on Houston between Mott & Mulberry in Nolita.
Mac & cheese with bacon:

Review: Public

Brunch at Public on Elizabeth between Prince & Spring in Nolita.
Side of bacon:


Review: Hale and Hearty Soup

Lunch from Hale & Hearty in Grand Central.
Sweet corn chowder (made with bacon):

Sir Francis Bacon

Not the philosopher, but rather the philosophy—the “holy trinity of flavour: sweet, salty and savory.” Today’s Times describes Sir Francis Bacon Peanut Brittle as “The Love Child of Salt and Sugar.” And I’m prepared to love this child which looks like everything that I was hoping the Red Head’s bacon peanut brittle would be.

Review: Irving Mill

Dinner at Irving Mill on 16th & Irving near Union Square.
Irving Mill Burger with cheddar & bacon:


Review: Essex Restaurant

Brunch at Essex on Essex & Rivington in the Lower East Side.
Side of bacon: