Sky Full of Bacon


Sky Full of Bacon Presents Funky Leche, and 50th Anniversary

The 50th episode of Key Ingredient— that would be about 4 hours’ worth so far, if you were going to watch them back to back— is this week, starring Jason Hammel of Lula Cafe.

Julia Thiel, my partner in chef-torment, has a cool remembrance of our year of eating weird stuff in nice restaurants. As for me, it’s time to recount how the last ten were, as I do every ten episodes (click on Key Ingredient at right to see any of these):

• Luke Creagan/bamboo worms: Fried, they were just fine with cheese, French fries and mustard.
• Dirk Flanigan/sugarcane: Flanigan worked his butt off to experiment with this in so many directions; I wish I loved some of them more but they didn’t always pay off (like the pink powdery sawdust). The dish was fine in itself, it’s just that sugarcane didn’t contribute as much to it as one might have hoped.
• Kevin Hickey/Mountain Ash berries: the berries were fine, very well made upscale dish— but what blew me away was the squab, easily the best and most flavorful of that bird I’ve ever had.
• Beverly Kim/black cardamom: One of the few I’ve actually made at least part of— I made her black cardamom ice cream, which was very good.
• Edward Kim/turtle: A very pleasing pot pie… but turtle is just one of those ingredients that doesn’t have any character of its own, really.
• Kristine Subido/balut: I’m the only one who wasn’t grossed out too much by the fetal duck to eat this. I was actually more grossed out by the overwhelming egginess of it.
• Ariel Bagadiong/haggis: This was really tasty— the slight Asian touch on a funky comfort food dish was totally pleasing.
• Rodney Staton/calves’ liver: I can eat calves liver but I don’t love it, that’s for sure. This was an elegant approach, but still, liver comes through like a bell.
• Mike McGill/grass jelly: I didn’t get the bitter aftertaste from the grass jelly, so this was just a pleasant ravioli to me.
• Duncan Biddulph/cod milt: Although the cod jizz stunk up my fingers for two days, in the dish it was just a subtle brininess. I still find the idea of putting it on toast repulsive, though.
• Jason Hammel/gjetost: I thought this was pretty irresistible, actually— he was dead on about giving it some bitterness to cut the cheese (so to speak). I got the sense that being both cheesy and sweet, Jason thought it was a little white trash for Lula, though.

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