Sky Full of Bacon

Baconfest was Saturday and kudos to all the organizers (including old pal Seth Zurer) and the many outstanding chefs inspired by bacon to new heights. I’ve been sicker than a dog with a cold the last week, but I managed to pull it together to 1) try everything in the first session and 2) give a reasonably coherent 15-minute talk to about a dozen or more on the subject of making your own bacon. I wish I had felt well enough to stick around for the second session, or at least to be more sociable, but I came home and went into a movies-on-the-couch coma. Anyway, some things I especially liked were Randy Zweiban/Province’s bacon slider with avocado and salsa, Chris Pandel/The Bristol’s bacon sausage corndog, Heather Terhune/Sable’s bacon-wrapped date (a classic but always good), and Jared Wentworth/Longman & Eagle’s waffle with dehydrated bacon and ice cream. Here’s the PDF handout from my demo; here are some more pics:

Team Boka did the best job of dressing for the occasion.

Crisping up the dehydrated bacon for Longman & Eagle’s waffle.

Das maple-bacon lollipops, as promoted by the Baconettes.

The vendor area had lots of stuff like this. Really, you have no idea how much there is until it’s all in one room.

Next, Top Chef Masters is back, did anyone ever notice the little Top Chef in-joke I put in episode 13, Pie As a Lifestyle? It’s just an out-of-nowhere imitation of one of Top Chef’s common little editing tics… see it at 7:26.

Because of my hacking cold I haven’t been anywhere (except Baconfest) and I don’t feel like writing a long post about the things I’ve made at home that I have in mind to post about, but here’s a no-brainer that suits my abilities at the moment. Which is, the problem with doing your ten best list at the end of the year is that probably everything is long gone from menus by then. But I feel like I’ve had so many good things lately that it’d be worth calling attention to them… while you still have some chance of eating them. So here’s a top 13 (a blogger’s ten) for the first quarter of 2010, links to writeups if I wrote about them, though many were merely mentioned on Twitter. Go try ’em if you can!

• Grouper soup at 90 Miles to Cuba
• Fried chicken confit at Kith & Kin
• Otter Creek Spring cheddar (purchased at Logan Square Farmers’ Market)
• Shepherd’s Pie at Mado
• Charcoal-grilled chicken at Taqueria Ricardo
• Cassis macaron (also purchased at Logan Square Farmers’ Market)
• Peach cobbler at Pearl’s Place, the South Side soul food restaurant run by the nicest people in Chicago, unless that title belongs to the lady who owns Pasieka Bakery
• Jonnycakes (sort of; more like Jonnycrepes) and awesome pulled pork at The Southern
• Duck apicius at NoMI
• Dessert at Ceres’ Table
• Persimmon pie, Hoosier Mama
• Sausage and waffles, Old Town Social
• Pretty much everything at Aroy

Persimmon pie, Hoosier Mama.