I’m not asking for pity, but I will say I’m having trouble, from an editorial standpoint.
Every year, around this time, I go down the list of bacon dishes that our bacon chefs have submitted to our bacon database for inclusion in our Baconfest menu. I’m looking for hooks – something to hang a blog post on – a dish or two per session that sound so tantalizing, creative and unique that they can stand for the menu as a whole.
But this year, I’m having trouble making a selection. It’s like choosing between bacon strips and bacon lardons – I want them all to appear in this little nugget of promotional content. But I shall persevere. Rather than let perfection be the enemy of the good, I’ll tease a few (several) highlights of the menu for each of our three sessions.
Before I do that however, let me ask you this – have you purchased your tickets to the 11th Annual Baconfest Chicago yet? No? Good news – you still can! Take a look at the menu highlights below (or read the whole dang thing here), see what catches your eye and then mosey on over to baconfestchicago.com/ticket to push the big red button that will give you access to bacon paradise for a few hours on April 5 or 6.
Friday Dinner Highlights
By now, I hope you know that we have a very special™ Bacon Ramen Pop-Up happening during the VIP Hour only on Friday April 5. Mike Satinover, the most notorious ramen-maker in Chicago, is serving up sample-bowls of a signature, limited edition, bacon-ramen:
Akahoshi Ramen – Mike Satinover
Bacon Ramen – Bacon dashi, Tonkotsu, soy tare, topped with sous vide bacon, bacon fat aroma oil, scallions, wood-ear mushrooms (FRIDAY VIP ONLY)
Here are a few other tantalizing tidbits from the Friday Dinner menu:
Carnivore Inc – Erik Williams
Bacon Mountain – heap of bacon, beer cheese, toast
Gather – Ken Carter
Bacon Potato Puffs – with Bourbon-bacon crema, brown sugar bacon-soy glaze, bonito flakes, Cheeto-bacon dust, cotija and pickled okra
HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen – Thai Dang
Cà phê và sinh tố dừa & Bánh lá dứa với bacon – Bacon coffee coconut slushie with crispy bacon on top AND Pandan brioche with bacon, vanilla ice cream, sweet milk kaya glaze
Sparrow Coffee Roastery with George Trois – Chris Chacko and Michael Lachowicz
Caramelized Bacon Gougère – served with coffee Grand Marnier bacon truffle
The Duck Inn – Kris Delee and Kevin Hickey
“Totes Kosher Matzo Ball Soup” – bacon matzo ball soup | braised bacon | chicken broth
Saturday Lunch Highlights
Atwood – David Fingerman
Bacon Panna Cotta – with milk crunch, candied bacon, and almond
BITES asian kitchen + bar – Derek Intapura
Bacon Sushi…What??? – Billionaire’s Bacon (spicy candied bacon) served nigiri-style topped with cheddar chees
Cooking Skills Academy – Paul Guerrero
Promiscuous Pork Belly – 48 hour red braised pork belly
Hearth Restaurant – Michael Elliott
Bacon Funnel Cake – with miso caramel, beer jam, bacon white chocolate powder, bacon pecan toffee
NoMI – Eric Damidot
Whole Milk Braised Pork Belly – sour cherry BBQ beans, fennel slaw, dehydrated corn
Fried Bacon Hand Pie – strawberry, balsamic vinegar, goat cheese
The Delta – Michael (Mike) McCants
Bacon BBQ grilled oysters with pickled apple and candied bacon – oysters on the half shell, bacon BBQ sauce, pickled apples and crumbled, candied bacon
Saturday Dinner Highlights
676 Restaurant & Bar – Dominique LeBlanc Beers
Bacon Chowder Oyster Shooter – fresh shucked oyster topped with applewood smoked bacon chower and finished with Bourbon … bottoms up!
Good Measure – Matthew Troost
Thinking Fieri – applewood smoked bacon brandade-loaded baked potato things, bacon-jalapeno ranch, bacon fat fried potato skin crispies
Steadfast – Ender Oktayuren
Nueske’s Bacon Poke – bacon sticky rice, pulled bacon, fermented chili and bacon hot sauce, bacon Kewpie
Steingold’s of Chicago – Aaron Steingold
Belly vs Belly – pastrami spiced Nueske’s bacon, thick cut, topped with mix of fried and fermented, pickled vegetables, and candied salmon belly bacon topped with pickled Fresno chiles and fermented salmon katsuoboshi
The Broken Barrel Bar – Bryant Anderson
The Bacons Maiden – bacon and chocolate braised short ribs, cheese stuffed peppadew pepper, lemon-truffle, micro cilantro, sex panther (ed. SEX PANTHER!!!)
K.F.B. (Kentucky Fried Bacon) – panko-crusted bacon with a bourbon glaze and blueberry BBQ sauce.