Thursday, May 7, 2015

Baconfest Chicago 2015

For the fourth year in a row, I have attended Baconfest. My plan of attack for 2015 was to walk up and down each aisle and try the dishes that looked appealing and didn't have a lot of bread. Bread is not your friend when you're trying to consume as many bacon dishes as you can. I don't completely rule out dishes with bread, but I definitely try to limit the ones that do have it.

Here's the bacon deliciousness that I had:

Bacon Parfait: Chocolate bacon bits, white chocolate bacon mousse, raspberry bacon crumble, and salted pistachios

This was a pretty good dish. All of the ingredients worked well together.

Beaver's Coffee & Donuts
Bacon Donut Truffles: Mini buttermilk bacon infused cake donuts covered in butterscotch chocolate bacon icing

I've heard that Beaver's donuts are good and it was definitely true in this case. I didn't even bother taking a bite, I just popped the whole donut in my mouth, with a nice creamy taste. Yum!

Grilled Pork Belly: Pork belly with honey poached cranberries, roasted carrots, Anson Mills grits

Initially I was skeptical about grits being in this dish, but holy cow, it complemented the pork belly and cranberries very well. The sweet taste of the cranberries with the non-sweet grits. This was a very good dish.

David Burke's Primehouse
Bacon Tarte Flambe: Vidalia-braised applewood bacon, ramp soubise, black pepper hollandaise, crispy leeks, puff pastry

Hands-down, the bacon was good, but I wasn't a complete fan of the pastry.

Firefly Grill
Cauliflower Bacon Panna Cotta (with crispy bacon fat sage)

I wasn't sure how to attack this since I wasn't given a eating utensil. I wasn't sure about the cauliflower being part of this dish, but it worked well. 

Flo & Santos
Bacon Whiskey River Lasagna: Bacon barrel-aged whiskey served with a bacon five-way lasagna (bacon pasta, bacon ricotta, bacon bits, bacon sauce and bacon)

I like lasagna so I was expecting this to be really good since this had bacon throughout, and this dish didn't disappoint.

Flo Cafe & Bar
Hatch Green Chile Bacon Quiche: Hatch green chile, scrambled eggs, aged sharp cheddar in a bacon bowl

This was a very good dish and the green chile added a nice kick to it. The heat from the green chile was tolerable.

Honey Butter Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken French Toast: Fried chicken, french toast, bacon honey butter and maple bourbon syrup

This was a good dish. The french toast was soft; however, the chicken was a little hard. The butter and syrup were really good which helped.

HUB 51
Braised Applewood Bacon Tacos (with jalapeno slaw, oaxaca cheese, and cilantro)

This was an okay dish. I felt like something was missing to make this a really good taco. I thought the tacos this restaurant had last year were far better.

Meatballs + Porkbelly (carbonara style, grilled bread)

I inhaled this pretty quickly, most likely due to this being the first dish I had after being hungry for a couple of hours. The meatball wasn't dry and it had a good flavor. I could have eaten a whole tray of these.

Kaiser Tiger
Bacon S'mores: Roasted bacon marshmallows with chocolate bacon bark melted between graham crackers

This was very good. I could definitely taste the bacon in this dish.

Kama Indian Bistro
Tandoori Pork Belly Namaste: Braised pork belly, tamarind, jaggery, pickled spice BBQ glaze, charcoal tandoor smoked with bacon and rose jam

Initially I wasn't sure what to think of this dish just by its appearance, but this was probably one of the best dishes I had. All of the ingredients worked well together and it had a little heat to it too. I actually took my time eating this dish instead of inhaling it.

Bacon Lard Spread with Maple Crostini

This was so small and I popped it in my mouth that I don't know if I caught a taste of bacon or not.

Mindy's Hot Chocolate
Pig Liver & Bacon Mousse: Aerated pig liver and bacon with crostini

I wasn't sure what to think of this dish. The presentation was great; however, the aerated pig liver was something I wasn't quite prepared for. This dish was definitely different.

Osteria La Madia
Bacon Ravioli

Maybe a bacon meat sauce would have added something more to this dish. It was still good though. 

When Pigs Fly: Chocolate bacon oreo, bacon pop rocks

This was so cute and good. None of the ingredients overpowered each other. I could have eaten a whole bunch of these like tic-tacs.

Red Butter
Ancho-Chile Candied Bacon Bhel Puri: Puffed rice salad with ancho chile candied bacon, potatoes, onions, cilantro, serrano pepper, mint chutney, tamarind chutney, lime and Indian spices

This was an interesting dish, but in a good way. This packed some heat. 

Signature Room at the 95th
Pastrami Pork Belly with scotch bonnet slaw, scorched fruit, bacon focaccia roll

I pretty much ate the middle and didn't eat the roll (remember my rule about bread). The pastrami tasted really good.

Spacca Napoli
Involtini di Melanzane: Eggplant in a roll with smoked pancetta, fior di latte mozzarella, sage; oven roasted

Normally I'm not a fan of eggplant, but I tried this anyways. It was actually pretty good. This was a flavorful dish due to the sauce.

The Salsa Truck
Tamal de Tocino: Bacon tamale with chipotle bacon crema

This is another dish that falls into the "pop into my mouth like a tic-tac" category. I really liked the chipotle bacon crema; it was quite tasty.

Unite Urban Grill
Grilled Hanger Steak Wrapped in Bacon: Painted hills hanger steak, grilled and basted with house baste

This dish was good, but I think it would have been really good if the meat was a little more moist.

Untitled Supper Club
Bacon "Snickers" Bar: Applewood smoked bacon, bacon fat caramel, bourbon nougat, peanuts, milk chocolate, sea salt

If they sold this in the store, I would definitely buy it. I took my time eating this. This truly did taste like a snickers bar with bacon. 

Whole Foods
Miniature Brownie with Bacon

This was really good. So good that this could be made at home. You can buy brownie bites from Sam's Club, put some type of icing on top with a nice piece of bacon. Voila!

Below are restaurants that had interesting dishes, but I passed on due the amount of bread the dish contained.

Bacon Wrapped Bacon Dog: Crispy maple cajun bacon-wrapped bacon hot dog, served Chicago Style

The Radler
PB&J: Bacon peanut butter, bacon grape jam, bacon bread and bacon milk shot

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Chicago: On a Food Mission

Sometime last year (yes, it's been that long), Greedy Eater 2 and I went to the Chicago area on the hunt for two things: 1) donuts and 2) bacon jam. We were successful with the donuts, but not the bacon jam.

Do-Rite Donuts:
The first place we went to was Do-Rite Donuts on Randolph St. This place is small like the Doughnut Vault. The flavors and size of the donuts are different than the Doughnut Vault, but they're still just as good. We decided to get a dozen of donuts. Greedy Eater 2 chose 6 and I chose 6. The donuts we got were: Valrhona Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean Glazed, Pistachio-Meyer Lemon, Double Chocolate Old Fashioned (2), Candied Maple Bacon (2), Chocolate Old Fashioned, Buttermilk Old Fashioned (2), Raspberry Jelly-Filled, and Cinnamon.

Even though all donuts were good, the best donuts were the Candied Maple Bacon and the Valrhona Chocolate Cake. The bacon wasn't flimsy, it was thick with a good flavor. There was a generous amount of valrhona chocolate on the donut.

Southport Grocery & Cafe: 

The next place we went to was Southport Grocery and Cafe. I've been on the hunt for Skillet Street Food's Bacon Jam. Southport was on a list of locations that sold the Bacon Jam. When we got there, the place was packed. We didn't realize that the cafe and the grocery were all in one small space. They had about 2-3 big shelves of grocery items such as sauces, spices, etc. Unfortunately, they were sold out of the bacon jam. We did buy some sauces and spices though. We plan on going back and eating at their cafe, but will need to get there early since it fills quickly. Plus, maybe next time they will have the bacon jam.

David's Tea:
After Southport, we stopped by David's Tea. Neither one of us had heard of this place before. If you love tea, this is the place to go to. They have approximately 100 teas to choose from that range from caffeinated to caffeine-free, green teas to herbal, energy to cold-fighters, etc. Definitely a place worth checking out.

The Shanty:
After leaving David's Tea, we headed north to Wadsworth, IL to eat at The Shanty. This place was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It's interesting that I lived around this area a good chunk of my life and never realized this place was here. Maybe it was for a good reason.

We weren't sure what to order since the menu is mainly steaks and seafood. We were hesitant about ordering seafood since there's the possibility of over or under cooking it, but we took a chance and ordered two seafood dishes. That was a mistake. We would have been better off sticking with appetizers or just ordering a burger.

We ordered the Alligator Tail appetizer. It was pretty good, but no where near the alligator I had in New Orleans. Turns out that the appetizer was the best part of this experience.


Greedy Eater 2 ordered the Tequila & Orange Grilled Salmon and I ordered the Shrimp & Sea-Scallop Sautee. It was a good thing that there was a glaze on the salmon because it was pretty dry.

The dish I ordered was just okay. There were more vegetables and rice than there was seafood. I only had 4 shrimp and 2 scallops, and they were slightly overcooked. The vegetables were cooked fine and the rice was okay.

Probably better off just sticking with the appetizers and burgers at this place.

All Good Things Must Come to an End...Well, Kinda

If you've been checking the blog from time to time, I'm sure you noticed that there hasn't been a post since September 2014. Since then Greedy Eater 2 and I have been pretty busy with a lot of things going on in our lives, which means not eating at restaurants as much. In February of this year, Greedy Eater 2 moved to Washington state to live the dream. Even though I lost my foodie buddy, the blog will live on, but with not as many posts (there's only so many places I can stuff my face at in a year). On some of my restaurant trips, I may be joined by a guest foodie.

I'll be uploading some posts in the next week, so stay tuned.

Also, I tend to upload more random food photos on Twitter: @Greedyeaters. 

Thanks to everyone who has been following the blog.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse

A few weeks ago, Greedy Eater 2 and I were in the Chicago area checking out some places. We decided to try this restaurant since they were at Baconfest Chicago this year.

We almost missed this place on N. Western Ave. in Chicago. We managed to find a spot to park on the street. On a side note, the parking in the Chicago area is a rip-off. Moving on...

We went in and the place was small, but there was decent seating inside and there was the option to sit outside and eat. It was a nice day, but since it was pretty hot out, we sat inside. While waiting to be seated, a customer recommended we try the cornbread. She swore by how good the cornbread was.

We got seated and took a look at the menu. Their menus are pretty neat because they are contained in album covers. The menu had a good variety of choices. On the table there were several BBQ sauces and a jar of dill pickles. We tasted all of the BBQ sauces and they each had a little kick to them, but the heat wasn't overwhelming.

We decided to split the Big Guys Meal which came with 1/4lb of pork, 1/4lb brisket, 3 rib bones, kettle chips and coleslaw. All three meats were tender. The pulled pork and brisket  The rub on the ribs was so good that we didn't need to put BBQ sauce on them. The kettle chips and coleslaw were pretty good too. (Side note: It wasn't until later on that night, that we looked at the menu again realized that this meal also came with 1/4lb of chicken, which we did not get. It was both our fault and the restaurant's fault for missing this, but yeah, we got shafted.)

We also ordered the Truffled Mac N Cheese and the Custard-Filled Cornbread in regular sizes. The Mac N Cheese was really good. It wasn't too cheesy or thick. It had a good consistency. As for the cornbread, I was glad we listened to the customer. The cornbread was great. We never had anything like it. In the middle of the cornbread was a custard filling with kernels of corn.

For dessert, we ordered the Wood-fired Peach Cobbler. Holy cow was it good. It actually ranked a close second to my mom's peach cobbler which says a lot. It came in a small cast iron skillet with this big chunk of ice cream on top. It had the right amount of sugar and crust on the top.

Overall, we thought the BBQ here was really good, even if we did get shafted out of the 1/4lb of chicken. The rubs and seasoning they use isn't like the other BBQ places we've been to which is a good thing.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Battle of the Taco Pizzas in Bloomington-Normal

Greedy Eater 2 and I wanted to do a comparison of taco pizzas offered by a few pizza places in town. We decided to try the taco pizzas from Casey's, CJ's, Rosati's, and Stolfa's. Here's our take:


The ingredients for this pizza were beef (but it really tasted more like the sausage they use on their breakfast pizza), lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, refried beans (probably out of a can), cheese, and nacho chips on the top.

This may be the most basic of the taco pizzas, but it tasted really good. Normally I'm not a fan of refried beans, but the amount on the pizza wasn't overpowering. The nacho chips were a good addition to the pizza.

The ingredients for this pizza were ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, jalapenos, sour cream, and black olives.

This was a good pizza, but we felt the amount of lettuce was too much. One slice of this pizza weighed more than 2 or 3 slices of the Casey's pizza.

The ingredients for this pizza were ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, jalapenos, sour cream, and black olives.

This was just an okay pizza. The salsa was watery and bland.

The ingredients for this pizza were ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, jalapenos, sour cream, and black olives.

This pizza really wasn't that much different from CJ's pizza. The pieces of lettuce were just too big.

Verdict: We prefer Casey's pizza out of all four. The lettuce wasn't overpowering to the point where we had to take half of it off compared to the other pizzas. The pizza wasn't heavy considering it had refried beans on it. We also liked the chips on the top, which allowed the toppings to stay on the pizza better than the others. Casey's and CJ's would be our next choices.