Tuesday, September 14, 2010


You're looking at the first course of the first satellite dinner hosted by Baconfest Chicago. Tickets for last night's event sold out lightning fast, so BFC had to schedule a second, which is tonight. In case you're one of those lucky people, I am loathe to reveal the entire menu or offer a detailed review for fear of ruining the surprise and delight that Gil Langois of Chalkboard has in store. If you didn't get a ticket, fear not--two more dinners are scheduled in the coming weeks.

I will tell you that my personal highlight last night was this opening dish--a plank of Nueske's bacon leaning against a perfectly roasted scallop, accompanied by preserved watermelon, vanilla mayo and candied Kalamata olives. Normally I hate olives (I refer to them as "the devil's eyeballs"), but dining companion Jenni Grover Prokopy and I agreed that they were tiny little nuggets of awesomeness. From the first sip of Prosecco, to the bacon-laden dessert, the entire menu was perfect--not a wrong note anywhere. We'll leave the details at that--no more spoilers.

Now that we're recovering from our bacon hangover, two things occur to us:
1. Bacon really is the king of all meats. It doesn't take a culinary genius of Langois' caliber to figure out that we've been severely limiting bacon by relegating it to the role of breakfast side dish and sandwich topping for so very long. This plucky little meat product has more tricks up its sleeve than the world's best magician.
2. Pork belly needs to be recognized as a perfectly acceptable cut of meat. I shouldn't have to schlep to a weekend farmer's market, settle for a frozen hunk at a butcher, or beg a hunk off a kindly local chef to cook it up. Fresh pork belly should be available EVERYWHERE, because it should be enjoyed by EVERYONE.

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