Chicago Baconfest 2011

This year’s Baconfest Chicago was a little different from the previous years… it took place in a huge venue at the UIC Forum with a huge whopping amount of restaurants/chefs.

Since Z and I had VIP tickets we got to get in an hour early.. we left the hotel around 1030 and got there in time to sign in, get our baggies and wait around breathing in the bacon-y air that kept wafting in everytime someone went in and out of the main doors….. TEASE

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Sable Kitchen & Bar
Chef Heather Terhune

Applewood Smoked Bourbon Bacon Jam, Crispy Polenta Cake, St. Andrew Cheese Fondue

The flavors were good but it was cold – which was a bit disappointing, I love polenta and wish this was piping hot…. it was probably because the chefs were preparing for the VIP crowd and things were failing a little behind [time-wise] so things got cold?!…. the next few dishes down the row were all cold :[

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South Water Kitchen
Chef Roger Waysok

Bacon Cheddar Grit Waffle

Cold but tasty. I love waffles… which there was a little more grit to the texture of the waffle – but it was definitely the heat that was missing.. I couldn’t taste any cheddar in my waffle piece but the bacon was definitely, subtley, there.

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Terzo Piano
Chef Margaret Colleran Sahs

Empanadas with Dreymiller and Kray Cinnamon Bacon, Dried Seedling Strawberry, Toasted Almond, Salsa Verde

Once again, cold. It was a slightly sweet empanada, and while the flavors were great, the cold empanada and lack of crunch made it less appealing…

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Stanley’s Kitchen & Tap
Chef Jaysen Euler

Bacon & Eggs: House-Cured Duroc Pork Belly, Quail Egg, Aged Wisconsin Cheddar Grits, Smokey Bacon Broth

I adore quail eggs, partially because they are so small and cute… once again, cold… and the grits were disappointing… :T Made me crave some good cheezy grits in my belly [which is why I decided to make my own for dinner tonight… that post coming tomorrow hehe]

– – – – –

The Southern
Chef Cary Taylor

Smoked Bacon, Blue Cheese and Roasted Apple Mac and Cheese

We had one there and took one to go. I’m not even a huge blue cheese fan but this was delicious. Perfectly stinky and cheezy and creamy. The bacon and cheese were so perfectly balanced. Delicious! Z was a huge fan of this too…

– – – – –

Small Bar
Chef Justin White

Braised Bacon Brioche with Salted Maple Butter and Crispy Egg Yolk

I actually enjoyed this – It looks kind of Halloweeny and funky but it was pretty tasty… The crisp bacon-y brioche and the egg yolk actually kind of tasted like a yummy fake powdery cheese. Wait, that sounds kind of gross right? But it was delicious… pretty sure that wasn’t the intention but it still satisfied my taste buds

– – – – –

one sixtyblue
Chef Michael McDonald

Pastrami Cured Pork Belly Reubens with one sixtyblue Sauerkraut

I LOVE pastrami but this was…. not that good to me. I didn’t like the flavors throughout the sandwich. Sad – I love pastrami sandwiches!!!!…

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– – – – –

Signature Room
Chef Patrick Sherrin Jr.

Bacon-Stuffed Bacon, Maple Egg Jam, Whipped Pancakes

This was one of my favorite dishes. It was really creative.. seriously?! Whipped pancakes? That little fluff ball of creamy goodness was deliciously amazing! The Bacon-stuffed Bacon was delicious…. this was a perfect dish. Maple Egg Jam?! What the freak! I bow down to you oh creative genius.

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– – – – –

Old Town Social
Chef Jared Vancamp

Tijuana Dog Triple S Farms Smoked Bacon wrapped around a Monterey Jack stuffed housemade Hot Dog, Pickled jalapenos, Salsa Fresca, Lime Aioli

Nom nom nom.. while the Bacon wasn’t apparent in the Dog, it was a delicious Hot Dog.. the bun was fluffy.. the innards were hot, the toppings were fresh and spicy yum nom nom!!!

– – – – –

Longman & Eagle
Chef Jared Wentworth

Bacon Rillete Lollipop with Maple Bacon Cotton Candy

Not fond of the lollipop but I loved the Cotton Candy… nom nom, but then again I’m just a cotton candy whore :D

– – – – –

Lillie’s Q
Chef Charlie McKenna

Pork Belly & Grit Hash, Smoked Gulf Shrimp, Bacon ENC Vinegar Sauce

Good shrimp, yicky grits. SIGH. What’s up with the grits lately? And I’m not too happy with the sour vinegar sauce….

– – – – –

Cafe Des Architectes
Chef Greg Biggers

Ziggy Piggy: Bacon Sundae Bar

Bacon toppings and Chocolatey delight for the Ice Cream NOM NOM

– – – – –

Bakon Vodka

Chocolate Martini

Last yr’s was so much tastier.. although I really wanted to gnaw on the cup and possibly eat it… it was SOOO strong I choked on it when I took a tiny sip…

BLT Martini

Also Super Strong. No Bueno…..

I DID love the Bloodys though….

Bloody Marys

Some of the most delicious bacon of the day were in these Bloody Marys and Z was sweet enough to let me have both Bloody Mary tickets :D I shared of course hehehe… adore adore adore *swoon*

– – – – –

Atwood Cafe
Chef Derek Simcik

Cherrywood Smoked Bacon and Black Currant Fruit Rolls-ups; Bacon “Cannoli” filled with Maple and Bacon Marscapone

This was Z’s favorite and one of mine… this was SO good.. A chewy outside and creamy yummy delicious innards… perfect balance of sweet, maple and bacon!!!

We saved our fruit roll up for later, which was super interesting… super fruity, sweet with a LOT of bacon taste in and through-out it.. yep with REAL chunks of bacon….. Not so much a fan, couldn’t eat a bucket but definitely thought it was innovative.

– – – – –

Heaven on Seven
Chef Jimmy Bannos, Sr.

Chicken, Bacon Creole on Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Grits and Jalapeno Cheddar Bacon Cornbread

– – – – –

Cafe Spiaggia
Chef Sarah Grueneberg & Aaron Diener

Aleppo Pepper cured Pancetta with Vandenboom Farm egg, Tuscan Kale and Warm Onion Vinaigrette

I am obsessed with Kale, I thought this was really good…which is was a runny egg instead of just pieces of omelette… the kale was cooked down perfectly – yum – great flavors and mixture of textures [just needed that gooey egg!!!]

– – – – –

Chef Dan Smith

Cinnamon Bacon Sangaree Sucker – Bacon Infused Bourbon Lollipop, Cinnamon Syrup, Nutmeg, Sage and Cherry wood Smoked Bacon Bits

Here is some of that paired with a pork loin….

Pork was cooked perfectly but bland.. the brittle was delicious, a bit TOO much sage though. We ended up taking home two giant lollipops :D

– – – – –

Team Veera

Chocolate rispy Pork Turtles: Rich Chocolate Covered Crispy Cardamom Pork with Cashews and Rain Chutney

I loved this, Z didn’t. I love the curry and spice to it. In addition to chocolate and bacon which is already, a given, a great pairing…

– – – – –

Big Jones
Chef Paul Fehribach

Bacon & Foie Gras Moon Pie

This was SO FREAKING delicioius. Just a tad of bacon taste to it but all that foie gras was SOOOO GOOD.. did NOT except this to be a sweet bite – expected a savory moon pie – but it was sweet livery and delicious..!!!

– – – – –

Black Dog Gelato
Chef Jessica Oloroso

Banana and Bacon’s Foster

This was really delicious… the ice cream was a beer or bourbon I think… the bananas were sweet and the bacon was salty and crunchy. Great balance. Desserts FTW this year!!!

– – – – –

Chizakaya Japanese Pub
Chef Harold Jurado

Grilled Bacon Nigiri with House Made Kimchi Sushi Rice and Smoky Baco Ikura

I was SO super curious about this… and while I think the rice was overpowering, the rice was DELICIOUS!!! Hahaha. it was toasted and crunchy but just completely took over the whole bite.. the bacon flavor was lacking but I would eat a bucket of that toasted crunchy rice.

– – – – –

Spacca Napoli
Chef Jonathan Goldsmith

Pastiera Rustica: Savory Pasta and Cheese Pie with Guanciale

I wanted to like this, I wanted to love this… I love the concept, leftover pasta made into a frittata…. the Chef was super nice and taught me how to say Pastiera Rustica with a thick Italian accent and using my hands when I speaked [haha] speakage :D BUT the dish was cold [a trend I’ve noticed at the event] Very porky [yum to guanciale] but the pasta was dry and even thought I got an edge piece hoping for crunch, it was just rubbery through-out :[

– – – – –

Chef Randy Zwelban

Smoked & Spice Cured Pork Belly Sandwich with Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa on Pretzel Bread

Wait, this was pretzel bread? I have to admit this was pretty tasty although hard to eat without it spilling all over your fingers and losing some avocado salsa [also very tasty] but sad, SO had NO idea this was pretzel bread. SIGH. Me and Z are obsessed with pretzels…

– – – – –

Gamba Ristorante
Chef Troy Graves

Crispy Pork Belly with a Salad of Grilled Ramps, Peas and Farro drizzled with Bacon Agrodolce

To be honest, SO many restaurants had just a slab of pork belly with some dressing and garnish that it got a bit boring. Just from the looks of this I think this was one of the drier ones…. COME ON MAN, what happened to all the creativity from last year?!?!?!

– – – – –

Blue 13
Chef Chris Curren

Honeydew Melon Salad: Honeydew Melon, Honeydew Gelee, Frisee Candied Walnut Dust, Bacon Vinaigrette

See that little bacon speck? That was all the bacon that was IN the salad, which  found delicious and refreshing. In fact, I adored this dish and wanted more.  The little gelee and melon ball, YUM! Totally counterparted the salty smokey bacon and the subtle vinaigrette on the frisee. YUM!

– – – – –

The Bristol
Chef Chris Pandel

Bacon Banh Mi

This was super tasty… the condiments were spicy and tasty – with a nice hint of sweetness.. the filling was great and the bread was crunchy, chewy and fluffy all at the same time. ADORE.

– – – – –

The Bedford
Chef Mark Teuer

Crispy Bacon Meatballs, English Pea Mash, Pickled Mushrooms, Blue Cheese, Bacon Fat Bearnaise

Sad cold mushy meatball with no texture :[

– – – – –

Chef Carrie Nahabedian

Slow Roasted Slab Bacon with Rhubarb and Burton’s Sorghum

The meat was actually really tender, fatty and delicious… [although I could use more fat] I loved the sweet sauce that cut the saltiness. YUM.

– – – – –

Socca/Redd Herring
Chef Roger Herring

All-Bacon Chicago Style Italian Beef…well, Pork

I LOVE Chitown Italian Beef… um, YUM much? Definitely needed a dip or two but the bread was perfect – SO soft and fluffy… the fillings were great… nice and porky – weeeeeee <3

Remember this moment? NOM NOM NOM!!!

Portillos, Sept ’09

– – – – –

Chef Nathan Sears

Roasted Pork Belly with Meyer Lemon Marmalade, Buttermilk Biscuit and Pinenut Aillade

Another slab of pork belly… don’t remember anything about the biscuit except it was lacking in volume.. a whole biscuit please :D

– – – – –

– – – – –

Chef Gilbert Langois

Bacon Manhattan Milkshakes with Cherry Pearls

While Z was in the stand over getting champagne with a sprinkle of black pepper and some syrup.. I was getting this. OMG delicious. So thick I couldn’t suck it up the fat bubble tea straw :D I loved the pearls while they didn’t really taste like cherry – loved the texture.

– – – – –

Piccolo Sogno
Chef Tony Priolo & Miguel Solorio

Paccheri all’Amatricana: Flat Tubular Pasta Tossed with Ragu of House Cured Pancetta, Red Onion and Tomato Ragu

Tasty… the pasta wasn’t super tender but cooked all dente with a nice ragu. Nothing spectacular but I ate it :D

– – – – –

Gemini Bistro
Chef Jason Paskewitz

The Elvis: Homemade crunchy Peanut Butter, Fried Banana, Honey Peppered Bacon, Griddled Banana Bread

I LOVE banana bread!!! I love pb and bacon and all that good stuff. I love maple and I love anything fried, griddled and amazing. Savory and sweet is awesome. Super awesome. The bread was a bit thick/heavy but it was delicious!!!

– – – – –

redFlame Pizzeria
Chef Marty Gallagher

Bite Sized BLT Pizza [left] and Bacon-Inspired Bruschetta with Garlic Goat Cheese

Would call these pizzas but they weren’t bad. BLT pizza, fun concept, could’ve been yummier…

– – – – –

The Black Sheep
Chef James Toland

Banana Panna Cotta, Cherrywood Smoked Bacon Brittle and Peanut Butter Froth with a Lady Finger Spoon

I had to eat one of these.. freaking Elvis in a red jumpsuit was passing them out. I thought I got a picture of him but I guess it’s in limbo.. sad. But this was creamy and delicious with a strangely tart banana flavor to it – but it worked, it worked SO well :D

– – – – –

Forest Grill
Chef Brian Polcyn

Roasted Bacon Bratwurst Sausage on Caramelized Onions

I was actually surprised how bacon-y the brat was. Pretty good.. should’ve just given out the brats :D Or like, as corn dogs NOM

– – – – –

Custom House Tavern
Chef Perry Hendrix

Bacon Manhattan: Templeton Rye Braised Pork Belly, Sweet Vermouth & Onion Marmalade with Tart Cherry Mustard

Fatty pork belly #2942034829.  And trust me, I LOVE pork belly, and while it’s delicious stuff… I need some creativeness, some oomph please!!!

– – – – –

La Madia
Chef Jonathan Fox

Spinach and Bacon Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce and Parmesan

We had seen these raviolis earlier on in the event and Z was craving them.. brown butter sauce [mm who could forget the brown butter sauce from L’Artusi]

Unfortunately it was all cheese and spinach and had no bacon taste.

– – – – –

Park Grill
Chef Bernie Laskowski

Bourbon Bacon Cream Float: Maple Bourbon Ice Cream, Candied Bacon Jimmies

Berkshire Pork Maxwell Street Burger: Butterkasse Cheese with Crisp Belly Bacon

Another sexy up close shot of the burger….

The milkshake shot was DELICIOUS!!!! boozey and amazing.. sweet and creamy — the bigger was cold but had good flavor to it. Bacon & Cheese on a thick beef patty and delicious bun – what’s not to love?!

– – – – –

Meatyballs Mobile
Chef Phillip Foss

Coq in Balls: Chicken and Nueske’s Bacon in Red Wine Sauce

Looks gross, but tasted pretty good – REALLY tender, succulent and oozed of red wine flavor – really really creative :D

So funny that the chef asked me to try his “cock n balls” ;D

– – – – –

RB Grille
Chef Christopher McCoy

House Cured Apple Bacon: Cider Braised with Jicama, Red Onion, Chile, Granny Slaw & Nueske’s Bacon Brewery-Cured Mexican-style Chorizo

Crunch crunch crunchity sweet apple…

– – – – –

Chef Artur Wnorowski & Ruben Torres

Apple Cider Gastrique Glazed Pork Belly on Potato Beer Bread

I like gherkin :D

– – – – –

The Red Canary
Chef Neal Harper

Bacon Cured Steelhead Trout on Top of Nueske’s Cherrywood-Smoked Bacon and a Bacon & Mushroom Salad

Bacony trout. It was definitely interesting and I’m glad that trout was used instead of the usual smoked salmon [love both]

– – – – –

I somehow managed to not take a picture of one of my favorite dishes of the day… a simple roasted suckling pig <3

Paddy Long’s
Chef Patrick Berger & Chris Latchford

Whole Berkshire Hog wrapped in a Nueske’s Bacon Weave

Do I need to repeat this? a BACON WRAPPED HOG!!! Like a WHOLE pig… this was SOOOOO juicy and tender… we had a big plate of it… while it wasn’t that appetizing looking just some meat and skin… COME ON MEAT AND SKIN.. ok it was definitely appetizing to me :D But I’m a pig lover…. *wets self*

– – – – –

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria
Chef Bill Jacobs & Jonathan Cutler

New Haven Style Pizza & Big Black Mariah: American-Style Porter Brewed with a Small Percentage of Smoked Malt for a Rich, Full Mouthfeel and Flavor

I took a picture of the pizza, but not the bear.. the beat was quite tasty though :D Nice dark smokey beer… MMMM….. delicious… a little heavy and thick but delicious!

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Girl & the Goat
Chef Stephanie Izard

Look it’s Steph!!!

Bacon & Rogue River Smokey Blue Cheese “Bread Pudding”

The last time I had her food…she made me fall in love with goat. This I actually thought was more of a soup. It looks pretty gross [haha] but quite tasty… not super bacony and the blue cheese wasn’t overpowering – especially for me, since I’m not a huge blue cheese girl- not bad Stephy, not bad :D #topcheffetish

– – – – –

Miramar Bistro
Chef Gabriel Viti

Caramelized Pork Belly with Wilted Escarole and Maple Pineapple Chutney

– – – – –

Wow Bao

BBQ Pork Bao

Tasted like asian :D Hahaha.. the bao was SOOO fluffy and perfectly steamed!!!

Bacon, Egg & Cheddar Bao

This was okay, really eggy but not bacon-y or cheddar-y at all… I think I enjoyed the bbq pork bao more but both were steaming hot and fluffy. NOM! The second one was definitely really breakfast-y :D

– – – – –

Magnolia Cafe
Chef Kas Medhat

Pork ‘n’ Beans: Sourdough Bread with White Bean Spread Topped with Thick Cut Bacon and Greens

– – – – –

Nonna Santi’s Biscotti
Chef Jo-Marie Frigo

Bacon Biscotti

David Burke’s Primehouse
Chef Rick Gresh

Bacon Daddy: Whiskey Caramel Bacon Candies

Rick can never do no wrong… although I do miss his bacon tacos from last year and him dressing up :D Miss miss miss… SO happy I got to see him this trip :D

Baconfest Chicago 2010

– – – – –

Nana Organic
Chef Alan Krueger

Life’s Little Pleasures Candy Bar: House Smoked Bacon Cake, Koval Whiskey, Burton’s Maplewood Farm Syrup, Caramel

Those jellos are WHISKY gelees. OMG this was SOOOO delicious and made me OH SO HAPPY… Why can’t all candy bars be like this? The Bacon Cake was like a super soft shortbread with bacon flavor bursting throughout… a delicious dark chocolatey covering and the refreshing jellys. AHH another favorite.

– – – – –

Chef Andy Motto

BACON: “Magic of Roses” Tea Gelee, Daikon, Bee Pollen

To be honest, I remember this dish being super pretty with the colors but I don’t remember the taste at all #fail

– – – – –

iNG Restaurant
Chef Thomas Elliott Bowman

Bacon “Drumstick”

This was so freaking delicious. So amazing… think of the regular drumsticks you get off the icecream truck but then add tons of bacon and caramel, delicious ice cream and chocolate in it. Yep yep happiness in a cone!!! I ate it ALL. FAST. More please.

Bacon Dumpling with Bacon Date Consomme

This cute little wonton had a delicious, but unfortunately cold, consomme on the bottom of it in the spoon. The skin was tender and cooked perfectly.

– – – – –

We played some Black Jack and and got shots of these two together. CREAMY BACON-NESS <3

The colognes were pretty disgusting. She squirted me with the girl one and Z with a muskier “man” one – although they’re both unisex. Honestly, they smelled like ass.. The “man” one was by far the worst… she sprayed ALL over our arms and we were airing them out of the taxi on the way back to the hotel [which we both promptly took showers lol]

We ended the day with some refreshing PBRs…. cold bubbly and oh so refreshing. So fresh and so clean clean….. ghetto fabulous!!

To be honest I was slightly disappointed.. the venue seemed to big and cold and just wasn’t as warm and cozy as last year.. the food was cold too :[ And less creative *sigh* Hope next year they go back to their roots ;D But we had large appetites still – enough to forgo a veggie dinner at Green Zebra and just go straight for two large deep dish pizzas and then some… ;D


  1. […] misstiffie ← Another Scrumptious AA Trip Chicago Baconfest 2011 → LikeBe the first to like this […]


  2. […] the most amazing bacon I have ever had… and I’ve had a lot of bacon [Baconfest 2010 and 2011 anyone?] Thick and dripping in maple flavor…. only place in competition is Resto’s […]


  3. […] year, I planned a trip to Chicago for Baconfest, which I go to every year, and Z said that he’d love to accompany me.  This dinner was […]


  4. […] Katy got pancakes, Kelly got Waffles and I got a HUUUUUGE ass omelette with TONS of veggies.. spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, etc.. OH and of course champagne and OJ for mimosas.. and coffee :D OH OH OH and TWO plates of bacon… Kelly hates bacon but me and Katy LUUUUUURV it!!! Obviously right?!… […]


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