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Top 10 Cities for Pizza… Hint: Boston tops NYC.

19 Aug

Hey Fatman,

Looky here… Boston tops NYC on this list from TripAdvisor for best cities for pizza.  Chicago isn’t even listed. What do you say, is this list ludicrous or spot on?

The top 10 cities for pizza, as determined by TripAdvisor:

  1. San Diego, California
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada
  3. Boston, Massachusetts
  4. New York City, New York
  5. Seattle, Washington
  6. Austin, Texas
  7. San Francisco, California
  8. Indianapolis, Indiana
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  10. Phoenix, Arizona

If you don’t know why I am calling out Fatman, read this.

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/08/10/and-the-top-10-cities-for-pizza-are/

 

 

Bacon Playing Cards

22 Jul

Don’t fall off your chairs. This is actually happening. You are not going crazy, and you are actually reading a blog post on The Eats.

What do I love? If you said bacon, you’d be correct. Well, the other day my blogging buddy sent along this wonderful information that I HAD to share with you all, hence the post.

What is it, you ask? Bacon-themed deck of playing cards + “Bakin’ with Bacon” card game created by Baconery and Vända Playing Cards.

Here is a description from their Kickstarter site. Everything about this makes me happy, so like I said, I had to share. I may even be picking myself up some of these amazin’ cards if they are still available.  Do me a solid and just go check out how awesome this is!

We have created 2 decks of cards that we would like to get printed by the United States Playing Card Company (USPC):

Deck 1 — Bacon Playing Cards (a completely custom designed deck of standard playing cards).

Deck 2 — “Bakin’ with Bacon” game (a unique card game where the goal is to collect the necessary ingredients to complete your recipes before your opponents complete theirs). Please check out the video below for details on how the game is played.

We also have some exciting extra items that were designed specifically for this project and complement the decks of cards (see below).

This is a standard deck of playing cards (52 cards + 2 jokers + 2 extra cards) and can be used for playing any standard cards games (poker, bridge, gin, go fish, solitaire, etc…). Every card is completely custom designed to fit the bacon theme with a fun and clean design style.

This is a limited edition deck – only 2500 1st Edition decks of Bacon Playing Cards will be printed. The decks will be printed by the United States Playing Card Company(makers of Bicycle and Bee brand cards) on Bicycle card stock with Magic finish. These are the highest quality playing cards available in the world!

Back Design
Back Design
The Four Aces
The Four Aces
King and Queen of Hearts
King and Queen of Hearts

 

The Basics

Bakin’ with Bacon is a card game for 2-4 players consisting of 2 decks of cards: The Bakin’ with Bacon game deck and Bacon Playing Cards (a standard deck). The game deck includes recipe cards, action cards, wild cards, and instruction cards.

Each recipe is made up of 4 ingredients, represented by specific cards from the standard deck. The goal is to collect all four ingredients to complete a recipe and then to complete all 3 recipes. The first person to complete all 3 recipes wins the game.

Bacon Recipe Cards
Bacon Recipe Cards

Gameplay

Each player begins with 7 cards held in his/her hand and 3 unique recipe cards face up on the table. Players take turns in a clockwise direction. At the beginning of a turn, a player draws one card from the deck. The player ends a turn in one of three ways: applying 4 ingredients to complete a recipe, playing an action card, or discarding an unwanted card into the discard pile.

When a recipe is completed, that recipe and the 4 cards used to complete the recipe are no longer in play, unless reactivated with an action card that specifically affects cards that are out of play.

At any point during the game, if a player draws the last remaining card from the deck, at the end of that player’s turn, the discard pile is shuffled and then becomes the deck to draw from.

The game ends when one player completes all three of his/her recipes and is declared the winner.

Wild Cards (5th "Stars" Suit)
Wild Cards (5th “Stars” Suit)
Action Cards
Action Cards

I beg your (Pisco) Portón

25 Aug

Tell me something I’ve never heard of and I’m naturally interested in hearing and learning more. Tell me it’s about bacon and booze and my interest level increases 10-fold. That’s what happened a few weeks ago when Pisco Portón asked me to join them for a pairing dinner at ArtBar in Cambridge, MA, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn more about this intriguing new spirit.

For those not familiar with pisco, as I wasn’t, here’s the rundown: pisco is a mixable spirit distilled from grapes. It is named after the Peruvian port of Pisco where the drink was originally exported.

Porton retails for $39.99 for a 750 ml bottle

The brand Portón, owned by the Kallop family, is made from a blend of three grape varietals (Quebranta, Torontel and Albilla). A juice from the first pressing of the grapes is made and then fermented, but not completely in order to retain some natural grape sugars that would otherwise be converted into alcohol. The fermented juice is then distilled to 86 proof in custom made copper pot still and is left to rest for five to eight months before bottling to let the flavors of the pisco develop. Because less sugar is converted to alcohol, 20 pounds of grapes must be used to make one liter of pisco. Portón’s new distillery was built to be environmentally friendly and sustainable, which paired well with ArtBar’s use of local and regional ingredients.

We were lucky enough to have dinner with Portón’s COO, Jean-Francois Bonneté, who also helped us really understand the depth and versatility of the spirit.

Now, onto the food and booze we had Tuesday. The USBG (United States Bartender’s Guild) Boston Chapter invited eight of its members from 8 different restaurant/bars in Boston to create a cocktail that would pair with a particular course the  ArtBar was preparing. Yes, that is right, 8 different cocktails and 8 courses. (Below, I included the full menu with the corresponding cocktail.)

What I found really awesome was how truly versatile the spirit is. The first cocktail we had was a welcome cocktail and it was called Grape 3-Ways and I could really see myself serving that as a cocktail at brunch – a great twist on the traditional mimosa. It included Portón, Pinneau de Charantes, Lavender Honey, Fresh Orange Juice, Champagne and Fresh Lavender. Then, stepping into the evening’s courses, we were introduced to a cocktail that was completely different from the welcome cocktail, but equally as awesome and that trend continued with each course.

The bartenders were really invested in each cocktail and it was apparent when each bartender presented the cocktail they created and explained exactly why they used certain ingredients. For example, Elizabeth Powell, Head Bartender at ArtBar, wanted to create a cocktail that really brought the drinkers back to the heart of America and incorporated apple into the flavors of her cocktail to make “Hometown Dream”, which was paired with a sauteed lobster tail in toasted brioche and a lobster corn dog with grain mustard sauce.

To truly get a sense of the flavors resulting in the pairing of the food and the cocktail, I sipped the cocktail before starting on the course, took a bite and then another sip. It really did enhance the flavors in the food.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how drinkable the spirit was no matter how it was prepared. I drink spirits, but not to the point where I usually ask for something by name. Portón would make me think differently the next time I’m interested in a cocktail.

The ArtBar served some amazingly good food, i.e. Bacon Mac-N-Cheese with Bacon Fondue (that was when I knew they were trying to win my love). And it was a real pleasure because through the night the bartenders were able to sit down and eat with us. It was a great opportunity to talk to the bartenders from some of our favorite places in the city. (I have included who created each cocktail in the menu below and what restaurant/bar they are from. You should really check them out.) Portón put on a great event and I look forward to blogging about my home cocktail experiments with Portón.

Find them on Facebook here and @PiscoPorton on Twitter.

Now onto the menu and cocktail pairings…

Welcome Cocktail created by Dave Delaney – bartender at Still and Stir in Worcester and the Citizen Public House in Boston

Grapes 3-Ways
3/4 oz. Portón
1 oz. Pinneau de Charantes
1/2 oz. Lavender Honey
1/2 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
Top with Champagne and 1 sprig fresh lavender

1st Course – Prosciutto wrapped bean spread with zahtar flavored olives and grilled naan

Cocktail created by Kelly Coggins, wine rep for Hangtime Wholesale and works part-time at Tremont 647

Love Porton #9
3/4 oz. Porton
3/4 oz. Aperol
3/4 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
2 oz. crisp white wine
1 oz. club soda
Grapefruit zest

2nd Course – Maine Lobster

Cocktail created by Elizabeth Powell, Head bartender at ArtBar

Hometown Dream
2 oz. Porton
large dash extinct acid phosphate
1 oz. green delicious apple shrub
1 oz. Laird’s AppleJack
long spiral green delicious apple peel to garnish

3rd Course – Taco Trio: Pork cheek with pico de gallo and chipotle laced sour cream; charred tuna with nappa slaw and lime aioli; hanger steak with avocado, fried shallots and chimi churri

Cocktail created by Kevin Mabry, Bar Manager at jM Curley

Tip of the Cap
1 1/2 oz. Porton
1/2 oz. Luxardo cherry liquor
1/2 oz. Luxardo Triplum
1/4 oz. lemon juice
muddled strawberry
2 dashes Texas Pete hot sauce
1 oz. Cava

4th course: Mac & Cheese eggroll with guanciale and smoky fondue

Cocktail created by Sam Karachi, bartender at Russell House Tavern and also works at The Boston Shaker in Davis Square

The Royal Hunt of the Sun
1 oz. Porton
1 oz. Salers Gentiane Liquor
1/2 oz. Amaro Nonino
8 drops Lapsang Souchong Tea bitters
grapefruit twist to garnish

5th course – Georges Bank U-10 sea scallop rolled in applewood bacon with mango puree, red pepper essence and chive oil

Cocktail created by Sam Treadway, bar manager and co-owner of Backbar in Union Square

Peruvian BBQ
1 3/4 oz. Porton
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. maple syrup
1 dash smoked chipotle tabasco
Charred lime wheel to garnish

6th course -Roasted all natural sirloin with Mediterranean coucous, marsala syrup and heirloom cherry tomato salad

Cocktail created by Noon Inthasuwan, beverage director at Moksa Restaurant and Sommelier and Mixologist at OM Restaurant 

*Note: I made a comment that I don’t eat read meat and so I was brought another plate without the meat. I love good customer service, even if I wasn’t necessarily a “customer” that night.

La Cosecha (The Harvest)
2 oz. Porton
1 1/2 oz. Orleans Cider Vermouth
1 oz. Masala Syrup
Top with purple corn foam

7th course – Turtle panna cotta with raspberries, caramel sauce and a chocolate tuille

Cocktail created by Troy Clarke, President of the Boston Chapter of the USBG, Director of Food & Beverage at Royal Sonesta Hotel and Owner of TwelveTwentyFour Cocktails

Terroir Expression
3/4 oz. Porton
3/4 oz. Tonala Anejo Tequila
1/2 oz. Lustau Solera Superior Sherry
Dash of phosphate
Burnt orange peel to garnish
Carbonated

8th course – Cheese: Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Ford Farm Cave Aged Chedder, Vermont Creamery Aged Goat Cheese with lavender honey, spiced almonds and grilled baguettes

Cocktail created by Josh Taylor, bar manager at West Bridge in Kendall Square

Turning Red
1 1/2 oz. Porton
3/4 oz. Barbadilla Oloroso sherry
1/2 oz. Merlet Creme Cassis
1/2 oz. Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot
Dash Peychaud’s bitters

Happy Birthday to FatMan

13 Jun

That’s right. It’s Fat Man’s birthday. Even though he hasn’t made an appearance on the blog in awhile (frankly, neither have we), we still love him.

So here’s a big birthday shout out to the one and only Fat MAN! We hope your 40th isn’t too much of a CLAM-ity! And we wish you a year of happiness and joy – but who couldn’t with those cute little munchkins and your awesome wifey (whose birthday is tomorrow. So happy birthday to Mrs. Fat Man a happy as well!)!

These guys also say Happy Birthday:

And finally, here’s your bday cake:

Review: Kernel Seasons

20 May

What’s better than staying in on a Friday night, popping a bag of Act II popcorn and curling up on the couch with your honey to watch a movie? You’re right, not much… So you can imagine my excitement when The Eats asked to review Kernel Seasons in three different favors… buffalo, bacon cheddar ( did someone say bacon?) and pizza!

Step 1: pop popcorn…

20120520-204504.jpg

Step 2: apply one of these flavors…

20120520-204612.jpg

Step 3: enjoy…
When I first tried the buffalo flavor, I won’t lie, I went into a coughing fit and couldn’t stop until i drank some water and Hunkles did the same. We both tried again but the same thing happened.

However, the bacon cheddar and pizza flavors weren’t as bad. We may try those on some veggies or something else soon. But I have to say that the popcorn flavoring experiment was not a success.

But thanks to Kernel Seasons for the complimentary seasonings. We look forward to trying the others on some veggies!

Check out Kernel Seasons other flavors and what they are all about on their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter!

– kteb

Quest for the Best (BB)Q.

16 Apr

Newsflash: I’m from South Carolina.

Newsflash: I like pork – more specifically, pulled pork and BBQ.

Newsflash: I’m not an expert (though sometimes I annoyingly act like it).

Those aren’t really newsflashes are they? Maybe not, but it needed to be said. Since I moved to Boston, I have been on the quest for the best BBQ in town. Now, I know what you might say, “Have you been to Redbones?” The answer is yes. Then you’d say, “Well that is the best, isn’t it?” And I would say, “Meh. It’s decent, but not the best.”

In the South, BBQ is a buffet, where for $10-$12 you can eat as much BBQ and fixins’ as your little (or big) belly can handle. (This may also have a direct correlation to the obesity problem in America. But that is besides the point.) In the South, when you say, “Let’s go get BBQ,” you know they are talking pulled pork – and this says it the best

The No. 1 thing you need to know about Carolina BBQ is this: it is the other white meat (aka Pork). Carolinians stress that BBQ beef is just that; but “BBQ Pork” is redundant. BBQ is Pork! More specifically, BBQ is pulled (or shredded, or chopped, or sliced) pork that has been low and slow roasted and served with a sauce that varies depending on personal taste and somewhat on geography.

So, my favorite BBQ place in SC is Palmetto Pig… believe me, it is nothing fancy, but it is the best. Why? Because Palmetto  Pig has just enough options and the food is always above average. The pulled pork was always cooked perfectly, never burnt or undercooked. Another thing that makes SC BBQ stand out is the sauce. Mustard-based BBQ sauce is FAN-TASTIC to say the least and I couldn’t do without Tomato-based BBQ sauce. I never thought I was a fan of it, until I moved up here and realized that no one really has this bottle of awesome – most sauces around here are mostly, if not entirely, vinegar-based. The SC sauces, as I like to call it, sweetens up the BBQ just enough to balance out the saltiness of the pork. It’s something you have to experience to understand, I think.

This is not from Palmetto Pig, but is a fine plate of BBQ from Dukes BBQ.

This is not from Palmetto Pig, but is a fine plate of BBQ from Dukes BBQ.

So in all fairness there are a few good places in Boston that I would recommend. Additionally, my recommendations are based on the pulled pork that I have had from these different places.

Blue Ribbon BBQ – I found this place to be the most authentic of the BBQ, in terms of pulled pork. They also have fried chicken, ribs and all those other BBQ options. The pulled pork was good and they give you a heaping portion. I was beyond full by the time we left. I went to the Arlington location, but another BBQ enthusiast (and what I would consider an expert because she is from Texas) told me that I need to try the Newton location. So, I will. You don’t have to tell me twice.

Sweet Cheeks Q. – Being a huge fan of Top Chef and Tiffani Faison, I was beyond excited to try out Sweet Cheeks Q on Boylston Street in Fenway. I was pleased to be served my fancy cocktail in a mason jar. Some people may be turned off by this, but it made me feel like I was back in the South at a friend’s BBQ enjoying the summer and the sweltering heat and humidity – when really I was in Boston, in Fenway’s backyard, on a 50-something degree, cloudy day. Having been here recently, I have a lot to say…

The portions are massive – so order cautiously. Being there for the first time, I had to try a few appetizers – HUMONGOUS biscuits with honey butter. Two words – Freaking Awesome. We also had the hush puppies. Not as awesome as I was hoping. There were six of them, and they were huge. Hush puppies are supposed to be as there name intended, puppy-size, small… They also didn’t have the sweetness that southern hush puppies have. They were served with a honey mayonnaise but it didn’t do the trick.

The “trays” come with one meat and two sides – hot & cold. I got the pulled pork, mac-n-cheese and a farm salad that was pretty delicious. The pulled pork was good. It had a nice smoky flavor and was cooked pretty nicely. The sauces I was a little disappointed with. They had the NC vinegar based sauce and then they also had a jalapeno sauce that was really good, though I’m not sure it mixed well with the other sauce.

I would definitely recommend that people try it. It is a little pricey for BBQ, but that being said, we had leftovers so in reality, we had two meals. I am looking forward to going back on a nice day when the patio and doors are open – so we can smell the sewer-y sweet smells of Boston.

Other BBQ places in Boston worth trying at least once.

Red Bones – Like I said, not my absolute favorite, but they have a great beer selection and cool atmosphere.

Blackstrap BBQ – I had high hopes for this little, quirky joint in Winthrop, MA. I know, who goes to Winthrop? I do, in the name of BBQ. Anywho – this place was started up by two guys from East Coast Grill, which I love and made me think this place would be great.

So here’s the scoop… the BBQ was served in tin foil in a styrofoam box. I wouldn’t usually have a problem with this, but it made the food sort of soggy or over-damp… the pulled pork was drenched with some sort of sauce. It was a good hot sauce, though I would have liked the opportunity to choose how much and what kind of sauce I wanted. I had mac-n-cheese, which was actually really good. I also had sweet potato salad, which was ok. The cornbread was overcooked to the point of being burnt.

There was one thing that I was upset I didn’t see until we were leaving… they have BBQ fries and they sounded absolutely amazing.

Firefly BBQ – I haven’t actually been here, but had their Q at a music festival I went to last summer. It was good, but I can’t give it a fair judgement.

Does anyone have any other places I should check out? Please name them in the comments and add your thoughts on what I said up there. Like I said, I’m not an expert, so school me, if you will.

I would also not be a nice sister if I did not say that my brother Steve roasts an awesome pig!

 

Happy New Year!

11 Jan

Holy crap, where did 2011 go? It seems like yesterday Cdog and I were in Moscow and I was still working at KLAB. Before I know it, I will be at SHIFT a year. When I was younger, time seemed to stand still. Now, it flies and I’m left in the dust wondering where it went. I know there is a reason for it, but sometimes reason is just blah.

I personally want to thank all of you for coming along on the ride with us. I know that Cdog would agree. We have had a blast writing about our culinary adventures, things we hate, more importantly things we love, people we love and everything and anything in between.

My blog highlights this year had to have been the most recent Q&A with Top Chef Season 7’s Tiffany Derry and my experience in the Atomic Wing Eating Contest. I’ve acquired the nickname Baconator at work. I have shared an amazing year with the Stud Muffin. We have had so much fun cooking together and trying to create new awesomeness. There are so many more highlights, but I don’t want to keep you here all day. But this little bloggy blog would never be what it is without the best blogging buddy (and friend) around. Cdog and I started this as a snack blog and it has turned into so much more and I couldn’t be more excited for 2012! Happy New Year. I hope this year brings you all love, luck, joy and happiness.

Holy Old School!

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