I have reached my limit on Bacon. Not bacon, but Bacon. The desserts, the coffins, and festivals (where chefs have bacon shipped in and then trendify it) — all of it. The part that it is meant to commemorate, bacon, is all but eliminated and, in its place, gluttony has been substituted. When I see bacon on a menu item, it is simple to distinguish whether it is added to create balance and harmony or to advance and encourage gluttony. Not that gluttony doesn’t have any place at the table, there will always be special meals where indulgences occur, but the pride associated with the excess is what has gotten so deeply under my skin. Continue reading
Being a city dweller, despite growing up in Wisconsin, I am predisposed to being skeptical of anything suburban. I had heard good things about Inovasi in Lake Bluff, but just haven’t made the effort to get out there. Everything that I hear is that the chef out there, John des Rosiers, has serious talent. He also has serious ambition as he has opened several small take-home outlets called Wisma. When a new Wisma opened a few blocks from work, I could no longer ignore. When I got there, they were putting their first package of bacon on the shelves. It was almost like they were waiting for a sucker like me. Continue reading
With a suitcase full of cured meats and coffee, I am sure that we stuck out, if only slightly, from the SFO travelers who likely are carrying wine, but I would almost guarantee that our smuggler’s booty was of as high or higher quality than the wine being carried back. The final meat parcel was one that I was looking forward most particularly – it was bacon from the previously profiled Fatted Calf. Continue reading
While stopping at Miesfield’s for their “Grand Champion” bratwurst. which were excellent, I was chatting up one of the butchers behind the counter. I asked them if they cured and smoked their own bacon in house. He affirmed that they did, so naturally, I picked up a few rashers to give a test spin. Continue reading
There are so many good things about having good, real butchers in town that it feels bad to complain about an aspect. The fact that my complaint is actually compliments soothes the pain, though. With a full understanding that there is only one belly on a pig, I wish that there was more of this bacon available. Continue reading
Sunday was the day. After waiting from the first week of November for the meat stylings of Rob Levitt to transition from restaurant life to the butcher shop, the shop finally opened. Being a Green Bay Packer fan comes with many rewards, but this week’s reward was that Butcher & Larder opened promptly at noon, the same time as the Bears’ game, which I did not care to watch.
The shop looked great. The case was full of beautiful cuts of meat, some of which are not often (ever) featured in the cases of more traditional butcher shops. The room is thoughtfully, but sparsely, decorated with a cool selection of vintage knifes, a bacon press, a few lovely meaty wall hangings, and other meat related decor. The star, besides the meat, is the beautiful manual meat slicer in the middle of the work area. It truly is a work of art and balances out the pure power of the meat grinder and band saw nearby. Continue reading
Chicago bacon is expanding its horizons in 2010. Plenty of high quality bacons are available (with even more on horizon, Butcher and Larder we are looking at you) and this year Spencer’s Bacon became available by retail. Spencer’s is a bacon made in the style of the UK and Ireland and is made from pork loin.
Nicholas Spencer moved to Chicago and missed the flavors of his home and, in turn, started making back bacon and traditional bangers. Soon after, these products went retail. His star has risen to the point that he was a featured guest at Zingerman’s Camp Bacon. The bacon is available around Chicago and at Zingerman’s. I got mine at Provenance Food & Wine. Continue reading
Chicago is a great food town. We can get most ingredients, with some searching, and the range of our restaurants from Alinea to Birrieria Zaragosa is outstanding. Ordinarily a deli opening will not make much noise, but a new kid on the block has gotten a ton of talk lately, City Provisions.
City Provisions started as a catering company, but in the last few weeks opened in shop just east of Lincoln Square and, in addition to selling local products, is butchering and curing their own local meats, including corned beef, pastrami, turkey pastrami, and bacons, as well as selling several awesome La Quercia products (including lardo folks). I had a small amount of free time on Saturday to stop by, so I decided to grab a few slices of the house cured bacon and rosemary bacon. Continue reading
As we packed up the family truckster, I thought that our first family vacation to Northern Wisconsin (as in the first time that the 3 of us went away by ourselves) would be filled with adventures. The porkiest of our adventures so far has been the stop at Nueske’s Bacon in Wittenberg, WI.
Wittenberg is not far from Wausau and is only about 75 minutes from my hometown. As we approached Wittenberg on a country road, we saw a billboard that read “Nueske’s: Making Vegetarians Jealous since 1933” and when we opened the doors, we were blasted with plumes of bacon smoke. Continue reading
Before taking a trip to the Bluegrass State, I had asked our friend there about some bacons mentioned in Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon. After she checked around, she found that none of them were available in or around Lexington. She, as I would do in a similar case, spoke with her trusted butcher to see what the best bacon available would be. He said Stonecross Farms. Continue reading