The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So Everybody Loves Bacon

Anyone who has ever met me knows that I love bacon just about more than anything. I would happily throw my own grandmother under the bus just for a perfectly cooked strip of it, but I have to say, I am finding this current proliferation of public displays of affection for bacon irritating and played out. Granted, the bacon love has been growing steadily for a while now, but in the past year it has really reached a fever pitch.

Like many American desk jockeys, I spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook. Why, just this morning I became a fan of David Morse, but I will NEVER become a fan of bacon. At this point, being a fan of bacon is like being a fan of world peace – it should go without saying. But the current bacon loving climate seems to be all about talking incessantly about it and making sure everyone around you knows how much you love bacon because they supposedly love it too. In fairness, a lot of my irritation is self-inflicted as I don’t have to go on Facebook and see in my newsfeed that X and Y have become fans of bacon and that Z just baked some cookies using bacon spice, but I do and it annoys me. I am only human and enjoy a good kvetch.

But really, when and why did bacon get so cool? And why has the market become so saturated? Yes, bacon salt makes sense, but bacon messenger bags, bacon stationary and bacon bras? At this point, my poor co-blogger has more canisters of bacon band-aids than she knows what to do with.

Also, do all of these rather vocal lovers of bacon really even love bacon? Like, did everyone who started wearing Kiss t-shirts in 1999-2000 really love Kiss???? Just wondering… I guess what gets me the most is that bacon is not at all new. It is and has been a staple of much of the world’s cuisine practically forever. So this current faddism is disturbing to me.

I for one have been wrapping various fruits of the sea and other deliciousnesses in bacon (growing up my favorite hors d'œuvre was oysters wrapped in bacon), eating it for breakfast and arguing that it is the leading gateway meat for recovering vegetarians for years – back when I would imagine many of today’s bacon fans were gnawing on their Boca burgers.

That being said, I am in no way trying to be proprietary about the genuine love and affection one can feel for bacon – if someone started NAHBLA, I’d be the first to sign up. I have just grown tired of people blathering on about how much they love bacon and how it makes everything better, and so on and so forth. Truthfully, I prefer to love my bacon more privately and avoid this runaway bacon bandwagon altogether.

But just in case, maybe I should start a Facebook fan page for something more specific, like bacon nitrates. I do sort of like how they make me feel really hyper.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

First Taste: Char No. 4

The day started with a return trip to Rutt's Hut in Clifton, NJ. Despite what you see in the photo, I did not have 4 rippers all to my preggo self. DMR and I had two rippers each, accompanied by a cup of chili, sauerkraut and disco fries with gravy on the side. Very Jersey, very good.

Then we spent too much time at Best Buy and Babies R Us in Secaucus. And then even more time getting back to Brooklyn. So with some time to kill before Christy's birthday drinks at the Clover Club (where I wound up having a sour cherry fizzy thing, minus the egg whites and booze. Verdict: disappointing), we decided to get some food at nearby Char. No 4.

Much to our surprise, the place was packed at 6:30. All the tables were taken, and nearly every seat at the bar was, too. Thankfully there was an empty stool at the end where I could wistfully stare at the wall of bourbon bottles. We were told the wait would be about an hour or more, but were seated after only about 30 minutes.

DMR and I shared the apple and fennel salad with bleu cheese and pickled turnips to start. The turnips were hiding at the bottom of the bowl and I had completely forgotten about them. When I crunched into one thinking it was a piece of apple, it was a nice, salty and tangy surprise.

I wasn't super hungry so while DMR opted for the chopped pork sandwich (shown above with a side of baked beans and some pickled onions and peppers, and which he loved, loved loved), I made a meal of the smoked and fried pork nuggets appetizer and roasted delicata squash side. The squash was served as two roasted rings, with a mount of swiss chard on top. Chopped pecans were sprinkled into the mix and the entire plate was blanketed with parmesan. I would have liked either a little more salt or sweetness (maybe more caramelization from the roasting process?) but otherwise, this was enjoyable and I also convinced myself it was sort of healthy.

There were 5 nuggets to my order and much to my surprise, instead of whole pork chunks underneath the breading, there was rich, fatty minced meat. I'd probably order these again, but definitely not just for myself. DMR helped me out, but I did feel a little porked out.

To end the meal we shared the homemade butter pecan ice cream, which was super delicious. The description kind of undersells it as the super smooth ice cream is studded with nobs of praline. It's served with bourbon, but we asked for it on the side. DMR was able to pour it all over his ice cream for an even more decadent treat. In an act of jealousy, I poured a tiny drop onto a spoonful of ice cream for a wonderful bourbony bite all to myself.

Labels: , , , , ,