It has been two long years since we attended a bacon inspired festival. The last time we went to Bacon Fest at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the dessert inspired bacon samples far outweighed the savory ones. In moderation that’s fine, but I’d much rather have it flipped. Michael and I are not huge drinkers which meant we were here for the “bacon” part and not the “barrels.” Beware, lots of pictures in this Bacon and Barrels post.
It took place on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend and turned out to be a wonderful day weatherwise. All of the tents were set up on the Embarcadero South in downtown, giving you wonderful views of downtown and Coronado. We were given free media passes which granted us early entry and access to a VIP tent (very important pigs!). Our strategy was simple. Hit all of the regular tents first before the crowds came and then go to the VIP tent.
After we checked in and got our wristband and lanyard we approached a few long tables with plastic cups, plates, and silverware. So instead of each vendor giving you a plate or silverware, it is implied you keep the original ones for the entire event. Hopefully this cuts down on waste in the end.
Here are some more of the adult beverage vendors and people happily strolling along in the grass, enjoying the glorious day.
Our bacon tour started with Tavern and their lamb meatball dish. Very good way to start our gluttonous day! It was moist and not too lamby for my taste. There was bacon onion jam on top too.
We still haven’t gotten around to going to S&M so this would be our first try of their sausages. We enjoyed this bite quite a bit as well. It had a strong meaty front, followed by cheesey goodness, and finished with a distinct lingering heat. We would have gone back had it not been for the line. We just waited too long to circle back. Noob mistake.
What’s Corbin’s Q I thought when we came upon their grilling setup. After a quick Google search it looks like they are at the Poway and La Jolla Farmer’s Markets and do catering. They don’t appear to have a brick and mortar store yet. We had mixed feelings on this one. Michaels chicken was charred beyond repair while mine was nice and juicy. It didn’t help his cause that he doesn’t like peppers either. Their specialty is tri-tip. Hopefully someone in the future will throw a party and have them cater just so we can taste it.
After checking what we ate from Slater’s 50/50 at the last Bacon Fest, I confirmed it was the same burger. The B’B’B’ Bacon (50% ground bacon/50% ground beef patty, bacon American cheese, sunny side up egg, bacon, bacon island dressing, bacon pretzel bun) tasted really good even though the cheese wasn’t melted. My egg was a little runny which I appreciated and the patty was nice and juicy. This was one of the longer lines of the day so I’m glad we got their early. They also serve probably the biggest portion out of all the other vendors.
I like pork belly. But sweetened fried pork belly with red velvet? Acai buleberry compote? Powdered sugar? This interesting concoction came via Uptown Tavern. Mixing salty and sweet is already hard for me to do, so this was going to be a stretch. My piece of pork belly actually was pretty good while Michael’s was about 85% fat. For me this would have been a winning dish…
Had they not dipped it in that plate of powdered sugar! It looks all nice and dandy like she’s doing me a favor, but in reality, that extra sugar put it way over the top on sweetness for me. This gif will make me look back on what could have been.
As we approached Duck Dive I was smiling ear to ear, but when I got closer my face turned to dazed and confused. Yes I can achieve this without drugs or alcohol. Quickly I realized this basket of bacon and blueberries was for a drink and not part of an elaborate bacon inspired dish I could chew on. It was a sad moment indeed. I don’t think the woman was laughing at my disappointment but 2% of me felt like she was.
Don’t fret. What I came upon next was probably the most amazing thing ever invented: a pile o bacon. They used this to construct their porktastic sandwich. I enjoyed this one partly because of the inspirational pile o bacon but mostly because it had a deeply satisfying roasted pork flavor. I wish there was a little more crunchy bits for texture and more greens, but there’s no denying this was one of the better dishes of the day.
Surprisingly, this was our favorite sweet bites of the day and may have even rivaled the savory. Was it because we just had an overload of bacon and hearty meat dishes that this served as a palate cleanser? I don’t know. But the caramel and chewy rice crispy treat was just doing it for us in that moment.
Rubicon Deli was another busy tent. For good reason. They had bacon jam AND pork rinds in their sandwich! Man that crunch though. Such a nice experience chomping down and hearing that sound. The bacon jam was a little too sweet for me but I was feeling everything else.
We’ve never been huge fans of Brazen BBQ. Their donut holes were okay but I was looking forward to something more meat centered.
This is what very important pigs had access to.
I’ve seen many pictures of Nomad Donuts so the donut lover inside me couldn’t wait to get in there to try them. Who does a honey sesame donut with kimchi candied bacon? They do, and that’s why I like them. Michael wanted more glaze and I could have used a little more noticeable kimchi. Unique flavors like this will cause me to visit a place much more often than a regular old donut shop. Thank you Nomad Donuts.
By this time my bacometer was starting to fluctuate. I couldn’t really taste the bacon in the sushi but the bacon on top of the cupcakes were very present. I liked the cream cheese on top and the soft vanilla bean cake.
There were dangerous piles of these with people encouraging us to take take take.
Silly us. This is one of the vendors we missed out on. I read about them afterwards and their sandwiches actually look pretty good. Poop. To add insult to injury, they also happened to win Jefe del Porko Chef award which qualifies them for the Bacon World Championships at the World Food Championships in November.
They had live music playing throughout the day and cooking demonstrations on a separate stage. All in all, we had a wonderful time at this bacon-esque event. It was probably our favorite bacon event we’ve gone to in San Diego so far. There were a good amount of bacon inspired plates as well as drinks. That’s one of my pet peeves for food events, is not enough tasty options for food. This one definitely had a good amount to choose from. If you are missing the”barrels” part of the event check out Faye’s post.
Bacon and Barrels