Tagged: bacon

Truth in Truckvertising at The Bacon Truck

Another wind-blown lunch at City Hall Plaza. Today, we chose The Bacon Truck. Judging by the line, most people felt there was no other choice, though Green Bean Mobile Cafe (with solar panels, a bit of a joke at City Hall Plaza) and Mediterranean Home Cooking (with burek, more on that next week) looked pretty good. You’ve got to give TBC credit for focus. I count 13 menu items (besides water and chips) with 12 of them containing bacon.  If that’s not enough, you can get extra bacon on a sandwich for $2 or something called “bunch o’ bacon” for $3. And their logo is a strip of bacon with a cowboy hat riding a pig.

The Bacon Truck menu

I chose BLAT: Bacon Lettuce Avocado Tomato. It’s fun to say and fun to eat. I skipped the aioli to stay focused and ordered mine on whole wheat. It was well toasted and had thick slabs of bacon protruding from all sides. The lettuce was shredded, not really my favorite thing, but it probably made the whole affair more manageable. A couple of bites in, I noticed that there was in fact no avocado and I’d been mistakenly given a simple BL-T. The baconeers apologized profusely, fixed the error and handed me a strip of candied bacon to boot.

BLAT from The Bacon Truck

With avocado firmly in place, I can say that the BLAT was superb. I really don’t know why you’d bother with mayo when you have creamy avocado in there. Salty, smoky, toasted, tomoatoey, it was almost all you’d want in a non-cheese sandwich, all for 8.5 dollars.

Healthy options! Ha!

It’s really not clear to me that any of these menu items could qualify as “healthy” even with all three of the options listed, but if you come to the head of the line for The Bacon Truck and order something “but hold the bacon” you are a true contrarian.

Savory Scone Update: Doubles at Dwell Time

Can it be we’ve gone two years without a Savory Scone Update?  Well, let me assure you, I have not gone two years without a savory scone, that’s for sure.  My new local spot, Dwell Time in Cambridge, offers a nice scone selection, including more than one savory option!  At my first visit, I tried the whole wheat bacon scallion scone, pictured blog right.

It was small, but that’s not a bad thing since your average scone is 105% butter and has more calories than you’l burn in a lifetime of sitting in coffee shops writing blogs.  It was on the crumbly slide, as opposed to the sometimes chewy type of scone.  Visible bacon bits, a good sign for sure.  It most certainly hit the spot.  Highly recommended.

At a later visit, I tried the Goat Cheese Scallion Scone.  I must say the goat cheese was subtle, and that’s not the vibe I usually get from goat cheese.  But here’s what sets this scone apart: the scallion was actually visible and tastable, like it is in the better scallion pancakes you can sometimes get in Chinese restaurants, or , if you’re super lucky, in the homemade kind.

A touch of spring onion-ness and buttery goodness.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to sweet scones.

Bacon technology update

Perhaps it’s fitting that on this preliminary Boston election day it’s time for another Bacon Technology Update.  Alert porkavore Tangyslice gave me these last week:

baconmints

Just so there’s no misunderstanding, let’s be clear: there is no actual pork – or actual mint for that matter – in these “bacon mints.” They are entirely synthetic and could probably be kosher if they were in fact food.  That’s what they are not.  Here’s what they are: baconesque.

They are uncannily reminiscent of bacon and yet utterly devoid of true bacon nature.  Miracle of science or sign of the apocalypse?  I’m not sure but after uncharacteristically poor service at Toro, I left them with the tip.

Bacon technology update

Gummy bacon

A while ago I noted the appearance of a bacon chocolate bar, and I ate it.  Today I am recognizing the existence of gummy bacon – a gift from J – but I’m not actually going to try it.  Not because it’s gummy or because it contains titanium dioxide, actually I’m not going to eat this, not even in the name of science, because it’s artificial strawberry flavored.  Yech.  Nonetheless, the packaging is super cool, and in this day of swine flu anxiety, maybe the world needs more fake bacon.

Do not atempt to fry or microwave

Sherman's BLT

I visited Sherman Cafe (257 Washington Street) in Somerville’s second square, Union Square, this weekend and had an excellent BLT.  I’ve been an occasional Sherman customer since they opened, and I’ve seen them at their best and not so best, but over the past few months, the place has really pulled it together, especially in the sandwich department.  I was a little worried when Bloc 11 hit the scene that Sherman might suffer, but they’re still a serious contender in the neighborhood.  And an hour of free wifi doesn’t hurt.

The BLT features thick bacon, heirloomy summer tomatoes, and some creamy avocado.  I sampled it with and without the mayo.  Bread was some kind of multigrain.  A light toasting of the bread might be the only thing holding this sandwich back from perfection.

To quote the back of the menu, “Sherman Cafe uses all fresh ingredients, makes most of our menu from scratch, buys local when possible, and tries to keep chemicals off of your plate. We use all natural meats from McKenzie’s of Vermont, milk with no BGH, and our bread is delivered fresh from Clear Flour Bakery every day.”

Other interesting sandwiches on Sherman’s menu include bacon cheedar and green apple (grilled on sourdough) and vermont cheddar with greens, housemade pickles and tomatoes.  And their baked goods are far more kick-ass than those fancy cupcakes you can get not far away.  During the Union Square Fluff Festival, Sherman served up some fluff-enhanced sandwiches, too.  The 2008 Fluff-Off is coming up on September 27th.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Whole Hog Dinner at Craigie Street Bistrot

Craigie Street Bistrot is one of the most peculiarly-situated restaurants in the Boston area, but the food fully justifies all the confusion, uncertainty and head-bumping by tall people. It’s in the garden level of an apartment building, blocks from any other commercial establishment, but only a ten minute walk from Harvard Square.

I’d been once before, for a fantastic prix-fixe menu, but LKB forwarded me an email with two staggering bits of news:

1. Craigie Street Bistrot is moving to Main Street near Central Square, into what used to be La Groceria. Wow. What will they call it? Can it ever really be the same?

2. The third annual “Whole Hog Dinner” was imminent: “we invite pork lovers to wine and dine on swine at a six-course dinner celebrating all the porcine pleasures. As we write, Chef Tony Maws is confirming that the friendly farmers of Vermont have reserved the most perfect piglets for our event. He racked his imagination to come up with the perfect side dishes to accompany the pork at the now legendary “Pigathon.” If you’ve been reading some recent press, you’ll know that The Whole Hog menu is the embodiment of Tony’s “nose to tail”, whole animal, “everything but the squeal” philosophy”

Needless to say, a quick note to J and reservations were secured. Did I mention that she’s got a new food blog that you have to read?

How can you not love a menu that includes an epigraph by Miss Piggy?  We ordered the full dinner with the “Whole Hog” wine flight (AKA, “Swine & Wine pairings”) First up, “les Cochonailles” with the 2007 Rose “Bouche de Soleil” Domain Les Portes. Apolgies for the decreasing quality of the photos. It was pretty dark in the restaurant and I refuse to use flash while people are enjoying food like this. And my ability to hold the camera steady decreased as I moved through the wine flight.

Les Cochonailles

Clockwise from top: pate, bacon, lardo, and jowl. Yes, jowl. Crispy fried fat if you’re asking. Delish, but honors on this plate to the pate. And you know how much I like lardo.

Next up, the first course, in which we shared both options, Fresh (Pat’s) Wellfleet Clams with garlic chives, squid and vegetable noodles, and Chinese sausage consumme, and Slow-Cooked Organic Australian Hiramasa with fromage de tete, jicama-ginger salad and purple mustard.

Fresh Wellfleet Clams: garlic chives, quid and vegetable noodles, Chinese sausage consumme

The clams came with a fizzy Cremant D’Alsace Valentin Zusslin. Normally I wouldn’t be into that, but it went down nicely. The sausage and consumme might be the best part of the dish, which should not in any way deduct from the clams.

Slow-Cooked Organic Australian Hiramasa: fromage de tete, jicama-ginger salad, purple mustard

Australian Hiramasa is a fish with its own website. You have to respect that. It was like a creamy, fork-cuttable swordfish. Fromage de tete is probably best left unexplained and untranslated for those who don’t already know what it is. I translated the words one at a time and it gradually dawned on me. It’s delicious in small quantities no matter what you think. Also, the fava beans and asparagus were expertly done.

Next up, the second course. Again, shared, because that’s the way to do it. It’s too bad we didn’t have another couple handy to be able to sample every item on the menu, although we came close to asking the foursome next to us. The second course signaled the switch from white to red in the wines, with a crispy confit paired with Gewurtztraminer and braised pig tails with a red called “L’Erbe.”

Crisy Confit of Quebec Porcelet: mousserons mushrooms, asparagus, foie gras jus

Above, Crispy Confit of Quebec Porcelet with mousserons mushrooms, asparagus, and foie gras jus.  Foie gras and pig confit.  Can’t beat that for richness.  The crispy skin on top was the best part.

Braised Pig Tails: crushed fava beans, pickled peanuts, radishes, ramp puree

Braised Pig Tails.  Yes, the actual tail.  No, there was no evidence of corkscrew-style curliness.  With crushed fava beans, pickled peanuts, radishes and ramp puree.  Served with the first red wine of the night, the 2005 L’Erbe Domain des Maisons Burlees.

Finally, for the main, we passed up pork belly and the pied de cochon farci for two (that’s a pig leg, folks) in favor of the CSB Chorizo-Stuffed Vermont Organic Quail paired with the 2005 Enfant Sauvage Domaine les Portes.  Organic quail and organic/biodynamic wine, and yet somehow it felt more decadent than environmentally responsible.

CSB Chorizo-Stuffed Vermont Quail: chanterelles, white peaches, fiddleheads, buckwheat polenta

The presentation made us laugh out loud in a good way.   The ends of the quail were embedded in a puddle of buckwheat polenta, with the middle section on the side with extra chorizo sitting on a pile of chanterelles, white peaches and fiddleheads.  I think we chose well.

Our chosen dessert was the Taza Chocolate and Olive Oil Mousse with almond praline and kumquat syrup plus a glass of dessert wine – the 2006 Banyuls Domaine Traginer.  (we passed up the Champagne Mango & Rhubarb Crisp) But before that arrived, we received a small gift from the kitchen – two shot glasses of panna cotta, one flavored with rooibos tea, the other a different tea which escapes me.  This would have been a perfect finish to the meal, but wait, there was more.

The chocolate mousse arrived in what looked like a jelly jar or old fashioned glass.  There must have been six or eight ounces of mousse plus a layer of kumquat syrup on top.  I wish I could say that it was light and airy, but it was closer to ganache or peanut butter in consistency.  Which not to say it didn’t taste heavenly, but we had after all just finished four courses of piggy richness.  Between the two of us we probably ate almost one serving of the mousse.  And then they brought us another dessert.

The third dessert of the evening, the second one sent out from the kitchen for us, was again refreshingly small, little cups of rhubarb hibiscus soup.  Ice cold and wonderfully tart, this too would have been a perfect ending to the meal.  Then they brought madelines and truffles.

How can you not eat a madeline when one is presented to you?   It was the perfect complement to my espresso.

I wish the Craigie street crew all the best in the new home on Main street (barely half a mile from Limeduck world HQ) but it could be a while before I’m ready for another meal like this one.  If you have an opportunity to visit the current location before the move, I highly recommend sampling the original Craigie street experience so you can compare it to the new one.