Saturday, September 26

Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour

My good buddy Dave found this event coming to Pittsburgh, and decided to get me my birthday gift early. He asked if I was interested, and just thought, "C'mon, it's called a Bacon Tour, how could it be bad?"

Now that's a welcome sight if I've ever seen one.

Let me explain something about the Harris Grill. It's not really a hole, in fact, it's got a pretty nice restaurant upstairs. The main feature is that instead of those little baskets of peanuts most bars have, during Steelers games, the Harris Grill has little baskets of bacon. Oh, and every Tuesday night from 6:30 to midnight.

You are not imagining things; that is a pitcher of bacon in the upper right. They use it for their bacontini. You are not imagining things there either; they have a bacontini.

We're immediately greeted by Mr. Baconpants, a guy who wears red pants with pink bacon stripe pattern painted on them. He hands us two tickets for drinks, plus a "Man Bait" maple bacon lollipop.

That disclaimer, if you can't read it, goes: "Not valid with any other specials, offers, or after the above date. Not to be used by minors, miners, ditch diggers, or elves. Void where prohibited, including Wisconsin. Drink responsibly, or else we will."

But we're not here to snicker at the drink tickets, we're here to get our bacon on! And right when we get into the back room that I've dubbed the Hall of Bacon, we are greeted by our first treat, bacon sushi.

They're actually really well made sushi rolls. Some had avocado, some were cream cheese, but the ones that were really good were the ones with tomato and lettuce. Oh, and the unadulterated bacon nigiri, there's no stopping that.

Up next, a quartet of bacon hors d'oeurvuerrs (I have no idea how you spell that, and I'm too lazy to look it up.)

Bacon and shrimp is a classic you can't go wrong with. Pierogies are Pittsburgh local favorite, these had a little bacon in the mashed potato filling, but they were dressed with bacon bits and sauteed onions, very, very nice. After that were the bacon wings, which were basically wings seasoned with bacon salt. Not very impressive. But then they ripped off our deep fried bacon! Damnit! We should have patented that!

And what meal would be complete without dessert?

On the right is a tray full of bacon brittle, or more accurately, maple brittle with bacon bits. It's okay, but they didn't boil the sugar long enough to get to the hard crack stage. Either that, or the grease from the bacon interfered with the brittle setting up. On the left are bacon cupcakes. Or more accurately, maple cupcakes with the lightest maple frosting I've ever had, with a chip of maple candied bacon on top. Oh so good... And I won a door prize $25 gift certificate to the cupcake shop that made them. Score!

Last, there was a bacon eating contest. With no entry fee, I figure, what the heck, why not? Maybe all those Nights of Bacon could finally pay off.

Ha! No. We all started with about 3 pounds of bacon, and I probably ended the 3 minutes with 2. Three spots down from me was a guy who's apparently a competitive eater, since he plowed through all 3 pounds. He's eaten 6 pounds of chili in 10 minutes. And after all three pounds, he finished off the trays of the four guys around him. That's when I started trying to goad him into shooting the grease. Ha! No.

All in all, a lot of fun. Look up Vande Rose Farms if you get a chance -- they make some really fantastic bacon.

1 comment:

David Wagner said...

This was a terrific read! Thanks so much for posting it. I'll be sure to mention it in my blog tonight. Bacon FTW!