big bite bacon fest – 2014 recap
On the second to last day of the fair, Jake and I attended the dinner session of the Big Bite Bacon Fest thanks to Big Bite Events. Since I already been to the fair, we got there about an hour before the event and wandered around a little bit before the VIP admission began at 5:30PM. Jake didn’t have anything in particular he wanted to see so we didn’t spend the whole day there.
VIP admission nets you an extra hour of bacon fest time – you get in before the general public and get to fill up on bacon before it gets too crowded and you just want to cry into your beer and go home.
We also got t-shirts and these neat “beer caddies” that we wore around our necks. Included with the unlimited bacon samples were 10 tasting tickets for beers. Jake and I are not really big beer drinkers though and we only used like 5 between us. Too bad we couldn’t exchange our beer tickets for soda or bottles of water. Instead we used our caddies and filled them up with water which was pretty much all I wanted to drink anyway.
We ran into Darlene and Paul early on in the event. Darlene was one of the judges for the cooking competition (that we totally bailed on later and didn’t find out who won because we got full). We did warn them to not try and bacon cotton candy if it was present again (it was not) or the bacon wrapped pickle (because, gross).
Now onto the FOODS!
Our very first sample! And it wasn’t bacon… Hmm. It was actually a little boule of bread with some cheese sauce, about the size of a dinner roll. I ate it… I mean, I love bread, but I was wondering where the bacon was in this dish. I didn’t care for the cheese sauce but the bread was good. Not super memorable to me, but decent.
La Jolla Brewing Co. offered up little bowls of macaroni and cheese with bits of bacon. I thought the cheese sauce was way undercooked as it tasted like uncooked flour to me. Jake thought it tasted overcooked because the noodles were really mushy. Either way, this was a failed effort. Seemed like this dish was more of an afterthought than anything else since the bacon was also barely detectable.
4) The Patio
The Patio had these little samples of candied pork belly and they were DELICIOUS. It was just a little cube but it was perfectly cooked and golden brown on all sides. It was sweet but not overbearing and the skin had a nice crunchy and crispness. Very good!
These guys were at the Bacon Fest last year!
They came back with the same item, which was a bacon caramel popcorn made with their crazy hot Ghost Scream hot sauce which uses ghost peppers, the hottest pepper in the world. I munched on like three pieces before I gave up and said it was way too spicy for me. Jake loves this stuff, he enjoyed the heat and how it crept up. I liked it at first but it quickly became overpowering to my poor weak taste buds.
They also had samples of their hot sauce splashed on a bit of guacamole. For whatever reason, it didn’t seem as spicy to me as I popped the whole bit into my mouth. I leave the spicy bacon caramel corn to Jake.
6) Sugalab (their website doesn’t currently work, this is their Facebook page)
Right next door to the freakin’ hot hot sauce was Sugalab who was also at the Bacon Fest last year with the only liquid bacon related item. This year they decided to offer Bacon S’mores.
The cookie had bacon in it and they even torched the marshmallow sides a little bit for more of that s’mores effect. This reminded me a lot of an Oatmeal Cream Pie with the consistency (soft cookie, soft filling) and overall flavor. One little bit was enough for me though as I found the s’mores to be pretty sweet. If you ended up loving this, you could buy a whole s’more for $4.
7) Chef Jesse Lopez (couldn’t find a link!)
Chef Jesse Lopez’s station offered up five different bacon related samples! Hoo boy! The first one was this mashed potato goodness which had plenty of bacon, plus cheese, sour cream, and green onions. It was a cup of bacon mashed potato goodness – kind of like the insides of a loaded baked potato.
And also bacon wrapped shrimp (YUM, come to mamma)…
And these little cups filled with blue cheese and bacon (little heavy on the blue cheese but still good).
And there were also homemade tortilla chips with guacamole and bacon…
AND bacon peanut butter and chocolate cups! My god, this guy was ambitious! This was one of my favorite desserts at the fest. It used a dark chocolate with chunky peanut butter in the middle and a topping of crispy bacon (the bacon was only on top).
The Trails Eatery went a little simpler than last year and made up a few batches of bacon peanut brittle this year. It was good, though the brittle was maybe a little on the chewy side for my tastes. I did like the overall flavor though, I just wished it wouldn’t get stuck in your teeth!
Yummy Cupcakes was representing the baked goods with three different mini cupcakes! And I don’t remember the names of all of them because I am terrible! I do remember this one had a vanilla base…
And this one was chocolate and s’mores like…
And this one was extra chocolatey with extra bacon in it. I didn’t want to get all sugared out so I ate that first one (which was delicious and moist with a good crumb and just a hint of bacon flavor) and we put the rest into our tupperware for later.
Jake models one of the mini cupcakes which look so much smaller in his hand… hah.
10) Meat, Inc.
I loved this guy’s shirt and asked if I could take a photo. He humored me.
Meat, Inc.’s offering was this: “M’oinks” – a bacon wrapped meatball which was INSANELY good. The meatball was very flavorful and tender and the bacon helped to keep all the juices and deliciousness in the m’oink! Hands down this was Jake and I’s favorite item at the bacon fest this year.
The Broken Yolk Cafe, which I have never visited, was also present at the bacon fest. They had crepes with bacon and nutella. The crepe had a little bit of nutella wrapped up inside and another little squirt on top of the bacon. I wasn’t terribly impressed with this. The crepe was pretty thick for a crepe and nutella and bacon was a little odd. Hazelnut + bacon maybe doesn’t do it for me, and I love hazelnut like nobody’s business. Oh well.
Coops’ was back this year! But… they didn’t have any bacon items. Considering their candied bacon last year was one of my favorite items, I was a little sad to see no bacon offerings. Instead they served up little plates of pulled pork, sausages and saltines. I put the pulled pork on a saltine and it was delicious and smoky.
BiCE had bacon wrapped salmon on this cute bamboo leaf boats and was probably one of the prettiest samples at the bacon fest but sadly I didn’t enjoy this one. The salmon tasted really fishy to me and turned me off to it right away. Points for presentation, but no points for taste.
14) The Cravory
The Cravory was there with cut up samples of their Pancakes and Bacon cookies. I’ve had these before and I like them, so I just put the samples into our tupperware right away. The Cravory cookies are thick and a bit on the softer side – if you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend going to their storefront and having a few delicious samples.
Chicken Charlie’s was back with their deep fried bacon wrapped pickle. Jake refused to try it this year since he hated it last year, but we got one sample so T could try it later. T tried it after it had been in the fridge and was cold and he said it was really good that way… so, there’s that. Maybe chilling it makes it better, but I wouldn’t know since I would never, ever eat this.
There was an empty booth for “The Savage Chef” (which was also at the bacon fest last year) and right next to it was this food truck. I didn’t think they were the same thing until I looked it up to link to it! This is a sloppy joy sandwich made with pork which was pretty good, but not really fantastical. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either, but I did like that it was served on warm toasty bread, so kudos for that.
They also offered this dessert called “Hog Pockets” which I loved the name of! It’s like a soft donut with cinnamon and sugar dusted on the outside and peanut butter and jelly and small bacon pieces on the inside. It was served fresh and warm – which made it extra delicious. The bacon gave it a little salty boost while the warm jelly and peanut butter melted in with the warm donut. This was Jake’s second favorite item and high on my list of favorites as well.
Bigmista’s BBQ offered up four different samples. The first one is above which was a “dip”. The dip was very heavy, a bit on the salty side and had an overall weird flavor that I couldn’t quite pinpoint…
They also did this candied bacon which was sadly really overcooked. It just tasted like burnt bacon to me. I could almost taste the potential deliciousness since it was super crispy… but crispy in a bad way.
This was a chili that all I remember about it was that it was spicy.
Annnnnnd, I think this is a bacon wrapped potato.
And there I am, smiling about it and showing it off, but I didn’t really like any of the items. Sorry, Bigmista.
These got kind of confused/mix up in my mind since we ate them together. On the bottom is Mercury Grill’s offering which is half a hot dog with onions, cheese and bacon. It wasn’t incredibly memorable, the cheese was partially melted and a little cold and the hot dog got a little lost in the ingredients.
Mexico City Cuisine offered a taco that I didn’t really like and a bbq chicken leg which was overcooked.
19) Donut Bar
You already know I’m not gaga over Donut Bar. We grabbed a couple of samples and put them in our to go tupperware since I didn’t want to have too many more sweets. This was fine enough the next day, I’m sure it would have been better had I eaten it on the spot but I was getting full! These looked to be individually sized donuts and not just cut up regular maple bars so I thought that was cute.
This was another candied pork belly offering which kind of just looked like a trough full of meat to me. They stuck a bunch of forks in and you just grabbed a forkful of stuff. It tasted a little better than it looked at least but I preferred the candied bacon from the Patio. This one was a bit on the greasy side.
Before you get excited let me break the bad news to you: NO there still is NOT a Farrel”s Ice Cream Parlous in San Diego. The closest one is in Mission Viejo so unless you hike it up to Orange County you still won’t get to have that ice cream party for your birthday this year. They DO open Farrell’s up during the fair though but it’s just ice cream with their name slapped on the front. No one will run around with a giant sundae for you. Sorry.
This was near the end of the event and the very last thing we had because we skipped Slater’s 50/50 (the only thing we skipped). It was butter pecan ice cream with bacon bits, chocolate sauce, whipped cream from a can and a cherry. Immediately after I took this photo Jake grabbed the cherry off my sundae since he knew I wouldn’t eat it.
This sundae… was not that good. The butter pecan ice cream was too sweet – vanilla would have been a better choice – and the bacon bits were chewy and the … just… yeah. It wasn’t very good. It was okay at best. I ate less than half before I chucked it.
We lingered a little after our last item but not for long. We sampled almost everything before general admission was let in and when it got crowded we were pretty much ready to bail.
We had fun sampling everything! And I love my beer caddy. The Big Bite Bacon Fest was a good time with tons of samples and drinks and we’d definitely be back for another year!
Disclaimer: Thanks to the fine folks at Big Bite Events for providing us with complimentary tickets to this fun event! All opinions and photography contained is this post is my own. I was not further compensated or paid for this post.