My friend Ellen’s underground restaurant took an interesting turn last week. Instead of dinner, the meal served was brunch and, instead of Ellen being the sole cook and bottle washer, we partnered up on the menu, with the invaluable help of Leila for shopping, prep and clean-up duties.
The goal of the brunch was to finally give people enough damn bacon. You know what I mean. No matter how many slices of bacon are on your plate, one more is always better. So we set out to make sure nobody left feeling deprived of porky goodness.
Besides pigging out on bacon, our other mission was to taste the offerings of our excellent local bacon producers side-by-side and find out how the slices stack up. Yes, we served bacon flights. The results were, if not exactly surprising, interesting and porkalicious.
The 4 Contenders:
The guests were split down the middle between choosing Marin Sun Farms and Fatted Calf as their favorite.
Us kitchen folk unanimously liked Marin Sun the best for its perfectly fatty mouthfeel and appealing subtle smokiness.
All three of us have commented in the past that the Prather Ranch bacon is too sweet…tasting mostly of maple syrup. This tasting didn’t exactly change our minds but, to me, the bacon seemed less sweet and overall more appealing than I remember.
The Highland Hills….well, it was just wrong. As in, something went wrong with the batch. It was blackish-gray in color with a hard, unyielding texture and completely devoid of the succulence and crispy fat one expects in bacon. There was absolutely no flavor of salt, curing, spices, or anything. To be fair, we tried another package of Highland Hills that had better color, but the flavor was still lacking. There’s definitely a consistency problem there, but if the better package is the best they can do, it’s still not good.
The menu—all vegetables and eggs purchased from local producers
Smoked Salmon with Homemade Crème Fraîche on Anna’s Daughter’s Bread
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Blue Bottle Three Africans
nice looking table eh?
Winter Greens Salad with Spiced Pecans and Persimmons
Frittata with Chard, Dry Farmed Tomatoes and Homemade Goat Feta
Potatoes Roasted in Duck Fat
Bacon Flight accompanied by palate cleansing Homemade Sour Plum Sorbet
Oat and Rice Flour Pancakes with Homemade Crème Fraîche and Temescal Foraged Plum Sauce
Platters of Plenty of Bacon, Bacon, Bacon
Raw Truffles from Coracao Confections