Archive for the ‘Bacon’ Category

Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin (Fringale SF)


Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin (Fringale SF)

Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin (Fringale SF)

The pork loin at Fringale is about as good as any pork dish I’ve had at a restaurant all year.  Thick, hammerhead-sized slices of tender pork are choked by their semi-crisp bacon muffler and, with a swirl through the braised savoy cabbage and a semi-sweet caramelized onion jus, it’s simple and sumptuous. What a treat to get cabbage when it’s done so miraculously: tender, crunchy, and looks like little bits of braised apple in there to complement the pork. It’s a perfectly balanced dish.

Fringale’s been around for over a generation in restaurant years; doesn’t get the yelpies or real press it deserves; but retains a status as a SOMA neighborhood gem and still serves up awesome dishes like this one. The owner is often there and when he’s not, un autre bon ami amicably fills in, and they are great fun to hang out with at the bar. They’re good storytellers, manage a busy tiny space with calm and grace, and make you want to go back just for an appetizer and glass of wine.

Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin (Fringale SF)

Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin (Fringale SF)

And, not for overkill, but if the mood strikes…the potatoes gratin are wicked. See below for your personal ramekin of cheesy potato glory.

Fringale's got wicked au gratin

Fringale’s got wicked au gratin

The Grade: Awesome (highest grade)
The Damage: $19 (great deal for SF)
The Skinny: Fringale restaurant
570 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: (415) 543-0573

SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009: Gitane – Eyherabide – Bacon-Wrapped Prunes


“Bacon BonBons”


At the opening night of SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009, Chef Lisa Eyherabide had fantastic prunes that were wrapped in bacon and stuffed with goat cheese. Many people, including me, went back for seconds and thirds. Simple, well-balanced, and delicious, evidence of why she and Gitane restaurant are getting lots of attention.

I discovered these are available on the regular Gitane menu. They’re called “bacon bonbons,” and the prunes are sauteed and finished with anise and cinnamon port sauce. Excellent appetizer and doorway to Gitane’s Basque-inspired innovations.Delicious bacon-wrapped, goat cheese-stuffed prunes from Gitane.

Delicious bacon-wrapped, goat cheese-stuffed prunes from Gitane.

Chef Lisa Eyherabide of Gitane @ SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009

Chef Lisa Eyherabide of Gitane @ SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009

Fried Oysters with Hobbs’ Bacon

Fried Oysters with Hobbs’ Bacon

Cornmeal Fried Oysters with Hobbs Bacon - Town Hall, SF

Cornmeal Fried Oysters with Hobbs Bacon - Town Hall, SF

Anything with Hobbs’ Applewood Smoked Bacon would be a treat, and Hobbs’ is just fine all by its lonesome as well. But topping cornmeal-fried oysters with a fat little dice of Hobbs bacon and preserved lemon twist, all nestled in a verdant spinach-Herbsaint puree hidden in the oyster shell….wow. It’s a full bite with vibrancy of color and a pulsating set of flavors that really sets a meal off. Go Town Hall. Another stellar dish.

The Grade: Awesome

The Damage: $13 (four fried oysters)

The Skinny: Town Hall

342 Howard Street, San Francisco CA
Phone: (415) 908-3900

Cornmeal Fried Oysters at Town Hall, SF

Cornmeal Fried Oysters at Town Hall, SF

Best BBQ Burger (Lark Creek Steak’s “Cowboy Burger”)

Cowboy (bacon & cheese BBQ) Burger

Best Bacon Cheeseburger: Lark Creek Steak's Cowboy Burger

Best Bacon Cheeseburger: Lark Creek Steak's Cowboy Burger

I love bacon cheeseburgers with BBQ sauce. It’s a combination of hearty flavors that seems quite natural and, while each of the flavors of bacon, BBQ sauce, sharp cheddar, and onion are individually powerful and can overwhelm any dish, within a burger context they somehow seem to play well together. When the burger is done properly, that is. Everyone and their mother has a bacon cheeseburger, but very few places make one that stands out as strongly as the cowboy burger from Lark Creek Steak.

The Best BBQ Bacon-Cheeseburger on the West Coast

Of the 40+ burgers I’ve tried in the past 6 – 8 months, the “cowboy burger” at Lark Creek Steak is far and away the best BBQ burger or the best bacon-cheeseburger of them all. So (at least for now) I can confidently proclaim Lark Creek Steak’s cowboy burger as the best bacon-cheeseburger on the West Coast. Nothing else has come close over the past year. 

Described on menu: Cowboy Steakburger (8 0z.) – bacon, cheddar, barbecue sauce, crispy onions

Cowboy Burger, detail with crispy fried onions

Cowboy Burger, detail with crispy fried onions

Why Lark Creek Steak’s burgers are so good: 


  • meat is not ground chuck (typical, low-cost burger meat)
  • meat is trimmed from regular Lark Creek Steak steaks (filet mignon, New York strips, sirloin, etc.)
  • meat is double-ground, making it extremely soft and tender
  • meat is ground fresh, sometimes 3 or 4 times daily (depending upon demand)
  • bacon is perfectly crisp, and sustainable ranch-grown 


  • burgers are grilled over open wood fire for slightly smoked, healthier grill flavors (not over flat surface that accumulates grease and fat)


  • fried  onions are thin, perfectly crisp, and perfect in flavor
  • terrific buns; toasted on the inside slightly (so condiments don’t make bun soft inside) and served warm
  • burger accoutrements are perfectly proportioned and flavorful (butter lettuce has more flavor than typical iceberg lettuce; pickles are crisp and long-sliced to fit flat across burger;  red onion is also well-sliced and grilled to mildly caramelize flavors)

The Grade: Awesome / Phenomenal (highest grade)

The Damage: $15.95

The Skinny: Lark Creek Steak

Westfield® San Francisco Centre
845 Market Street, 4th Floor, Ste 402
San Francisco, CA 94103

Phone: (415) 593-4100


Mon.-Fri. 11:30 am – 2:00 pm
Sat. & Sun. 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Mon.-Thurs. 5:30 pm – 9 pm
Fri. 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Sat. 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Sun. 5:00 pm – 9 pm

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

bacon chocolate chip cookies

Bacon chocolate chip cookies

Bacon chocolate chip cookies

For the finale of his “Bacon Heart Attack Dinner,” the Dissident Chef added a post-dessert lagniappe of bacon chocolate chip cookies, hot from the oven. Talk about incredible: these bacon chocolate chip cookies were among the best cookies I’ve ever eaten. Many of my fellow diners made similar remarks about the cookies. 

Maybe, if we’re lucky, the Dissident Chef will consider packaging these for wider distribution. (Whole Foods, Delmonico’s, Dean & Deluca, are you listening?)

Bacon Heart Attack Dinner (8) – Bacon Dessert Plate

Bacon Dessert: Bacon Ice Cream, Bacon, Bacon Biscuit


Bacon Ice Cream, Bacon, Bacon Biscuit - Dissident Chef

Bacon Ice Cream, Bacon, Bacon Biscuit - Dissident Chef

And the non-bacon items: sous vide strawberry and rhubarb compote. Fantastic plate.

But wait…that’s not all…the last pairing is below, and it was an awesome touch.

Bacon-infused Four Roses Whisky!!


Bacon-Infused, Four Roses Single Barrel Kentucky Whisky

Bacon-Infused, Four Roses Single Barrel Kentucky Whisky

If the picture looks a bit grainy, I think it represents the mind-fuzz of everyone at the Bacon Heart Attack Dinner at that point. Wonderfully grainy-headed.


Bacon Heart Attack Dinner (7): Bacon Sampler Platter

Bacon Sampler Platter: Bacon Heart Attack

Dissident Chef Bacon Sampler Platter: Fantastic

Dissident Chef Bacon Sampler Platter: Fantastic

Laid out like tiny machines of loving grace, or like a Japanese sushi platter, Dissident Chef’s glorious bacon sampler was a fetishistic array of bacon delights. This displayed the spectrum and variety across the field of dreams otherwise called BACON.

  • Crispy Fatted Calf Bacon
  • Sous Vide Bacon with Apple Cider
  • Artisanal Bacon
  • Hobbs’ Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • Canadian Bacon with green garlic 

Bacon Heart Attack Dinner (6) – Bacon + Rabbit Presse, Turnip Puree, Dates, Bacon Cream

Bacon & Rabbit Presse, Bacon Cream

Bacon Rabbit Presse, Pureed Turnips, Date, Bacon Cream

Bacon Rabbit Presse, Pureed Turnips, Date, Bacon Cream

Bacon Heart Attack Dinner, Course 6:

Bacon & Rabbit Presse, with pureed turnips, date, and bacon cream.

This is where we can safely say “Over the top, dude.”

Sweet and earthy, fatty and chewy, this dish was ridiculous. By that, I mean so absurdly rich and good you fantasize about it later. Or perhaps weekly, and perhaps for years to come.

To ameliorate the panic: thankfully, there was no heart attack involved anywhere during the course of the dinner. And, we presume, none afterwards.

But if one dish made my blood-thumper expand to a hardening cannonball rubbing like an angry pirate ship against the inside of my ribs rushing towards enemy mast, this was the dish. Breathe deep, breathe deep.

The colors of the bacon here—bright pink flesh, Tide-y whitie fat stripes—were modestly terrifying. I suspected it was slow-cooked via sous vide but my mind saw “raw” bacon….by this time, I was too gone to care. Trust is surrendered at the click, when I signed up online for this blind bacon masquerade.


Bacon Rabbit Presse, Pureed Turnips, Date, Bacon Cream

Bacon Rabbit Presse, Pureed Turnips, Date, Bacon Cream

To a certain extent, underground or ‘subculture dining,’  as the Dissident Chef calls it, is akin to his love of Jean Lafitte and pirates. He literally has a captive audience; nobody knows how many course are coming out, what’s coming next, when it’s going to end. So at this point, I’m feeling very along for the ride and very far afloat in the richness of bacon cream, softness of pureed turnips and very rich and fatty rabbit and bacon. I’ve never been one to put the kibosh on pirate ships, anyway: I had a pirate birthday party when I was 7, decades before Johnny Depp made rogue vogue.

Turnips are fantastic root vegetables and aren’t given the glory of cousins like potatoes or carrots, so the puree alone was great. The rabbit and bacon presse—flesh & fat—was a stunning morsel when paired with the sweet, chewy date, the root-down turnip smoothness, and the crème de bacon. Really, bacon cream? OMG…bottle that stuff ASAP.

Overall, the ‘bacon heart attack’ evening was glorious; this was one of the evening’s singular triumphs.

Bacon Heart Attack Dinner (5) – Bacon Beef Heart Confit

Bacon Beef Heart Confit

Beef Heart Confit over Hobbs' Bacon, Lentils, Onion Flowers

Beef Heart Confit over Hobbs’ Bacon, Lentils, Onion Flowers

The fifth course of Dissident Chef’s Subculture Dining “Bacon Heart Attack Dinner” was a serious boost; another great dish with more complexity than the Spam (which was awesome). The beef heart confit flayed like a welcoming, flickering Maori tongue atop  green garlic, Hobbs’ bacon, and lentils.

Visually, there’s an erotic play happening as well, with the phallic onion flowers atop the open, flattened beef heart confit. 

The flavors have stepped up, especially bolstered by the big red swathe of house-made sriracha, the red chile pepper sauce popular throughout Southeast Asia.  The Dissident Chef painted a big sriracha swoop across the plate and that hot pepper infuses the lentils and beef heart confit to just the kind of heat that keeps you aware of mild fire in the mouth. Just enough to enjoy the burn.

Then reach for that cooling glass of wine.

(To get Hobb’s bacon or Hobbs’ smoked meats, try Golden Gate Meat Company)

Bacon Heart Attack Dinner, Course 5 Pairing: Chateau Guiot Rose´

The Chateau Guiot Rose´has three varietals: mostly grenache and syrah, with some cinsault. The pink is dark-hearted, and the fruit initially bold (strawberry, raspberry) but pretty dry through the finish. It was a great pairing to the rich spiciness of the bacon beef heart confit dish, and would be a great summer wine for anything you might barbecue.

Chateau Guiot Rose (grenache/syrah) from House of Wines SF

Chateau Guiot Rose (grenache/syrah) from House of Wines SF

Bacon Heart Attack Dinner (4) – Beef & Bacon Spam

House-made Beef + Bacon Spam, bacon broth 

House-made Beef & Bacon Spam, bacon broth

House-made Beef & Bacon Spam, bacon broth

Bacon Heart Attack Dinner Course 4:

Home-made Spam with cippolini onions, fingerling potatoes, bacon broth

In square bowls came a lovely little spam and broth, to be sopped up with great bread. I felt like a character in a Dickens novel, wanting some more, but probably slurped more graciously in my broth-swigging.

The spam was made by the Dissident Chef by combining various meat parts into a mixture that included bacon and odd parts like trotters. The texture was indeed Spam-like, or perhaps like a softer, more robustly flavored sausage. The fingerling potatoes were the country cousins who didn’t add much to the party and were probably embarrassed to even be there. Another nice surprise; another amazing little taste mob. Really a small but great dish.


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