Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Bacon

Meet the new Burger King bacon sundae


How do you up the classic ice cream sundae made with vanilla ice cream and swirls of hot fudge and caramel? Maybe rainbow sprinkles? If you're Burger King, you add bacon.

The fast food restaurant chain has launched a  limited-edition summer menu, and the star of its lineup of summer barbecue-inspired burgers and fries is none other than a bacon sundae. The new dessert features vanilla BK soft serve, chocolate fudge, caramel and bacon crumbles. If that's not enough bacon for you, the sundae is garnished with a piece of thick-cut hardwood-smoked bacon for dipping.

The rest of the menu reads like the chalkboard at a barbecue restaurant you'd find somewhere in the South, with items such as the Memphis pulled-pork sandwich, Carolina barbecue sandwiches, Texas barbecue sandwiches, frozen lemonade and sweet potato fries.

The sundae and the rest of the menu are available starting this week at participating Burger King locations.


Dinner tonight! Croque-madame

An affront to the good name of 'bacon'

From the L.A. Times recipe archive: Maple bacon biscuits

-- Jenn Harris


Photo: Bacon sundae from Burger King. Credit: Noel Barnhurst / Burger King / Associated Press.

Chef Ben Ford wins Cochon 555 competition

Ben Ford
On Sunday, five Los Angeles chefs -- Chad Colby of Mozza; Ben Ford of Ford's Filling Station; Neal Fraser and Travis Lorton of the Strand House, Grace & BLT; Jason Neroni of Superba Snack Bar; and Micah Wexler of Mezze -- gathered at the House of Blues for a nose-to-tail cook-off using five heritage pig breeds. 

Ford won the Cochon 555 competition with favorites such as  his belly Benedict with a soft poached egg, Fresno chile and bacon hollandaise; a head cheese hero of pig's liver pate, pickled vegetables, charred scallion-lemon aioli and crispy pigs ears; a chile verde taco with smoked pigs ear and micro cilantro;  chilled pork loin with tomato sauce, red onion and sea salt; and pork tartare paired with quail egg, walnut oil and confit shallot.

Other menu highlights included the campagnola banh mi with black garlic and black kimchi from Neroni;  Fraser's roasted loin and rack with fava beans, morel mushrooms and corn veloute; pig tail pasta and house-made charcuterie from Colby (last year's winner); and Wexler's pork leg tagine.

In addition to guests pigging out on pork-centric dishes, wineries including Robert Kacher, Elk Cove Vineyards, K Vintners, Sokol Blosser, Scholium Project,Turley, Mattiasson, Simi and Buty poured tastings throughout the evening. L.A. artisanal butchers Lindy & Grundy also gave a live pig butchering demo.

On June 17, the winning chefs from the 10-city tasting tour will gather in Aspen, Colo., to participate in the grand cochon competition as part of the 30th annual Food & Wine Classic.


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-- Leah Rodrigues


Photo: Ben Ford Credit: Hugh Galdones Photography

From the L.A. Times recipe archive: Maple bacon biscuits

Maple bacon biscuitsRecently, I received a very important recipe request from Brenda in Malibu:

"The bacon scones at the Huckleberry Cafe in Santa Monica are out of this world. Can you get them to part with the recipe for me?"

Huckleberry's own Zoe Nathan shared her recipe with us just a few years ago when she was pastry chef at Rustic Canyon. Our Restaurant Critic S. Irene Virbila called them "gloriously crumbly" at the time, and when she later reviewed Huckleberry after it opened, she wrote:

"A Santa Monica native who worked at the highly regarded bakery Tartine in San Francisco, Nathan is a talented baker who goes for the luscious over the austere, uses butter and cream with abandon and makes some of the best biscuits ever. Those would be the incredibly flaky maple bacon biscuits that have become a morning fix for many a customer."

I dug up the recipe (well, actually, this is one of those recipes that I keep close to me at all times, you know, just in case), which was so popular that we named it one of our Top 10 Recipes in 2008.

Enjoy, Brenda!  You can find the recipe here.

If you have a favorite restaurant recipe you'd like to request, feel free to email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com. I'll do my best to track it down.


Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter

Photo credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Nascar fans, meet the funnel bacakonator


Charlotte Motor speedway in North Carolina geared up for the Bank of America 500 Nascar Sprint Cup series this week with a new menu. To help amp up the crowd, they introduced some unique eats.

Nothing says fast cars and burning rubber like the funnel bacakonator. This bad boy belongs with the artery-clogging, greasy, gluttonous offerings you're likely to find at a county fair. The bacakonator consists of a large funnel cake drizzled with chocolate and strawberry sauces, topped with a hefty helping of bacon.

Also on the menu is the Charlotte pimento mac 'n' cheese burger. Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like (but more): an Angus beef burger topped with a scoop of pimento mac 'n' cheese, then covered in crumbled pork rinds. I can't tell if my heart is pounding from sheer excitement or fear.

For the health-conscious, the Danica Patrick "Fit Fuel" menu will debut at the speedway. It includes such options as a turkey burger, veggie burger and grilled chicken sandwich.

-- Jenn Harris


Photo: The funnel bacakonator. Credit: Charlottemotorspeedway.com.

To Flip: Pancake floor pillows

Pancake1 (1 of 1) Wild. A stack of pancake floor pillows from designer Todd von Bastiaans in collaboration with Bryan McCarthy. Made from tempurpedic foam and covered in digitally printed fabric, the 36-inch-diameter pancake pillows can be ordered with or without the butter. Maple syrup not available.

"Research was intensive on the project, with the duo trying pancakes from numerous Las Vegas breakfast joints -- Jerry’s Nugget, Du-par’s, IHOP -- before deciding on Blueberry Hill," the Vegas-based design emporium Unicahome informs us.

    Something's missing, though -- a bacon chaise longue, perhaps?

    Available from Unicahome, starting at $750, depending on the configuration. More photos on the website. Stacks of two or more get a 10% discount.

-- S. Irene Virbila

Photo: Pancake floor pillows. Credit: Unicahome

An affront to the good name of 'bacon'


Bacon cannot speak for itself. So I will speak on its behalf. Who's with me? It has come to my attention that the term "bacon" is being sullied. It's now being used as a shorthand label for all the nonsense cluttering your email in-box, the stuff that falls somewhere between email from a Nigerian businessman and urgent notification that your credit limit has been ... exceeded. You know, all the coupons, recipes, newsletters, updates, tips, sales, tricks and alerts that you willingly signed up for at one point and now just delete, delete, delete when you see them stacking up:

"Bacon is all of your Facebook notifications or bank e-mails saying that a bill is due," says Tommy Vallier, a social media consultant and one of the people that coined the term at a Pittsburgh technology conference in 2007. "We came up with the word just as bacon really started to become a problem."

It's such a problem that now we have "How to manage e-mail in-box bacon" suggestions, and there's even a service ($20 a year) to help you unsubscribe to it all.

Don't get me wrong, such tips and services all sound swell. But do we have to sully the good name of bacon? Can't we come up with another name? Like, e-clutter? Or, I don't know, how about "unwanted e-mails?" Why call it bacon? Do you join me in my outrage?


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Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Bacon Love. Credit: Not On Display via Flickr 

Follow the Butchers


I’ve recently started following L.A.’s artisanal butcher shops on Twitter, a brilliant use of the social media for the home cook.

If I open my Twitter account, between tweets on the developing Syria crisis, José Andres’ travels in Spain, Scrivener and iA Writer updates, and our own Food section's tweets, McCall’s Meat & Fish Co. notes they've got in “Wild Black Grouper, Skate Wing, Black Cod, Salmon, Tuna, Scallops, Halibut, Black Bass, Branzino, Clams, Mussels." Not to mention Berkshire pork and fresh calves’ liver. I read the post and my mind instantly switches over to planning the weekend's menu. 

Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura, the two women behind Lindy & Grundy Meats have used social media to churn up a frenzy of anticipation for their new Fairfax Avenue butcher shop. Via Twitter, they might report that the butcher case is now stocked with “beef & bacon grind, rack of lamb, lamb loin chops, pork chops, fresh chickens, bone marrow, sirloin tip steaks, london broil, rancher steaks” or “fresh Mexican chorizo and have just made a batch of espresso chili with marrow.”

Then comes a flash from Grindhaus, the little sausage shop that could, trumpeting “Spicy Beef w/Garlic, Bratwurst, Kielbasa, Pork w/Grn Chilis, Spicy Italian, Wild Boar, Chkn Chorizo."

By the time I get to the farmers market, I’ve already got a main course in mind and can build my shopping around it. Sweet.

To note: Both butcher shops and sausage shop are open Sundays.

McCall’s Meat & Fish Co., 2117 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles; (323) 667-0674; www.mccallsmeatandfish.com. Twitter handle @mccallsmandf 

Lindy & Grundy, 801 N. Fairfax Avenue (at Waring), Los Angeles; (323) 951-0804; www.lindyandgrundy.com. Twitter handle @LindyGrundy

Grindhaus, 5634 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; (610) 906-2677; www.GrindhausLA.com. Twitter handle @GrindhausLA.


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L.A. Times' Battle of the Burgers: Vote, or the Godfather will break your legs 

— S. Irene Virbila

Photo: Butchers Amelia Posada, left, and Erika Nakamura of "Lindy & Grundy's" on Fairfax Avenue. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

Father's Day dining guide 2011

Every May, moms are showered with Champagne brunches. Once Father's Day rolls around, dads should get to indulge gastronomically too, and we're not talking chocolate-covered strawberries. Sure, golf, a Dodgers game, a hike, even fishing are all nice gestures.... But we're thinking beer, burgers and such.

Susan Feniger's Street: After the eatery ran it as a special on the lunch menu at the request of a regular, the burger’s success landed it a permanent spot on the menu. Made with all-natural Angus beef, Vermont white cheddar, homemade pickles and yuzu kosho sauce, the Brioche Cheeseburger is a burger lover's burger especially when paired with the Ridge Zinfandel, the Godfather cocktail (Jameson Irish whiskey, Maker's Mark and amaretto liqueur) or the Lost Coast Downtown Brown, with aromas of roasted malt and cocoa. 742 N. Highland Ave., L.A., 323-203-0500; eatatstreet.com.

Bouchon Bouchon: Ground in-house by Bouchon's very own butcher, the beef patty is made of chuck, sirloin and brisket. It's served on a brioche bun with aged cheddar from Hudson Valley, New York; butter pickles; bibb lettuce and heirloom tomatoes. Le Burger Bouchon is great paired with the restaurant's specially crafted beers: The Blue Apron by Brooklyn Brewery is a heavier and fuller-bodied Belgian ale while the White Apron by the Russian River Brewing Co. is a lighter, crisp pilsner. 235 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-271-9910; bouchonbistro.com.

Drago: In honor of pops, the Santa Monica flagship is pairing its pints with a five-course pork tasting menu. A menu consisting of head cheese, pig trotter croquettes and pork belly displays snout-to-tail utilization in full effect. Optional beer pairings for the "Festa del Papa" include the Ommegang Abbey Ale and Ayinger Brewery's Celebrator Doppelbock. 2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-828-1585; celestinodrago.com.

A-Frame: Chef Roy Choi created the Double Cheeseburger in homage to the Korean-owned burger stands scattered throughout South L.A. Inside its toasted brioche bun, the thin salt-and-peppered patty is topped with white cheddar, tomato confit and pickled red onion. A single splash of Tapatio is what makes this burger a true West Coast staple. Suggested pairings are a Dogfish IPA or a Hitachino Nest beer. 12565 Washington Blvd., L.A., 310-398-7700; aframela.com.

Salt's Cure Salt’s Cure: Free-range and grass-fed, the house blend of Santa Barbara beef is sandwiched in a perfectly toasted poppy seed bun. Wagon Wheel Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and house-cured bacon from Tamworth pigs get nice and cozy with the 7-ounce patty, making for quite the mouth-watering burger. 7494 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, 323-850-7258; saltscure.com.

Son of a Gun: So it's not a burger, but the fried chicken sandwich from Son on a Gun is not to be missed. With a spicy b&b pickle slaw and rooster aioli, chef Vinny Dotolo’s inspiration for the sandwich stems from Bakesale Betty's, Chick-Fil-A and McDonald's. Best paired with Mama's Little Yella Pils, Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale or try the Hopf Helle Weisse. 8370 W. 3rd St., L.A., 323-782-9033; sonofagunrestaurant.com.

Rustic Canyon Wine Bar: Comprising distinct flavors -– sharp cheddar, onion fondue, bread and butter pickles and an herb remoulade -– the Niman Ranch Burger is a complete burger eating affair with hand-cut French fries. The seasonal kitchen recommends pairing the medium-rare patty with Reissdorf Kolsch, a light and refreshing German beer from Cologne, a strongly hopped amber ale like Red Seal Ale from North Coast Brewing Co. or the Orval Trappiste Ale, a longer roasted and therefore very rich Belgian ale (made by monks, no less). 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-393-7050; rusticcanyonwinebar.com.

--Caitlin Keller

Top photo: fried chicken sandwich

Credit: Son of a Gun restaurant

A few tasty tidbits on Sunday's Cochon 555 event

Bacon! St. Vibiana’s has seen many makeovers, transforming from an ultraslick nightclub into a tween-friendly prom venue, or from an immaculate wedding chapel into a medieval masquerade ball in a matter of days. This Sunday, the Baroque-inspired cathedral will morph again, this time into a shrine of swine, as Brady Lowe and his traveling porkapalooza, Cochon 555, roll into downtown.

The inaugural Los Angeles event is a carnal gantlet for pork lovers, where five heritage pig farmers and five vintners are paired with five local chefs. Each chef is then challenged to create a snout-to-tail feast for 400 guests, who will serve as judges alongside a selected panel. The goal is to introduce patrons and chefs to new brands and breeds, showcasing some of the best pork each region has to offer.

Because of L.A.’s enthusiastic response and rapid sellout, Lowe felt he needed to up the ante.

Sunday's event will feature two butcher demos instead of one, an extra bar and an additional winery. There will be an additional 60 pounds of bacon from La Quercia, an extra kilo of caviar for the VIP room, and Chris Pollan from the Cheese Store of Silver Lake will be serving up his wares. In addition, this will be the first time a musical component has been added -- DJ Lord from Public Enemy and Egon from Stones Throw Records will spin as guests swirl into a swine-induced stupor.

Adding a sacrificial element, butchering demos will take place in front of the main altar. There will also be a freestyle butchering competition and the Bacon Hall of Fame, where exceptional producers of hormone- and antibiotic-free cured and smoked meat will be showcased. In the VIP area, Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura of Lindy & Grundy will break down a Kume Kume pig, a small spotted Maori breed native to New Zealand.

Tender Belly Farms will be providing Hereford, Spotted Poland and Hampshire pork to be used by Ben Ford (Ben Ford's Filling Station), Tim Godell (Public Kitchen and Bar) and Chad Colby (Osteria Mozza), respectively. Octavio Becerra of Palate Food & Wine will be work with Berkshire from ReRide Ranch, and Joshua Whigham of the Bazaar will use the Red Wattle breed from Walnut Keep Farm & Vineyard.

Most chefs are tight-lipped about what they have in store for the competition, and are wary of any definitive speculation.

“It may come down to traditionalist versus modernist. If that’s the case, it could be Josh Whigham,” says Ford. “I will say this, though: Chad Colby is the only guy whose head cheese I’d eat.”

To get the full rundown on Cochon 555, plus a porcine photo gallery, read on. >>>

-- Krista Simmons

Follow me on Twitter @kristasimmons

Photo courtesy of Cochon 555

Exclusive, with photos: A sneak peek at Lindy & Grundy, opening Tuesday

IMG_3296 Back in January, we published our profile of Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura, the cleaver-wielding butcherettes who have been setting up their sustainable meat store on Fairfax Avenue.  Since then the women have been hard at work putting the finishing touches on their butcher shop, leaving the city in suspense for the opening. Some were so antsy, in fact, that they jumped the gun in announcing the opening.

The duo's thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers are likely privvy to the meticulous inspections and multiple bumps in the road that have pushed their opening more than a month behind schedule. But this afternoon we finally received word that Lindy & Grundy Local, Pastured, and Organic Meats is finally ready to peddle its first pork jowls.

Naturally, we wanted to give you an exclusive sneak peak of the shop in its final stages. A virtual tour with smellevision would be helpful, because upon walking through the front doors we were slammed with the scent of smoking cedarwood and roasting meat. Decked out in chain-mail aprons, Nakamura was meticulously breaking down pork parts for house-made sausages and Posada and their two  employees were busy loading the smoker, testing recipes and quartering chickens.

The store, which opens Tuesday, will offer sustainably raised beef, lamb, pork, sausage, poultry, cheese and aged meat. Sausages are being stuffed for opening day; varieties include kimchi pork, sweet and hot Italian and classic lamb. Nakamura's signature "gateway" sausage (part tofu, part chicken) will be available once they settle in. They will sell a house blend of ground beef in freezer cases, along with stocks and other prepared items. The store will also have a rub and spice station where customers can work with the butchers to create specific spice mixtures for the meats they're purchasing.

The doors will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, and they plan to have an official opening party within a few weeks. The celebration will be a welcome one, after the series of delays.

"Getting this place open has been our lives." Posada says. "We couldn't have done this without each other."

For photos of their nearly completed sustainable butcher shop, keep reading.

--Krista Simmons

Follow me on Twitter @kristasimmons

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.