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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Big Bite Bacon Fest was a day of porkolicious grandeur in Long Beach, California

As we waited for the gates to open, the aroma of bacon and pork were filling the air. The backdrop for the Bacon Fest was the majestic Queen Mary. Every event that I have been to at the Queen Mary has been great so I knew we were in for a treat. At 11am, the gates opened for the VIPs (Very Important Porklovers) and away we go!

Dog Haus served up the Porky Fig which is made with cheese-stuffed sausage, wild arugula, whole grain mustard, fig-onion-bacon relish, almonds, and bacon fat toasted Hawaiian roll. The sausage was juicy and had a nice snap to it. The slightly bitter arugula, tangy mustard, and sweet relish were perfectly balanced and worked well with the savory sausage. Rating: 5/5

Kettle Brand Potato Chips served up Maple Bacon chips. It has a smoky sweet flavor, reminiscent of BBQ flavored potato chips. There was no bacon flavor per say but tasted great. Rating: 4/5

Belching Beaver Brewery served up two beers. The Peanut Butter Milk Stout won the Silver Medal at the 2014 World Beer Championships and Bronze Medal at the 2015 World Beer Championships. Tasting notes: Smooth, nutty peanut flavor, subtle bitter bite on the front end of the palate. Rating: 5/5. Great Lei Pineapple Colada India Pale Ale tasting notes: Pineapple aroma experienced; Hoppy flavor; It could have been a little smoother; Pineapple flavor was not apparent. Rating: 3.5/5

Illy served up Issimo Mochaccino. It is a unique blend of 100% natural Arabic coffee and infused with DOMORI™ cocoa. It has a very light espresso flavor and tastes like a very rich chocolate milk. Rating: 4/5

Traditional Twist served up Peanut Butter Ball with Bacon. Reminiscent of a chocolate truffle but inside is creamy peanut butter with a salty, smoky bits of bacon. I love chocolate and peanut butter so I was in hog heaven. Rating: 5/5

Sansai Fresh Grill and Sushi Kitchen served up Pot Stickers which are fried gyoza stuffed with pork and vegetables served with sweet and sour sauce. The wrapper was crispy with tender, juicy pork and vegetable stuffing. The sweet and sour sauce was just right. Rating: 4.5/5

Forbidden City served up Forbidden City Pork. The flavor was a mix between sweet and sour pork and pork stew. A dash of Cimino’s Pepper Sauce kicked up the flavor. Rating: 3/5

Allagash Brewing Company poured Black Belgian Style Stout. It is brewed with 2 Row barley, terrified wheat, oats, roasted and chocolate malt, dark caramelized candi sugar. Tasting notes: Smooth, clean with oaty and malty flavors on the back of the palate. Rating: 4/5

The Reef on the Water served up Pork Belly and Pineapple Bacon Fried Rice. The pork belly was scrumptious with tender pork surrounded by melt-in-your-mouth fat layers. Rating: 5/5. The Pineapple Bacon Fried Rice was interesting. It need a bigger bacon flavor push as it just fell into the background. The rice also needed more shoyu (soy sauce). Rating: 3.5/5

Ludlows Cocktail Co. served up their Jelly Shots. Fresh Lime Margarita Jelly Shots are made with premium blanco with zesty lime and orange. If you want to be fancy, sprinkle a little salt on it like a real margarita. The margarita flavor is amazingly fresh with bright lime flavor. You can definitely taste and feel the tequila as the gelatin melts. Rating: 5/5. Planter’s Punch Jelly Shots are made with premium Caribbean dark rum, pineapple, and tropical fruits. You’ll definitely feel the cool island breezes flowing through your hair as the tropical flavors hit your palate. It’s a beautiful hue of reddish pink. The rum works perfectly with the tropical flavors as the gelatin melts. Rating: 5/5

OC Donut Bar served up their Maple Bacon Donut. The donut itself was fluffy and yeasty. The maple glaze was full of sweet maple flavor. The candied bacon on top sealed the deal with a sweet, salty, smoky flavor. Rating: 5/5

The Waffle-Oh! Truck served up their signature waffle with maple syrup and bacon bits. It was good but not very inventive. It would have been better with bacon inside of the batter and served with a maple whipped cream or maple cream cheese dip. Rating: 3/5

Dia de los Puercos served up Hog Pocket Empanada which is peanut butter, grape jelly, and bacon inside an empanada topped with churro dust and la lechera. It was like a Latin turnover with the flavors that Elvis would love. Bacon love, thank you, thank you very much! Rating: 4.5/5

West Grove Smokehouse served up Moink Balls Bacon Wrapped Meatballs and Pulled Pork. The meatballs would have been better if the bacon on the outside wasn’t burnt. They were on the grill too long and the meatballs inside were dry. Rating: 2/5. The pulled pork was tender and the barbeque sauce had the right amount of sweet and smoky flavor. Rating: 4/5

Fry Fry Food Truck served up Deep Fried Twinkies topped with bacon bits, powdered sugar, and chocolate drizzle. Deep fried Twinkies are always good, but this one could be a bit crispier on the outside for a textural balance. The bacon added a good smoky, salty element to the dish. Rating: 4/5

Jodi Taffel aka Bacon Babe served up Dark Chocolate & Bacon Tart with Cinnamon Whiskey Buttercream (made with Farmer John® Applewood Bacon). This tart has everything you’re looking for – sweet, creamy, salty, and smoky flavors with soft, crispy, velvety, and crunchy textures all in one. Rating: 5/5

Naugles served up a pork combo cup of sorts. The pork was very tender and had a nice flavor. I was a little disappointed that they were not ready to serve at 11am for the VIP attendees. People paid extra for the opportunity to try items without the crowds. Vendors should be more mindful of their current and future fans when participating at paid events. Rating: 3.5/5

Whole Foods Market Long Beach served up Long Beach Cherry Bomb (meatball stuffed with jalapeno bacon gouda dip and topped with BBQ sauce) and Chipotle Cheddar Bacon Dip (bacon and cheddar cheese with chipotle adobo sauce and topped with cilantro). The meatball had a good flavor and texture, but the barbeque sauce did not. I would put the barbeque sauce on the side next time. Rating: 3/5. The Chipotle Cheddar Bacon dip was okay. It had a weird color and texture with the flavor of spray can cheese. Rating: 2.5/5

The Prince and Pantry served up their Bacon Bar made with graham cracker, pretzel, corn flakes, potato chips, salted caramel sauce, chocolate, coconut, butterscotch, peanut butter, and bacon. It’s like a kitchen sink bar with sweet, salty, and smoky flavors and crunchy, velvety textures. Rating: 5/5

Bigmista’s Barbecue served up pork spareribs. The ribs were meaty, tender, and had a good spice rub on the outside. I would love to stop by the restaurant one day to try the brisket! Rating: 4/5

Artesana served up Vietnamese Coffee Ice Pops. It tasted exactly like an iced Vietnamese coffee with creamy, condensed milk paired with slow-drip coffee flavor. Rating: 5/5

Richeeze Food Truck served up The Bacon Mac Sandwich. It is Richeeze mac and crispy smoked bacon atop a grilled sweet Hawaiian bun. It was a carb overload but had a good mac n’ cheese and bacon flavor. Rating: 4/5

If you love bacon, you need to make room on your calendar for the Big Bite Bacon Fest next year!

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