Beer and Bacon? It must be Tuesday at Wando’s Madison,WI

 

Free bacon and $1 beer? You are either completely disgusted by this concept, or like me, you think this sounds like an amazing event that you have to try! During my freshmen year in Madison, I heard of this magical event.  2 years later I was able to try it for myself, but it was so worth the wait. The experience of ordering bacon with my beer was everything I had imagined !

On Tuesdays nights at Wando’s in Madison,WI, you can have free bacon with your $1 beer. Salty and crispy bacon right out of the fryer combined with your choice of Coors Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Michelob Golden Light or Coors Original. I have to admit this is the only bar that I have asked for a side of bacon with my beer.

Last week, I returned to Madison for the first time since June of 2008. I have no shame, so I can admit this,  the reason that I chose to come in on a Tuesday was so I could attend Beer and Bacon night. Eating bacon, drinking beer, and watching the Badgers take down Michigan State made for a perfect evening. Beer and Bacon is one of the many reasons Madison is the best college food town, and I am happy to share it with you!

What is your opinion on Beer and Bacon?

Are fried oysters better? Mt. Pleasant,SC

As promised here is something from the tents at the Oyster Festival……..

The steamed oysters were amazing, but something was missing to complete my oyster festival experience. I needed to answer the o so important question of “ Are fried oysters better ?” I was in luck. The Red’s Ice House food tent served fried oysters. Armed with my tooth pick and cocktail sauce I was determined to uncover the answer to my question. A few minutes later I was done. My stomach was full and I came to the conclusion that YES I do like fried oysters better than steamed ones. I know some of you might think I am crazy and completely disagree. That is ok. Personally I enjoyed the fried ones better than the steamed ones. The fried ones had a golden crispy coating on them that gave a nice crunch as you were eating them. With the initial bite you got a lovely combination of saltiness, fat, and some acidity form the cocktail sauce. Granted the process of eating the steamed oyster was better. There is something that primitive and manly about attacking your food with a knife and ripping away its defenses. The tooth pick did not quite live up to the same feeling as a knife, but on overall taste and flavor I am going to have to go with the fried version. Which do you think would taste better?

Bacon wrapped stuffed shrimp Mt. Pleasant, SC

As promised here is something from the tents at the Oyster Festival……..

There is not a lot to say about this one. Yes, you are looking at a shrimp stuffed with deviled crab and wrapped in bacon. Yes, it tasted just as amazing as it looks. Yes, I realizes how incredibly unhealthy it must be. Yes, I would definitely recommend one. As you are looking don’t forget to wipe away the drool.

Elvis Panini The Patterson House Nashville, TN

Yes you are looking at the Elvis Panini. What is the Elvis you ask? Well, it is a peanut butter, banana, and bacon panini. Yes I said bacon. If you have never tasted the magic of peanut butter and banana then you have to go get a banana and peanut butter and try them together. I will wait…..

Ok, now that we are all on the same page I want to tell you how bacon improves this unlikely yet amazing flavor combination. I have a belief that bacon will improve the taste of any food. I hope to bring your more examples of why this is true, but for today let us focus on the Elvis Panini.

Here is why I think this sandwich is elevated to a new level with the addition of bacon. A panini is created by taking two pieces of bread (white french bread in this case) and adding some type of lubricant (usually butter or oil) to prevent the bread from sticking to the press that the sandwich is placed in. The sandwich is grilled creating a golden crispy texture that gives a nice crunch when you bite into it. There is an endless combination of ingredients that can be put between those two pieces of bread, but usually you want one of them to melt from the heat and bind everything together. Cheese is commonly used to do this, but in the case the Elvis it is the peanut butter that melts. Adding bacon to this physically brings everything together. If you have ever had hot peanut butter then you know how much of a mess it can be when you try to eat it. The bacon gives the peanut butter something to physically hold onto. It also adds a nice chewiness to the sandwich.

Most importantly, the bacon is the real hero of this dish because of the flavor it brings. Bacon’s smoky savoriness and salty taste adds depth to the sweetness of the banana and creamy nuttiness of the peanut butter. This contrast of sweet and salty/savory brings out each flavor even more than if they stood alone. It brings an unexpected yet incredibly pleasing new flavor profile to this dish. This is truly one of the most interesting flavors I have come across. If you have an appreciation for interesting flavor combinations you must give this a try.

Mini Doughnuts South Carolina State Fair Columbia,SC

On my old blog, www.taylormathisphotographyblog.com, I used to do a section called Food Friday. Every Friday I would post pictures of a place I visited or something I ate. Slowly, Food Friday transformed into what you are seeing now. I was looking through some old Food Friday posts and came across these mini doughnuts. They were fried right in front of you and then covered in powdered sugar. At the fair there was a really cool purple picnic table I used as a background. I really like the picture so I thought I would share it with you.

Pancake Pantry Nashville,TN

Whenever you include the name of of the food your restaurant serves in the title you are making a bold statement. Especially, when alliteration is used. Pancake Pantry makes this statement, and has the pancakes to back it up. I was in Nashville for the Imaging USA photography conference and met up with my friend Shannon. Taylor, “We are going to Pancake Pantry” she  said. Notice how that was not a question. Shannon grew up in Nashville and knows it is the place for pancakes when you are there.

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Bacon Old Fashioned The Patterson House Nashville,TN

This to date is the most interesting drink that I have ever had. In my opinion bacon is the most versatile ingredient in the culinary world. I can not think of one dish that adding bacon to will not make it better. You eat it with breakfast, on salads, dipped in chocolate, on sandwiches, you can even wrap other meats in it! But bacon in a drink? When I heard about The Patterson house and their Bacon Old Fashioned I had to make a stop.

Upon walking into the Patterson House, I got the feeling I was entering a secret club that only people who lived in Nashville knew about. The waiting area is lined with bookshelves ending with a velvet curtain that intensifies your curiosity as to what is on the other side. Upon entering through the curtain you discover a large room with book cases again lining the walls. There are several booths and an enormous large square bar in the center. The tin ceilings, warm lighting, and rich wood color of the bar sets an inviting mood. I was seated at the bar and new exactly what I wanted. The Elvis Panini and a Bacon Old fashioned. You will have to wait for another post to find out about the Elvis.

Chauncey began making my old fashioned. She started with an ice sphere. Yes, no ice cubes here. At Patterson House they use a copper mold to individually make ice spheres for their drinks. To that she added a combination of maple syrup, Bentons bacon infused 4 roses bourbon, and house made coffee pecan bitters. An orange slice rind was used as a garnish.

Now the moment of truth and the first taste…………….

I could not believe it! At the end of the drink was the distinct taste of bacon! I am a huge bacon fan and would know that taste anywhere and yes! It was bacon! If you do not believe me then you will have to try it for yourself! They infuse the bourbon with bacon on site using a fat wash method. Basically this in involves taking hot bacon fat, combining it with the bourbon, and freezing it so the fat and bourbon separate (fat has a different freezing temperature than alcohol so it works out).

Later in the week I will continue my Patterson House experience with the Elvis Panini.

I am curious, leave a comment if you think this drink sounds good?