Hey everyone! Hope you had a great Martin Luther King Day, and that you’re having an even better Inauguration Day! I’m starting the day off with a sad confession: I’ve been really bad about trying the hippest new bacon creations for your edification, particularly when they’re the product of a fast food chain. For example, I have yet to go to Wendy’s for the Baconator. I feel like such a fraud. However, after my recent Taco Bell experience, I might just go ahead and change my tune. Because first of all, it was a good excuse to get together for lunch with two great friends, Beth and Heather. And second of all…it wasn’t so bad.

dsc_0021I’ll admit we were total chickens and decided to split one Cheddar Bacon Gordita Crunch between the three of us. Honestly, what’s the point of wasting $7.50 if we don’t like it, right? And yes, the price was $2.49 on the Taco Bell menu, so you know they consider it a prize item. Our first question when it arrived was, “how much bacon?!” As you can see in this photo, the cheddar and bacon was not spread over the entire gordita, but it was real cheddar and real bacon so we didn’t complain. We noticed that the melted cheese did a great job of keeping all the ingredients together.

dsc_0026Next, we wondered about the orangey sauce inside the taco. Heather referred to it as some sort of “smoky sauce,” something she’d heard of in reference to another Taco Bell creation. That made me leery. I’m particular about my condiments, and absolutely detest “special sauce,” french dressing or any sauce with chunks or pickle relish in it. I don’t even like it when mayonaisse and ketchup get mixed together, and in some states that’s the standard in french fry dip. So anyway, we persevered and found that the sauce wasn’t so bad. We tasted a hint of vinegar which Heather likened to the warm bacon dressing you might find on a spinach salad. And actually, I liked the flavor of the bacon and sauce with the lettuce, seemed more like a sandwich than a taco. Between the normal taco, extra cheese, bacon and sauce, the CBGC had a lot of flavors and a lot of salt going on. And, like I said, it wasn’t so bad…in small doses.

So when it came down to it, the big question was: would you eat it again? And I don’t mean if it was forced on you or someone bought it for you without asking. Would you ever crave the Cheddar Bacon Gordita Crunch? My answer was no. The only thing that ever draws me to Taco Bell is a bean burrito. Beth and Heather agreed. Each of us visits Taco Bell infrequently enough that we’ll be sticking to our old favorites. However, if the plain Gordita Crunch happens to be your favorite, this may just be a big winner.

I don’t often write about Kevin Bacon on this blog, due in part to the La Coronilla Treaty of 2008 (see the comments section.) And so I’m not going to say much about this clip from funnyordie.com, except that it is AWESOME with a capital AWE. Happy Friday. And you’re welcome!

morecupcakes

Here in the West, I think Sprinkles has become the cupcake standard. They make huge, beautiful cupcakes in lots of amazing flavors with every kind of colorful confetti topping you can imagine. Soon they’ll be expanding across the country and across the world, but they may have their competition cut out for them in Chicago.


More Cupcakes
makes treats that are not only beautiful, but truly unique. Yes, we know lots of people make a maple frosting, toss some bacon on top and call themselves mavericks. But where else can you go for a BLT cupcake that actually tastes like a fancy BLT? More has made the leap from purely sweet dessert cakes to savory cupcakes that look, well, good enough to eat. The cupcake pictured here includes chopped bacon, fresh mozzarella, a ripe slice of tomato and just a sprinkling of greens to bring it all together. The cake itself is not sweet, making it a light and ideal breakfast or lunch for busy people on the go. Personally, I think it’s brilliant and it’s going on my list of places to hit on my eating tour of America.

Check out this review of More Cupcakesfrom ChicagoBites.com. And if you happen to live in that area, please give them a try and send us a review of your own. Or, you know, some cupcakes. Whatever feels right.

edamame-saladOnce again I’m blown away by a simple yet profound use for bacon. Why did I never think of this before? Because I tend to get too complicated. I need to remember that the simplest food ideas are the best. And Camilla at Enlightened Cooking has proved it with her recipe for Warm Edamame Salad with Bacon Dressing. You’ll love her post, explaining that even New Year’s Resolutions are better with bacon. And here’s my favorite quote: “I encourage you to follow suit in my vegetable quest, dear readers. But make it better, not bitter. Make it with bacon.” Here, here! And now I’m off to Trader Joe’s for a bag of edamame. This recipe calls for immediate action.

thinking-pigHow well do you know bacon? Do you know something about it’s history? Do you have a favorite brand? Do you know about it’s omega-3 fatty acid content, or lack thereof?

I’m a sucker for quizzes and surveys, so when a friend sent me this Bacon and Pork Belly quiz, you know I took it right away. It’s only 10 questions long, and it seemed like maybe I knew a reasonable amount about bacon if anyone did. Do you want to know how many questions I answered correctly? Four. 40%. Not even a passing grade. Which just goes to show you, bacon is a more complex subject than most people think. Think you know your bacon better than the RBS? Give it a try and let us know.

bacon-labelI’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy Dave’s Cupboard. This New Englander is a truly gifted cook who seems to give instructions on everything I’ve ever wanted to know, like how to make your own bacon. He’s also a food enthusiast who goes out of his way to give a solid review of every food he encounters, both good and bad. There’s always something new to read on his blog, and I’m constantly telling myself, “I’m going to try that!” when I read his recipes.

And now something I didn’t realize about Dave: he has an entire blog dedicated to bacon labels. Yes, the Bacon Label Gallery is another genius idea that I didn’t think of first, and another reason to admire my online foodie mentor. (If I ever get around to that driving tour of the Eastern seabord, I’m going to take this man and his family to lunch.) Check out his collection and see if your favorite is there. And if it’s not, keep watching…he’ll probably find it eventually.

tacobell-baconcheddargorditacrunchBy now you’ve no doubt heard: Taco Bell has taken the bacon world by storm! It’s all everyone is talking about. Its face seems to be painted across every surface I encounter. It’s the bacon-cheddar-gordita-crunch, and it has come to dominate our world.

Taco Bell is not really on my radar. I mean, yeah, we drive by it every morning on our way to the coffee shop, but we never actually go there. My husband and I are both fans of the poorly-put-together bean burrito, mostly because it has that huge flap of tortilla at the bottom, filled with a pool of taco sauce, and no one can replicate that awful fold job. Reminds us of high school or something. And yet, like most of the awful things we used to eat as kids, it’s more fun to talk about than to actually re-live. And so my patronage rolls right by every morning without so much as a wistful glance.

However, being the intrepid bacon hound that I am, I think I may have to go give this one a try. My dear friend Beth says she’ll brave it with me, and I’m going to make her keep that promise. Hopefully this weekend. If anyone else has sampled this culinary wonder and has an opinion they’d like to share, we’d love to hear it. In the meantime, I hope to take some gnarly taco autopsy photos to share with you next week. Wish me luck!

bacontwitsIf you’re reading this blog, there’s a chance you like bacon. If you follow more than one blog, there’s a chance you also like other time-wasting, Internet-based nonsense, like Facebook and Twitter. If any or all of those things are true about you, then you should check out BaconTwits. Sounds like a nickname Mel Gibson might give me.

I myself am often mystified by the myriad of online social scenes and cocktail parties that seem to constantly pop up. Let’s face it, I ask Naseem for help with at least one post a week, and I’m just writing stuff and posting images. I get on Facebook and wonder what I’m really supposed to be doing there. I sometimes fail at posting comments on my friends blogs. But something about Twitter just reels me in. I don’t tweet much myself, but I follow several tweeters (twitterers?) and love hearing the thoughts that randomly pop into a person’s head, especially when that person is funny. Or mildly senile.