For a number of reasons, not the least of which is a lack of venue, RBS will not be holding a full-scale Bacon Day party in 2010. I’ve already discussed this disappointing news with a number of you die-hards out there, and all I can say is we are sorry. It was a tough decision, much debated over many, many glasses of wine. I mean, you can’t NOT celebrate what has become such a joyous event! So how do we, Santa Barbara’s mavens of bacon, plan to celebrate? We’re going to do some research and find the restaurant with the most fun and/or unique bacon-celebrating menu items and have ourselves a nice sit-down dinner. Cloth napkins and all! But we cannot stress this enough: PLEASE! Celebrate on this delicious day. Try a new recipe. Go out for a bacon-spiked meal. Host your own party (and invite us!) Just find a way to indulge in something wonderful this Saturday, because I’m pretty sure that’s what Bacon Day is all about.

For those of you in or near Santa Barbara: Any suggestions of great bacon dishes you’ve had locally? I’m considering Julienne, which has a crispy pork belly that seriously draws my interest. But I’m open to being swayed.

sweetsundayNow, if you really can’t stand the idea of not seeing us in September, we’ve got a great alternative opportunity for you. Last year’s Bacon Day party benefited a local theatre group, Genesis West. On September 19 they will be holding their first annual Sweet Sunday! It’s like Bacon Day, but all sweets! Cookies, cupcakes, pies and candy…your one-stop eating destination for that sweet tooth of yours. RBS is sponsoring this event and we’ll be there with our own spread of sweets, full of bacon of course. You’ll also have a chance to win lots of exciting swag, and meet some of Santa Barbara’s…well, sweetest people. (I couldn’t help myself.) Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and there are reduced children’s prices as well. Once you get inside, you can indulge in all the sweets you can handle. (Augustus, save some room for later!) Coffee and soft drinks will be provided, and wine and champagne will be available for purchase. So come on out, enjoy another beautiful Santa Barbara day, and show your support for the local arts. We’ll see you there!

Not long ago, my husband and I went to one of our favorite local eateries, Shalhoob’s for a long-anticipated date night. Besides having really great steaks and cocktails, this restaurant has a long history in Santa Barbara. Shalhoob’s Meat Company has been a Santa  Barbara staple since 1950. The restaurant’s location was once a Shalhoob’s Deli, but a few years ago, daughter Jill took the reins and turned it into a happening steakhouse and an immediate locals hangout. From the mixed grill to the turkey dip to the perfect filet mignon, this restaurant pretty much always knocks my socks off.

bacon-shrimp-1After all that hype, you’ll probably be surprised to hear how disappointed I was in the bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizer. When we saw it on the menu, we were shocked we’d never ordered it before. When it arrived at our table, we couldn’t wait to tear into it. The five shrimp were served on a bed of rice pilaf and looked like a work of art (although my iPhone didn’t do them justice.) The bacon was perfectly wrapped, a festive stripey ensemble. Unfortunately, it also  had an overdone crispness to it, nearly burnt in flavor, and the shrimp were dry. The only thing we could figure was that they must have deep-fried them and left them in the oil too long. Deep-frying always seems like a good idea, but it can certainly be taken too far. Let this be a lesson to all you Fry-Daddy owners out there. Too much of a good thing can be…well, too much.

Having said that, the rest of our meal was outstanding; just thinking about their famous split-pea soup is making me hungry. To top it off, each and every bartender can make a killer Manhattan. If you happen to visit Santa Barbara, you have my highest recommendation for Shalhoob’s. Just don’t forget to invite me!

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On the Fourth of July, I was shopping at our local fancy-schmancy grocery store, Lazy Acres. It’s like the small-town version of a Whole Foods. I love their produce, their cheese department, their fantastic wine and liquor selection, and…the meat and seafood case. It’s so hard to walk by it without buying SOMETHING. Just one artisan-crafted sausage. Or maybe a small piece of ahi to have as an appetizer. Well, on this day my eye was drawn to a package of bacon. It first caught my attention because the slices were so thin I thought it was some sort of prosciutto. I picked it up and flipped it over and was amazed by the low fat content.

This, it turned out, was Garrett County’s hickory-smoked, uncured bacon. Unlike most bacon aficionados, I really like those rare thin slices you find hidden in a normal package. Thick cut-bacon doesn’t always win me over, and I was totally intrigued by this very different looking product. So, refusing to acknowledge a price, I threw the bacon in my basket and moved on.

fryingWhen I buy a new bacon, I like to try it plain the first time. So I opened it up, pulled out a few slices and threw them in the skillet. Well, maybe it wasn’t that simple. First of all, before cooking, it smelled very smoky, almost more like ham than bacon. When I removed my slices from the package, the bacon was so thin it was difficult to get out of the package without tearing, and they stretched a great deal. I actually thought I had three slices when indeed it was four, but I wasn’t likely to complain about that. As you can see in this photo, there really was a lot less fat, which meant much less grease produced during cooking.

friedIt was difficult to cook them evenly, I suppose because of the diminished grease content. I would have liked them to be more crisp overall, but I took them out before certain areas of the bacon could burn. The flavor was really good, but again, not necessarily what I would associate with a favorite bacon…more like a tasty ham. Or rather, what I wish ham tasted like, because I don’t love ham. I think the rest of the package will be used as an ingredient. For instance, I was planning to make some split pea soup soon. This will be the perfect smoky, salty bacon for that use.

This is what I love about American food culture. At any given moment I may run across a food from anywhere in the country, anywhere in the world. We have such a ridiculous wealth of food variety at our fingertips, and I want to taste it all. So maybe this won’t be my new breakfast favorite, but it was definitely worth a try. I’m always on the lookout for new and different bacon products to try. And yet I still haven’t had the KFC Double Down…hmmm. Maybe I don’t really want to taste it ALL.

baconcheddarOnce again, Royal Bacon Society was fortunate to receive some product for review, and some coupons to share with our readers! Representatives of Kraft asked us to try their new Deli Deluxe Bacon Cheddar. As much as I love to buy stinky cheese from the local shop, there’s this kid in me that still loves a fat slice of American cheese on my burger, just the way my mom used to make. While this product insists it is cheddar, the consistency and flavor really reminded me of American, so I proceeded under this assumption.

outofwrapperFirst we got a few slices out and had a look. The cheese didn’t smell like liquid smoke, which was a definite positive. So many “bacon” products are really just smoke enhanced with no actual bacon involved. Not so with these slices. There were evident bits of bacon in each slice. I dug one out and tried it and, as far as I could tell, it was just a tiny piece of bacon. Nothing weird or texturally creepy about it. Two points for the cheese.

Next we threw some burgers on the grill and topped it with a slice. Like good American slices, this cheese melted beautifully without adding any extra grease to the formula. I assembled my burger with the usual condiments, pickles, lettuce, tomato and took my first bite. Sadly, the bacon flavor was drowned out by all the other ingredients. We decided to try a few bites of just the burger and cheese (no bun, no condiments) and found that the bacon flavor was there, just not strong.

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My next favorite thing to do with an American slice is to make a grilled cheese. Sadly, these photos did not turn out, but let me see if I can give you the mental picture. I just took two slices of whole wheat bread, buttered one side of each, and threw them in a skillet with two slices of the bacon cheddar in between. When the sandwich was golden brown and perfectly crispy (mmm…grilled cheese), I placed it on a plate and let it cool for the 10 seconds that my self-control would allow. THIS…this is what this cheese was made for. Two slices made sure it was nice and gooey on the inside, and the bacon flavor was able to shine through, unfettered by condiments of any sort. Now, it’s certainly not the same as making a grilled cheese with a couple slices of real bacon, but it’s a quick and easy way to get some bacon flavor with much less hassle.

Kraft is also making their Deli Deluxe slices in Jalapeno American flavor (something I will definitely try), and 3-Cheese Garlic & Herb. Want to give one of these products a try? Just hit the contact button at the top of this page and send us your name and address. I have 10 free coupons to give away on a first-come, first-served basis. Give it a go and, if you feel so inspired, send us your feedback. We’d love to hear what you think. (Dave, I’m looking at you!)

bacon-teeAre you looking for a good deal and a hot addition to your bacon wardrobe? Are you also in a hurry? Good! Because you only have 8 hours before this offer expires. Patriotic bacon tees, just in time for Independence Day from TeeFury.com…only 9 bucks. And the shipping is only $2! Not a bad little deal! But get your order in by 9 pm PST. An offer like this just couldn’t last long.

Thanks, Genna, for alerting us to this screaming hot deal.

hotdogI’ll admit it, I’m starting to feel like a bacon wuss. A softy. A pushover. I’m so easily stunned by the news of amazing bacon inventiveness I should be ashamed. Like this lovely hot dog from 4505 Meats. It’s uncured and it’s filled with bacon. What? I’m not even sure I get what that means, but I’d certainly like to learn. Which is why I’m ordering 3 pounds for my next BBQ. Oh, the husband will rejoice when this package arrives.

chicharrone-posterCheck out the rest of 4505′s site. They’ve got GREAT posters and tees, like this graphic about chicharrones. Next time I’m in San Francisco, I’m going to have to hunt these guys down and shake their greasy hands.

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Our regular readers may not know it, but the Royal Bacon Society has an unspoken mission to provide substance to the lives of Bruces everywhere. Well, not really. But we’ve inadvertantly done so in one case by keeping my good friend, we’ll just call him “Georgia Bruce,” gainfully employed. He sees how lazy I’ve become and does his best to keep me moving with fun new products to share with you. He has rightfully dubbed himself contributor-at-large, although the last time I saw him he didn’t look one bit larger than he was in high school. To give even greater, ahem, Lose Weight Exercise to his position, he reminds me that a contributor from the deep South will lend an air of credibility to the site that has heretofore been lacking. So there you have it. RBS is now officially a credible bacon site. And it only took 2 years!

First let’s revisit our friends at Lollyphile. To my knowledge they were the first to commercially develop a maple-bacon lollipop. Now they’ve taken that innovation a step further and made it into an energy pop! Yes, it’s a caffeinated maple-bacon pop to get you through the afternoon doldrums. Forget the espresso, skip the mega-cans of energy drinks. Get all the zing you need from candy-on-a-stick…everything tastes better on a stick!

bacon-necktieNext we have a little something to snazz up your business attire. Got an important meeting with the CEO? Now you can show him or her that you’re serious enough to wear a tie, but confident enough to bring your sense of humor to the game. The Sizzlin’ Bacon Tie by Smoked Bacon Neckwear, now on sale for just $12! This is the perfect Father’s Day gift. (You heard me, Bruce’s kids; this was his idea.)

Thanks, Bruce, for the ongoing content. And for letting me steal all your best puns! As if you had a choice.

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Back in February we got an email from Eric, the Artistic Director at a company called Ginch Gonch. And what does this interestingly-named company make? Underwear. And not just any underwear; super cool undies with great shape and hip designs. Eric told us this story: “This time last year, when it was time for me t

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o design the next collection, I happened upon your website and got totally excited at the idea of wearing bacon. Since I design underwear, and the theme of that collection was ‘I LOVE,’ and I happen to ADORE bacon well you can imagine the rest.”

Wait. Did he just say that RBS inspired a design for his new underwear line? Indeed he did. We blushed. We giggled. We have literally never been so flattered in our lives. Eric offered to send us a couple pair to try out, and we absolutely love them! We toyed with the idea of modeling them for you, but apparently all that bacon is catching up with my ass. There will be no “Girls of RBS” calendar this year, folks.

I don’t think the bacon design is available for purchase just yet, but when they are, I highly recommend these undies in either girl or boy cut. I took the boy cut for myself and it’s like having your butt hugged all day. Need I say more?

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