Bacon and Barrels 2014 - recap

Saturday May 31 was the 1st Bacon and Bacons event in San Diego. I've never volunteered for an event before but decided to sign up myself. A group of us helped during the morning shift which started at 8am.

Here are some of the wonderful ladies I met (including Kathy and Jess) that helped to wrap 1700 wooden forks with napkins and twine! Once our shift was over, we were set free to raid the event! Early bird admission allowed us to get into the event at noon and regular admission started at 1pm. Since I was starving by this time, I decided to visit all the food booths first! At the entrance we were given environmentally friendly dining tools: a compostable plate, biodegradeable plastic cup, and the wrapped utensils we made earlier. The event is a zero waste event so all trash was divided into compost, waste, and recycle bags.

My first stop and closest to the front was the Duck Dive booth. They were serving their Three Little Piggies sandwich from their menu. I thought it was a little dry, maybe because the applewood smoked bacon, roasted pork loin, and pork belly were overpowered by the ciabatta bread. Cooked spinach and white cheddar rounded out the rest of the sandwich.

The Pork Belly and Waffles from West Coast Tavern immediately caught my eye! It even contained a dollop of BACON BUTTER! The combination of fatty pork, batter, butter and sweet syrup together was heaven to me and one of my favorite samples that day. I wish I had gotten a second helping later but was too busy exploring all the other tents!

The next spot was Pacific Beach Shore Club serving bacon wrapped jalapenos. I don't eat jalapenos but I did heard comments that it was spicy!

I found a not-so-typical BLT from Tavern At the Beach. This had house made lamb bacon, which I've never heard of or tasted before! The garlic herb ale aioli was creamy on top of the pretzel bread and the arugula and roasted tomatoes kept it fresh.

I have been meaning to try Salt and Cleaver and here was my chance! The sausage on the right is one off their regular menu items and it was deliciously bursting with flavor. The sausage link on the left is a new menu item with mustard seed but unfortunately isn't quite for me (I dislike strong mustard tastes)!

Uptown Tavern played around with the traditional spring roll and created the Shrimp & Bacon Spring Roll. Inside was bacon poached shrimp and it was dressed up with house cured Dashi bacon and a minty pesto.

La Jolla Brewing Company brought in the comfort food with bacon mac and cheese. It's not a new concept but sounds like it will be a new addition to their current selection of four other mac and cheese dishes. I noticed this was a thicker creaminess to this pasta but am not sure what kind of cheese gave it that effect.

Slaters 50/50 brought out their B'B'B' Bacon Burger, with their famous 50/50 patty, half beef and half bacon. The extra B's are because there's bacon everywhere, in the american cheese, the pretzel bun, and the thousand island plus straight up bacon. They also throw in a sunny side up egg as well. It smelled so good because they were cooking these fresh near the back of their tent!

Fig Tree Cafe came up with a delight they named Man Candy. It's thick crispy bacon with paprika and brown sugar!

Corbin's brought out "Yak Nuts." Strange name but the food itself isn't strange. It's a skewer with bacon wrapped chicken and bell pepper in a sweet teriyaki glaze.

Everyone was able to take home a goodie bag from Marina Kitchen. Inside was Pepper Bacon Caramel Popcorn! It was definitely a sticky texture from the caramel but the bacon parts were candy sweet.

BarleyMash won the Jefe del Porko title for the food competition and brought their winning bacon dish. Before I knew what was in it, I thought there was a very strange piece of meat inside! It had an airy crunchy composition and was seasoned with paprika. Later I read the menu board and found out it was bacon wrapped crispy duck skin with jameson-smoked paprika aioli and micro cliantro. Now the texture made more sense!

Here's BarleyMash's chef Kevin Templeton and other employees. Congrats guys!

Chefs are awesome so here are more! This is Uptown Tavern chef Dana Francisco on the left with another employee.

So much bacon. You could even buy bacon themed tshirts for sale!

The Jefe del Porko for mixology was Eureka! They came up with this exciting bacon and berry topped Buffalo Trace bourbon.  I definitely noticed that the restaurants were incorporating bacon as much as they could! 

Sandbar Sports Bar & Grill had their Pork-U-Pine drink, using Espolon tequila, house made bacon-pineapple syrup and fresh lime juice. It does add a strange note to the taste which I can ONLY attribute to the bacon oils in the mix!

True North Tavern was serving a bacon bloody mary. They cut the bacon on a cutting board between two golden pigs! Very cute.

Look! They actually have an alcohol called Bakon. It's vodka with a pork twist!

Cutler's Artisan Spirits have the main alcohol products of vodka, gin, and bourbon plus an apple pie liquour which I thought made for a sweet shot!

Buffalo Trace is the bourbon from Eureka's prize winning drink. I think Dennis would like this one.

I got to try the sweet tea vodka from Deep Eddy. It was mixed with water and lemonade so that it wasn't too strong.

I came to this booth because of the pretty bottle designs. The PINK drink is strawberry moonshine from Ascendant Spirits.

I like sampling the wines best. More pink from Fallbrook Winery with their rosato wine.

The folks from Fallbrook Winery are happy to be sharing their wine with you.

The beer reps are friendly too. Thumbs up from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company.

More wines from Buttonwood Winery. I liked both the sauvignon blanc and the syrah rose which were light.

I tried the marsanne and the grenache rose wines from Qupe Wines as well.

I also sampled one of the wines from Refugio Ranch wines.

There were a couple more booths that I tried, including evo (sparkling water and tasty), north coast brewing, on the tracks brewery, ironfire brewing company, mendocino brewing company, aztec brewing company, great divide brewing co, larner winery, gold coast mead, and still more that I did not try.

One stage held drink demonstrations. Here's Barleymash with their cocktail lesson containing Appleton Estate V/X rum, house-made bacon and mango bitters, and bacon syrup.

There was also live entertainment including music from the Silver Foxes and Black Crystal Wolf Kids and fun games like bean bag toss and jenga.

I really did enjoy attending this event, sampling and talking to the vendors and patrons. I came solo this time but I'll be sure to bring Dennis next time!

Event info:

Bacon & Barrels San Diego is a festival dedicated to America’s favorite cured meat: bacon, and craft libations!  At Bacon & Barrels San Diego, the area's best chefs concoct and serve brilliant bacon dishes to passionate bacon lovers.  Liquor sponsors will provide cocktails, beer and wine designed to complement a bacon meal. Bacontrepreneurs and bacon-friendly brands will exhibit their wares and connect with our bacon community.  Celebrity Judges will award the Jefe del Porko award to the top Chef and Mixologist of the day for achievement in the bacon arts.  It is a raucous, rockin’ good time for everybody.


Date: May 31, 2014 from 12-5pm
Location: Embarcadero Marina Park South, San Diego, CA
Tickets: $75 regular, $95 early bird, $30 designated driver (presale), $85 regular (at the door)
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Comments

Mary's picture
Submitted by Mary (not verified) on Fri, 06/06/2014 - 9:20am

I didn't hear about this event - how fun that you volunteered for it! That poor Duck Dive sandwich looks like it had way too much bread… too bad! The bacon butter on the waffles sounds divine. I've had lamb bacon at Kitchen 4140 - wondering how Tavern's would compare - looks like a good sized sandwich. The popcorn looks awesome, too! I know I could not drink all of those boozy drinks either without falling over. Looks like you had a great time - lots to sample and see!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Fri, 06/06/2014 - 5:51pm

pssst! someone posted about it on the food bloggers fb group 1-2 months ago so i signed up right away! there aren't too many food booths but you can always revisit one so you'll get plenty of yum! my favs were the pork waffle and the burger. tasty and good for soaking up the booze. i sampled more alcohol than i posted but the tastes start mixing up in my head after a while. i gotta remember to drink WATER at these events too! i definitely couldn't drive afterwards so luckily dennis dropped off/picked me up!

leanne's picture
Submitted by leanne (not verified) on Fri, 06/06/2014 - 9:42am

How fun! Looks like there were lots of tasty bites to sample... I would have filled up on food before hitting the booze stations, too!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Fri, 06/06/2014 - 5:56pm

i HAD to get food first. booze on an empty stomach is such a recipe for disaster! this was my first volunteer thing and i got to meet new people before the event and during. plus now i've got a bacon shirt hahah!

J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats's picture
Submitted by J.S. @ Sun Dieg... (not verified) on Mon, 06/09/2014 - 10:00am

Seems like a fantastic event for bacon lovers :) The bacon waffle from West Coast Tavern looked amazing! My friend suggested that place for brunch the other day and we ended up going somewhere else that was disappointing. Kicking myself right about now. And did the lamb bacon taste any different than regular bacon?

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Mon, 06/09/2014 - 2:51pm

There's another bacon event coming up on July 5 at the San Diego County Fair, the Big Bite Bacon Fest! One of their tickets includes 10 3-oz beer tastings. I wonder how many food vendors will be there, since it's not listed online! I'm tempted to check that one out too!

You guys can always go to West Coast Tavern this weekend or another time! I hope the waffle item is on their regular menu since Dennis hasn't had a chance to try it! I hope it is as good as I remembered. As for lamb bacon, I think the flavor was masked a little by the rest of the sandwich so I don't remember tasting any big difference. I didn't even know it was lamb bacon until I read the sign in my pictures a few days later.

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