Bringing Bacon To The Culinary Forefront
Bacon is becoming something of a superstar on local menus. No longer relegated to the breakfast plate, bacon, which has been a star attraction for years at Honolulu’s top steak houses, is turning up in everything from smoky cured sandwiches to cupcakes, malasadas and chocolate. Check out some of our most creative menus and you won’t have to look far to sample bacon ice cream and spiced-up, salted, honeyed bacon bits to drizzle over bacon cheesecake, followed by bacon-inspired cocktails with bacon-dipped rims.
Bacon chocolate arrived on the island about four years ago, when Kristina Markoff, the creator of Vosges, brought her Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar – a combination of applewood-smoked bacon, alderwood salt and deep milk chocolate – to Neiman Marcus. It’s now one of the store’s top-selling treats, and the glamorous chocolate entrepreneur who once worked for El Buli’s Ferran Adria has an entire line of exotic chocolate bars.
Clever with chocolate and nice with spice, bacon is being celebrated in myriad ways this summer, and it’s nearly impossible to find a contemporary menu without some variation of the former humble breakfast food.
Bacon festivals are popping up around the country (there was a hugely successful one here in Honolulu a few months ago), and any bar or restaurant worth a visit has some kind of bacon on the menu.
At REAL, a gastropub at Ward Farmers Market, the bacon is ridiculously good. Crisp and smothered in maple syrup, it turns up in a variety of dishes, most impressively as part of a miniature bacon cheesecake, or as a heavenly $4 appetizer of apple-smoked candied bacon that’s slow cooked with brown sugar and roasted garlic.
At Pint and Jigger on South King Street, hand-cut bacon is wrapped around fresh strawberries with lemon caramel as dressing.
At EAT Honolulu, the BLT is elevated to new heights with sugar-spiced bacon, local tomatoes, island greens and soft avocado.
And at Wolfgang’s Steak House the bacon gets almost as much attention as the hand-cut, dry-aged steaks. Wolfgang’s signature appe-tizer is addictive with two slices of cured Canadian bacon served with an optional dash of Wolfgang’s house-made steak sauce. All that’s missing really is some bacon-washed bourbon to wash it all down.
Yes, in some bars you can order that, too.
Look for the bacon fest to continue as bacon appears on more menus this fall. I can’t help thinking that the first restaurant to put on a bacon beer or wine dinner should have a sold-out evening on its hands …
* If you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate lunch with friends – and pick up some traditional moon cakes at the same time – Hee Hing Chinese Restaurant has two of the best lunch and dinner deals in town. From now through the end of the month, a four-course Hong Kong-style dim sum lunch that includes five dim sum selections, Chinese chicken salad, minute chicken cake noodle and Szechuan beef chow funn costs just $44 for four people.
A seven-course dinner that includes mu shu pork, pepper-salt shrimp, beef and broccoli and steamed rice costs just $49 for four. Just be sure to order before 7 p.m.