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April 6, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - April 7, 2018 @ 10:00 pm$60
It’s that time of year when Bacon Nation asks the question of all questions… What’s on the menu at Baconfest Chicago? This year the 2018 Baconfest Chicago Menu will surprise and delight bacon fans across the City of Big Shoulders.
Chicago’s biggest and best bacon bacchanalia will feature over 140 restaurants, highlighting 40 – 50 of the best chefs in the city at each of the three sessions with on-trend dishes as well as dishes that defy all the rules. “However powerful the trends may be, our menu also serves as powerful evidence that creativity obeys no fashion – there are singularly unique items on the menu this year (as there are every year) that defy all categorization,” explained Baconfest co-founder Seth Zurer. “Consider the Piggymisu, Farmhouse chef Eric Mansavage’s porky interpretation of the classic Italian dessert or The Roaming Hog’s Pork Belly Clay Pot – a Vietnamese-inspired clay pot marinated pork belly, black garlic caramel sauce, puffed rice, pickled Thai chili sambal sauce, fresh herbs, sesame seeds. There ain’t nothing like these dishes anywhere else.”
Baconfest Menu Trends for 2018
1. Cheddar – serves as a counterpoint for the savory depth of cured pork. The dishes that will bring home the cheddar include: Tap House Grill’s Cheddar Stuffed bacon featuring Merkt’s cheddar and bacon deep fried in a beer batter; CP West Loop’s Johnny Cakes with jalapeño and cheddar with Bacon Jam, and topped with bacon-infused bourbon maple syrup and bourbon whipped cream; and Wow Bao’s Chinese Breakfast Bao with cheddar inside.
- Grits / Polenta – a savory grain that pairs beautifully with mouthwatering pork. The restaurants exploring grits and polenta pairings include: Bar Takito’s cheesy Three Sisters Polenta with candied pork belly; Nonna Santi’s Polenta Bacon Biscotti; Bang Bang Pie’s Bacon-Fat Grits with pimento cheese and chives; and the Signature Room’s pairing of cheddar cheese grits with spicy maple glazed bacon.
- Fried Balls – the perfect combination featuring rice and bread stuffed with bacon, rolled into balls and dropped into hot oil. Dishes featuring bacony balls of goodness include: Baconfest newcomer Hearth and Crust’s Arancini Affumicati rice-balls stuffed with with bacon and cheese; Orso’s Bacon Risotto Fritters stuffed with bacon and provolone; and Monti’s Breaded Bacon Meatballs served with warm rocky pepper cheddar sauce.
- Dumplings (Both Filled and Solid) – the fest will feature tamales, pierogies, raviolis, dough-wrapped bacon, or simply bacon dough. Next-level bacon dumplings include: The Delta’s Bacon Cush featuring a bacon tamale, charred pepper, mornay, chicharron; The Duck Inn’s Bacon Fat Tamale filled with duck confit and Iberico Bacon XO Sauce; Flo and Santos Polish Piggie Pierogi featuring a dumpling wrapped in bacon; and Heritage Restaurant and Caviar Bar’s Russian-accented Bacon-Roasted Sunchoke and Cottage Cheese Pelmeni in a rich bacon dashi.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2018 BACONFEST CHICAGO MENU BY SESSION
Friday Dinner April 6
VIP Hour 6 to 7 PM
General Admission 7 to 10 PM
Jam Restaurant – The Elvis featuring Jam’s malted custard french toast, peanut butter, maple banana, bacon jam by Ian Voakes.
Links Taproom – Dr. Filogood with bacon and pistachio baklava topped with caramelized bacon, vanilla pudding and pistachio crumbles by Dimitris Mallios.
Miss Ricky’s – Maple Chili Bacon Cruller featuring bacon Cruller stuffed with onion chili butter cream glazed with maple chili bacon floss by Moosah Reaume.
PR Italian Bistro – Frittole del Carnevale Veneziano (Venetian Carnival Donuts) includes Venetian donuts with Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, grappa-soaked raisins, raspberry cream cheese, bacon bottarga, and bourbon maple syrup by Stefano Roman.
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel – Moody Reuben with bourbon-glazed pork belly, pickled red cabbage, smoked dressing, baby swiss, dark molasses bun by Leah Turowski
Vie – Bacon Pibil with creamed hominy, fried hominy, candied lime zest, cilantro, pickled cherry bomb peppers by Eddie Duracka.
Saturday Lunch April 7
VIP Hour 11 AM to Noon
General Admission Noon to 3 PM
Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits – Bacon Fat Grits made with a crumbled candied bacon pimento cheese, topped with bacon lardons and a chive garnish by Emily Stewart.
Birrieria Zaragoza – Sonoran Hot Dog featuring bacon-wrapped hot dog with Mexican fixings like pico de gallo, frijoles by Jonathan Zaragoza.
Carnivale – Maple Bacon Pops with Cherrywood smoked bacon, pure Wisconsin maple syrup, fresh arctic ice by Rodolfo Cuadros.
Community Tavern – Bacon & Apple Kimchi served with scallion yogurt and rice crackers with bacon fat and sesame by Joey Beato.
Inspiration Kitchen – Bacon Pistachio Beet Empanada with mint basil goat cheese drizzle by Rick Paniagua.
Kaiser Tiger – Bacon Tiger Tacos with Nueske’s bacon, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo, and chipotle Tiger sauce on a corn tortilla. No tigers were harmed in the making of this dish by Roberto Jacobo.
Saturday Dinner April 7
VIP Hour 6 to 7 PM
General Admission 7 to 10 PM
312Chicago – Bacon Ricotta Gnocchi with carbonara sauce, cured egg and parmesan by Luca Corazzina
Baptiste & Bottle – Heirloom Blue Corn Gorditas with Bacon Al Pastor by James Lintelmann.
Inovasi – Darjeeling Smoked Pork Belly featuring cured and Darjeeling tea-smoked pork belly, chocolate, aji panca chile, mache salad John Des Rosiers
Kimski – Smokehouse Fried Rice with Bacon, smoked chicken and Polish sausage by Anthony Baier.
Mercat a la Planxa – Bacon Cigarette featuring Bacon Glass and avocado by Diego Amat.
Smack Dab/Rogers Park Social – Bacon Jam Cinnamon Roll featuring a sweet roll filled with bacon cinnamon jam, topped with classic icing served with Bacon Washed Irish Coffee made with bacon-washed Chicago Distilling Blind Tiger Bourbon, Halfwit Roasters coffee, maple whipped cream by Axel Erkenswick.
Son of A Butcher – Maple Bacon Bourbon Popsicles by Rick Rodriguez.
NEW TO BACONFEST CHICAGO – OLD FORESTER SPEAKEASY
The Old Forester Speakeasy, available to VIP ticket holders, is a private lounge just steps away from the main hall where whiskey lovers can relive the prohibition era with cocktails featuring Old Forester premium bourbon as well as tasting flights of the Old Forester Whiskey Row Series. These tasting flights will offer a drinkable tour of bourbon history in the form of rare expressions of this classic American spirit.
BACONFEST CHICAGO TICKET INFORMATION
The tenth edition of Baconfest Chicago will be held on April 6 & 7, 2018 at the UIC Forum at 725 West Roosevelt in Chicago. For their ten year anniversary, Baconfest Chicago is offering new tickets levels for bacon lovers on any budget. Tickets start at $60, plus fees, and are on sale now at https://baconfestchicago.com/ticket/.
BACONFEST CHICAGO SUPPORTS THE GREATER CHICAGO FOOD DEPOSITORY
Baconfest Chicago supports the Greater Chicago Food Depository with a donation from event proceeds, a raffle on site and a food drive at the event. Over its nine year history, the event has generated more than $400,000 in donations to the area’s largest food bank. This translates to more than 1.2 million meals for hungry people in our community.