Did you know last Saturday was International Bacon Day? You would have if you went to the San Diego Baconfest that we previously wrote about. While they didn't feature any of the utterly insane bacon treats we wrote about a few weeks back, there were certainly some that could match them. Here's my account of the magical even that was Baconfest.
Upon entertaining the event, we were greeted by sampling booths by Hormel's Black Label Bacon -the event's biggest sponsor. While their bacon is good (particularly the jalapeno bacon that strangely tastes a bit like beef jerky), it was still the weakest part of the festival -even if you could just get handfuls of plain bacon to munch on. After all, if there's one thing better than bacon, it's bacon with other yumminess.
The festival was a lot bigger than I expected it to be -and a lot more crowded. In fact, it actually sold out the morning before the event. Even with the long lines though, there was still plenty of bacony goodness for all. My friend even figured out that there was something like 40 food and beer vendors.
Of course, even with all those vendors and lines, not everyone could be popular. While there's nothing wrong with the idea of having fresh organic fruits and vegetables delivered to your door, a festival dedicated to greasy, cholesterol-filled meat might not be the best place to advertise it.
One of the first bacon treats we encountered was actually one of our group's favorites from the whole event. The maple bourbon bacon stick was actually a thick slab of pork belly with a maple bacon sauce over it. It was heaven on a stick.
This fancy dish featured pork belly, mustard sauce, sauerkraut and a thin slice of radish. It was the savory complement to the sweet maple belly at the booth nearby.
I didn't get to try the Moinkballs by Grillfellas BBQ, but this picture from their Facebook makes me regret the fact that I missed them.
Cheesy grits with bacon are always a tasty treat, but the little truffle oil gave it an even richer flavor.
If you love sushi then you can understand how bacon makes everything better -even rice rolls.
There was even bacon kimchi.
The employees at the booths were working hard all day dishing and prepping delicious treats for the attendees -although some got off a little early when they actually ran out of food at their booths.
While most just had a small fryer or griddle, Slater's 50-50 (our favorite bacon-loving burger place) brought a massive grill to cook up their famous 50/50 burger patties and eggs.
They were even nice enough to make me one without a bun -which meant I got a whole burger to myself. Their burgers are 1/2 pound each after cooking and with a fried egg, two strips of thick-cut bacon and their bacon island dressing, I was stuffed before I could even eat the whole thing. The half-bacon and half-beef patty was so greasy that my paper plate was soaked with a quarter of an inch worth of grease before I even finished it.
For those who needed a break from the unlimited beer and bacon, there was a live music stage with ska, reggae and this odd band that had some of the most intense ukulele solos I've ever heard.
There were also fun carnival-style games like this strength-tester and a dunk tank with a toilet above it (you can see it in the background). Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the dunk tank.
Even drones were in on the fun and festivities.
San Diego is often named as one of the top beer cities in the world and we have over 100 breweries in the county with new ones popping up what seems like every weekend. With that in mind, it's hardly surprising that the breweries were out in force at the big event.
Not all of the local breweries limited themselves to beer though. Some, like Twisted Manzanita, also offer spirits.
National breweries also got involved, like the always popular Gordon Biersch.
As a cider fan though, I was most excited about Woodchuck Cider. There was also supposed to be a meadery, though they ended up cancelling last minute.
This gal knew that the festival was about and even had the socks to brag about it.
For those looking to take a little something home, there were all kinds of fun goodies available for purchase including pig noses and launchable pig toys.
There were a few more serious item vendors though, like this company selling coasters made from recycled bathroom tiles and beer bottle labels. There were also some cool tees.
Overall, the event was incredible and delicious -and though I might have just enjoyed about 5 pounds of bacon on Saturday, just writing this article is making me crave some more delectable swine-filled treats.