A friend once told me that bacon makes everything better. She was right.
And this mantra was definitely confirmed by the chefs, food trucks and general pork lovers who attended the 2nd Annual Big Bite Bacon Fest this weekend. The festival, held at The Queen Mary in Long Beach on August 1 and 2, featured a vast array of pork-filled dishes, live music, games, and did I mention pork?
I was in heaven. It was a pork smorgasbord of epic proportions. Signature dishes included bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, bacon quesadillas, pulled pork, bacon-wrapped shrimp and drumsticks, bacon maple donuts, and even bacon cinnamon rolls.
“We are committed to growing the Big Bite Bacon Fest in order to welcome all passionate bacon lovers,” commented Big Bite Event’s Chief Bacon Officer, Mark Entner. “We have expanded the festival into two-days and secured double the number of bacon purveyors to participate to create a sensory overloaded environment where bacon enthusiasts can truly enjoy all things bacon.”
So here are the Tyra Choice Awards for my porky favorites. There was no way I could try everything. It was just too much! But of what I did try, some clear favorites stuck out.
Best Classic Bacon Mac: Bacon Mania Food Truck
As soon as we entered the Fest, we ran into Bacon Mania, and they were far and wide the best. This food truck was serving up the most decadent “Mac’n Bac’n” in the whole fest. The creaminess of the cheese with the smoked bacon was the savory decadence. And no wonder, since they have been featured on the Food Network, Destination America, the Cooking Channel, the Travel Channel, and Eat Street. I was in total heaven. I have had a many a bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, and this one is at the very top of my list.
Best Twist on Bacon Mac: Richeeze Food Truck
Now this is an interesting category. The People’s Choice Award winner from Saturday was a truck called Richeeze. Their different take on bacon mac: A bacon mac sandwich. Golden mac and cheese on a King’s Hawaiian Roll. The owner told me that they get their bread from a small local bakery that stayed up cooking all night the bread for the Fest. The sweetness of the bread combined with the savory cheesiness and the saltiness of the bacon was perfection.
Best BBQ: Sweet Lou’s BBQ
Sweet Lou’s BBQ is the business. Their pork trifecta reminded me of a wonderfully catered backyard barbeque. The dish was a little of everything: Cole slaw, pulled pork, sausage, bacon, barbeque sauce and a sprinkle of cheese. I should have gotten more of this delicious dish, but as soon as they set out plates, they quickly disappeared. They cater, and I would truly consider using them to cater my next cookout.
Best Out of the Box Dish: QuesaDivas Food Truck
The winner of this category is a big winner elsewhere. QuesaDivas Food Truck featured two quesadillas, one of which won them the Food Truck Face Off on Food Network, and got them their truck. That quesadilla was the Miss Piggy Quesadilla, which was pork, ham, apples, caramelized onions, and a pineapple salsa with a chipotle cream. I was particularly partial to the Qbano Quesadilla, which was a Cuban sandwich in a tortilla. So many things are so much better in a quesadilla.
Best Sweet: Orange County’s Donut Bar
For those with a sweet tooth, Orange County’s Donut Bar, as featured on The View, local television stations and newspapers, and Zagat, offered up delectable maple-bacon and chocolate-bacon donuts. The fresh-baked treats were the talk of the Festival and a crowd pleaser. I had never had a bacon donut, so when I heard there would be some at the Fest I was excited. And rightfully so. The donut was so light and airy that I ate the whole thing. Quickly.
Best VIP Only Item: Bundts on Melrose
In the VIP area, I got one last sweet treat. I wasn’t able to eat it while at the event (I was too full) so later in the evening I enjoyed the Maple Bacon Bundt cake from Bundts on Melrose. This was a game changer. Not only was the bundt cake topped with a little wedge of bacon, but bacon was baked into the cake itself, which made for a pleasant surprise. Even hours later, it was so moist it was like it was fresh out the oven.
I definitely tried to employ Giada de Laurentiis’ mantra of eating a little of everything but not a lot of anything while at the Bacon Fest. But this is definitely an event I wouldn’t mind covering in the future. Bacon really does make everything better.