The chattering classes in the urban centers are badmouthing bacon, and I don’t want to hear it.
“We are in the midst of a bacon bubble,” The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, and The Atlantic gleefully passed it on. “A growing number of chefs … say it’s about to pop,” snorted Journal reporter Katy McLaughlin. “Bacon had a good run, but now it has gone flabby — used too much and too often, it’s lost its novelty and coated fine dining with a ubiquitous veneer of porky grease.”
Harrumph. I’m callin’ bacon fat.
Bacon, like pizza and barbecue, is one of nature’s finest foods. It’s been satisfying the masses (well, outside Mesopotamia and the Levant, anyway) since the Bronze Age, and it satisfies me.
Bacon and the other contributions from the noble pig have certainly worked out well for The Blind Pig, the immensely popular Butchertown gastropub that opened only six months ago and that has already drawn attention in The New York Times and on The Food Network, with no need of PR hype or schmoozing. “We just got lucky,” the Pig’s front-of-house guy Jeremy Johnson said. Lucky and good, say I.
Feeling a need for some comforting pig-meat after the LEO Dining Guide’s foray into temporary vegetarianism last week, we’ve dropped in a couple more times to sample two of the Pig’s most bacon-shakin’ treats: The Bacon Butty and The Ivory Bacon, both sumptuous pork-based sandwiches with bacon in a leading role.
Why separate visits? I don’t dare try both of these confections on the same day. Best with some exercise and dieting in between.
Both sandwiches, to be sure, live up to The Blind Pig’s self-declared status as Butchertown’s premier swine dining establishment.
The Bacon Butty ($8.50) is billed as “house-cured bacon on buttered Blue Dog bread,” a description that created a powerful, but inaccurate, image. I was expecting sizzling rashers of bacon cemented in place by thick dollops of fresh creamery butter, dissolving in the meaty heat into a tasty, heart-hazardous mix of bacon fat and melted butter. What I got was a couple of hefty slabs of deliciously house-smoked pork loin on thick, buttered slices of crisply toasted Blue Dog bread. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The Ivory Bacon ($9.50) is, remarkably, even more indulgent than the Bacon Butty. This one features rashers of bacon and slabs cut from a thick, sweet white boudin sausage (made on the premises), topped with mild domestic Munster cheese, garlicky aioli and leaf lettuce on a sturdy, crusty Blue Dog Pugliese roll. The boudin was tender as pâté, and the bacon was thick as Scrooge’s wallet, and it was … well, let’s just say one sandwich was enough for two. —Robin Garr
The Blind Pig
1076 E. Washington St.