Big Bite Bacon Fest returned to The Queen Mary in Long Beach for its second annual event this past weekend. Expanded this year to three sessions across two days, the food festival offered bacon-y bites and craft beers from several dozen food purveyors and breweries.
This being my first time, though having attended quite a few events this year, I was pleasantly surprised by how relatively mellow the festival was. To be clear, the event had plenty of people in attendance, but it wasn’t overcrowded, perhaps it was because we attended the Sunday session. I could imagine the two Saturday sessions, particularly the evening one, being much more crowded.
As expected, just about all the food contained bacon, but surprisingly many—I’d say nearly half, roughly—were sweet preparations. I wasn’t expecting that, and ended up being a bit sugared out halfway through the event! Even my younger daughter, the sugar fiend that she is, reached her sweets limit quickly.
Probably the most decadent of the sweets was FryFry Food Truck‘s bacon-stuffed deep-fried Twinkies, with bacon crumble and chocolate sauce! I could not finish the whole thing; it was just too much for me!
Fry Fry Truck's Deep Fried Bacon-Stuffed Twinkie, chocolate sauce, bacon. This one may have crossed a line. Heh. #deepfriedtwinkie #friedtwinkie #twinkie #twinkies @fryfryfoodtruck @bigbiteevents @thequeenmary #bigbiteevents #bigbitebaconfest #baconfest #bacon #getporked #gotporked #queenmary #longbeach #theoffalo #offalobacon
I did enjoy some of the other sweets though. My favorite was The Red Leprechaun‘s bread pudding with spicy bacon. Since the sun was pounding on the outdoor festival, the Artesana Pops stand was also very popular with my family, and the rest of the crowd. And, no, the mini paletas they were handing out did not contain any bacon.
The Red Leprechaun's Bread Pudding, whipped cream, butterscotch, spicy bacon. One of my favorites! #breadpudding #whippedcream #butterscotch #spicybacon #theredleprechaun @theredleprechaun @bigbiteevents @thequeenmary #bigbiteevents #bigbitebaconfest #baconfest #bacon #getporked #gotporked #queenmary #longbeach #theoffalo #offalobacon
Artesana Pops' Watermelon-Lemon & Avocado-Coconut ice pops. So good! One of the few food stands not serving bacon. #watermelon #lemon #avocado #coconut #icepops #icepop #paletas #paleta #artesanapops @artesanapops @bigbiteevents @thequeenmary #bigbiteevents #bigbitebaconfest #baconfest #bacon #getporked #gotporked #queenmary #longbeach #theoffalo #offalobacon
Of course, the most popular way to cool down from the sun was drinking beer! I sampled quite a few and really enjoyed Acoustic Ale‘s Belgian-style blonde ale, The Groupie, but my favorite was probably Schöfferhofer‘s grapefruit-infused hefeweizen.
Acoustic Ale Brewing Experiment's The Groupie, Belgian Style Strong Blonde Ale. #thegroupie #blondeale #ale #craftbeer #beer #acousticales @acousticales @bigbiteevents @thequeenmary #bigbiteevents #bigbitebaconfest #baconfest #bacon #getporked #gotporked #queenmary #longbeach #theoffalo #offalobacon
Back to the food, recently revived throwback Naugles daringly served a non-bacon savory dish, carnitas with refried beans. Having never been to the original Naugles, it did not have the nostalgia factor going for me. I thought it was decent, but quite tame compared to the over-the-top dishes being served all around it.
My favorite bites of the festival came from Mariscos El Cristalazo! If you recall, I attended a preview dinner at El Cristalazo earlier this year and loved the fresh ceviches and interesting cooked dishes, including their Chilitos Cri Cri. I was so glad they were serving it here, along with their Costa Azul, a dish I hadn’t had before. Fresh out of the fryer, these bacon-wrapped goodies got my vote for best dish(es) of the fest!
Chilitos Cri Cri (bacon-wrapped blond chile stuffed w/shrimp & cheese) and Costa Azul (bacon-wrapped whole shrimp w/cheese) from Mariscos El Cristalazo. #chilitoscricri #costaazul #chile #cheese #shrimp #mariscoselcristalazo #mariscos #elcristalazo @chefninive @elcristalazo @bigbiteevents @thequeenmary #bigbiteevents #bigbitebaconfest #baconfest #bacon #getporked #gotporked #queenmary #longbeach #theoffalo #offalobacon
After the Big Bite Bacon Fest wrapped up, my family toured the Queen Mary cruise ship, which was a lot of fun, and helped walked off some of the calories we consumed. We had a great time at the event as a family and hope to attend again next year!
For more from the Big Bite Bacon Fest, check out all my Instagrams from the event at #offalobacon.
El Cristalazo will also be at LA Weekly’s Burgers & Beer festival this Saturday, August 8th, serving their shrimp burger (I assume). Can’t wait to try it! Details on that event, including how to win a 4-ticket Buddy Pack, are on my August food festivals rundown post.
To paraphrase the 1960s band The Zombies, it’s the time of the season for food festivals and other events, and August is replete with them:
This past weekend saw the Big Bite Bacon Fest in Long Beach; my recap is forthcoming. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek.
This Saturday, August 8th, I’ll be attending LA Weekly’s first Burgers & Beer event at the LA Coliseum. Tickets are $75 to enjoy 40+ burgers and 30+ beers for three hours! For a very limited time, you can enter to win a 4-ticket Buddy Pack from Reserve! Post a photo on Instagram of your favorite burger from any Reserve restaurant, follow @Reserve, and include #ReserveBurger and #LABurgers in the caption. Winner will be announced by August 7th. Good luck!
This Sunday, August 9th, Stu and the Kids will take place at Vibiana in DTLA. This fundraiser benefits underserved and orphaned Hill Tribe children in Northern Thailand. The event will feature Neal Fraser of Redbird, Eric Greenspan of Maré (review), Walter Manzke of République (review), and more! Tickets are $95.
On Tuesday, August 11th, Los Angeles Magazine celebrates its taco-centric July issue with a social hour and preview of Petty Cash Taqueria‘s new Arts District location, opening soon, with chefs Fabian Gallardo & Walter Manzke, and guest chefs Wes Avila (Guerrilla Tacos) & Carlos Salgado (Taco Maria) preparing a special menu! Find out more about the event, including how to attend, on LA Mag’s event page. Hope to see you there!
On Saturday, August 15th, Del Rey Deli Co. will be hosting their monthly Del Rey Supper Club. (My review of the extended supper club meal I had last month will drop by the end of this week.) Call 310-439-2256 for more info and to reserve a seat!
On Thursday, August 20th, Ceviche Project will be hosting their monthly seafood-centric pop-up dinner at the Skybar in the Mondrian Hotel in Hollywood. (My review for last month’s pop-up dinner should be up by the middle of next week.) Tickets for this month’s dinner are already on sale!
There are lots more food festivals, pop-ups, and other events happening this month, including two blockbusters: the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, August 27th through 29th, and LA Times’ The Taste, September 4th through 6th (technically not August, but close enough). I’m attending the latter, and hoping to attend the former! Will preview those events later this month. Feel free to let me know about any other events in comments here or on Twitter!
Last Thursday, I attended my first Luckyrice Feast at the Create Nightclub in Hollywood. This year’s Los Angeles host was Andy Ricker of Pok Pok fame, the non-profit partner was the Center for Asian American Media, and the presenting sponsor was Bombay Sapphire East.
Having never been to a Luckyrice event before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be more of a gala, like Plate by Plate was, or would it be more 626 Night Market? While the culinary selection was all Asian or Asian-inspired like the latter, it was much closer to the former in atmosphere, albeit without the black-tie attire and at a more intimate scale.
With 20 restaurants providing bites, it was fairly easy to sample nearly all of the dishes offered. Two of my favorite savory dishes were from Katsuya, Hokkaido Scallop Sashimi and Truffle & Chive Chawanmushi. Unfortunately, I did not get any usable photos of the scallop dish, but One More Bite Blog posted a nice shot of it on Instagram. My favorite savory dish of the event was Ayara Thai‘s Chicken Khao Soi.
Katsuya's Truffle & Chive Chawanmushi: three layers of truffle, dashi tamago, and light soy. #truffle #chive #chawanmushi #dashi #tamago #japanesefood #japanese @katsuyabysbe @luckyricedotcom #luckyrice #eatdrinkgetlucky @createnightclub #createnightclub #hollywood #losangeles #theoffalo #luckyoffalo
Ayara Thai's Chicken Khao Soi: Thai curry noodles with pickled mustard greens, shallots, fried noodles, coconut cream foam, lime. #chickenkhaosoi #khaosoi #curry #noodles #thaifood #thai @ayarathai @luckyricedotcom #luckyrice #eatdrinkgetlucky @createnightclub #createnightclub #hollywood #losangeles #theoffalo #luckyoffalo
Dessert first! Crème Caramel's Ube Upside Down Pie: ube custard topped with brûléed graham cracker, Greek yogurt crumble crust. #ubeupsidedownpie #ube #grahamcracker #greekyogurt #dessert @creme_caramel_la @luckyricedotcom #luckyrice #eatdrinkgetlucky @createnightclub #createnightclub #hollywood #losangeles #theoffalo #luckyoffalo
The drink situation was quite interesting, with local bars and restaurants mixing their own drinks, many using Bombay Sapphire East, a gin infused with lemongrass and black peppercorn. Each drink station had a handful of different cocktails, and they did a good job distinguishing themselves from each other. My favorite was a Sapphire East Lemongrass Collins, which I also did not get any usable shots of, unfortunately. Damn nightclub lighting, not great for food (or drink) porn!
Check out all my Instagrams from my first Luckyrice Feast at #luckyoffalo. If this event looked exciting to you, and you’ll be in the Bay Area this weekend, Luckyrice is having their San Francisco Feast this Friday, August 7, 2015!
My wife and I were both born in June, so usually we do some epic eating this time of year. For our last birthday, we had an amazing, simple, salmon-centric lunch at Shunji. This year, we decided to celebrate with a pair of dinners at a pair of restaurants that Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb, of Huckleberry, Milo & Olive, and Sweet Rose Creamery fame, own in Santa Monica. For my birthday, we went to Cassia (link is to my review of their opening night—I will be recapping my birthday meal in a future post).
For my wife’s birthday, we decided to go to Rustic Canyon Wine Bar. We really enjoyed our first meal there last year, when chef Jeremy Fox had a lamb heart salad on the menu that blew us away, so it was an easy choice for a celebration dinner. We used Reserve to book our table, and we brought along our 9-year-old daughter—her big sister was away at camp. Continue Reading →
Had a great time at this weekend’s Plate by Plate LA 2015 event. I officially covered the event for Eater LA last year (with a similar follow-up here on my blog), and I’ve decided to provide coverage for it again unofficially this year via an Eater LA forum post. I reported on some snippets of news there, but I’m sharing some of my favorite bites of the night here! Continue Reading →