“Forks in the Road”: Chicken Fried Bacon? Oh yes we did San Francisco!

It all started so innocently. I got an assignment to do a short article on pairing wine with bacon. Since the tasting room staff at Hope Family Wines (HFW) here in Paso Robles had been doing such an event for the past two years for Harvest Wine Weekend, I was asked to interview them.

Seriously? I’m being asked to sit and catch up with some fun wine industry folks I’ve known for years over a discussion of wine and bacon? Um, well, okay.

After the interview, I graciously offered to “help” scout bacon/pork products for the event. That’s just the sort of gal I am. Much to my delight, HFW’s marketing manager Whitney Hrdlicka actually took me up on it! Was I in hog heaven, or what?

Fast forward a couple weeks … I’m reading through some food-related emails, and come across a mention of bacon peanut brittle at Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream in San Francisco. Hello and how convenient! I was going to be up there about a month before the Harvest event, so I (again, graciously) offered to check it out for Whitney.

That just left the task of breaking it to my two friends (JK and JK) that I would have to squeeze in a bit of “work” while in SF. Being the kind of friends they are, they not only agreed to be my trusted assistants, but somehow also decided that we would just go big or go home and have an entire “Wrap It In Bacon / Salted Pig Parts” themed day.

Yes, “oink” applies on many levels, but we had a squealing good time, although it was a full week before I could think about having bacon again. Thankfully I recovered in time to have a bacon maple bar from SLO Donut at the annual Savor the Central Coast event, but I digress.

The WIIB/SPP itinerary follows, hope it doesn’t “boar” you with details …

The Buckshot Chicken Fried Bacon (oh yes we did!) and Miss Piggy’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese (loaded with bacon, of course). The chicken fried bacon was okay, especially because we dipped it in maple syrup and Sriracha, but don’t know if I ever need to have it again. The mac ‘n’ cheese was actually some of the best I’ve had – al dente rigatoni and creamy, creamy, creamy.

(En route towards the Mission District and eventually Humphry Slocombe, had to take a sidetrip pilgrimage to the awesome Bi-Rite Market  because one of the JKs had never been there and that had to be rectified. When we continued, we did go by a bar that had bacon bloody marys, but it was just too smoky – see we did still have some restraint and standards!)

Hog & Rocks – The Ham Sampler! Started to get carried away and order about 40 more yummy sounding things, but thankfully one of the JKs came to her senses and talked us out of it. Our hogs-down favorite was the La Quercia Prosciutto Picante  from Iowa served with pickled grapes – not too salty, with nice flavors from the hot pepper and fennel rub. (It’ll be in the lineup for the HFW Harvest Weekend event too!) The Monte Nevado Jamon Serrano from Spain was good as well, served with olives and aged Mahon cheese — a nice classic Serrano and very tender.

Humphry Slocombe – the little bag of Bacon Peanut Brittle that started it all! I would have liked a little more bacon, but maybe I just had porcine palate fatigue. Still yummy though, especially when paired with the Secret Breakfast Ice Cream made with bourbon and corn flakes … yes, bourbon and corn flakes!

Ham Sampler at Hog & Rocks

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