Tag: Bacon

Arizona Black Label® Bacon Fest Returns Bigger and Better than Ever

 

AZ BaconFestThe Second Annual Bacon Fest returns to Tucson on Saturday, June 7, 2014 with new title sponsor Hormel and Black Label® Bacon. The event quickly outgrew its inaugural event space and will be held at the Kino Sports Complex from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. under the lights of the ballpark.  General admission starts at 6pm.

Joining title sponsor Hormel will be local sponsors Harley Davidson of Tucson, RideNow Power Sports, Rock 102.1, KLPX 96.1, NBC affiliate, KVOA 4 and KNST.

San-Diego-Bacon-Fest-520x347Festival goers will be treated with bacon-centric samplings from 30+ local restaurants and 20 breweries from Tucson, across Arizona and even Canada’s Parallel 49 Brewing Company. Chefs will compete with their bacon-filled creations submitted to a panel of celebrity judges from television and radio for the title of “ABF Best in Show.”

Attendees will also receive a 4-oz. tasting glass to taste the latest craft beer offerings and to learn about proper pairing of styles of beer with different types of food. Live music from Love Boat delivering “Yacht Rock” and Evolution bringing “Arena Anthem Rock” will provide the entertainment with DJs Super Mario and Michael “DJ Bignut” Lopez spinning party music in between sets.

This 21 and over event will also provide interactive games such as horseshoe toss, steer roping and much more.

Tickets start at $40 in advance from local merchants Brushfire BBQ, Plaza Liquors and Lindy’s on 4th Avenue. Online tickets can be purchased at www.arizonabaconfest.net for $45 with VIP packages at $100. The VIP package will allow you an hour early entrance, a separate gated entrance, t-shirt and a tented “trough” with a waitress to deliver the beer and bacon.

baFree parking will be available onsite as well as hotel accommodations at Fairfield Inn and Suites offering free shuttle service to and from the festival and a promo code for that Bacon Discount.

A portion of the proceeds will go to La Frontera of Arizona’s Rally Point. Rally Point is a service of military veterans helping veterans. Whether it be substance abuse, family violence, housing crises or medical issues, Rally Point is at the front line to fight the war at home.

The Great Food Truck Race Sizzles in the Old Pueblo

Food Trucks DowntownTUCSON, Ariz. —  Seven food trucks from across the country descended upon Tucson over the weekend and despite temperatures reaching into the upper-90s, people were out in force to show support of Food Network’s cross-continent food competition, The Great Food Truck Race. Eight teams started on the west coast and will make their way across this great country with the hope of winning $50,000 and the opportunity to keep the fully-loaded food truck as their very own.

This years’ group of food truckers ran the gamut from bikini-clad surfers to Texas barbeque experts; bacon-aficionados from Cleveland to Middle Eastern authorities; a mother and son team with a new take on Mexican food to a New England truck offering American specialties and a comfort-food truck from New York manned by wives of active-duty military members.

As a Sunday twist, all teams were to offer their take on a Tucson classic—the Sonoran Dog. As a fan who is spoiled by the original at El Guero Canelo, I was leery of trying others’ take on an Old Pueblo classic, I did end up trying two different versions, more on that later.

Let There Be Bacon

Let There Be Bacon

I arrived at the Dairy Queen parking lot on Fourth Avenue and Sixth Streets shortly after noon on Sunday hoping to get the first taste off the Let There Be Bacon truck. The trio of Matt, John and Dylan from Cleveland, Ohio came to rock in Tucson and had, by far, the biggest presence on social media with the #BaconLove and  #BaconArmy hashtags.

By 12:30, the crowd had reached a fever pitch and by 12:45, the hungry fans of the divine swine began chanting “We want bacon!”

Matt came out to address the crowd and explained the menu offering their chili-cheese bacon nachos, their Buckeye bacon pancakes and their “claim to fame,” the Mother Trucker Bacon Cheeseburger.

When I think of a bacon cheeseburger, I think of crispy strips of pork belly or fatback over a thick patty of beef with oozy cheese. The accompaniments to the burger are generally what sets it apart from the multitude of burgers and being a lover of all things green chile, I was overly excited to try this burger. The coleslaw was nice and crunchy, there was a nice level of heat from the bacon-green chile jam and the burger was nicely seasoned. Overall, a tasty burger, but it could have had a more pronounced bacon flavor.

The Lone Star Chuck Wagon was manned by Lance, Rachel and Andrea and their flavors, along with their prices, were as big as Texas. The Tex-Mex barbeque truck out of Los Angeles was setup in Main Gate Square in front of the Auld Dubliner on University. Being so close to campus, the truck adopted names for their items that had a ‘U of A’ theme including the “Bear Down BBQ Snakebites”  and the “Duel in the Desert Burrito.” I was met by the lovely Rachel and opted for the snakebites. I have always been a lover of food-on-a-stick, especially food that is messy.

Lone Star Chuck Wagon

Lone Star Chuck Wagon

This item continued my love for stick food as each toothpick had a chunk of chicken and jalapeno wrapped in bacon, grilled, and covered in their signature barbeque sauce. Lance, a native Texan has perfected a sauce that perfectly blends, sweet, spicy and smoky. Flavors of white wine, molasses, onion, garlic and pepper were detected and savored.

Next stop on the tour de food would involve going to the east side, midtown geographically, but the east side for me. Madres Mexican Meals was stationed outside of the Bashful Bandit at Speedway and Alvernon and serving classic Mexican dishes with a modern flair.

Being of Spanish descent with family from New Mexico and having lived in the southwest for most of my life, I was hoping that the “Mother’s recipes and the son’s dream” held promise.

I shied away from the huevos rancheros due to deep-seeded beliefs that no plate will be as good as the Albuquerque version with “christmas” chile over the top. I opted for the tostada de jaiba or crab ceviche tostada. It was light, refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable.

Heading back west to get my comfort food fix, I stopped at the Military Moms food truck at Campbell and Glenn, just outside the Brushfire B-B-Q location. When I drove up to their location, it seemed almost deserted, nobody milling about and there wasn’t even a menu posted outside the truck. I felt bad for the three wives of active duty military members based out of Fort Drum, New York, but it was hot and I hoped to meet up with them later.

I saw on twitter that the Beach Cruiser truck was going to be at Tap & Bottle on Sixth Avenue, just south of Sixth Street and as a beer lover, I knew this would be the perfect respite for this weary traveler on a hot day. Upon my arrival, I order a La Folie, a sour beer from the Lips of Faith line of New Belgium Brewing. The beer went down easily on the sweltering day and still no food truck, so I had another…and another.

Middle Feast Food Truck

Middle Feast Food Truck

After searching social media, I discovered that all the trucks would be heading down to the Tucson Folk Festival—perfect!

It was almost a carnival atmosphere with sign spinners and food truck hawkers vying for the almighty dollar. I went directly to the Military Moms truck on the end and comfort food was indeed on the menu. From the “Private Jelly” to the “Sergeant Cheezy.” the ladies took a creative spin on comfort food and the grilled cheese was indeed tasty with bacon and a spicy kick.

The Charlie Foxtrot looked amazing, but a sloppy joe meets nachos with a Louisiana kick didn’t sound like the optimal meal in the hot weather.

Setup next to the Moms, was the Gourmet Graduates. The trio from Providence, RI were making a big noise. The hawker was equipped with a plastic bullhorn and had his hair spray painted green to match the color of his truck. He was doing his best to drum up business and generate a buzz for the truck.

The four courses were college-themed from the sophomore breakfast nachos to the senioritis chicken roll up. For me, if you put a fried egg on top of anything, I’m sold. The breakfast nachos were corn tortilla chops topped with cheese, ground beef, pinto beans, peppers, salsa and the aforementioned fried egg. A decent plate of nachos and the fried egg added an interesting touch but I would venture to say that it’s a one-time-have-to-try-it item only.

After five food trucks and no sonoran dogs, I vowed to try a dog from the next two trucks. The Middle Feast truck offered their version of the Tucson treat with chopped tomatoes, raw and grilled onions, mustard and their special sauce. It was definitely a twist on the classic and was good, but not great.

Gretta, Nicole and bubbles!

Gretta, Nicole and bubbles!

The team of Tommy, Hilla and Arkadi hail from Los Angeles, Calif., and were offering traditional middle eastern fare including falafel and shakshuka. While most everybody knows what falafel is, I was intrigued by the shakshuka. Once again, an egg dish grabbing my attention.

The poached eggs were served in a sauce of tomatoes, chilies, onions, cumin and other spices. I will definitely have to try this in the future.

I finally caught up with the Beach Cruiser truck and the lovely surfer girl herself, Gretta Kruesi greeted me with a smile and offered up their version of the Sonoran Dog. While it was the biggest departure from the classic dog, it was also amazing in its own right.

A turkey dog wrapped in bacon with pinto beans and pineapple salsa would’ve won me over but adding the California touch of frosted fried avocado, flash-fried kale and a “special sauce” put this dog over the top.

Joining Kruesi are fellow surfers Shane and Nicole from the coastal town of Venice, Calif., dishing out Cali-style food and a beach atmosphere. Sunday had Gretta and Nicole enjoying the heat with a kiddie pool and bubbles—yes, bubbles.

All told, it was a fun time to meet up with all the food truck competitors and wish them well on their trip across the country. The next stop will be Austin, Texas and six of seven teams have posted either on their facebook or twitter about their excitement to move on, one hasn’t.

Read into that what you will but it is somewhat sad that this competition is based on marketing and making money and not based on taste and quality of the food.

Being A SunDevil in Tucson is Tough

ASU Young Alumni Old Pueblo

This past Sunday saw 15 brave souls tough it out by wearing their beloved Maroon & Gold in enemy territory – Tucson. Union Public House holds a brunch each Sunday with half priced specialty cocktails and champagne drinks and the Old Pueblo Chapter of the ASU Young Alumni thought that it would be the perfect setting for our inaugural gathering.

They had reserved the back private dining are for us which made it more intimate for getting to know new friends and fellow alums but I really think they just couldn’t handle the sight of the bright gold that we were all sporting! Welcomed by the ASU Alumni Association‘s Executive Director of Operations Jenny Holsman & President of ASU Young Alumni Council Meghan Dorn made it feel extra special. The table was filled with various gifts ranging from water bottles to zip drives all branded with the ASYA logo.

The brunch menu looked fantastic, ranging from sweet treats to complex dishes. I knew that I had to try the Union Bloody Mary made with Absolut Peppar & garnished with a full strip of bacon and pickled veggies.

The Union Bloody Mary


It was incredible as expected and then the appetizers arrived – pretzel knots with cheese & mustard, sticky buns oozing with icing & nuts & lightly sugared donuts. The perfect amuse bouche for what led up to an incredible breakfast in the Soft Shell Crab Benedict with cured pork belly – Phenomenal.

It was great for everybody to meet one another and discuss the trials & tribulations of being a Devil in the Old Pueblo. Everybody shared their own memories of what they loved best about ASU and made plans to keep up the good fight of rooting for the “most hated team in Tucson” and I felt like I immediately made a room new best friends.

GO DEVILS

David A. Bowers ’99