Baconfest Chicago - Roasted pork belly with meyer lemon marmalade, buttermilk biscuit and pine nut aillade

Baconfest Chicago: too much bacon?!?!

Baconfest Chicago bacon festival.

I never in my life thought I would say this. But there might just be such a thing as too much bacon. How much bacon is too much bacon you ask? Well…

I spent the latter half of my weekend with heart burn and a stomach ache and a general feeling of not ever wanting to move or eat again. It’s not to say that it wasn’t worth it. Because, really, If you’re going to spend the second half of a weekend with heartburn and a stomach ache you might as well have had spent the first half stuffing yourself with bacon.

This weekend was Baconfest Chicago, a culinary festival celebrating the very tastiest part of the pig: bacon.

Got Bacon?
Got Bacon?

I went to Baconfest last year. And it was kind of amazing. So of course I sat at my computer, refreshing the screen so that when tickets went on sale this year I was able to snap one up.

This year, I met up with Emily and Chelsa and Stephanie and we all checked in and waited in line.

Waiting in line for Baconfest Chicago
Baconfest menu.

Standing in line and watching it wrap around the building I thought that maybe it would have been a good idea to spring for the VIP tickets that would have gotten us in an hour sooner. Less crowd. More bacon.

At least though we were towards the front of the line, though. At the stroke of noon thirty they let us in and we made a mad dash for the first table. We were able to get through the first line pretty quickly, with no lines between us and bacon goodness. We went table by table, sampling pork dishes from some of the best restaurants and best chefs in the city.

Slow Roasted Slab Bacon with Rhubarb and Burton's Sorghum from Naha at Baconfest Chicago

Naha: Slow Roasted Slab Bacon with Rhubarb and Burton’s Sorghum

Roasted pork belly with meyer lemon marmalade, buttermilk biscuit and pine nut aillade from Vie at Baconfest Chicago

Vie: Roasted pork belly with meyer lemon marmalade, buttermilk biscuit and pine nut aillade

Elvis sandwich from Gemini Bistro at Baconfest Chicago

Gemini Bistro: “The Elvis”: Homemade crunchy peanut butter, fried banana, honey peppered bacon, griddled banana bread

Bacon Manhattan: Templeton Rye Braised Pork Belly, Vermouth & Onion Marmalade with Tart Cherry from Custom House Tavern at Baconfest Chicago

Custom House Tavern: Bacon Manhattan: Templeton Rye Braised Pork Belly, Vermouth & Onion Marmalade with Tart Cherry Mustard

Bacon-stuffed bacon, Maple egg jam, Whipped pancakes from Signature Room at Baconfest Chicago

Signature Room: Bacon-stuffed bacon, Maple egg jam, Whipped pancakes.

Many of my favorites ended up being a really nicely cooked portion of pork belly with some sort of sauce. And the bacon milkshake. Because you all know my feelings on milkshakes. And bacon ice creams. Because you all know my feelings on ice cream.

Bacon Manhattan Milkshakes with cherry pearls from Chalkboard Restaurant at Baconfest Chicago

Chalkboard Restaurant: Bacon Manhattan Milkshakes with cherry pearls


iNG Restaurant: Bacon “Drumstick” cone, bacon caramel, bacon ice cream, bacon chocolate and crispy lardons

Banana and Bacon's Foster from Black Dog Gelato at Baconfest Chicago

Black Dog Gelato: Banana and Bacon’s Foster

We ate entirely too fast. Running from booth to booth hardly stopping, piling plates on top of one another. I wanted to try to get to as much as I possibly could and wanted to try to get to everything before they ran out. Because last year a couple of the places ran out. And I was sad.

But as fast as we went a few places still ran out before we got to them. And I was sad. See, whenever I throw a party I always over buy. At the end of the night I end up with extra ice in the freezer, an unopened bag of cups, an extra bottle of wine. But I always think it’s worth it to end up with more then you need instead of running out and disappointing your guests. So when a professional restaurant just doesn’t prepare enough it kind of gets on my nerve. Like when Atwood Cafe gave us a blob of bacon fat that tasted like it might be OK if it was on something. Or when Small Bar put a note out that said they ran out of food. All of this only an hour and a half after general admission doors were opened.

Maple and bacon cream from Atwood Cafe at Baconfest Chicago

I think there was supposed to be more than just this dab of cream from Atwood Cafe.

Small Bar ran out of food at Baconfest Chicago

Small Bar ran out of food.

I did not get to taste everything, I had to use some sort of discretion so I skipped anything with sausage (because I’m just not a fan of the texture) and skipped almost everything that came on a bun. And entirely too many people served something on a giant piece of bread. And that fills you up on bread. And this wasn’t Breadfest Chicago.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Baconfest without capping off with a bacon cocktail. I had a delicious bacon bloody mary and Emily…well…

Bacon Bloody Mary at Baconfest Chicago
Bacon Bloody Mary

Bacon drinks at Baconfest Chicago
Bacon Drinks

All in all, it was an amazing way to spend the afternoon. There was bacon. And bacon. And a whole lot more bacon. And I think I ate about three-fourths of the dishes. And for the first time maybe ever in my life it took a full 24 hours before I wanted to eat again. And this from a girl who is almost constantly hungry. So, maybe there is such a thing as too much bacon? Then again, I could go for some bacon right now…


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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • VStarLady
    April 11, 2011at8:32 pm

    No such thing as too much bacon! This is the year of bacon, of course last year was the year of bacon and the year before….There is nothing so fantastic as the smell of bacon…(in my opinion)

  • Magda
    April 11, 2011at11:04 pm

    Great pix & descrips, Val — makin’ me hungry! I’ll mos def try to go next year.

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