Baconfest Chicago returns for its 10th year on April 6 and 7 and, with over 140 restaurants participating, expect nothing less than a lot of bacon served up over the two-day event at the UIC Forum. Organizers have posted menus on the Baconfest Chicago web site to give you an idea of who is bringing what. Here are some of the dishes slated to appear at Baconfest Chicago broken down by session.
The kickoff dinner session on April 6 will feature El Tapeo’s peppered pork belly with saffron orange gel and sauteed wild mushrooms; “The Elvis” from Jam Restaurant, a malted custard French toast with peanut butter, maple banana and bacon jam; “Dr. Filogood” from Links Taproom, a bacon and pistachio baklava with caramelized bacon, vanilla pudding and pistachio crumbles; bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo from the Peckish Pig; and a bacon pibil from Vie with both creamed and fried hominy, candied lime zest, cilantro and pickled cherry bomb peppers. General admission is from 7 to 10 p.m., with a VIP Hour from 6 to 7 p.m.
Saturday’s lunch session on April 7 will include a Sonoran hot dog from Birrieria Zaragoza featuring a bacon-wrapped hot dog with pico de gallo, frijoles and other toppings; Carnivale’s maple bacon pops; Bistronomic’s smoked bacon croquette with escargot, brioche bread crumbs and green garlic aioli; a BLT featuring fresh house bread and bacon jam from Table, Donkey and Stick; and, from Inspiration Kitchens, a bacon pistachio beet empanada with a mint basil goat cheese drizzle. General admission is noon to 3 p.m., the VIP hour begins at 11 a.m.
Saturday’s dinner session will feature heirloom blue corn gorditas with bacon al pastor from Baptiste & Bottle; Inovasi’s Darjeeling tea-smoked pork belly with chocolate, aji panca chile and mache salad; and Kimski’s smokehouse fried rice with bacon, smoked chicken and Polish sausage. General admission is 7 to 10 p.m. with the VIP hour starting at 6 p.m.
Event organizers have spotted several trends among the offerings: Cheddar cheese, grits/polenta, “fried balls” and dumplings “both filled and solid.” Still, Seth Zurer, Baconfest co-founder, is quoted in an event press release as saying that, despite these trends, “our menu also serves as powerful evidence that creativity obeys no fashion - there are singularly unique items on the menu this year.”
Tickets to Baconfest Chicago start at $60 for “Bacon-Only” tickets (limited quantities of these tickets remain for Friday and Saturday dinner; “Bacon-Only” tickets to Saturday lunch are sold out); general admission is $85 per session, including 7 drink tickets; and VIP admission is $160 per session, which includes drink tickets and early admission. Note that VIP ticket holders can quench their thirst at The Old Forester Speakeasy, a new fest feature, which is a private lounge offering Prohibition-era cocktails made with Old Forester bourbon and tasting flights of Old Forester.
A portion of Baconfest Chicago proceeds benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository and can be purchased online.
The UIC Forum is located at 725 W. Roosevelt Road.