Thursday thoughts – Bacon + Bourbon + Festival = Fun!

Hello, hello!

So, this past Saturday, we went to an inaugural Bacon, Bourbon, and Beach Music Fest.

Seriously. Bacon AND bourbon. Count us in!

The tickets weren’t exactly cheap – $50/each with bourbon tastings – but you got 10 1/2-ounce tastings of bourbon plus a half-pound of bacon and access to the bacon condiment bar where you could dress it up, if you wanted.

That’s actually a lot of bourbon.

Tickets were $35/each without the bourbon and with those, you could head over to the beer village and do some beer tasting over there. I think they got 10 tastings, too.



inside the bourbon tasting tent

There were quite a few bourbons represented.  I think they had 26 different kinds!

The bourbon stations were in the middle of the tent and we just circled around decided what we wanted to taste.


Sorry about the blurry shot. I was trying to snap pictures before people walked in the way all the while holding our quilt, my water bottle, and my bourbon glass.


Some of the bourbons poured included: Bulleit, Bowman Brothers (a Virginia distillery), Buffalo Trace (not my favorite – I thought it was a little boring), Jack Daniels (of course), Woodford Reserve, and Jefferson’s.

I also tasted the Bird Dog Peach bourbon and man, was that surprisingly good! Not overwhelming at all and not at all like cough syrup (looking at you, Bird Dog Blackberry).


You could also do wine tastings or even get wine by the glass or bottle but they only had Rex Goliath.

I was actually surprised that they didn’t have any Virginia wine.  I mean, it IS Virginia. But, I wasn’t on the wine selection committee.

We got our bacon tickets when we entered the park and they promised us they weren’t going to run out of bacon so we didn’t have to run right over to the bacon tent.

We did some bourbon tastings, wandered around a bit, checked out the brew village, drank some water, tasted some more bourbon, and then we went for the bacon.


The lines looked long but they were actually moving pretty quickly.


the bacon master!

We could actually chose crispy or not so crispy!  I was pleased that they covered all the bacon bases. 🙂


In the bacon condiment bar, the longest line was for the bacon taco/nacho fixins’ but neither of us wanted that. My sailor headed for the seasonings and I went straight for the dessert bar. 🙂 #sorrynotsorry


They had chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, cinnamon sugar, oreos, and graham crackers.


In my opinion, hot fudge sauce would have been better but I can understand why they didn’t have it.

And, I honestly can’t remember the last time I ate an Oreo. Probably why I thought it was delicious. Or maybe I was swayed by the bourbon? Nah.

It was a Beach Music fest so of course there was live music!

They had 2 stages, one by the river and one in the brew village.


Of course, we headed down to the one by the river, found ourselves a spot in the shade, and sat down and enjoyed our bacon and listened to some pretty cool music.

Not beach music, which to me means Beach Boys, etc but we were cool with that.  One of the bands was playing old school R&B and soul – Stevie Wonder, Etta James, etc. Our kind of music!


We really had a great time and I learned that I’m kind of picky about my bourbons. Who knew?!

We’ll definitely be adding this to our “social calendar” for next year. 🙂

We played it safe and had Thing 2 drive us to the Fest and then, she came and picked us up when we were done. #designateddriver

Hopefully, this lady had a ride, too.


clearly, she’s exempt from the “no sitting” request

Talk to me: Do you enjoy food and drink festivals? What’s the best one you’ve ever been to?

Before this one, I would have had to say either the Gilroy Garlic Festival (Gilroy, CA) or the Artichoke Festival in Castroville, CA for food. We’ve been to a couple of wine festivals and those were all fun. Because there’s wine. Duh. 🙂

– jennifer

Race report! plus Bacon-Bourbon Brownies. For real.

Marathon Day! I peeked out the window when I woke up to discover … rain. The weather forecasters were right. I was not happy. They’re never right! 40 degrees + rain = not fun. We held out hope that the rain would let up by the time we got out to the start. We prepped our cute, matching race ensembles the night before – hey, we ARE girls!


Well, unfortunately, it never stopped raining. Okay, we had no rain from miles 15-20 but, by that point, who cares? We were already soaked, freezing, and miserable. The race folk had worked quickly and pulled together some “Run for Boston” shirts that they were handing out. It was so cold, we wore them the entire race!


Even though it was raining, people still came out to cheer us on, which was AWESOME! Because we really needed it. And, security was out in full force. We really appreciated that AND the cops were super awesome. They were even cheering us on. I’ve never run a race where the cops were so involved. I wish more were like that!

So, the altitude didn’t kill us but the rain and cold tried to. We weren’t really out for time but we are stoked with our finish. Unofficial time? 4:29:33. We’ll take it!


And, before I blogged at Cooking with JenS, you could find me at The Connoisseur Chronicles. This recipe is from back then. Brownies. With Bacon and Bourbon. You’re welcome. 🙂

Three words. Bacon. Bourbon. Chocolate. All in one dish. Seriously. Thank you Food and Wine Magazine! Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Pecans. Boy, is that fun to say, or what?! Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Pecans. Mmmm…..what more could a girl ask for? (Okay, the nerd in me wishes pecans were instead named something that started with the letter “b” – alliteration is so much fun!)

This recipe is from the August 2011 issue of the magazine. Yep, I’ve had this magazine for maybe 4 days and I’m already making recipes out of it! It is seriously packed with delicious sounding grub, this recipe topping the list! AND, you know how we LOVE bacon so it HAD to be done! After all, everything’s better with bacon.

The best thing about these brownies – except for the bacon and bourbon, of course, is that they are from scratch. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some seriously awesome brownie mixes available in your local grocery store – hello Ghirardelli! – but brownies from scratch are just so amazing. They tend to be rich, dense and decadent. Basically, they’re everything a brownie SHOULD be! And these definitely meet that criteria. The bacon adds a saltiness that contrasts the chocolate and the pecans add a crunch that compliments the smooth density of the brownie itself. Really, this is HEAVEN in a bite! Okay, more than one bite and I’ve definitely had more than one brownie so far. Don’t judge me.

Now, I wanted the good, salty stuff for this recipe, so I bought some applewood smoked bacon. YUM! Plus, you have to reserve nearly ¼ cup of bacon grease to add to the recipe and turkey bacon just doesn’t produce that. No, don’t be grossed out – it really adds to the richness of the brownie. And no, this is NOT low-fat. It’s a brownie, for goodness sakes!

Let’s talk about the bourbon. If you like to lick the beaters, you will definitely taste the bourbon in the mix. Mmmmm….just enough to add to the flavor but not enough to make you tipsy. I used Bulleit – a delicious frontier bourbon whiskey in an old-school glass bottle recommended to us by my brother-in-law – thanks Monte! Hope you’re not mad I used two shots for other than drinking! Um, and no, don’t ask me why it’s a “bourbon whiskey”. I used to think they were two different things but, apparently not. And, while we’re on that subject, why the heck is scotch a “scotch whiskey?” Seriously, could alcohol BE any more confusing?! Oh wait….don’t answer that. You, of course, can use the bourbon (whiskey) of your choice.

The bottom line is… bacon, bourbon and chocolate are a divine combination that EVERYONE – especially chocoholics – should try. Recipe’s down there. You’re welcome.

Happy drinking (bourbon), cooking and eating!


Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Pecans
½ cup pecans
½ pound sliced bacon
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350̊. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on 2 opposite sides. Spray the paper with vegetable spray. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.

2. In a skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and let cool; reserve 3 tablespoons of the fat. Finely chop the bacon.

3. In a saucepan, combine both chocolates with the butter and stir over very low heat, until melted; scrape into a large bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in both sugars with the reserved 3 tablespoons bacon fat. Beat in the bourbon. Add the eggs and salt and beat until smooth. Sift the cocoa powder and flour into the bowl and beat until blended.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the bacon and pecans on top. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the brownies are set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center; a toothpick inserted into the center should have some batter clinging to it. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the brownies cool completely. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares or rectangles, serve and do a happy dance.