Umami Burger

meter-great-Umami Burger has a lot going for it, namely truffles. This restaurant also happens to make a mean burger and some of the best onion rings I’ve encountered west of Salt Lake City, but it’s the truffles that are the first, last, and pretty much only thing you’re going to remember. The thought of this will have you either drooling or gagging, depending of course on whether or not you like truffles.

Thanks to sf.eater.com for letting me, ahem, 'borrow' this picture.

Thanks to sf.eater.com for letting me, ahem, ‘borrow’ this picture.

” Oh how I longed for a humble bottle of Heinz 57 “

Umami Burger is a medium-sized restaurant chain primarily based in California, but there are a handful of locations scattered across the U.S. as well. The very first thing I noticed when I walked in to the Umami Burger in Palo Alto was – you guessed it – the smell of truffles. It seems that the majority of humans on the planet love the hell out of those musty underground tumors, but I am not one of those people. To me, truffles have a very chemical-y, unpleasant reek. There’s a funk to the things that just isn’t right, and they taste like other people’s bad breath smells. Most of the other patrons in the restaurant seemed to be on the opposite end of the truffle spectrum from me; they were all rather enjoying the odor, inhaling blissfully as though they were eating $100 bills with their nostrils.

To each their own, I suppose. I can’t hold the truffle thing against Umami Burger just because I don’t personally like them, but because so much of the experience at this place relies on those stinky little mushrooms, the subject can’t be avoided.

The artisan pickle plate (shown here half-eaten) was excellent.

The artisan pickle plate (shown here half-eaten) was excellent.

The capable and courteous restaurant staff quickly showed me and the rest of my lunch party (the usual suspects) us to a table. I counted eighteen items on the menu, consisting of burgers, salads, and sides. Of these, more than half featured truffles in some form. I opted for a Manly burger (yes, that’s actually what it’s called) and a side of truffle-less fries. For the table we got a house pickle plate and an order of tempura onion rings. The pickle plate showed up almost immediately, and it featured six different kinds of pickled vegetables. The green beans were by far my favorite, but the beets were pretty darned excellent as well. We were halfway through the plate before I remembered to take a picture of it… Oops.

The next time I develop a craving for onion rings, I'm coming back here.

The next time I develop a craving for onion rings, I’m coming back here.

A few minutes later, our order of onion rings showed up. Wow! Why oh why doesn’t everyone prepare their onion rings tempura style? These rings were absolutely superb with just the right balance between crunch and perfectly cooked onion. Most importantly, when taking a bite of a ring, molten hot onion did not slide out of the batter and slap me in the chin. The onion severed cleanly and easily; every bite was perfection.

Hey, my hamburger bun still has the label on it.

Hey, my hamburger bun still has the label on it.

My Manly burger and fries arrived shortly afterwards, and everything looked great – this place certainly does a good job on presentation. I am happy to report that both the burger and the fries were extremely delicious. The quality of the beef patty was outstanding, and it had a nice crispy grilled crust on it. Yum. I could still faintly taste truffles somewhere in my burger though, likely cross-contamination from all of the other truffle-heavy foods prepared in the kitchen.

Also available in truffle version. This should not surprise you.

Also available in truffle version. This should not surprise you.

The shoestring-style fries were also quite excellent. Partway through the meal, however, pungent truffle flavor suddenly appeared on the fries and forcibly drove all other tastes out of my mouth. What the… Where did that come from? I tried another fry and there was no truffle taste at all. Eh? It was then that I realized there were truffles in the ketchup. IN THE EFFING KETCHUP. Is nothing sacred in this place?? I had no choice but to endure my otherwise excellent burger and fries without any ketchup at all, which was something of a disappointment. Oh how I longed for a humble bottle of Heinz 57.

In spite of my mushroom-based grumblings, I truly enjoyed my experience at Umami Burger. I know that I am among the genetic minority of people who find that truffles smell like pig urine. Yes, yes, I’m sure I am missing out on something wonderful, but that’s beside the point. Getting back on track, I rate Umami Burger a very respectable 90 out of 100 grams of tuber melanosporum. If you’re looking for a good burger and some great onion rings a notch above standard burger joint fare, this is the place for you.

      Pros
+ Well-executed burgers with a gourmet kick
+ Masterful tempura onion rings
      Cons
 – Black truffles are in everything
– – Like seriously EVERYTHING
+ If you enjoy truffles that’s good though
 – But I don’t

P.S. I used the word “truffle” in this post 18 times. Make that 19.

Umami Burger
Multiple locations throughout the U.S.
www.umamiburger.com

Umami Burger on Urbanspoon



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.


Ham and cheese rolls

” This is not rocket science “

On weekends, I’m often in the mood to make something complicated from scratch, messing up every single pot and pan in the kitchen in the process. On weeknights, however, I tend to be exceedingly lazy; I’m all about maximizing couch time after a long day of work. My wife Shawn (aka The Czarina of Pinterest) discovered this incredibly simple Pillsbury-based recipe a while back, and we recently gave it a try. We loved it, not only because it requires absolutely minimal effort, but also because it’s darned tasty.

Skip to the short version

Super trailer-trashy and awesome because of it.

Super trailer-trashy and awesome because of it.


Ingredients

  • 1 tube Pillsbury classic pizza crust
  • deli sliced ham
  • cheddar cheese


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a couch to sit on afterwards


Directions

This is not rocket science. You could get along just fine figuring out what to do from the pictures alone, but because I like to hear myself talk I’ll go ahead and walk you through it anyway. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Open the explosive tube of Pillsbury goodness without losing any fingers and lay the dough flat.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to make dough look interesting?

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to make dough look interesting?

Add ham. Leave an inch or so of dough exposed along the upper edge so that you’ll be able to seal the roll at the end.

Lunch meat. It's what's for dinner.

Lunch meat. It’s what’s for dinner.

Layer on some cheese, either sliced or grated. Both work equally well. We added salami as well because we’re crazy like that.

Keep adding stuff until you are satisfied.

Keep adding stuff until you are satisfied.

Roll the whole thing up and seal the edge along the side of the roll by pinching the dough together. If you didn’t leave the edge of the dough uncovered like I said, you only have yourself to blame.

Spiral food is always sophisticated.

Spiral food is always sophisticated.

Slice into 1-inch pieces and lay flat on a greased cookie sheet.

Not all of the slices turned out this perfect. Martha Stewart I am not.

Not all of the slices turned out this perfect. Martha Stewart I am not.

Bake for 10 minutes or until browned on top. Eat. Go sit on couch. Success.

Serving suggestion. (Actually, it was dinner.)

Serving suggestion. (Actually, it was our dinner.)




tl;dr

Ham and cheese rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 tube Pillsbury classic pizza crust
  • deli sliced ham
  • cheddar cheese


Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Unroll dough and lay flat. Add ham, cheese, and other toppings in layers. Roll up carefully, sealing edge of dough against side of roll. Bake for 10 minutes or until browned on top.



See also



Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


Jan’s Deli

meter-good-greatJan’s Deli can be summed up in five simple words: Best turkey sandwiches in California. I don’t really need to say anything else about this place, and in fact there isn’t a whole lot more to report. Don’t worry though, I’ll find something to blather on about for another couple paragraphs. Trust me about the sandwiches though. Holy crap.

The signage doubles as the menu.

The signage doubles as the menu.

” A one-trick pony … but what a trick it is “

As it turns out, Menlo Park is full of excellent, quirky eateries. These tiny, hole-in-the-wall, locally owned food joints are exactly the kind of places I seek out when I’m looking for a bite. Sure, I could guarantee myself a modestly below average lunch at Panera Bread or Subway, but I’d much rather take a gamble on something new and different. One of the best of these gambles has turned out to be Jan’s Deli.

Besides sandwiches, there really isn't much else going on here.

Besides sandwiches, there really isn’t much else going on here.

The menu at Jan’s consists of a couple varieties of deli salad and to-order sandwiches. There are the usual varieties of cold cuts to choose from, spicy pork, meatloaf, and legendary hot roast turkey. I’m not exaggerating about the turkey. I would be thrilled if, just once in my entire life, I could make a Thanksgiving turkey half as good as the stuff Jan’s cranks out every day.

This is where the magic happens.

This is where the magic happens.

I usually get the same thing whenever I visit here for lunch: Turkey on Dutch crunch with everything. Deeeeeeeeelish. You can also ask for white meat only and, if you’re in the mood for it, cranberry sauce is a tasty addition. The perfectly fresh bread complements the hot roast turkey and the cool, fresh veggies. A sandwich of this absolute quality is a rare thing indeed. Above all else, the succulent, savory juiciness of the turkey takes center stage. THAT is what good turkey is supposed to taste like.

Pictures do not do this sandwich justice.

Pictures do not do this sandwich justice.

On a recent visit, I also tried out an order of mac salad. It was a bit on the plain side, but I liked it just fine. It wasn’t the best mac salad I’ve ever had; if I’m honest, I can’t even say it was above average. I would order it again for myself, but it’s probably not for everyone.

The minimum definition of macaroni salad.

The minimum definition of macaroni salad.

For a turkey fanatic, Jan’s Deli is the go-to lunch place in Menlo Park. I have dragged a number of other people to this place with mostly positive results. Those who were indifferent about Jan’s just so turned out to be the same people that didn’t order turkey sandwiches. Without a doubt, this strange little place is a one-trick pony … but what a trick it is.

It’s difficult to rate establishments like this. Jan’s doesn’t have a lot of strengths, but what strengths it has it plays to quite well. Jan’s doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t, and I have to admire the simple purity and focus of the friendly folks that run this joint. I rate Jan’s Deli 20 out of 24 Dutch crunch rolls, somewhere between the utter perfection of their flagship turkey sandwiches and the mediocrity of everything else.

      Pros
+ You will have dreams about the turkey
…but not about the mac salad
+ Fresh, perfect bread
++ THE TURRRKEYY omg
+ Did I mention the turkey?
      Cons
Limited hours
Menu is all but nonexistent

Jan’s Deli
1004 Alma Street
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 321-9372

Jan's Deli on Urbanspoon


May the drooling begin.

May the drooling begin.



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.


Cheesy bacon ranch dip

This past Sunday was one of my favorite holidays of the year: National Party Food Day. Friends and family gather together to eat until they are sick and share their trashy recipes with one another. Some people refer to this holiday as “Super Bowl” but to be honest I’m not sure why. I guess there must be some sort of football game being played in honor of the holiday.

Skip to the short version

Did I mention that there's bacon in this recipe?

Did I mention that there’s bacon in this recipe?

” Attack viciously with chips and veggies “

My go-to recipe for this sort of thing is usually Ro*Tel sausage dip, but this year I wanted to try something new. After hours of scavenging around on Pinterest, my ever-resourceful spouse discovered something called “warm crack dip“. I knew immediately that the name had to go, but the ingredient list looked promising. I modified the recipe slightly, renamed it, and the result was a resounding success. And now I present it to you.


Ingredients

  • 1 package cream cheese, softened (8oz)
  • 1 large tub sour cream (16oz)
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix (1oz)
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 lb diced bacon, cooked
  • chips or veggies for dipping


Other stuff you’ll need

  • an 8×8 casserole dish
  • aluminum foil


Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and start dicing the raw bacon. If you like salty stuff with lots and lots of bacon flavor, add the whole pound of bacon. If you are feeling less awesome but more reasonable, go with a half pound. You can fry it up in a pan if you like, but my favorite way to cook bacon is in the oven. Simply line a cookie sheet (one that has sides) with foil, spread out the diced bacon, and bake at 400 for around 20 minutes – you can do this while the oven is preheating as well.

Bacon + cookie sheet + oven = easy peasy

Bacon + cookie sheet + oven = easy peasy

Yes, you can use bacon bits instead of doing all this work, but you will then be forced to hang your head in shame at the greatness you could have attained but threw away.

In a bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and ranch dressing mix. Stir in the grated cheese and cooked bacon.

Look at all the BACONNNNNNN

Look at all the BACONNNNNNN

Spread the mixture into your 8×8 casserole dish, cover with foil, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

The final countdown has begun.

The final countdown has begun.

When the dip is heated through and bubbly, it’s ready. Attack viciously with chips and veggies (bell peppers are my personal favorite).

Fritos are the trashiest of all snack chips. Love 'em.

Fritos are the trashiest of all snack chips. Love ’em.




tl;dr

Cheesy bacon ranch dip

Ingredients

  • 1 package cream cheese, softened (8oz)
  • 1 large tub sour cream (16oz)
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix (1oz)
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 lb diced bacon, cooked
  • chips or veggies for dipping


Other stuff you’ll need

  • an 8×8 casserole dish
  • aluminum foil


Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine softened cream cheese, sour cream, and ranch dressing mix. Stir in grated cheese and cooked bacon. Spread mixture into 8×8 casserole dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Serve with chips and veggies.



See also



Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


The Great South Bay Falafel-Off

In ancient times, falafels were not just delicious fried balls of chick peas. Falafel making was at the center of human existence in those days; empires rose and fell at the mercy of their leaders’ falafel prowess. To question another’s falafel was to insult the very core of their being, and bloody falafel duels were common on the dusty streets of, uh … the cities where, um, falafels were popular. Whichever cities those were. I’m not really sure.

” No, ‘gyros’ is not plural “

Ok, so perhaps I’ve embellished a little bit on the history of falafels, but that’s beside the point. What really matters is that I have personally researched two present-day South Bay chick pea giants: Falafel’s Drive-In and Falafel Stop. Let’s see how they compare.



Falafel’s Drive-In

Smallest 'parking lot' I have ever seen. I'm not sure it can hold an entire car.

Smallest ‘parking lot’ I have ever seen. I’m not sure it can hold an entire car.


meter-great-The first stop on my quest for the greatest Mediterranean food within five miles of my house was Falafel’s Drive-In. This place was already immensely popular before being featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives back in 2007, and since then it’s become even more mainstream. The first thing my lunch party and I noticed when we pulled up was a cartooned Guy Fieri featured in the middle of a large, colorful mural in the semi-outdoor dining area. Then we spotted another Guy Fieri in another mural, and then another. So pretty much this place is the Church of Guy. Weird. If anyone had asked me if I’d like some Kool-Aid, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

The decor isn't boring, that's for sure.

The decor isn’t boring, that’s for sure.

The menu offers a variety of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, as well as more traditional diner fare like burgers and fries. After deliberating on the menu and placing our order, it took only a few minutes for our food to show up at the window – barely enough time to finish counting Guys.

No, 'gyros' is not plural.

No, ‘gyros’ is not plural.

I opted for a gyros pita, mostly because that’s what I always get at places like this. Instead of the thin strips I was expecting, Falafel’s Drive-In serves their gyros meat as large, cubed lumps… and it really works. The tzatziki sauce was excellent, the veggies were crisp and fresh as can be, and the pita bread was stuffed to its absolute maximum capacity. I’ve had plenty of gyros over the years, and this is one of the better ones I’ve encountered. I’ll be back for another one of those.

I'm pretty sure I have no idea how to pronounce this.

I’m pretty sure I have no idea how to pronounce this.

Also included in our lunch order was a koubby, which is basically a large beef meatball with pine nuts and onions wearing a crispy wheat jacket. None of us at the table knew how to pronounce “koubby” but we guessed it might rhyme with “Scooby”, and so we simply referred to it as a Scooby Snack. This is undoubtedly incorrect on many levels, but because it amused us we just went with it.

I don’t have a lot of experience with Scooby Snacks – indeed, it was something new for all of us – but I am happy to report that it was very tasty indeed. I noticed a definite undertone of cinnamon in the ground beef filling, but it was well-balanced and very meaty. It reminded me very much of pastitsio (aka Greek lasagne) in its flavor profile. Delicious.

Everyone likes pictures of French fries.

Everyone likes pictures of French fries.

Falafel’s Drive-In is also very well known for their banana milkshakes, but because it was a million degrees below zero that day we opted out. Ok, so it was actually about 55 degrees F, but in California that’s cold enough to make liquid nitrogen. Weather aside, I give Falafel’s Drive-In a very respectable 8 out of 10 Scooby Snacks. We very much enjoyed our visit and would be happy to return sometime very soon.

      Pros
+ Gigantical chunks of gyros meat
+ Scooby Snacks!
+ It’s been on Triple-D
+ Banana milkshakes are rumored to be awesome
      Cons
Guy is watching you
No parking to speak of

Falafel’s Drive-In
2301 Stevens Creek Boulevard
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 294-7886
www.falafelsdrivein.com

Falafel Drive-in on Urbanspoon



——————————————————————



Falafel Stop

Exactly like Falafel's Drive-In, minus the murals.

Exactly like Falafel’s Drive-In, minus the murals.

meter-greatThe second half of this Mediterranean showdown takes place at Falafel Stop, another icon of South Bay one-off fast food. At first glance, it looks pretty much the same as Falafel’s Drive-In. It has a walk-up window, generous outdoor seating, (almost) no parking, and a massive cult following. At this point, however, the similarities end. You will not find a burger, gyros, or koubby on the menu at Falafel Stop; instead the focus is on shuwarmas, kebabs, and of course falafel.

There's plenty of room to sit and be confused about your order.

There’s plenty of room to sit and be confused about your order.

We perused the menu, decided on our plan of attack, and obediently stood in line underneath a sign clearly indicating “Order Here”. (There’s a reason I make a point of this fact. More on this later.) While we were waiting, we were presented with piping hot samples of crispy, divine falafel complete with a drizzle of dipping sauce. Oh my goodness were they delicious, and quite an unexpected bonus as part of our visit. Plus one point for Falafel Stop.

Little golden balls of nom

Little golden balls of nom

We ordered a shuwarma pita, a Greek salad, some falafel, and a couple of sodas. We paid the cashier and he handed us two receipts. He said, “Head over to the grill for the hot food, but the falafel are from the kitchen so we’ll bring those to you. Let us know when you get the salad so we can put another falafel on that.” Even he seemed confused by this. We nodded dumbly, took the receipts, and looked around unsure of what to do next. “The grill will have your order, that’s what the other receipt is for,” he clarified.

Oh.

What?

We shuffled a few steps into the dining area, scanning our two receipts for a possible clue and glancing back at the dubious “Order Here” sign. At that moment, someone handed us our sodas and a little bag of falafel. The cashier stuck his head out of the door and said, “The kitchen already knew about your falafel so you can never mind that part.”

Huh?

Utterly flabbergasted, we decided just to sit down and see what would happen next. After a few minutes, someone walked out from what was apparently “the grill” and asked us if we had ordered a shuwarma pita. “Um, yes, we did,” I replied.

“Oh ok,” he said, “we have your order over here. I need your receipt.” I handed him one of the receipts. “The other one,” he said. I handed him the other one. He walked me over to the grill area and proceeded to expertly and swiftly construct my shuwarma pita, and it looked fairly amazing.

The prices at Falafel Stop appear to have been set using a random number generator.

The prices at Falafel Stop appear to have been set using a random number generator.

I returned to the table with my grilled pocket of perfection, and we waited. Nothing seemed to be happening. We noticed an area next to the cashier that looked like it might be where the salads happen, and we guessed our other receipt might be required. It was. The salad people did their thing and before long our entire order had been completed. We think.

This is the pita bread you've been searching your whole life for.

This is the pita bread you’ve been searching your whole life for.

Setting aside the ridiculous ordering process for a moment, let me just say that the food at Falafel Stop is nothing short of spectacular. The falafel were great (as I’ve already mentioned), the shuwarma meat was seasoned to perfection and plentiful, and the veggies were remarkably fresh. Even the salad was excellent. What really caught me by surprise, however, was the pita bread. Holy smoley, what a masterpiece. Pita bread is usually a forgettable, dry envelope that holds delicious things; it’s just a utensil, a throw-away. I don’t think I can even recall what normal pita bread even tastes like… but THIS stuff. Wow! It arrives fresh from the kitchen piping hot and fluffy – it’s truly a thing to behold. It falls somewhere between an English muffin and naan. Incredible.

It's all Greek to me. Salad, that is.

It’s all Greek to me. Salad, that is.

In the end, I felt that the food at Falafel Stop edged out Falafel’s Drive-In. The two can’t really judged in a side-by-side comparison because they are so different, but if you asked me which of the two I’d rather visit next, I’d choose Falafel Stop. Unfortunately, the inane process to actually acquire food at Falafel Stop put a bit of a damper on their score, but I still feel that they deserve a solid 9 out of 10 fluffy pitas.

      Pros
 + Falafel samples!
 + That pita bread, I don’t even
+/- More parking than Falafel Drive-In, barely
      Cons
Incomprehensible ordering system
Seriously, what the hell

Falafel Stop
1325 Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
(408) 735-7182
www.falafelstop.biz

Falafel Stop on Urbanspoon



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.


Bacon jam

Bacon is all the rage these days, and for good reason. For one, it’s freaking delicious. It’s also quite healthy and… No, wait. Not healthy. I meant delicious. So it’s delicious, delicious, and… Ok fine, you get the idea. One of the more unique ways I’ve found to enjoy this piggy delicacy is by means of bacon jam.

Skip to the short version

The bacon, it calls to you.

The bacon, it calls to you.

Yeah, bacon jam. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Well get over it, because this stuff rules.

” Greatness is upon us “

If you want to be the talk of the next office potluck and/or the envy of your friends and neighbors, whip up a batch of bacon jam, stand back, and watch the magic happen. It’s very slightly sweet, intensely bacon-y, and marvelously satisfying. Bacon jam is good on crackers, toast, salads, eggs, pizza… The list is endless. It might even be good on ice cream, but I haven’t quite worked up the nerve to try that yet. This particular recipe is a slight variant of Chef John’s creation as posted on allrecipes.com.


Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs raw bacon
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 or 3 large yellow onions
  • a pinch or two of salt
  • 1/4 cup sherry or wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a large pot or Dutch oven
  • paper towels
  • sufficient willpower not to eat all the bacon before making it into jam


Directions

Fry up the bacon in whatever way you are most comfortable with, being careful not to overcook it. Crispy bacon good, blackened bacon bad. Blot the cooked bacon with paper towels and set aside; reserve a couple teaspoons of bacon grease for later use.

Hmmm, what to do with a spare 1.5 lbs of home-cured bacon? Oh I know.

Hmmm, what to do with a spare 1.5 lbs of home-cured bacon? Oh I know.

Preheat your pot or Dutch oven on medium heat while you finely dice the onions. The “standard” recipe calls for 3 onions, but if you want your bacon jam to be extra super bacon-tastic use only 2 onions. Add the reserved bacon grease to the bottom of your pot along with the butter and saute the onions until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.

This is about what we're going for.

This is about what we’re going for.

While the onions cook, finely dice the bacon. You can use a food processor if you want, but I don’t like the bacon “paste” it creates in the process – I prefer to chop by hand.

Must... not... eat... bacon.... *convulses uncontrollably*

Must… not… eat… bacon…. *convulses uncontrollably*

When the onions are done, add the brown sugar, sherry/wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of thyme (save 1/2 teaspoon for later), cayenne, black pepper, and mix well. Add the bacon and water and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until a jam-like consistency is achieved, stirring often.

Greatness is upon us.

Greatness is upon us.

Remove from heat and stir in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and remaining half teaspoon of thyme. And that’s all there is to it. Serve the jam warm with whatever you have handy to eat it with, be it bread or crackers or just a spoon. You’re welcome.

Why bacon jam? Why in the heck not?

Why bacon jam? Why in the heck not?




tl;dr

Bacon jam

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs raw bacon
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 or 3 large yellow onions
  • a pinch or two of salt
  • 1/4 cup sherry or wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a large pot or Dutch oven
  • paper towels


Directions

Cook bacon, drain, and set aside. Saute finely diced onion in butter and 2 tsp bacon grease for 8-10 minutes or until translucent. Add brown sugar, sherry/wine vinegar, 1 tsp thyme (saving .5 tsp for later), cayenne, black pepper, finely diced bacon, and water, stir well. Cook over medium heat 10-15 minutes or until a jam-like consistency is achieved. Remove from heat, add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and remaining thyme, stir until mixed through. Serve warm.



See also



Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


tl;dr

You know what’s annoying? When you find a really awesome recipe online and want to make it, but the guy who posted it on his blog just keeps talking and telling inane stories and generally screwing up the entire recipe without ever really getting to the point. You are then forced to try and scroll through all the blabber without getting melted butter on your iPad, desperately trying to find the next step before your garlic burns.

I know this all too well, because this has happened to me. While re-making a recipe from my own blog, in fact. MY OWN BLOG.

Clearly, I need to tighten up my recipe directions a bit.

I assume you are all just far too nice to have complained to me about this, and for that you have my gratitude. As a token of thanks, I have added “tl;dr” sections to the bottom of every recipe I have posted to date, along with handy “Skip to the short version” links at the top of each page. Here, check it out for yourself. (For those of you scratching your heads, tl;dr is Internet slang for “too long; didn’t read” and is sometimes used to indicate a postscript summary.)

Neat!

Neat!

And that’s about it. Don’t say I never got you anything nice for Christmas.