Photo: Dave77459, flickr
It's undeniable that there's something about bacon. Some foodies even refer to it as "meat candy," and cooks agree it's a surefire way to improve almost any recipe.
Over the last five years, bacon has become smoking hot at restaurants and stores and has found its crispy way into all kinds of surprising dishes. Chef Heston Blumenthal of England's Fat Duck -- regularly cited as one of the world's most interesting restaurants -- often produces bacon and egg ice cream for his tasting menu. Bacon cupcakes surfaced at bakeries across America. More, in Chicago, has a BLT recipe with cornmeal, tomato and plenty of rashers. In some locations of Texas gourmet grocery chainlet Central Market, there's an extensive 15-strong bacon menu, featuring regional specials (Wisconsin, Iowa) or flavor twists (cherry-wood smoked, apple-cinnamon). The new restaurant Permanent Brunch in New York's East Village serves exactly what it says: comfort brunch for lunch and dinner all week long. With that territory comes a menu highlighting an Artisanal Bacon Bar, serving Meacham Ham's Country Bacon from Kentucky and Missouri's sugar-cured Burger's Smokehouse.