Perhaps because there is so little variety in the food we presently have available (nearly three years into it, I'd kill for a fish taco!), we find ourselves being a bit more adventurous than usual when we do run across unusual offerings. And our frequent trips to NYC are feeding(!) this trend, big time. Perhaps these unusual ingredient combos have gone mainstream without my notice, but I still think they represent an exciting infusion of creativity into food that is accessible by Average Joes like us.
Perhaps it is a recession-favorite comfort food, but I predict that you will soon find bacon in common things like Ben & Jerry's ice cream. That was not a joke. Bacon's salty/greasiness actually pairs quite nicely with fatty sweets. Check out these examples I've recently seen:
BACON DONUT: You can bet this baby will be at the top of my eating agenda when I go to LA for Xmas. It's offered a very hip new diner downtown on the uber-sketchy block of 5th and Main at The Nickel Diner.
CHOCOLATE + BACON: Continuing with the bacon-meets-sugar theme, we have a $7.50 Bacon Chocolate Bar available at the super-swanky chocolatier, Vosges. Vosges gets bonus points, and almost warrants an entire blog entry, for its crazy ingredients like tobacco, curry, hot chili, and mushrooms. But more about Vosges chocolate later.
ANYTHING SWEET + BACON: As I was working up this blog entry in my little mind last night, reading an article in Time Magazine, I chanced across the reference that sealed its fate: A reference to a roving dessert truck taking NYC by storm that serves . . . chocolate bread pudding with a bacon crème anglaise, of course!
BOOZE + BACON: I don't know why this should gross me out any more than the above-mentioned things (which actually sound really TASTY to me), but a bacon martini just seems over-the-top to me. Can you imagine being on a date, or at a business dinner, and someone ordering this? Bizarre-o. Bacon does not belong in a bar setting. I don't care if it IS "candied."
Good ol' Olive Oil's lubricious qualities do not lend themselves to such compelling blog photos, but that is not to discount the subtle force of this ingredient.
CHOCOLATE + OLIVE OIL: Perhaps the tastiest piece of chocolate I've ever had was something from Vosges in SoHo called the d'Oliva. It is olive oil-infused chocolate truffle inside a white chocolate shell. But the magic comes in the form of the bits of kalamata olive sprinkled on top. Who would have guessed that those deep purple, super salty olives would be so freaking amazing on top of the perfect chocolate base?
GELATO + OLIVE OIL: Perhaps the most famous gelato place in NYC right now is Il Laboratorio de Gelato on the Lower East Side, an unassuming counter-window next to the popular Tenement Museum. Each day they offer just a small slice of their many, many flavors, and yesterday we got to try Olive Oil. How was it? Meh . . .
BONE + MARROW, Straight up: While having a nice brunch with some girlfriends in Tribeca last month, I chanced upon this item on the menu, amidst the various forms of eggs Benedict and funky french toasts: Bone Marrow. No, not "bone marrow infused omelet," not that it would make it so much more palatable, just . . . BONE MARROW. I almost ordered it, out of pure curiosity, but the place wasn't cheap and I knew no one else would be interested in sharing it. More importantly, one of the girls is a vegetarian, and I thought it would be quite rude to order up a stack of bones and suck out the innards, at least before noon.
I also caught it on the menu at a place in LA, Mario Batali's new Pizzeria Mozzo, so it seems to have gone bi-coastal.
Personally, I am hoping NOT to see Ben & Jerry's bone marrow ice cream at our local Wegmans any time soon. But hey, who knows? And, now that I think of it, Bone Marrow Lean Pockets might be . . . yummy?