It’s time for the seventh annual Sacramento Bacon Fest, and a new wave of creations from area chefs are anything but ham-handed. Here are the best ways to satiate your achin’ for bacon over the next five days:
▪ Tuesday, Feb. 6: Opening night party at Empress Tavern (5-8 p.m.)
At the this “Choose Your Own Ramen” opening-night party, you can get a bowl of broth, noodles and a protein of your choice – including bacon – plus a cold beer for $19.99. Seating will be available after a trip through the ramen line, but don’t expect the 21-and-over event to be a mild-mannered dinner party.
▪ Wednesday, Feb. 7: Bacon cocktail competition at Bottle & Barlow (6-10 p.m.)
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Think bacon’s only use in a mixed drink is atop a bloody Mary? Think again. A $5 ticket gets you samples of all contestants’ cocktails at the second annual bacon-and-booze showcase, while other pork-inspired drinks and food will be available for purchase.
▪ Thursday, Feb. 8: Skee-ball tournament at Two Rivers Cider Company (6-9 p.m.); bacon milkshakes at LowBrau (5 - 7 p.m.)
Thursday’s skee-ball tournament winner gets a pair of tickets to the sold-out Sacramento Bacon Fest finale at Mulvaney’s B&L, while the person with the lowest score gets a free pizza courtesy of Pizza Supreme Being. Meanwhile, LowBrau and sister eatery Milk Money will be serving up shakes of prosciutto ice cream with maple caramel swirl, candied pecans and bacon bits, topped with whipped cream and candied bacon for $9. Customers 21-and-over can add Jameson Black Barrel to their shake for another $5.
▪ Friday, Feb 9: Bacon for the People: A Revolutionary Event at Revolution Wines (5-8 p.m.); Kevin Bacon Soundtrack Tribute Show at the Torch Club (8 p.m. to 1 a.m.)
Of the many appetizers included when you buy a $25 “Bacon for the People” ticket, it’s the zeppole with bacon chocolate dipping sauce that stands out in contrast to the more-savory dishes, including bacon lollipops, french BLT poppers and melted bacon breads. Over at the Torch Club, tribute bands will play songs from Kevin Bacon movies such as “Footloose.” That event comes with an $8 cover charge.
▪ Saturday, Feb. 10: Paella on the patio at Selland’s Market Cafe and Bike Dog Brewing Company (11 a.m.-2 p.m.); bacon food trucks at Track 7 Brewing Co. (time TBD); bacon dim sum at Canon (9 p.m.-midnight)
Bacon paella and bacon hot dogs from Selland’s pair with a never-before-released Bike Dog beer at the stores’ Broadway locations. Meanwhile, traveling taqueria Masa Guiseria and Arlington Brothers sausage truck will park outside Track 7’s Curtis Park taproom to serve salty goodies. For a late-night snack, check out breakfast items in small, shareable portions at Canon.
▪ Sunday, Feb. 11: Chef’s challenge at Mulvaney’s B&L (2-6 p.m.); Sunday brunch at Magpie Cafe (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
The creme de la cure: a sold-out, 11-chef bacon competition where attendees get to sample creations judged for best bacon, best dish using bacon, best alternative bacon and best overall performance. Those who didn’t buy a $60 ticket in time can instead go for Hook & Ladder’s braised bacon Benedict or a similar creation at Magpie Cafe, which has been doing a bacon brunch since the event’s genesis seven years ago.