The 2013 Restaurant Guide
Let us guide you through the many faceted faces of this delicious culinary staple, and help give you insight into the best of the IE’s bacon-crazed goodness.
Slater’s is no place for the bacon-phobic, bacon-weary or bacon-averse. Owners of pet swine should be advised to keep their little porkers at least 20 miles from Slater’s. This upscale burger joint gets bacon right, serves it up often and offers a slew of bacon items. Slater’s Fries don’t have bacon, but they do however feature Bacon Ketchup, which is surprisingly tasty—minute slivers of bacon liven up what are some crisp, yummy fries to begin with.
And Slater’s thick, sweet bacon also adds a quirky spark to the Fried Bacon Mac n’ Cheese Balls, which are exactly what they sound like, but come with a creamy Tapatio ranch dipping sauce that one might be excused for eating with their fingers, ditto for the Jalapeño Bacon Mac n’ Cheese, a non-fried version of the aforementioned balls with a zesty kick. There are also burgers, one version being a Bacon Cheeseburger Salad that begs to ask the question—how much meat do you want on your salad? If you answered a ton, this one is for you. But the bacon peak, nirvana and Holy Grail is the B’ B’ B’ Bacon Burger, a true rarity; a “monster” burger that is epicly delicious. Made with Bacon Island Dressing, thick cut bacon, a fried egg on a bacon pretzel bun create pig paradise in a burger that is half ground beef and . . . yes, more ground bacon. (B.G.)
8009 Day Creek Blvd., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 803-1991; www.slaters5050.com.
With a name like this, The Salted Pig had better get bacon right, and like most things at this bustling gastro pub, they do. It’s often a bit subtler than at other joints, however. Take their “bacon” drink, The Pig; a tribute of sorts to cocktails from the ’70s but with a strip of bacon inserted. With pecan bitters and sherry it’s not for everyone, but the bacon is crispy, sweet, awesome and hints at what they can do with pork here.
Take the Ale Battered Dates, the Pig’s spin on the tapas favorite, bacon-wrapped dates. It’s almost a deconstruction of the classic, as strips of bacon mix with cream cheese and dates in beer battered tastiness. There’s a ranch dipping sauce that’s semi-superfluous yet goes well with the bacon. The MSG Burger features a chunk of slab bacon; bigger, meatier and softer than the bacon featured in other dishes, it gives the burger a moist juiciness. For those still craving some pork there’s the Pig Sammy, maple cookies and candied bacon ice cream. (B.G.)
3700 12th St. Riverside, (951) 848-4020; www.saltedpigriverside.com.
Okay, so unlike many restaurants in this issue, Suite 106 is a cupcake shop. They don’t have drinks with bacon, or fries with bacon, or bacon with bacon. They do, however, have the best baconn dessert ever; featuring bacon, pancakes and maple syrup. The Pancakes N’ Bacon cupcake features buttermilk spice cake with a bacon cream filling, bacon slices on top of that with maple syrup floating around the edges. It’s breakfast-meets-cupcake; the result is a syrupy, salty, sweet sensation that will rattle your fillings and leaving you in a state of either bacon ecstasy or overload. (B.G.)
12434 N. Main St., Rancho Cucamonga, (888) 977-6458; www.suite106cupcakery.com.
In the decade since they’ve arrived, Keith and Kim’s Baker’s Dozen Donuts has evolved into a Corona staple; a homey spot where families congregate for late-breakfast treats and where folks wile away precious hours studiously analyzing the latest Lotto combinations. But Keith and Kim’s place isn’t just your run-of-the mill neighborhood donut shop. They’ve come up with innovative spins on bacon that nobody has had the guts to emulate. Take their Maple Bacon Frappé, a bacon-flavored blended coffee drink topped off by a mound of whipped cream, crumbled maple bacon bits and drizzled in more maple sauce. It offers a surprisingly bold, but sweet and savory treat with just the slightest bacony aftertaste for those who like their pig on-the-run. While the frappe is definitely an acquired taste for those with the nerve to try it, mainstream bacon lovers might find more satisfaction in the treacly bites of limited-supply Maple Bars topped off by thick, crisped slices of bacon. They’ll also derive satisfaction from the protein punch of Keith and Kim’s popular Bacon, Ham and Egg Sandwiches on soft, chewy bagels or buttery croissants. Starting next month, Baker’s Dozen will serve an extended line-up of drinks, smoothies and sandwiches in the café opening next door. Do we smell a bacon muffin in the works? (N.P.)
325 S. Main St., Corona, (951) 736-7571; www.bakersdozendonuts.com.
If you survive the steep, harrowing drive up the hill to The Pomona Valley Mining Company, you’ll not only be rewarded with spectacular, sweeping vistas of the Pomona Valley on a clear day and the deeply-ingrained charm of Western Americana that has made Pomona Valley Mining Company the big occasion location for the Empire, but you’ll find the juiciest filet made this side of the San Gabriel Mountains. The restaurant’s claim-to-fame all comes down to its Miner’s Filly, an 8-ounce bacon-wrapped piece of pure meaty perfection, a nearly fork-tender and deliciously unctuous slab of the vaquero’s favorite, flavored up by a singular piece of smoky hog heaven and served alongside a gargantuan baked potato piled to its buttery rim with the “works:” melted cheddar and crumbled pieces of bacon. If this alone doesn’t do enough to loosen the belt buckle, Chef Carlos Valenzuela can also pair it up with a side of plump and rich shrimp scampi or a generous side of grilled lobster tail from the land down under. (N.P.)
1777 Gillette Rd., Pomona, (909) 623-3515; www.pomonavalleyminingco.com.
Eureka! Burger is a hip and happening spot amongst the college crowd, and who could argue with the perennial popularity of gourmet burgers and craft brews, done with attitude? The 11 burgers on Eureka’s menu are all made from steroid and hormone-free beef, but the two that grabbed our attention and would satisfy any pigaholic are the Fig Marmalade and the Cowboy Burger, the ultimate contrasts in sweet and savory. Eureka! ups the ante on the classic bacon barbecue burger with two thick slices of fried bacon, a pile of shoestring onion rings and the star ingredient, its vinegary halo of beer-flavored barbecue sauce which gives this burger its decidedly tangy kick. The Fig Marmalade burger, however, is beauty on a plate, a delectable play on the sweet and savory that borders on umami. The smokiness of the bacon contrasts nicely with char of the meat, the sweetness of the homemade fig marmalade and the peppery bite of the mustard-dressed arugula. Pair this baby up with some sweet potato fries drizzled in honey and it is exclamation point indeed! Add an ice cold custom brew to the mix and one can mingle in the throes of meat-ecstasy. (N.P.)
580 W. First St., Claremont, (909) 445-8875; www.eurekarestaurantgroup.com.
There’s only one thing that’s better than normal bacon food—and that’s portable pork. Bringing your favorite salty food closer than ever before is the highly sought after Bacon Mania Truck. The Truck visits a majority of Southern California but it can often be seen frequenting the most popular truck sites in the IE (including a recent food truck festival in Corona earlier this month and a popular presence in Ontario during Labor Day Weekend). At events like these, the Truck is swamped with hungry diners—prepared to wait. For a treat like the Bacon Ball Duo, it’s worth it. A delicate ball of macaroni and cheese is covered with thick, crunchy bacon strips. These “balls of brilliance” have a mildy crunchy exterior that compliments the gooey cheese within. Or for a meal, many prefer the Jack Back Sammie. Let it dominate your senses as a twice-grilled cheese sandwich (cheese which covers both the outside of the bread as well as the inside) offers cheesy bacon between two thick pieces of crunchy toast. Whether it’s a healthy wrap with a crunchy bacon center, 50 percent bacon and ground beef burger patties or bacon-wrapped brownies that are fried and topped with chocolate syrup, there’s no menu like Bacon Mania’s anywhere else. (A.B.)
Check out www.baconmaniatruck.com for the latest on the truck’s schedule (menu subject to change).
Pizza has remained relatively unchanged over the years. Where are the restaurants that reflect the ingenuity and a fresh take on a traditional dishes? You won’t find a more bizarre and creative use of ingredients than at the Gourmet Pizza Shoppe. Nestled in the quiet town of Redlands, this shop’s name doesn’t even begin to explain the extremeties of it’s eight-page menu (and over 50 unique variations of pizza), from pizzas donning mashed potatoes and gravy and even a bizarre peanut butter, cheese and hot sauce creation. A pizza with only bacon would be boring, lackluster and certainly not fitting of a restaurant with a peanut butter pizza on the menu. But The Cattleman’s pizza marries bacon with the only other thing compliments it most—more meat. A heaping helping of bacon is mixed with hearty sausage, ground beef bits, Canadian bacon (bacon in ham-form) and sliced potatoes all sizzling underneath a thick layer of gooey jack and mozzarella cheese and Cholula hot sauce. A single bite mixes together a variety of flavors and textures, but the crunchy and salty presence of bacon is unmistakable—and unbelievably tasty. (A.B.)
120 E. State St., Redlands, (909) 792-3313; www.gourmetpizzas.com.
There’s no food like fair food. Sweet, fattening, fried and greasy treats that ensnare the senses and strike fear into a heart’s arteries. When the L.A. County Fair rolls into town it always brings back favored massive onion rings, barbeque ribs and the victorious return of deep-fried twinkies. But nothing trumps the salty coverage of bacon on . . . everything. Fans of salt might have withdrawals until they can calm their craving with a few Bacon-Wrapped Fried Pickles. It’s not the fanciest of fair items, but one bite puncturing the layer of crunchy bacon through thinly fried exterior and into the salty juice of the pickle within—well, let’s just say they won’t last long. Perhaps a balance of salt and sweet at Ten Pound Buns (a name derived from the 10-pound loaf of sourdough bread that’s sliced) is more your style. The booth mainly offers a variety of cooked pizzas, but nothing more talked about than the Nutella and Bacon. A single slice of sourdough bread slathered with that chocolate-hazlenut spread of Nutella and a generous application of bacon bits on top. If nothing else perpetuates the fact (not opinion) that bacon is good with everything, we also hear that this year there will be Bacon Cotton Candy and a Bacon-Covered Caramel Apple—there’s no doubt that you’ll probably discover more bacon than even we know about. (A.B.)
1101 McKinley Ave., Pomona, (909) 865-4590; www.lacountyfair.com.