Monthly Archives: November 2013
It’s that time again! Time to stuff your faces and be thankful for all that you have! And what better way to do that than to add your favorite food additive – BACON! Even if you have diet restrictions this year, you can always substitute the bacon in recipes with soy, duck, beef, duck, or turkey bacon. I feel turkey bacon is actually the most appropriate bacon to use for Thanksgiving anyway.
I searched around again this year for recipes offered by others on the internet and a couple by me and my husband. I chose some I felt were easy to make and some that simply had a unique twist that intrigued me. If you create any fun recipes this Thanksgiving, please send them my way @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
BREADS & SPEAD:
**** Also check out last years post, “Be Thankful For Bacon and Include it in Your Thanksgiving!” for additional recipes.
The Beer and Bacon Festival in Altamonte Springs, Florida was held on November 2, 2013. The event was advertised as an event offering unlimited craft beer samples with a purchased wristband. And there would be food vendors with bacon delights to offer for various prices. Unlimited Beer + Bacon + Within Walking Distance + Time With Loved Ones = Duh, We’re Going. My husband Ric and I were lucky to have family join us: My brother Jimmy, sister in law Robin, and nieces Cameron and Morgan.
As usual, I made sure to do my nails up with the correct colors and decorated my ring nail with a bacon design. I also made sure to wear my bacon shirt I altered for the last bacon festival.
PROS OF THE FESTIVAL:
* Loved where the event was set up. Near the water for a nice view, lots of steps to sit and relax, and the music set back next to the water at the bottom of the stairs. Having the music set up away from the event allowed them to play loudly and cover the whole event. Someone actually thought it out and I appreciate the detail in that.
* When we checked in, I had my tickets on my phone through the Eventbrite app. When we got to the check in table, the woman said she wasn’t set up to scan in tickets from phones yet. I immediately though back to the last bacon festival and wanted to roll my eyes. But she quickly said she was just going to take a picture of the tickets’ QR Code with her phone and just check us in later. Just that little bit of quick problem solving already made this experience better than my entry to the Festival of Bacon in Orlando.
* There booths for beer and bacon were evenly set up. If you were to start at one end and just go down the path, you would always have something new to try. I list all the selections on a previous blog entry: “Beer and Bacon Festival in Altamonte Springs, FL”
* They had two booths set up where you could purchase full glasses of beer, soda, water and other non-alcoholic beverages. You didn’t have to purchase the beer sampling wristband to enjoy yourself at this event. Anyone could show up and enjoy as much or little as they wanted.
* The length of the event was reasonable. They took into account the type of event they had and was realistic. There was going to be unlimited beer with your wristband and the lines moved quickly. There was only so much one can do back and forth. No games to interact with. So, why have it go for 8 hours? 4 hours was plenty!
* The festival opened at 3 PM, but beer samples started at 4 PM. I felt this was a really smart move. It allowed people to show up for bacon treats that either were not going to be drinking or at least wanted a head start on trying them out before the crowd showed up for beer samples.
* There were not too many vendors not related to the actual event theme. I saw only a handful. The ratio was good.
* Miller’s Ale House definitely brought the competition even though there wasn’t an actual contest. But they won in my books. They had cheap eats, huge quantities and a menu selection that was perfect for this type of event. Please check out my separate review for them: “Review: Miller’s Ale House – Altamonte”
* 4 Rivers was there and as always they were a hit! We already knew their food is amazing (that’s why Ric and I had them cater our wedding!) so we didn’t try their food at the festival. I was going to try the Chicken Biscuit with Bacon and Maple Drizzle they had listed on the festival’s website, but they weren’t serving it at the festival. That was a downer. But Robin said she had not tried their Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos, so she did and she loved them! I was always amazed that such a simple combination could be so good. The smoky flavor of the bacon covers the heat of the jalapeno just right.
* It was a nice surprise to find Casillero del Diablo at the festival! It’s a cheaper wine Ric and I have been enjoying at home recently and were glad to partake in some samples while at the festival.
* Having MJ Frias Cigars at the festival was pretty smart! Unlimited beer and a nice cigar? Now that’s a relaxing Saturday!
* I was so cute to see kids and even some grown ups getting a caricature done! It was a simple and fun addition. It added to the festival feel!
CONS OF THE FESTIVAL:
* I was hoping for more fun bacon-related interactions. Fun booths with games or bacon themed crafts.
* I found some of the food vendors to be a bit pricey for what they were offering. Mostly for the fact that I knew the quality was not going to be good because they were either pre-cooked dishes or thrown together. I passed up on a lot of the food even based on the quantity I saw others were receiving for the higher priced goodies… not impressed and I wasn’t going to waste my money at the festival. I found myself more interested in the beer samples I already purchased with my wristband than trying to waste more money on food I was already raising an eyebrow at just by a visual review.
* I wanted more photo opportunities. I’m a sucker for Instagram and photo sharing….I’m a girl with a camera phone and a blog, it’s what I do. Ric and I only got pictures with the cut out pig they had. And that was located next to the speakers down by the DJs. I had to wait until there was a song on with less beat so I could stand near it long enough without making my ears bleed. And yes, I’m sure they had it there for a reason.
* It was odd to see the PowerHoopz booth. I don’t want to talk about staying in shape while I pour unlimited beer down my throat and shove bacon in my mouth.
* Whole Foods Market brought Vegan Bacon and Chocolate Chip Cookies to the event. Yes they were only $1 for a big cookie, but why vegan bacon?? It was a beer and bacon festival, no one was expecting you to cater to the vegans.
* The Hammered Lamb couldn’t even pull off a grilled cheese. We didn’t even both with the rest of the menu. Check out the full review: “Review: The Hammered Lamb”
WHAT I WOULD CHANGE:
* I would fill the vendor list with only beer and bacon related products/services. Forget the laser correction for your eyes, but cigar definitely fit in.
* Offer more of a selection of quick, simple, cheaper food selections. Those are the ones that are rarely disappointing at a festival. An argument could be made that something different should be tried. I agree, but be wise when making decisions on the food selections for an event. Take the type of event that is at hand. Ale House offered simple selections, but something different also with the Watermelon and Bacon Salad. This wasn’t a food truck event, this was a beer festival with food to buy.
* I would have loved more interactive booths. Things to do is always fun.
MY SUMMARY REVIEW:
I was pretty darn impressed with the event. I may have listed some disappointments that made it seem as though I was picking it apart, but nothing is perfect and well… I had to list something. I really did have a great time hanging out with my husband and family at the festival. I saw this event as a “Beer Fest” that simply offered bacon vendors to buy from. And seeing the event in this way made it one of the best festivals I have been to. It was well organized and offered exactly what they advertised. They were upfront about parking, time, food offered, and prices. You may think I am being a little dramatic, but please keep in mind – I recently went to a Bacon Festival that was unorganized and falsely advertised. It was nice to go to an event that gave you exactly what they said. I’m really hoping it returns next year. I hope to indulge in more bacon treats next time.