Got a freezer? Like, a big one? If so, you might want to stock up on bacon and other pig products pronto before the world-wide shortage on all things porcine hits your wallet.
Bad enough that it'll cost an arm and a leg just to set a couple of strips of cured and salted pork belly next to your morning eggs. But what happens when our favorite restaurant dishes, accented with crispy bacon-y goodness, start costing a small fortune?
Here are a few of the bacon-centric specialties I don't ever want to live without:
Christopher's Restaurant/Crush Lounge 2502 E. Camelback Road, Biltmore Fashion Park, Phoenix, 602-522-2344, www.christophersaz.com
At the moment, there's no shortage of bacon at Christopher's. But that's not surprising, given that this is a modern French restaurant and the French unabashedly love bacon (or lardons, the term used when it's diced, blanched and fried). At Christopher's you'll find lardons in a classic frisee salad with poached egg, as well as in an Alsatian tart. But the expression of bacon you won't want to miss -- the dish that should be served with a defibrillator -- is offered at Crush Lounge (the moody adjacent bar) and it is as deliciously bad for you as anything Elvis ever dreamed up in his drug-demented little head. Get this: silky foie gras au torchon (think meat-butter) with poached egg, brioche toast, a few sunny dollops of Bearnaise and deep-fried tempura bacon ($14). You might live longer on the Paleo diet but then what's the point of living without bacon? And foie? And bearnaise?
Zinc Bistro 15034 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-603-0922, www.zincbistroaz.com
Chef Matt Carter clearly loves bacon and its first cousin pork belly (which is simply unsalted and uncured bacon cut a bit thicker). Both are found all over the menus at both Zinc and The House, which recently opened in Old Town. But the dish that makes a breathtaking poem of pork is currently on the menu at Zinc, and it goes something like this: bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with sauce hydro-miel (think caramelized mirepoix, foamed honey, demi, butter and macerated prunes), sided with popcorn cabbage, which contains lardons and rich elephant garlic crema, made with condensed milk). The dish costs $32, and I don't care if it costs $100. I want it. Often.
Petite Maison 7216 E. Shoeman Lane, Scottsdale, 480-991-6887, www.petitemaisonaz.com
Okay, it's basically just pizza, but in French, it sounds really elegant (or a little vulgar, depending on your pronunciation). James Porter's Pissaladiere Lorraine, found on the lunch menu, is an ultra-rich and altogether yummy variant on the classic Quiche Lorraine, the tender dough lightly sweetened with sugar, the pie topped with caramelized onion, lardons, Gruyere, arugula and a sunny-side up egg ($13). The combination of sweet dough and onion, salty pork and bitter greens with runny egg yolk is très French and très fabulous. When I told Porter the bad news about pork, he said, "If there's a world-wide bacon shortage, I'm moving to foie gras." You have to love the way he thinks.
Davanti Enoteca 6316 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-659-1800, www.davantiscottsdale
Chef Pete DeRuvo is another resolute pork-lover, and it shows on his mouth-watering, thoroughly Italian menu at Davanti. His house-made salumi (Italian for charcuterie) is out of this world, but the bacon-based dish I crave is an antipasto plate of crisp-edged and fatty pork belly with smoked cannellini bean puree, fresh pears, walnuts, frisee and pickled onion -- a beautiful autumn dish that elevates the humble to the sublime ($12).
Windsor 5223 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, 602-279-1111, www.windsoraz.com
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SHOW ME HOW
There's nothing elegant about them, but I love Windsor's Loaded Chips beyond all reason because, really, how can you beat this combo? Imagine crunchy, house-made potato chips topped with tangles of sweet caramelized onion, crispy salty bacon, blue cheese and chipotle crema, which adds just a trace of heat ($9). Now imagine NOT licking the plate clean. Impossible.