Anyone that knows me well, knows that I really like bacon. Not just any bacon, either, but good bacon (if anything, I’ve been annoyed by the current bacon trend, since it mostly seems to be emphasizing quantity over quantity; putting three strips of bacon on something doesn’t automatically make it better). No, my bacon needs to be made from a quality pork belly that’s got nice layering of fat and lean. It needs to be thick sliced. It needs to nicely smoked and cured, generally with some nice robust flavors. And it needs to be properly cooked. Most places serving me up some bacon fail on one of these. But I’m lucky enough to live in New England, which actually has several purveyors of really top quality bacon. For example, I’m a huge fan of the various bacons (in particular the cob-smoked bacon) from North Country Smokehouse down the road from me in Claremont, NH. Similarly, two local companies, Garfield’s Smokehouse in Plainfield, NH, and Vermont Smoke and Cure in Hinesburg, VT. But there’s one place in New England that, when my travels allow, I stop by for bacon and a sandwich: Nodine’s Smokehouse in Goshen, CT.
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
(Closed) I’ve been a pho addict for almost 15 years now. Unfortunately, living in New Hampshire, I’ve got no local pho joints, and only two that are within an hour’s drive of my home. So most any time I’m traveling to an area with good Pho shops, I try and get a pho fix. Phoenix is a particularly good area for Pho, with a large Vietnamese population. I used to have a favorite place up in Scottsdale by the Motorola plant, but it isn’t there anymore. Khai Hoan on Apache in Tempe is good as well, but wasn’t open on Christmas Eve this year, so we decided to give one of the better-reviewed places in Phoenix a try (19th Ave around Camelback has a number of Vietnamese businesses). We settled on Pho Bang due to a number of good reviews online, including two that mention that it’s John McCain’s favorite Pho joint.