Five bacon desserts in Honolulu
Put bacon on anything to make it great, so people say. I thought I'd put the idea to the test by rounding up some bacon desserts. The results, in order of I'd-go-back-for-that:
Chocolate-dipped EATBacon from Eat Honolulu. Photo by David Croxford
Cafe/caterer Eat Honolulu takes thick-cut bacon, candies it with sugar and spice, and then dips it in chocolate. Forget a chocolate bar with bacon in it, I'll take this bacon bar instead.
$3, available by preorder, 538-0597, eathonolulu.com
Pint and Jigger chocolate bread pudding (candle not included, unless it's your birthday). Photo by Dawn Sakamoto.
Pint and Jigger calls it a chocolate stout cake with candied bacon and whiskey glaze, but it's more of a chocolate bread pudding. Whatever—it's good on its own, but putting one of the thick-cut bacon chunks scattered around the plate on your forkful makes it all the better.
$9, 744-9593, pintandjigger.com
Bacon and maple cupcake from Let Them Eat Cupcakes
Let Them Eat Cupcakes melds a soft cake with bacon and maple; it's like eating a pancake in cupcake form. There's plenty of bacon—crowning the frosting and sprinkled on top of the batter before baking, but I wish it were more incorporated into the batter and perhaps the smoky bacon flavor more infused into the frosting; the bacon bits have a tendency to just fall off.
$3, available Thursdays and Saturdays, 531-2253, cupcakes808.com
Monte Cristo from Tiki's Bar and Grill. Photo courtesy of Tiki's
I love Monte Cristos—classic ones are essentially a ham and cheese sandwich, dunked in a French-toast like batter and deep-fried, with a bit of jam to lighten and sweeten the deal. Tiki's twist makes it a tempura-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich with bacon on a taro bread pudding. Sure, the Monte Cristo sandwich is not diet food, but I might sub in a thinner-cut bread to scale back the heaviness. We could only a manage a few bites with the combined richness of peanut butter and the batter. But, of all the desserts we tried (aside from the chocolate-dipped bacon), it was the most bacon-prominent.
$6, 923-8454, tikisgrill.com
At Real a Gastropub, the waffle is good, the caramel is good, the gelato (from Il Gelato) is excellent. Except, wait, where's the bacon? We found three measly pieces on top the waffle, under the gelato. So the dessert is fine, if uninspired, but I wouldn't call it a bacon dessert.
$6, 596-2526, realgastropub.com
So, the verdict? Does bacon make everything better? No, but I think some chefs are treating it as such: an attempt to add must-order status to a not-well-thought-out dessert. Why do we love bacon? The smokiness, the salt, the fat. The best bacon dessert I had didn't even have bacon in it (and is no longer available, sadly), though it tasted like it did. It was a kiawe-smoked gelato by pastry chef Kimberly Oi of Prima, who (as a vegetarian!) broke down the characteristics of bacon and replicated it by burning kiawe wood and dropping it into cream to infuse it with a smoky savoriness. The perfect vegetarian "bacon" gelato. Talk about fakin' bacon.