Jimmy’s No. 43’s Evening of Bacon, Chocolate, Cheese and Beer – Food Review

Photo courtesy NYMag, used without permission.

I’ve been in living in New York City, New York for almost six years now. During this time not only have I aged chronologically, but I’ve developed the types of tastes for things one has after trying a whole bunch of them. Since my 21st birthday in 2007, my favorite bar in the city and corresponding whole world has been Jimmy’s No. 43. Located on 7th street between 2nd and 3rd Ave in the island of Manhattan, Jimmy’s offers the city’s best beer selection in generous goblets at affordable prices. It’s always been the first place I suggest people check out when they come to the city, and it’s become the first place they mention on every return visit. When people tell me that they aren’t a “beer person,” I assert that they just haven’t had what’s commonly referred to as “good beer” and thus haven’t found the right one. Jimmy’s is where your proper beer type can be found. With such a history of being the best at what they do, imagine my delight when I was offered a chance to take part in their Bacon, Chocolate, Cheese and Beer Festival. Finally, I was going to have the same discerning taste from Jimmy’s beer selecting the best from the other three food groups. As you can imagine, this was all kinds of awesome.

Along with boasting beers brought by Brian Ewing of Twelve Percent Imports and Chocolates by Rhonda Kave of Roni-Sue’s, the evening was co-hosted by some of the foremost experts on these four building blocks of life. Handling the beer, chocolate and cheese side of things were NYCDAT members and world-reknown beer experts Mary Izett and Chris Cuzme. Both have judged countless beer competitions around the world and really know how to simultaneously entertain and educate even with the distraction of flavor perfection in front of us. Also hosting was meat mastermind and star of the Mr. Cutlets Show Josh Ozersky. Ridiculously charismatic, his bacon communication skills made each course especially galvanizing to the point where the vegetarian who accompanied me dropped her years-long meatless streak in the name (and taste) of the bacon excellence. Mr. Ozersky is the David Koresh of Cold Cuts and in one night made me feel like I had a BA in Baconology*.

The Four Elements of Awesome

Beginning the night was an explanation of what makes beer, bacon, chocolate and cheese great. Seeing as most of us would merely answer that question with “they’re awesome,” the hosts laid the basics out to understand what to look for and appreciate exactly what makes them so “awesome,” which was awesome. We started with the basic, familiar non-threatening Oscar Mayer Hearty Thick Cut. The Talib Kweli of bacons, it acted as a great control to test the variable bacons (variabacons?) over the course of the evening. Chasing it with the Detroit’s delightful Atwater Maibock beer (ABV 7%) it cleansed our pallets and set them up for more increasingly-perfect perfections. I know that may read like grammatically incorrect hyperbole, but this was a night of sampling the best examples of the best things in the world. It was the Met, the MoMa, the Guggenheim and Wrestlemania all rolled into one, converted to food form, and spread over the course of one enchanted evening.

Having been in New York for so many years (the majority of which I was a vegetarian) it was a nice surprise to revisit Iowa’s Vande Rose Farms Applewood Smoked Bacon. A midwest staple, the news of them recently going national should ring an alarm for anyone even remotely interested in waking up to a delectable “edible animal**.” This arrived with the first cheese of the night, France’s Saint-Andre Triple Cream and the Toria Tripel (8.5%). Each course was matched together exquisitely with beer, bacon, chocolate and cheese the complimented each other flawlessly. I awoke that morning not expecting to learn that traditionally the best bacon comes from a pig’s jowls, but after having Burgers’ Smokehouse Country Pork Jowl Bacon with Farmhouse Cheddar and Jevel Pilsener, I’m not only agreeing to agree but full blown testifying.

My favorite pairing of the night was Benton’s Smoky Country Hams Hickory Bacon (Tennessee) with Roni-Sue Chocolates’ Portly Fig Truffle and Hopfenstark LouLou Porter. The richness in all three was an amazing cornucopia to savor. After six wonderful combinations, the night came to a close and between the hosts, the atmosphere and the wonderful edibles, Jimmy’s has continued its standard of greatness through three more mediums. While I always recommend the intelligent unpretentious atmosphere (where else in New York can you affordably get the finest beers and enjoy them surrounded by wonderfully mediocre crayon drawings of elks while listening to Outkast’s ATLiens?) to everyone I can, this evening of Bacon, Chocolate, Cheese and Beer was truly something special. They announced plans to make this a monthly event, and I’d HIGHLY suggest you do what you can to be there.

We give Jimmy’s No. 43’s Evening of Bacon, Chocolate, Cheese and Beer a Five Out of Five

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

*Something I would have majored in had I gone to NYU’s Galletin School of Individualized Study. Alas, the closest Tisch had was Cinema Studies.

**Josh’s words that I had to reuse. FUN FACT: This is what’s known as a “quote!”

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