Chef Nathan Anda has inspired me to declare a nontraditional New Year’s resolution for 2008: Eat more bacon. He’s been making his own strips at Clarendon’s EatBar and is experimenting with unusual cures—from subtly fragrant ginger to spicy cumin-coriander. In January, he’ll add a “bacon of the week” to EatBar’s roster of house-made charcuterie, so by year’s end my virtuous goal is to try them all.
At a sneak-preview tasting, I sampled five different bacons and a couple of the bacon-centric dishes that will debut on EatBar’s January menu. A favorite was the sweet-and-smoky cinnamon bacon—it would be a perfect side for French toast but did just as well atop a rich chestnut soup stirred with a poached quail egg. The cumin-coriander bacon paired nicely with a meaty sea scallop striped with fiery green curry. Anda is currently tweaking coffee and Old Bay cures—he plans to showcase the latter in a fried oyster po’ boy with rémoulade.
To me, chef Anda and bacon have always gone hand in hand. Last winter, I developed a borderline obsession with his bacon-wrapped figs. This year, he’ll riff on that theme with dates wrapped in chocolate-cured bacon. Anda says that the figs will remain on EatBar’s menu, so rather than choose, I may just have to make a meal of bacon-wrapped snacks. Resolution, here I come.
EatBar, 2761 Washington Blvd., Arlington; 703-778-9951; eat-bar.com.