Last week, Burger Beast received an invitation to attend an exclusive event for a new menu launch at Denny’s Corporate Headquarters in Spartanburg, SC. The invite was vague on any specific details, but there was a photo of bacon with the tagline “Bacon Makes It Better”. Since Burger Beast was unable to attend, he sent me on his behalf to cover this secret event. Knowing my obsession for all things bacon, I was the perfect fit. I made the trip to Spartanburg and found out the big news yesterday. Denny’s Baconalia is back and launching on March 12th with a bacon-centered menu, that will be available all day, every day, for a limited time only.
The special event took place at Denny’s Headquarters and I joined a select group of bacon bloggers and food media. The room was buzzing with bacon knowledge and Denny’s history was presented by company representatives. Denny’s was the first restaurant chain to create a menu around bacon and Baconalia has been the most successful menu launch to date. With that success and recently celebrating the company’s 60th anniversary, Denny’s decided to bring back Baconalia again this year, including new bacon entrées and desserts. After all of the talk about bacon, we moved over to the test kitchen for a tasting of the Baconalia menu items. We all took turns taking photos of the plated dishes and then we sat down for sample portions to try.
Caramel Bacon Stuffed French Toast
A sweet and savory layer of bacon and white chocolate spread between two slices of French toast, topped with caramel sauce and diced bacon. Served with two eggs cooked to order, two hickory-smoked bacon strips, and a side of warm syrup.
The bacon stuffed French toast was one of my favorite dishes and the bacon and white chocolate spread was addicting. A good combination of sweet and savory, it was a good update on the standard French toast.
Ultimate Bacon Breakfast
Six savory strips of classic hickory-smoked bacon, served with two eggs cooked to order, crispy hash browns and choice of bread.
Pepper Bacon Avocado Omelette
Three-egg omelette with diced pepper bacon, fresh avocado, fire-roasted peppers and onions, mushrooms, melted American cheese and pico de gallo. Served with hash browns and choice of bread.
The omelette felt light with the addition of avocado and paired well with the bacon.
Pepper Bacon & Eggs
Bacon rubbed with black pepper, two eggs cooked to order, hash browns, choice of bread.
BBQ Bacon Mac ‘N Cheese Bites
Bits of bacon are added into six golden-fried macaroni and cheese bites. Served with BBQ sauce and a side of warm Pepper Jack cheese sauce topped with bacon.
Spicy Pepper Bacon Jack Burger
A hand-pressed beef patty with two crispy strips of pepper bacon, melted Pepper Jack cheese, sliced jalapeños and chipotle sauce. Served with lettuce, tomato, red onions and pickles on a grilled sesame seed bun. Served with a side of wavy-cut French fries.
This was my first burger at Denny’s and I must say I really enjoyed it. The hand-pressed beef patty had a nice sear on the outside and remained juicy in the middle. The chipotle sauce had a nice slow heat and it lingered after finishing the burger. The burger was not overly spicy, but enjoyable.
Four strips of pepper bacon, spring mix, sliced tomatoes, and fresh avocado. Topped with creamy pepper spread on toasted sourdough bread. Served with wavy-cut French fries.
This was another dish that stood out. The regular BLT has been transformed by adding avocado, giving a creamy richness to balance out the sandwich.
Bacon Pepper Jack Tilapia
Seasoned tilapia grilled and topped with fresh spinach sautéed with diced bacon and pico de gall. Smothered with warm Pepper Jack cheese sauce and served with choice of two sides and dinner bread.
Salted Caramel Brownie Sundae with Bacon
A warm sweet and savory salted caramel brownie, topped with a scoop of premium vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and diced bacon.
The brownie was more like warm fudge with a soft center and a crisp outer crust. The bacon added bites of savory notes and paired well with the caramel sauce and rich chocolate.
(left) Maple Bacon Milk Shake
Thick, hand-dipped milk shake with a blend of premium vanilla ice cream, maple-flavored syrup, diced bacon and topped with whipped cream.
(right) Maple Bacon Sundae
Maple-flavored syrup and a scoop of premium vanilla ice cream, topped with a generous sprinkle of diced hickory-smoked bacon. Another layer of syrup and ice cream is added, with more bacon and a drizzle of syrup.
The Maple Bacon Milk Shake is always hand made and made to order. The small bits of bacon were crunchy bits of goodness that were suspended in the creamy milk shake. The milk shake was my favorite dessert and seemed to be very popular in the room. The Maple Bacon Sundae uses Denny’s premium ice cream that holds up to the flavor of the hickory-smoked bacon and makes a good pairing with the maple-flavored syrup.
After the menu tasting, it was back to the airport to fly home to our respective cities. Overall our group of bacon enthusiasts were pleased by the dishes and notably the Spicy Pepper Bacon Jack Burger and the Maple Bacon Milk Shake seemed to be among the favorites. I think those two would be a great combination for any meal of the day and would satisfy any bacon lovers craving. You will just have to find your favorite dish at Baconalia and celebrate your own bacon obsession.
Below is an exclusive look at the brand new menu launching March 12, 2013:
Words and photos by Julius Mayo Jr. of Droolius.com