Growing up in restaurants I always cherished the process of creating something new. As a pizza cook in my teens I would invent pizzas using the Alfredo sauce, pressing out thin crusts, and creating special seasonings & toppings. Later when I was a small co-owner of a sports grill we invented new dishes all the time…and by invented I often mean, “hey…what if we added avocado?” Boom! Brilliant. It’s just fun! It’s why my nephew calls my sandwiches “Boo Boo sized” because (I’m “Uncle Boo Boo” by the way) my sandwiches are stacked high with all kinds of crazy stuff. When Kate is pregnant I invent all kinds of non-alcoholic drinks for her so she isn’t left out (read easy recipe at the bottom of this post). This week, I finally got to see one of my ideas come to life…and so far…its been a home-run!
When I was little I asked my dad for a bigger allowance so I could get more candy at the bulk store and go to the movies on weekends. He asked me what he would get in return for this and I told him I’d “love him more.” He took my allowance away and marched my spoiled butt downtown to his restaurant, tossed me a hair-net and a pair of gloves, and put me to work in the prep kitchen. I was furious…but I never asked for a handout again and I learned how to make a buck that summer…and every summer thereafter. What I was doing was making salsa, cutting onions, slicing deli meat, taking inventory, and my favorite…making our signature Sweet Pepper Bacon. I can still smell it at night in my dreams over a decade later! Mmmmmm. Bacon. Sweet Pepper Bacon. Mmmmmm.
Now it is 2012, I’ve become a co-owner of Heroes Sports Bar & Grill, and we are still making the same Sweet Pepper Bacon that has made us famous for over 20 years. Its been great to get involved at Heroes and help spearhead a movement to renovate the space, staff, dining experience, and of course menu. One dream I have had since moving back was teaming up with acclaimed Chocolateir Beth Tully and her company Cocoa Dolce to create a co-branded Sweet Pepper Bacon Chocolate Bar. After months of testing, tasting, and trying…we’ve done it. Now I know that bacon and chocolate together is nothing new…but you’ve never had a bar like this. This is a our famous Sweet Pepper Bacon hand dipped in artisan chocolate and dusted with fleur de sel to create something completely different and new. As well…it is delicious!!!!!!!!
It is currently for sale at Heroes (117 N. Mosley – Wichita, KS 316-264-4376) where you can also buy Sweet Pepper Bacon by the pound. The artisan chocolate bars are $3.50 each -or- 3 for $9. They will be available for online purchase soon and when they are…I will let you know.
So Long Freedom jokes about all the things I gave up like sleeping in, tennis shoes, and afternoon beers. However, it is important to note that with sacrifice comes reward. I gave up all those little things so I could start a family, support Kate while she painted, get involved with Heroes, and make little dreams like this come true…and this is a dream come true. So I’m patting myself on the back today…and eating a Sweet Pepper Bacon Chocolate Bar…because I’ve worked hard to have little moments like this. Little victories. Something fun. If you work your ass off and never come up for air you’ll never feel the sun shine on your face. Pat yourself on the back today, I’ll bet every one of you has something to feel good about today…and I’m happy for you too. Now, as promised…
RECIPE FOR NON-ALCOHOLIC “BASIN BAY”
- Fill a highball glass with ice
- 1/4 fill with lemonade
- 1/4 fill with cranberry
- Splash of grenadine
- Splash of pineapple juice
- 2 drops hot sauce
- Fill to rim with tonic
- Garnish with slice of pineapple
- Add tall straw
To make alcoholic reduce amounts of lemonade and cranberry, add spiced rum, remove hot sauce, and last step splash with dark rum for 3 tone color effect upon serving. Enjoy responsibly!