Universal Cafe

dinner615.jpgAfter some brief talk of cooking ourselves an Ethiopian feast (stay tuned–I now have that bee in my bonnet and we all know what that means), and a moment when it looked like we might drive over the bridge to go to Camino again, instead we walked a few blocks to Universal Cafe. We love it for brunch–especially just as it opens at 9 when we can grab a table on the sidewalk and avoid the insane crowds that start to build around 10. We hadn’t been for dinner in a long time. My rigatoni with braised pork shoulder, greens, and pecorino wasn’t what I pictured, but I loved it and will attempt to re-create it. Plenty of black pepper was key. My home version will have MUCH less salt, however, it seemed almost like three or four people independently salted the dish. I doubt anyone tasted it before it headed out over the kitchen counter.

As usual, Ernie did a respectable job on his roast chicken–picking up entire quarters and digging in with glee.

But overall we weren’t terribly hungry. Earlier that day we had celebrated Fathers’ Day and–why be shy about it?–my birthday with a huge brunch. I made yeasted waffles; my dad cooked the bacon. He doesn’t cook much. The standard man-grilling America expects from its fathers, but nothing else besides bacon and fried eggs, actually, unless you count toast. And, because he eats about half a loaf worth every morning, he is an expert toaster.

My parents do not like messes. Not at all. But my dad loves bacon. And, as we all know, bacon is messy. So he has devised a system. A system he implemented in my kitchen when my own system for no-messy-kitchen-bacon–cook it in a cast iron skillet on the grill (which has the added benefit of making the entire neighborhood smell like bacon)–failed due to freezing winds whipping up our hill and keeping the grill from heating up sufficiently.

Behold!

dadbacon1.jpg

With just a morning’s worth of newsprint and a quarter roll of Scotch tape, this creation can be yours! What? You think all that newspaper next to an open flame seems a wee bit dangerous? Peshaw! It’s fine! What’s a little fire hazard when you can have easy-clean-up, mouth-watering bacon? Live a little!