365 Things To Do Around the Eastside

Sharing Things To Do Around Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Issaquah, Sammamish and Woodinville

Bacon Explosion = Heart Attack on the Grill (BBQ Time)

Bacon Explosion:

The BBQ Sausage Recipe of all Recipes

This recipes is from BBQ Addicts The people who run the BBQ Addicts web site are my heroes. They are BBQ FANATICS. Everything they make, create, smoke, grill or dream up is amazing.

If you don’t want to take the time to assemble a Bacon Explosion you can order 1 that is ready to heat and eat!

Here’s what you’ll need…

2 pounds thick cut bacon
2 pounds Italian sausage
1 jar of your favorite barbeque sauce
1 jar of your favorite barbeque rub

To kick off the construction of this pork medley you’ll need to create a 5×5 bacon weave.  If the strips you’re using aren’t as wide as the ones pictured, then you may need to use a few extra slices to fill out the pattern.  Just make sure your bacon weave is tight and that you end up with a nice square shape to work with.

The next step is to add some barbecue seasoning on top of your bacon weave.  Being the barbeque addict that I am, I whipped up a batch of Burnt Finger BBQ’s competition pork rub for this special occasion.  Seeing as not everyone has the time, or the expertise, to create a tasty rub of their own, I would recommend trying Cowtown Sweet Spot for the best combination. Plowboys Yardbird, Bad Byron’s Butt Rub, and Rendezvous Famous Seasoning are also excellent choices.

Now that you’re pork is well seasoned, it’s time to add more pork.  Take two pounds of Italian sausage and layer it directly on top of your bacon weave.  Be sure to press the sausage to the outer edges of the bacon creating a patty that is the same thickness all the way across.  Most grocery stores carry loose sausage, so just pick out one you like.  I chose to go with a mild sausage, but spicy would work just the same.  If you really want to get crazy, take a stab at making your own homemade sausage.

Next up is bacon layer number two.  Take the remaining bacon slices and fry them up the same way you would for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or a midnight snack).  If you like soft bacon, make it soft.  If you like crunchy bacon, make it crunchy.  If you like your bacon burnt to hell so the smoke detectors go off, then burn it to hell so the smoke detectors go off.  These pieces are going to be a major part of the inner flavor of our sausage fatty, so cook them your favorite way.  Personally, I like my bacon right at the point when it starts to get crispy, but hasn’t quite lost all of the softness yet.  Regardless of how well done you like yours, you’ll need to crumble or chop the cooked strips into bite size pieces and place on top of the sausage layer.  (Note-It’s okay, and encouraged, to snack on these pieces while your chopping/crumbling.  But keep in mind that once those bacon morsels touch the raw sausage, you’ll need to resist all temptations to nibble.  This can and will be difficult, but hospital trips are no fun, so stay strong.)

Since this is a barbeque recipe, we need to add another layer of barbeque flavor.  Take your favorite sauce and drizzle it all over the top of the bacon pieces.  Personally, I prefer to use Burnt Finger BBQ’s homemade competition sauce, but if you’re torn on what brand to use I recommend Cowtown, Blues Hog, and Fiorella’s Jack Stack.  Once you’ve sauced the bacon, sprinkle on some more of the barbeque seasoning you used on the bacon weave.

Now comes the fun part.  Very carefully separate the front edge of the sausage layer from the bacon weave and begin rolling backwards.  You want to include all layers EXCEPT the bacon weave in your roll.  Try and keep the sausage as tight as possible and be sure to release any air pockets that may have formed.  Once the sausage is fully rolled up, pinch together the seams and ends to seal all of the bacon goodness inside.

At this point we can start to see the final shape of our Bacon Explosion, but we’re missing one key item.  To complete the construction process, roll the sausage forward completely wrapping it in the bacon weave.  Make sure it sits with the seam facing downward to help keep it all sealed up.

Sprinkle some barbeque seasoning on the outside of the bacon weave, and now this bad boy is ready for the smoker.  Cook your Bacon Explosion at 225 degrees in a constant cloud of hickory smoke until your Thermapen gives an internal temperature reading of 165 degrees.  Normally this will take about 1 hour for each inch of thickness, but that could vary depending on how well you maintain your fire and also how many times you open the smoker to take a peek.  Mine took about 2.5 hours, which was right on target with its 2.5 inch diameter.

Now that our Bacon Explosion is fully cooked, we need to add some finishing flavors.  Remember that barbecue sauce we used for inner flavor?  We’ll be using that same sauce to glaze the cooked bacon weave.  Using a basting brush, coat the entire surface with a thin layer of sauce.  Sweet sauces are loaded with sugars, so they’ll give your fatty a nice glossy finish.  Spicy and vinegar based sauces don’t contain as much, so they won’t set up as well.  If you’re dead set on using those sauces, just cut them with a bit of honey and you’ll get the same effect.

Slice the Bacon Explosion into quarter to half inch rounds to serve.  If your roll was good and tight, you should now see a nice bacon pinwheel pattern throughout the sausage.  Obviously pork is best served by itself, but if you feel the need to make this meat monster into a sandwich, try placing a couple Bacon Explosion slices on a warm Pillsbury’s Grands Biscuit.  You’ll reach pork Nirvana in no time flat!


July 14, 2010 Posted by | Bacon, BBQ, Outdoors | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 33 of 365 Things To Do Around the Eastside: Steak Dinner at John Howie Steak Bellevue WA

John Howie Steak Bellevue WA at The Bravern USDA Prime Filet & American Wagyu Filet photo by Mike HestnessI had the pleasure of eating at John Howie Steak two weeks ago and I am still raving about how fantastic it was!

I love Steak. When John Howie announced that he was going to open a new restaurant at The Bravern in Bellevue WA my taste buds started to salivate. I waited a few months before I checked it out; now that I have eaten there I am HOOKED!

John Howie Steak is definitely an upscale classy dining experience. Its decor is modern and well-lit – which is something I like – I want to see what I am eating. (El Gaucho in Bellevue was so dark we used small flashlights to read the menu!!!) There is a nice size Bar, but I can imagine it gets full during the week after work. The dining room has a nice wall of windows that lets in lots of natural light.

While it is a beautiful restaurant we came for the BEEF so here is a recap of our meal:

They serve some pretty tasty fresh made breads, crackers and rolls. There were 4 or 5 different ones. I liked the Rosemary Rolls – warm, light, slightly salty and tender.

We had 2 starterJohn Howie Steak Bellevue WA The Bravern Calamari s. The 1st was one Fried Calamari and Baby Artichokes with Roasted Garlic and Lemon Aioli. This dish was the only thing that was disappointing. The Calamari was slightly soggy instead of a Fried Crispy treat. The serving size was ample enough for the 3 of us to share (we didn’t even finish it all).

Tempura Bacon at John Howie Steak Bellevue WA at The Bravern

The 2nd starter we ordered was FREAKING FANTASTIC!!! Tempura Fried Kurobuta Bacon with a Spicy Maple Ponzu Sauce!!! This is on their Happy Hour/Bar Menu – lucky for us our server was able to snag an order for us. The Bacon was Thick and Salty. The Tempura was fried to a beautiful golden brown, it was crunchy and light. The Spicy Maple Ponzu Sauce complimented the flavor of the bacon and the crispness to the tempura. This very well could be THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER EATEN!!! My motto when eating is “Everything is Better with Bacon!”

On to the main event one of us had the Alaskan Halibut that was pan-seared with Morel Mushrooms, English Peas, White and Green Asparagus. Alaskan Halibut at John Howie Steak Bellevue WA at The Bravern It had a light lemon and butter sauce. The serving size was large enough for the 3 of us to share and we even had some leftover to take home. The fish was firm and tasted fresh. The Asparagus was cooked perfectly, which was a nice surprise since most of the time when eating Asparagus at a restaurant it can be overcooked.

John Howie Steak Bellevue WA at The Bravern USDA Prime Filet & American Wagyu Filet photo by Mike Hestness

Two of us had a USDA Prime Filet and an America Wagyu Beef Filet. Both Filets were 4 ounces. They were served straight up with no sauce or vegetables. The USDA Prime Filet is Omaha raised beef and grilled over Mesquite Coals. It was cooked to medium rare and was thick and juicy. Tender is not the right word for this steak. It was more than tender. The flavor was big and bold. It was what Beef should be. The Just the right amount of fat to give it a deep taste.

Wagyu Fillet John Howie Steak Bellevue WA at The Bravern

The American Wagyu Beef Filet was an incredible piece of meat. John Howie Steak gets their Wagyu Beef from Snake River Farms over in Boise. The meat from Wagyu Cattle is known worldwide for its marbling characteristics, increased eating quality through a naturally enhanced flavor, tenderness and juiciness. Once again tender is not the right way to describe these Filets. They were SOFT, soft like butter that has been sitting in the sunshine all afternoon. The Wagyu are equal in taste to a Kobe steak. They are rich, marbled, thick, juicy and SOFT. You will not have a better piece of meat. It was simply perfect. Cooked just right – with a warm red center. Using any sauces would have been sacrilege. Wagyu Beef should be enjoyed naked and in its purest form.

Five Cheese Twice Baked Stuffed Potato at John Howie Steak Bellevue WA We also had 2 sides for the table: Asparagus Spears with brown butter and Meyer Lemon Hollandaise. Once again the Asparagus was cooked right it was young and tender. In addition to the Asparagus we had a Five Cheese Twice Baked Stuffed Potato with Bacon. This Potato was almost as large as a Nerf Football! Again it was awesome.

We didn’t really need desert, but we ordered it anyway.  It was a unanimous choice for getting the Flourless Semi-Sweet Chocolate Volcano Cake with warm Caramel Ganache, Vanilla Crème and two scoops of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. It was as expected – excellent!Chocolate Lava Cake at John Howie Steak Bellevue WA

I am looking forward to trying out John Howie Steak Happy Hour (Monday – Friday 3-6 and late night Monday – Thursday 9-11 Saturday 9-Midnight and Sunday 3-10).  If you would like to meet me at John Howie Steak for Happy Hour just let me know and I will be there. I want to try their Epic USDA Prime Beef Bacon Cheeseburger and the Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese.

John Howie Steak on Facebook

John Howie Steak at The Bravern
11111 NE 8th Street
Bellevue WA 98004
425 440 0880

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Eating Out, Happy Hour | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 32 of 365 Things To Do Around the Eastside: XXX Root Beer Floats

It has been years since I hXXX Root Beerad a Root Beer float, but I have heard about a place in Issaquah called XXX Root Beer, so I decided to check it out.

This is a throw back to the 1950’s Happy Day’s era! You would expect to see The Fonz or Ralph Mouth sitting in a booth with Fries and a Shake.

Even though it is a COOL spot, I wanted to check out their Root Beer, I mean it’s called Triple X Root Beer, so it should be good, right? So, I ordered a 32 ounce Root Beer Float – that comes in a Frosted Glass Mug!

Triple X Root Beer FloatOMG – it was sooooo gooood! The Root Beer is just like it was when I was growing up. Strong, with a bit of a bite and bubbly; add a couple scoops of Dairygold Vanilla Ice Cream and heavy Whipped Cream put in into a 32 ounce frozen mug and dive in. It was worth the drive to Issaquah!

XXX Root Beer Burger

XXX Root Beer also has a complete menu of Burgers, Dogs, Fries, Rings, Malts and Shakes – I am sure there are several other things on the menu, but I knew what I wanted and didn’t spend a lot of time reading it.

XXX Root Beer Piston Rings

The Piston Rings were THICK, BIG and Perfectly FRIED ONION RINGS. Some of the best I have ever had.

So, I saw an Evil Blue Hawaii Burger (Fresh Chicken Breast, Ham, Pineapple, Lettuce, Tomato, Cheese, Teriyaki Sauce, Mayo, XXX Dressing, Fries & Piston Rings) on the menu.

It sounded interesting I decided to do something different. I ordered a Double Burger with Bacon and Peanut Butter!

The very nice waitress wasn’t really sure about my order and kept repeating it just to make sure I wanted Peanut Butter and Bacon on my Burger. I did and it was very very yummy!

Peanut Butter, Bacon Burger

David Miller & Sue Cameron have written a nice HISTORY of XXX Root Beer Drive-In.

XXX Root Beer is famous across America for hosting Classic Car Shows and each Saturday (weather permitting) they host a Cruz-In!!! Check out their Web Site for a list of upcoming Car Shows and Events at XXX Root Beer.

Check them out on Facebook: XXX Root Beer Facebook Group or the Triple X Rootbeer Group

Cruise on in and try it out – you will become a loyal fan!

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May 5, 2010 Posted by | Eating Out | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 20 of 365 Things to Do Around the Eastside: Dine in Your Car at Burgermaster

BurgermasterI love Burgers, Shakes and Fries. Load up the car and head to one of the 5 Burgermaster locations around the Eastside. It is a total retro experience, minus the roller SKATES (although it would be way cool if they still skated). You pull into a parking space, turn on your headlights and wait for one of the servers to come to your car to take your order. While you wait for your burger to be cooked to order, you can turn up the tunes on the radio and rock out.

Your food will be brought to your car on a tray, roll your window up a bit so the tray can hang off the window and dive into the fantastic food.

Their Burgers are some of the BEST around. Thick, Juicy, Classic and Tasty. The menu is short sweet and simple: Burgermaster, Cheeseburger, Hamburger, Baconmaster (my fave) and Burgermelt.  Each burger can be customized with your choice of condiments, but for purists order just as it is on the menu, the same way since 1952.

They have thick, creamy and smooth Shakes or even better TRY ONE OF THEIR MALTS!!! They have 10 traditional flavors of Shakes: Chocolate, Hot Fudge, Strawberry, Vanilla, Pineapple, Root Beer, Blackberry, Tom and Jerry, Coffee, Mocha.

The Onion Rings are some of the best around. Large, Crispy and made with real sliced onions.

There are locations in Bellevue, Mill Creek, Everett, Aurora and University District. Make it a quest to visit each one this summer.

Awesome Burgers!


April 20, 2010 Posted by | Eating Out, Family Activities | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 12 of 365 Things To Do Around the Eastside: Food Porn? You Betcha

I have heard the phrase Food Porn before, but didn’t know what it was until Today on 365 Things to do Around the Eastside we are talking about the New KFC Double Down “sandwich.” Everything is BETTER with BACON!

Food Porn - KFC Double Down Sandwich

While I have loved The Colonel since I began eating, I have to wonder what he would think of the newest creation.Colonel Sanders

Me, I LOVE IT!!! While it is messier than eating a traditional sandwich, since there isn’t any Buns/Bread, it is worth the extra napkins. It has Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack and BACON in between 2 Chicken Breasts.

Now, Iwouldn’t eat this every day, but when you are hungry for Chicken and Bacon, this satisfies the craving. Just so you go in fully informed here is the Nutritional Information for the Double Down.



Fat (g)

Sodium (mg)

KFC Original Recipe® Double Down




KFC Grilled Double Down




In case you don’t know where to find a KFC you can check out the Store Locator here.

Col. Sanders

As a piece of RANDOM TRIVIA – Did you know that Colonel Harland Sanders stated Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1930 and by 1965 there were over 600 Kentucky Fried Chicken locations!

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Eating Out | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 5 of 365 Things To Do Around the Eastside: OMG – Bacon & Doughnuts!!! Frost is the Place!

“Doughnuts Evolved”

is the way the people at Frost Doughnuts in Mill Creek Town Center describe their doughnuts.  I have been making the trip to Mill Creek almost weekly just to get doughnuts!

These aren’t what you would find at Krispy Kreme, Safeway or Dunkin’ Donuts. These are carefully created tempting taste explosion. Every day they rotate through their selection of wonderful doughnuts.

Some of their creation include:

Bourbon Caramel Pecan

Bourbon Caramel Pecan

Homemade caramel made with top-shelf reserve bourbon tops a moist vanilla cake doughnut before it is rolled in fresh chopped pecans.

Marcona Almond & Tart Cherry Bismarck

Marcona Almond & Tart Cherry Bismarck

Our fresh raised bismarck is filled with tart almond-scented cherries and glazed with our own amaretto icing. Asprinkle of Spanish Marcona almonds completes the masterpiece.

The Pink Lady Frost

The Pink Lady Frost

Elegant and refined. Our moist chocolate cake doughnut receives a crown of pink strawberry buttercream before it’s dusted with pink sanding sugar.

Smokey Bacon Maple Bar

Smokey Bacon Maple Bar

This is the whole reason I go to Frost!!! It is AMAZING!!! The ultimate salty/smokey/sweet combination. We take maple bacon made fresh daily and add it to our delicious maple bar. Skeptical? Try it and you’ll be a believer!

Mill Creek Town Center
Mill Creek Town Center
15421 Main Street, Ste. H102
Mill Creek, WA 98012
Ph. (425)379-2600   Fax (425)939-8385
Hours: MON-FRI 6am-8pm, SAT 7am-8pm, SUN 7am-7pm

You can also find Frost Doughnuts online:


Frost on Facebook

Frost on Twitter

Be sure to sign up for the Frost Doughnut Rewards program. You earn point that can be redeemed for free doughnuts or a PONY (inside joke LOL)

April 6, 2010 Posted by | Eating Out | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments