Bac-ation, All You Ever Wanted at Saint Marc’s Bacon Bar
Written By: Iyana Edouard
Photographed By: Rebecca Gnasso Saint Marc’s Bacon Bar
My fork kept picking up food even though my stomach was clearly full and satisfied. But every dish tasted so different yet so familiar. Being from the South I know good comfort food and Saint Marc Pub-Cafe, Bakery & Cheese Affinage in Huntington Beach made me feel like I was home. Everything about my dining experience was positive. The service and food reached far beyond my expectations. The best way to describe this place is surprising. From the outside it looks like another beach side restaurant but the minute you step inside you see all the hard work, time, and care that went into creating such a cool culinary experience.
The staff, atmosphere, and flavors of Saint Marc are family friendly and fun. The faux paper plates, modern picnic style seating, bright colors, and red solo cup cocktails are just a few details that makes this restaurant one-of-a-kind. But do not be fooled by the casual dining feel. This place can transform into a high quality bar spot in a blink of an eye. First thing when I walked in I noticed a large retail section at the front entrance featuring every size of red solo cup imaginable. According of Saint Marc Chef de Cuisine, Winnona Herr, they bring the big red solo cups out everyone once in awhile for a fun game of giant red solo cup pong. Herr showed me everything the restaurant had to offer, front and back of the house. The fresh bakery, the 360 degree full service bar, the bacon bar and a super secret speakeasy room.
“[The restaurant] was intentionally designed to defy definition, ” Herr said.
Everything I saw, heard, and smelled in the restaurant made me very curious about their food. Then I saw the menu and I felt overwhelmed. Warning, go on a day you are really hungry, you will thank me later. The customer friendly iPad menus made ordering so much easier. I was able to see a photo of every single dish, get a description, and modify however I like. The iPad menus weren’t added to eliminate servers, but more so to make the Saint Marc experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.
First thing’s first, the bacon bar. Customers could order whatever type of bacon they want from the digital menus from the bacon bar to eat in house or to go. There are over 100 cheese selections including carmody, prestes, gourmandise, and capra sarda; They are also part of their gourmet food to go concept. Bacon and cheese, to go? Genius!
I decided to try their four most popular bacon flavors: garlic parmesan, tender belly habanero, BBQ rubbed, and apple pie. Yes, you read the correctly, apple pie bacon! Each one came in a separate brown bag labeled with their flavor on an adorable pig shaped cutting board.
The garlic parmesan bacon smelled and tasted just like cheesy garlic bread, the BBQ rubbed bacon tasted like a majorly upgraded version of a BBQ potato chip, the apple pie bacon was the perfect balance of sweet and smokey, and the tender belly habanero bacon ended up being my favorite because of how spicy and savory it was. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, oh it did.
Next I tried the bacon wrapped dates with chive cream cheese. Although that may not sound like a good combination, it very much was. Once again, the perfect description for Saint Marc is “surprising.” I was tasting flavor combos that I had never thought of before but that paired so well. It was clear that creativity was put into each dish, especially with items on the chef’s plate menu.
The chef’s plate menu at Saint Marc is a seasonal menu that changes every few weeks. Items on it are temporary so if you see something you really want to try order it ASAP. I tried the pork belly sliders, bacon wrapped artichoke, and a dish properly named ‘sprouts and snouts.’ Each one tasted completely different from the next, and each bacon addition was cooked and flavored in their own way.
I bit into the pork belly sliders expecting it to taste like a mini bacon burger—nope. It had an Asian flavor to it, comparable to a Vietnamese sandwich. I looked at the cast iron skillet dish that was my ‘sprouts and snouts’ eyeing the hodge podge of brussel sprouts, bacon lardons, and an over easy egg expecting it to taste like an omelette. No lie, the minute I took a bite my chest felt warm, I was literally eating soul food in Huntington Beach.
The flavors changed from beginning to end. The food and service were so high quality, but I didn’t feel like I had to eat with a napkin in my lap and my pinky up. The open atmosphere and friendly staff made everyone feel comfortable. I struck up conversations with people around my table just because we wanted to see what each other were eating. Saint Marc is the spot to go to for a family dinner or after a night out of partying. No matter when you go or what you order I guarantee you are going to be blown away by more than just the ocean breeze. For more information on Saint Marc or to make a reservation visit their website and tell them LOCALE sent you.
Saint Marc Pub-Cafe, Bakery & Cheese Affinage
21058 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
We Heart Saint Marc’s Bacon Bar!