Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler.
Do appetizers get any more square than bacon-wrapped dates? These little Disco Era nuggets have been circulating for decades and they’ve earned a bad reputation along the way—too dry, too stringy, and too utterly played out. That they are most often spotted on catering platters has done them no favors in the reputation department.
But there’s a secret to their persistence. When they’re done well, they’re everything we want in a starter: a mix of sweet and salty with a healthy dollop of dairy richness when combined with a kick of chèvre. We make them at home on the regular because they’re self-contained, surprisingly substantial, weirdly charming, and ultimately addictive.
The newest twist on these venerable bites comes from Feller, the upscale dining spot at the newly opened Lora Hotel, which we were checking out for an upcoming Whirlwind Tour of Stillwater’s dining scene. Feller’s bacon-wrapped dates bring together wild boar bacon, goat cheese, medjool dates, an IPA honey reduction, and bits of pistachio. They’re big (but not awkward) bites that explode in a deftly balanced mix of flavors. Sweet and salty are in harmony; crunchy balances creamy and chewy. In one quick taste, you’ve touched all the points on your palate and thrown your appetite into overdrive. And if that’s not the definition of a timeless appetizer, we don’t know what is.
The Dish: Bacon-Wrapped Dates, $10
The Place: Feller, 402 South Main Street, Stillwater, MN
The Reason: They’re a pitch-perfect mix of everything the dinner-anticipating diner is looking forward to