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Introducing the bacon, egg, and cheese

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Los Angeles, there at least one New York import that I simply insist you embrace:

The bacon, egg, and cheese.

Out here, you call it a "breakfast sandwich." It's got bacon, sure, eggs, yes, cheese, maybe. But it's usually served on a hamburger bun. And with mayo. *wince*

In any neighborhood in New York, at virtuously any time of day, you can obtain a bacon, egg, and cheese for usually under three dollars. At any bodega, diner, or corner deli (they're as ubiquitous as 7-11s) you can get a hot, fresh BE&C. Most bodegas have a small griddle behind the counter with two short order cooks slamming them out. These eggs are not nuked. They are not dried out. They pack the sandwich in foil so when you get the snack to your desk or your subway seat or your front stoop it's still hot and the cheese has delightfully melted. The proportions are usually perfect. They are spot on for breakfast and incredibly handy when intoxicated, or hung over, or both.

They put them (and most lunch sandwiches, too) on a Kaiser roll. You've seen Kaiser rolls here- they're in the bakery section at Ralph's and Howe's (sometimes), and there are usually only two of them. They have a swirl on the top and most often poppy seeds. They do not crumble or sog under the wet goodness of their contents, no. They are more like Ciabiatta than a hamburger bun. People even eat them, just them with butter, for breakfast in New York.

At my high school, they started to offer the bacon, egg, and cheese for before school breakfast. Not because they are a whole, hearty meal in a self contained package. But because no one was buying breakfast at school, we all headed over to the deli for a bacon, egg and cheese. The only way to compete was to conform.

When I worked in midtown Manhattan, I used to get a bacon, egg, and cheese and small cup of coffee delivered to my office every morning from Rupert's Hello Deli. Rupert of Letterman fame. He often took my order himself. He was always very polite, very down to earth. My breakfast, and a pack of cigarettes if need be, always arrived within fifteen minutes of my phone call.

Since I have moved to LA, I have had a few sightings of the Bacon- ehh-- breakfast sandwich.

First was at a hamburger joint on Melrose. On line in front of me, no joke, was Natalie Cole. She ordered extra mayo. **wince wince**

Next was at Fatburger, but I couldn't get past the hamburger bun. And they always put way too much pepper on it.

I have recently discovered Normandie Bakery on Jefferson- the bread is quite good. But they often forget the cheese and take about ten minutes to complete your order. I only go now if I'm running ten minutes early for work, which is not often enough.

Los Angeles, this is perfect car food. This is perfect drunk food. This is what In N Out would serve at breakfast if they served breakfast. This is quick, cheap, and satisfying. This is as good or better than a double grande non fat carmel macchiato with extra carmel (and yes, that is my drink).

I know there are expat New Yorkers living here that can testify. I invite you to sing the bacon egg and cheese's praises here.

May Los Angeles discover its wonder.

(we'll work on getting Dunkin' Donuts coffee next- small steps.)

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  1. You had to bring those up. Those got me through high school. Anyway, try to find a good kaiser roll, never mind a deli that can put a decent sandwich together for $2. Haven't found a decent bacon egg and cheese yet.

    However, the breakfast burrito runs things in this town, and I've learned to embrace it with both hands, knee on the steering wheel and eyes on the road.

    1. I don't seem to have problems finding BE&C in LA -- except the roll, of course, but honestly a round telera roll works pretty well.

      They have them at The Original Pancake House (Redondo Beach, Yorba Linda and Anaheim), they serve them at Beverly Deli in Glendale, and they serve them at Izzy's (yes, I know) in Santa Monica. Just bacon, egg and cheese -- no mayo (never seen that, wouldn't know what to think if I did see it).

      I actually like the BE&C on wheat toast as well.

      1. I had the same problem when I moved to Dallas from NYC....they kept trying to put a freakin tomato on the sandwich and would serve it with a PICKLE!!! I finally am back in nyc and love the original BE&C. In fact, I think I'll have one now...

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ali B

          No fair! Can you FedEx one?

          1. re: julietg

            Karma got me for flaunting my amazing BE&C in julietg's face... I am moving to LA!

            1. re: Ali B

              I LOVE how you remembered your post from 9 months ago well enough to give an update!!

              1. re: PlatypusJ

                I thought exactly the same thing! I might just have to get one of those sandwiches when I'm next in NYC, since they seem to inspire such passion.

        2. I'm so there with you. I went to college in NYC, and the corner deli made an awesome fried egg sandwhich, although I was more fond of ham, cheese and egg than bacon, cheese and eggs. I can't stand un-well done bacon, you see.

          I've been back in LA for over 10 years and have not found a satisfactory fried egg sandwich anywhere. I just don't think it's done here. I have found perfect rolls for fried egg sandwiches at the bakery at Gelson's, though, and I take them home and make my own.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DanaB

            Here, here! I also went to college in NY, and it was standard fare to wake up to "Bacon, Egg and Cheese on a roll" or even drunkenly pass out after a BE&C on a roll. It's about 10am on the east coast, and I could probably call up my old college buddies and I could bet a 100% that they all had Bacon, Egg and Cheese on a roll this morning.

            I do have to agree that LA has got the lock down on the Breakfast Burrito, which I believe is almost next to the perfect food.

          2. Does it make a difference in what kind of cheese you use and is it always a fried egg or can it be scrambled. Please give me some input. Thanks

            1 Reply
            1. re: 3starchef

              It's usually American cheese, as in 64 slices of, because it melts so uniformly.

              The eggs should be somewhere between scrambled and sunny side up. Sort of quickly broken and stirred (I've seen them stir the egg with the eggshell itself). The most important point is that they are not overcooked!! We try to make them here at the office in the microwave, and end up making dry, puffy egg McMuffin rip offs instead. The griddle is key!

              The other important point about the egg is that three eggs are just too much for one roll. One or one and a half slices of cheese, two and a half or three slices of bacon, and two eggs. No more.

              Oh- and no lettuce, either!!! Although I do sometimes add a tomato slice, but only if it's fried alongside the eggs.

            2. A reasonable alternative is the breakfast sandwich at -- hang on to your hats hounds -- Jack in the Box. Same basic ingredients plus a pseudo hollandaise suauce on a ciabatta roll. Not bad at all and served at all locations all day long. Let the flames begin!

              1 Reply
              1. re: PeteEats

                ... and you can request no pseudo-hollandaise sauce. It's one of two edible things there (the other being those tacos, into which I swear they put crack)

              2. At the (long-gone) QuickBite on Lexington bet. 85th & 86th, the bacon, egg & cheese on a kaiser was called, the "Heavy Duty". With extra bacon it was the "Extra Duty".

                If those aren't the standardized names, they should be.

                1. Square One, on Fountain, has an excellent, excellent breakfast sandwich including eggs and the city's best bacon. It's served on fresh, toasted brioche instead of an industrial kaiser roll, but sometimes a girl has to make do...

                  1. Having lived in the south, I can tell you that New York gets these just as wrong as L.A. Kaiser bun? These should obviously be served on a biscuit!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Chris O

                      you're so right chris. biscuit sandwiches are the key to life. found any decent ones out here? I haven't. the biscuit house in columbia, sc: best breakfast food ever. if only they'd bring back the flounder biscuit.

                      1. re: mr mouther

                        Well, you'd need a good biscuit first. That seems to be a regional thing like the New York or Chicago pizzas you just can't get out here. Pat and Lorraine's in Eagle Rock has big biscuits that you could probably put eggs and bacon on, though.

                    2. Jack in the Box has an egg sandwich on a hamburger bun plus they have drive-through which you cannot find in NYC. You can also get this sandwich anytime of day there.

                      1. fantastic.

                        1. L.A. style substitution (hold the tomato?)

                          Breakfast Pizza
                          Thin Crust Pizza Topped w/ Scrambled Eggs,
                          Herbs, Sundried Tomato, Turkey Bacon &
                          Mozzarella

                          Probably take 15 minutes to make, but isn't that what cell phones are for?

                          Or, to improve(?) on the breakfast burrito:

                          Egg Wrap
                          Scrambled Eggs, Spinach, Chicken, Feta Cheese,
                          Tomato, Potato, Red Onion, Toasted Pine Nuts
                          In Wheat Tortillas.

                          1. Except for what is probably a major "just isn't the same thing" factor, I'd have to suggest that the ubiquitous breakfast burrito is pretty close to your 'bacon/egg/cheese'.

                            Down here, in the deepest recesses of the OC, there's a place called "A's" that makes a great bacon burrito with egg, cheese, and potato(optional). But......... almost every taqueria, and taco truck has a version of the same thing. The meat choices can also include, chorizo, carne asada, carnitas,etc..

                            OK........ now I get to hear why this is in no way even close to a NY bacon/egg/cheese.

                            1. What makes the breakfast burrito analagous to the NY sandwich the OP pines for is, as you point out, it's ubiquitous nature.

                              Anyone commuting 45 minutes over surface streets in Los Angeles will almost certainly pass one and likely more than one breakfast burrito establishment, not including chain fast food restaurants.

                              All can be ordered and consumed in 15 minutes or less.

                              The breakfast burrito won't satisfy the sandwich craving, they are just different things. But anyone can order a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast burrito (or they can have chorizo, potatoes, beans, rice, salsa, avocado, and so on added in).

                              The OP had several requirements, including the convenience factor. It is here that the analogy works. I truly wish for her sake a sandwich could be found along her commute. If it isn't, perhaps she'll find in time that the breakfast burrito is L.A's convenient commute/late night snack version of her beloved egg, bacon and cheese sandwich.

                              1. A phrase that will help you during your stay in Los Angeles: "Hold the mayo."

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Muskrat

                                  ...and "No, I don't need avocado, thanks."

                                  1. re: Muskrat

                                    I think I get why the mayo was introduced in the first place- you need a fat layer to coat a hamburger bun to keep it from sogging.

                                    Works for me with a burger, but...

                                  2. Come on people, there out there if you'll only look:

                                    Nate & Al's - Beverly Hills
                                    -------------------------------------------------------------
                                    open 7 a.m. - take out or delivery
                                    (310) 274-0101

                                    Bacon and Egg Sandwich $7.75 add cheese $.85 = $8.60

                                    Too expensive, then a sample of what's available where I work:

                                    Jose' Bernstein's - Westwood Village
                                    -------------------------------------------------------------
                                    served till 11:30
                                    (310) 208-4992

                                    J.B.'s Breakfast Sandwiches

                                    Bacon Sandwich - comes with 2 eggs, lettuce (say hold), tomato (say hold) on choice of White, Wheat, Rye, Sourdough, French Roll $3.55 add cheese $.50 = $4.05

                                    Muffin Sandwich - Bacon, one egg, and cheese on an English muffin $2.99

                                    Angelino's Cafe - Westwood Village
                                    -------------------------------------------------------------
                                    opens at 8:00 a.m.
                                    (310) 443-1918

                                    Breakfast Sandwich - Ham (say hold?), bacon, eggs, cheese, and tomato (say hold) with hash browns $4.99

                                    Mary & Robbs Westwood Cafe
                                    -------------------------------------------------------------
                                    opens at 8:00 a.m.
                                    (310) 478-3822

                                    Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon $8.50 (dosen't mention cheese, but they have plenty of cheeses on the breakfast menu)

                                    Headlines - Westwood Village
                                    -------------------------------------------------------------
                                    opens 7:00 a.m.
                                    (310) 208-2424

                                    Breakfast Sandwich - Lettuce (say hold), tomato (say hold), swiss cheese (sub for?), ham (sub bacon), & egg - $4.50

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: JBC

                                      In general you're right, JBC, but one of the things that makes that sandwich perfect is the bread -- and pretty much anything except a kaiser roll is not right, because sliced breads fall apart, and French rolls are the wrong shape for a fried egg.

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                        I just called and confirmed with Nate & Al's and you can have any sandwich any time on any bread including a Kaiser Roll.

                                        Langer's Deli - L.A.
                                        -------------------------------------------------------------
                                        opens 8:00 a.m. - curbside pickup available
                                        (213) 483-8050

                                        Bacon & Egg Sandwich on any type of bread including a Kaiser roll (confirmed by phone) $7.50 add cheese $.65 = $8.15

                                        Yes I know that the OP wished they were as plentiful, and as cheap, as tacos in L.A. But they "ARE" available.

                                        1. re: JBC

                                          In Culver City at La Dijonaise they have 2, but not on Kaiser Rolls, wouldn't the Egg Sandwich come close? (It's even theoretically possible it might taste better?):

                                          Croissant Sandwich - eggs and cheese on a croissant $3.95
                                          add bacon, ham, or sausage - $4.95

                                          Egg Sandwich - eggs and cheese on a baguette $3.50 add bacon, ham, or sausage - $4.50

                                          http://www.ladijonaise.com/breakfast....

                                        2. re: Das Ubergeek

                                          gotta agree.
                                          the kaiser roll is KEY

                                      2. The Chowhound Team split a tangential discussion about great breakfast burritos into its own post. If you have tips for where to find a great one, please respond here:
                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... ]

                                        1. Haven't had a truly good Kaiser roll in LA since Zucky's in Santa Monica closed.

                                          But I generally make my own BEC although almost always on a toasted split bagel.

                                          For a passable quick knock-off Von's sells a version of the BEC also on a split bagel in their deli. For me, a good fast breakfast picked up on the way to work.

                                          For years I was hooked on a BEC with lettuce and tomato on THREE toasted slices of good rye bread at a car wash cafe around Third and Fairfax ... when you think about it it really is a BLT with egg and cheese. They are no longer there which suits my waist line but I think of them often.

                                          1. This has GOT to be the best thing for breakfast anytime: during work, hungover, WHENEVER! I crave it all the time and I am not from NYC; been there, but never had a BEC for breakfast there.

                                            I am in the South Bay, and find the best one is a variation they serve at Ashley's Deli in Hermosa, The Stubbie, which also includes ham (although I usually opt to leave that out). They fry the egg right there and do everything by hand, although it is served on an english muffin (I prefer this) and takes a bit long. (Can't recal the price).

                                            The cafeteria at my work, in the Computax building on Hawthorne at Torrance Blvd, has a good, simple BEC (w/ american cheese) made by hand on a muffin or bagel for $2 (although the egg is a little dry as they make it ahead of time).

                                            I prefer the Burger King one to the Jack in the Box, but it's pretty bad.

                                            Randomly, the Borders Bookstore coffee counter has really good gourmet ones that are made with sausage (not bacon) with double layers of cheese on each side and are quite good.

                                            1. If you are in the Beverly Hills area, try the Brighton Coffee Shop for a more than decent fried egg sandwich. After reading this thread a week or so back, I got to hankering for a fried egg sandwich (I too lived in NYC during my college years, and very well recall the ubiquitous fried egg sandwiches).

                                              The sandwich was made with two eggs, your choice of cheese (I got cheddar) and ham (although bacon is an option and the bacon is good here), served on a roll. It wasn't a kaiser roll, but was a soft french roll which worked well with the sandwich. If you order it "plain," there will be no mayo, lettuce, tomato problem.

                                              The only drawback is the price, which compared to corner delis in NY, was quite high -- $6.50 for the sandwich.

                                              It hit the spot, though :-)

                                              Brighton Coffee Shop
                                              9600 Brighton Way, Bev. Hills
                                              (310) 276-7732

                                              1. I agree with the others who say this can indeed be done, just the way you like it. The best one of these that I've had was on a fishing boat that left from the Malibu Pier when I was a kid, but that doesn't seem practical and I doubt they still do things the way they did when those Farrah Fawcett posters were all the rage. Then again....

                                                In fact, on your route, I bet you could get the folks at La Dijonnaise to do it for you. They are nice, but pretty darn inept in my exeperience, so you may have to go back there and help, but if you become a regular, they'll have it down for you as you'll be teaching all of their cooks how to it!

                                                Another possibility is the coffee shop angle, with the higher quality spots that folks have been suggesting getting you a good $10 breakfast sandwich (!). You might consider a bowling alley coffee shop, actually, or that funky little Tokyo77 (?) japanese coffee shop in downtown Culver City, in an alley just west of Main. At a place like this, you can probably save enough $$ to pay for that hoodoo voodoo caramel drink at Starbucks, too.

                                                Sorry its just advice on how to change a small piece of the world and not a go-to place for you, but you can be the one to start a trend!

                                                1. How hard is it to make a bacon/egg/cheese sandwich? You can buy Kaiser rolls anywhere.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: hrhboo

                                                    on a weekend, with lots of time to spare, not too hard.
                                                    on a weekday, running late for work, getting cell phone calls and emails from work before even leaving the house. . . . . .

                                                  2. I wholeheartedly agree with the OP. I miss my egg and cheese on a roll and small coffee for less than $3. Depending on the cart, I might get a roll with poppy seeds or sometimes I could request a Portuguese roll. These sandwiches got me through many a snowy December morning and were the perfect hangover antidote. Hrhboo, somehow the egg and cheese sandwiches I made at home never compared. Perhaps I was too afraid to use an adequate amount of butter, or maybe the greased grill from the carts added to the flavor of the sandwiches.

                                                    1. So funny this is post resurfaced now, I just saw a BE&C sandwich and thought "didn't someone on chowhound mention this last year?" Normandie Bakery on Cochran & Jefferson just east of Culver City has them. Their pastries are great, I'm sure their Kaiser roll (and yes, it's on a Kaiser roll) is good too. (I'm from So.Cal, breakfast burritos all the way for me, so I didn't try it.) There's also a choice of ham or sausage. It's $3.95.

                                                      So have at it NY Hounds! Report back to your bacon egg and cheese starved Yankee lovin' (or Mets lovin') bretheren.

                                                      1. If I could just get the BE&C at Union Bagel (actually in the train station, across from Traxx) on a Kaiser roll it would be PERFECT. There are places to get it, but nobody has the roll down quite right -- a lot of close contenders, though.

                                                        That said, I am a Jersey boy and thus the proper configuration is Taylor ham, egg and cheese. On a hard roll. Bacon is a distant, distant second (favored by those lesser New Yorkers). Even my school cafeterias made great THE&Cs. But you can only get Taylor ham at one place in this area.

                                                        On the other hand, nobody makes a decent breakfast burrito in New York. Ever. And trying to find fresh-squeezed juice for less than, say, $5 a glass is a difficult, difficult proposition. Our size unites us; our breakfast divides us.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                          I had a really good ham, egg and cheese on a bagel at Manhattan Bagels in Santa Monica on Wilshire and 23rd, across from Whole Foods. I haven't tried the bacon yet because bacon is generally an afterthought at many places, cooked hours before and limply sitting there, waiting for the next victim.

                                                        2. Since I posted last year on this thread, nobody ever tried my suggestion of the Brighton Cafe in Beverly Hills, which makes a darn fine fried egg sandwich. They will serve it on a roll, too. You just HAVE to remember to tell them no mayo, lettuce & tomato -- just the egg, ham & cheese on the roll. Other than making them at home, it's the closest to an NY fried egg sandwich I've found in LA. It's not cheap, though -- around $6.50, but it does have two eggs, cheese, ham (or bacon) and is a filling sandwich.

                                                          Brighton Cafe
                                                          9600 Brighton Way @ Camden.

                                                          1. I don't know if anyone has mentioned it or not but the best bacon egg and cheese I have had has been off of any roach coack at a construction site. Toasted cheap white bread with mayo and bacon, egg and american plastic sheese. Hard to beat at break in the morning.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Raymondo

                                                              Ugh, again with all the mayo! Why on earth does there need to be mayo on that sandwich? Urgh.

                                                              1. re: Raymondo

                                                                I'm an LA native, but worked in NY for a couple years on a TV sit-com and we often worked into the very late night/wee morning hours on re-writes. Ironically, I hated finishing at 2:00am, but would rather work until 4:00am or later. That's when we would order those perfect bacon egg and cheese sandwiches on a roll.

                                                                I had never had one before. It made me love NY! And I love that any crummy looking 'gourmet deli' as they are called can make a fabulous morning sandwich. I miss those. Thanks for the ideas in LA.

                                                              2. My ex, native NY-er, got his daily from Fatburger (w/ egg whites tho due to his preference)

                                                                1. Aside from not finding the right rolls, it's equally frustrating trying to order a fried egg sandwich. When you say fried, they ask "fried, how?" So then you have to choose either over hard, which is too cooked, or over medium, which is not cooked enough. They can't grasp the concept of breaking the yolk...that's what makes a fried egg. As far as the rolls, the closest I've found to NY are at Bea's Bakery in Tarzana. It's only about 15 or 20 minutes up the 101 from Hollywood (without traffic). The rolls are light and crusty on the outside and not doughy on the inside and come with poppy or sesame seeds. So then you can make the fried egg sandwich at home. They also have authentic NY bakery stuff including great cupcakes and black and whites...better than any of the delis. Now as far as finding one good Chinese egg roll...I guess that's another thread.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: big_apple

                                                                    Do a search -- Mr. Taster and I have done your egg roll research for you. You're going to have to either live with Genghis Cohen's version or come down here to OC.

                                                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                      I'm gonna try Orange County, because Genghis to me is more like P.F. Chang's!

                                                                  2. Would it be the same thing if I went into a place, ordered a bacon and cheese omelet and asked them to serve it on a roll/bun?

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                      No, because the eggs for an omelet are whipped; the eggs in a BE&C are just fried and the yolk is cracked to make them cook faster.

                                                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                        Technically, you're correct however, I usually make an omelet by cracking the yolk and frying the eggs until they're almost set. Then I add cheese and whatever, fold it over and serve when fully set.

                                                                    2. My husband really likes the one at Bottega Louie - I've had a bite and it IS tasty. Couldn't tell you how it compares to the ones in New York, though...

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Bottega Louie
                                                                      700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                                                      1. Since this very old 2006 post has been revived, thought I'd link to a couple related and semi-related threads that have appeared since:

                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/508111
                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/523553
                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/50126
                                                                        (Okay, that last one's from 2002 and not very substantive. But I like the attitude.)