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Introducing the bacon, egg, and cheese

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: 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.

        1. 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.