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Bacon Bacon Saved? Saved? — CLOSED!

Bacon Bacon SFI don’t remember when it was that I had my first bacon cheeseburger, but I remember biting into it and having the mixture of beef, cheese and smoked pork forming a mosh pit of happiness on my tongue. There was no turning back. Whenever wife and I go to a restaurant that serves burgers I always look for the bacon cheeseburger first.

Bacon has become a meme unto itself now. I’ve seen shirts that say, who doesn’t like bacon? Hell, my daughter’s pediatrician when told that bacon was the only meat my daughter would eat said well, who doesn’t like bacon? OK, I know if you’re a Kosher Jew or observant Muslim bacon is on the no go list, but I have to admit that even most of my vegetarian and vegan friends are looking for a bacon substitute and if they can’t find it they sneak some bacon in while hiding in a dark room late at night to preserve their veggie cred.

Then there’s Bacon Bacon. My first encounter with them was at the SF Weekly Web Awards where I was nominated for Best Political Blog in San Francisco [thank you very much for giving that to an aggregator site that doesn’t write any of their own material] and I had to dip my tongue into the deep end and try the chocolate dipped bacon. I had heard lots about this combo, but never found a place that was selling it until now. One bite had me. Why aren’t more people doing this? Now I wanted to try the bacon doughnuts I had heard about, but while Bacon Bacon is a bit edgy, they don’t offer them. Still that was enough for that night because I was broke and didn’t have any more money to spend so I went inside and drank lots of free beer.

I’ve frequented the truck in several of it’s locations, but I haven’t had a chance to get by the Cafe version. I’ve been close several times, but I’ve just never made it or the timing wasn’t right and then I find out that the storefront might be closed. [cue dramatic dum, dum DUMMMMM music]. Apparently Bacon Bacon had a neighbor that didn’t like the smell of bacon all the time. I don’t know why, I’m sure it would have been better than some of the other smells that fill your nostrils in that area. Why I’m sure the smell was probably even increasing property values because, who doesn’t like bacon? Well apparently this neighbor didn’t and that was causing a problem with Bacon Bacon doing business.

They had to renew some of their permits back in 2011 because there were changes to the regulations. When this happens they allow the public to bring any concerns before the Planning Commission. This was a sticking point because why bother installing an air filtration system for around $35,000 if they would get closed down anyway?

Well the good news came on Friday in that the neighbor is willing to work with Bacon Bacon and will withdraw the complaint if Bacon Bacon installs the filtration system. Now I still have a chance to make it by their Cafe, daughter firmly in hand who I’m sure will be yelling Bacon! Bacon! the second we get inside. While they don’t go insane with their bacon ideas, they push the edge just enough with their bacon jam [available on any sandwich], bacon mayo and of course their chocolate dipped bacon and their bacon caramel corn.

Then of course I woke up this morning after writing this article early Friday to read the following on SF Gate:

“[The neighbor] had a change of heart yesterday and said they want to run more tests,” says Angelus [owner of Bacon Bacon], who must now close for three months, until the July hearing where they can procure their proper permits. He says four employees will likely lose their jobs, unless they want to hang around for the approval, which he hopes will happen.

“I feel really comfortable that it will get approved,” he says. “We have tons of neighborhood support.”

So it looks like their doors will be closed for three months so that they can get the changes made. At least they have a truck once again after it caught fire and had to be replaced, but I’m still waiting for the cafe to come back so I can happily bring my daughter to worship at the temple of porcine smokiness.

Egg Jew Yung

Egg Fu Yung or Foo Yung or however people want to spell it is considered to be a traditional Chinese food. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Like Chop Suey, it was an invention of Chinese immigrants, but in this case Egg Fu Yung was created by a Jewish immigrant who frequented Chinese restaurants in San Francisco.

I haven’t been able to discover his name, but in the process found out that in 1874 the San Francisco Call had an ad boasting Egg Fu Yung as the highlight of the menu. This is the first reference to the dish in history. In China there is a dish called Fu Yung which is similar, but not exactly the same. I remembered once someone saying that if you want the best Chinese food to ask a Jew. That started me thinking why and this led me to Egg Fu Yung being a Jewish dish.

Jewish people and Chinese people have had something in common for many years. On Sunday’s the Christians go to church and have home cooked meals. The Jews, tend to go out for Chinese food. Back in the old days you didn’t see very many Christian people of Chinese decent so they had no problem keeping their restaurants open on Sundays. Back when many Jewish people where orthodox they had to adhere to Kashrut dietary laws which meant there could be no mixture of dairy with the meat products. Chinese food was the perfect choice since you won’t find chow main alfredo on a Chinese menu. When I thought about this I realized that you don’t find cheese in any Chinese dishes let alone cream sauces. The only time I’ve seen any dairy at a Chinese restaurant was when I accidentally ate one of those tiny black peppers  that was so hot it through me into a coughing fit and the waiter brought me a glass of milk while laughing at me in a kind of schadenfreude way.

An orthodox Jewish person would be guaranteed that anything they ordered from a Chinese restaurants menu could hold up to their dietary laws. I suppose this would also link in the Chinese Muslim restaurant in San Francisco because Kashrut is very similar to the Muslim’s Halal.

So back to the Jewish origin of Egg Fu Yung. Today it’s usually an omelette with ham in it, but back in 1874 a Jewish lover of Chinese Food suggested they make him an omelette with duck and vegetables mixed in. The cook threw it together and the original Egg Fu Yung came into being. Well, it was probably a little before that because for it to be the highlight of the menu in 1874 word had to have gotten around about it.

San Francisco has the largest Chinatown outside of China and while many of the dishes you find in the Chinese restaurants are touted as being traditional or authentic, that’s not necessarily true. When the Chinese came to America they didn’t have access to the same ingredients that they had back home so they adapted their cuisine to what they could find here. Chinese food being considered exotic to the white Americans back in the earlier parts of the 20th century caused more changes to the cuisine to help people with a, well, whiter palate eat them which would in turn make the restaurant owner more money.

Today things have changed a bit since more of the original ingredients are available, but the palate of Americans as well as Chinese-Americans still like Egg Fu Yung and Sweet and Sour Pork the way it was originally made in the good old USA.