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Burb’s Eye View: Riding the wave of bacon mania

Burb’s Eye View: Riding the wave of bacon mania
Burger King’s bacon sundae.
(Photo via Flickr user Perfectance)

His brassy name tag read “Frank,” and Frank was all that stood between me and my bacon-encrusted ice cream.

It was on the Burbank Burger King menu for only a few hours, but none had yet asked for the plat du jour, the bacon sundae.

Then Frank met me, the guy whose middle name on Facebook is Bacon.

He cracked a smile as he punched the order — one sundae for me and one for my wife.


“You’ll have to let me know how it is,” he mused.

I may have imagined the whispers that soon circulated among the cooking staff as the unorthodox marriage of salty and sweet was consummated.

The manager himself undertook the task. He combined vanilla custard mixed with pig-fat crumbles, and slathered on some chocolate and caramel sauces. Then to proclaim to everyone with certainty the identity of this mythic dessert, he inserted a strip of bacon that waved like a crimson flag suspended in the zero gravity of a soft-serve moon.

We took our desserts — along with a couple burgers and some fries for the pre-game — and settled into a hard-backed booth. The restaurant was empty, save for another couple, an older man enjoying a coffee and fries while reading his newspaper, and the Mahoneys, who fervently discussed the rise of bacon in foodie circles over the past decade.


My bacon obsession congealed by accident. I started eating turkey bacon with nearly every breakfast while trying Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. I thought it was silly to consume so much ground-and-shaped turkey meat, so I began taking artsy photos of the meals and posting them to a Facebook gallery, “Today’s Bacon.”

At first people had a few laughs.

“What’s with all the bacon,” they’d ask as they perused a photo of two strips of protein-rich turkey framing a cutout of Kevin Bacon’s face.

By the 10th photo, they started sending me links to bacon recipes. By the 20th, they linked to bacon products. Then came the actual products.

I’ve tried bacon beer and bacon toothpicks. My T-shirt says “I (heart) bacon.” The clerk at Rocket Fizz on Magnolia crooked an eyebrow while she sold me a bacon soda, which I spat out after trying.

My bacon journey has taught me that bacon-infused is better than bacon-flavored, and at least in this, the fast-food royalty got it right.

The bacon-as-dessert craze has met its peak already, if you believe the food critics. Look up the recipe for “pig candy” and you’ll find several variations on dipping bacon in brown sugar, grilling it, then crumbling it over a slab of dense chocolate cake. I tried it last fall at Firefly on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. Tres chic. Tres salty.

But the bacon sundae? Tres passé.


Bacon is in vogue because bacon is delicious, even when you’re eating a mishmash of turkey parts glommed into something that resembles bacon. Just ask the Burbank Unified School District.

Kathy Sessinghaus, the district’s food service director, serves up bacon all the time. It’s baked (not fried) and is all turkey meat — a healthier option because it’s lower in sodium and fat, and higher in protein. She serves it to kids as a side, or in a breakfast burrito, or sometimes on pizza.

It’s always in demand.

“We haven’t gotten creative yet with any ice creams,” she said.

Maybe it’s not far off, but trends like bacon mania can be hard to predict. If I had a time-traveling DeLorean, this wouldn’t be a problem — then again, I am sitting in the very Burger King Marty McFly rides by in “Back to the Future.”

I wonder what he’d think of the creamy texture of the vanilla custard bluntly interrupted by a crunch of bacon, the cold meat awash in a sugary bath of chocolate. Would he marvel at how far we’ve come in 27 years?

Would he enjoy dipping his bacon in ice cream as I did, his brain trying to resolve the conflicting sensations on his tongue as it decides not to blend the two into a single experience, opting to take in the tastes as individual entities instead?

Nah. He’d probably just shrug, thank Frank for the service, deal with his disappointment that he couldn’t get a Tab or a Pepsi Free, and move on.


BRYAN “BACON” MAHONEY is a recent transplant from the East Coast. When he’s not getting his heart checked, he can be reached at and on Twitter @818NewGuy.

Photo from Flickr user Perfectance.