“And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.” Leviticus 11:7, King James Version
There are many laws in Leviticus that I break on a regular basis, but after the fetishization of bacon in American food culture, I'm beginning to wonder if we shouldn't consider a return to Biblical principles. (This is a joke, people; put down the stones, ye who are without sin.)
Bacon has turned up everywhere; there is bacon salt and bacon perfume and, though it makes me turtle just to think about it, bacon lube. There was never any doubt that there'd be a bacon-oriented luxe lonchera prowling the streets of pork-obsessed Orange County; I'm just glad that BACON MANia (their bizarre capitalization, not mine) is good enough to overcome my weariness of the bacon hype.
Now, full disclosure right up front: I like my bacon chewy, rather than crispy. I don't like it floppy–it has to be cooked through–but I love bacon that tears rather than shattering. It's a mark of the quality of the bacon at Bacon Mania, then, that I didn't object to its crunch.
Still, I think a slightly chewier texture would have gone better on the absolutely enormous BLT on a long French-type roll. Thick slices of tomatoes spilled out the edge of the roll, threatening to fall out and ruin the structural integrity of the sandwich, while the bacon sat perched on top. I closed the roll forcefully, creating umami shards that pierced the vegetation, and ate the whole thing in one continuous porcine orgy; this is not a sandwich you can put down and come back to. In five months, when the best tomatoes are in season and they learn to put the mayonnaise on the bread and not squirted artistically on top of the structure, this is going to be a sandwich to contend for the best in OC.
The mac'n bac'n fries–yes, you really did read that right–was not worth the purchase. I did not taste much bacon in the dish, and the mac 'n cheese had that floury taste that comes from too much roux. Stick with a dish of fries alone, and ask for a side of the chipotle mayonnaise they use on the sandwiches instead of ketchup.
What would make me return–and what is tempting me to go right now, today, and buy again with my own money–were the sliders, and specifically the barbecue sliders. The meat, juicy and seared just enough on the outside, provided the perfect foil for bacon. What made the burger, though, was the slice of green apple. I'd never had apple on a burger, but I'm sold; the crunch was better than a pickle, and the acidity cut through the richness of the burger without the vinegary gut-punch of most commercial pickles. These were outstanding sliders and I've thought about them throughout the two lonely, meatless Lenten Friday nights that followed my last visit.
You can follow BACON MANia on Twitter @BACONMANia, or find them today from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at OCEA Food Truck Thursdays (830 N. Ross St., Santa Ana) and from 5-9 p.m. at the Orange Best Buy (2375 N. Tustin St., Orange). See their website for the rest of their schedule.