Thursday May 31, 2012
Do I love bacon? Yea, verily. Do I think bacon should be tacked on to every half-baked menu item or crammed into every available nook and cranny on the interwebs? Nope. From bacon sundaes and pancakes to baconnaise and bacon lip balm, bacon-mania has overstayed its welcome. I regularly indulge in the likes of turkey-avocado BLTs, bacon cheeseburgers and Benton's Bacon by its lonesome, but the novelty bacon food items have never done much for me. Until, that is, I found one that worked. That would be the Maple Bacon Donut from Nickel Diner in downtown Los Angeles - though its quality and staying power elevate its status above "novelty," in my book.
With the convincing 1940's-style diner decor and the line of hipsters out the door, I couldn't help but wonder if Nickel Diner would favor style over substance or perhaps be "diner" food with a sly wink. But to their credit, they've kept the vibe and the food fairly down to earth with lightning fast service, bottomless cups of good coffee, and ample portions of diner classics from eggs any-style and French toast to burgers and huevos rancheros. A massive chilaquiles special impressed and the Hangover Helper - a scramble with bacon, Italian sausage, potatoes, cheese, avocado and salsa - proved tastier than just the sum of its parts. But alas, it's the donuts that have become their calling card. The Maple Bacon Donut arrived ceremoniously before the rest of the meal. And this was no dainty pastry: a fork and knife became necessary. A thin layer of maple glaze with substantial bacon chunks (bigger than bits at least) topped the thick cake donut. And the hype was well-deserved: it was mostly savory, but slightly sweet and the perfect complement to a cup of coffee. Not capable of finishing it in the mere minutes before my entree made its way to the table, I deferred the rest of my donut enjoyment until dessert. Non-bacon enthusiasts would do well to go with the cream-filled, chocolaty Irish Car Bomb donut or the Nutella donut (plotting my next visit already). So chalk one up for non-traditional bacon use. I'll still take a pass on cleansing my palate with the bacon mints or bacon beer.