Tag Archives: Food Trucks

Price of Bacon

Via e-mail at 9:01 a.m. today
J writes:

Nothing causes me more chest tightening angst than the rising cost of bacon. When I was in high school 20 years ago, to get bacon on your sandwich was 45 cents a slice. It’s off the charts now. And if you are at a diner for breakfast, it can be as high as $5.00 for a side order of THREE SLICES OF BACON!!! I suppose the same people who think three slices of bacon is a satisfying amount are the folks who think a candy bar you can swallow in one bite is “fun size. ”

But I think I may have found a way to beat the system.

Bacon is expensive when you order it, but it doesn’t weigh hardly anything. If you buy it at one of those places where you pay for your food by the pound, you can get it really cheap. This morning, I got six slices of bacon and a sausage link for $1.38.

Two places:

At the 8th and Market Patco Stop (also the Gallery El Stop) there’s a place called Paganos where they serve a breakfast buffet of scrambled eggs, sausage, scrapple (some days), bacon and cheesy potatoes. Warning: don’t go too crazy; the potatoes especially are heavy and you’ll find yourself breaking the $2.00 mark pretty quick if you get them.

On Chestnut Street between 7th and 6th, Parks Salad Bar also serves breakfast. These establishment is presided over by two delightful Asians (I think they are husband and wife) who barely speak English, but always have Christian worship music playing over the loud speakers. This buffet has way more variety, including fruit, shrimp, egg rolls and chicken fingers, and, of course, bacon. Warning though, I think they only refresh on Monday, so if you go midweek the stuff will look pretty old.


Via e-mail at 2:02 p.m. today:
J writes:

It appears that one of my favorite food trucks near the Public Ledger Building across from Independence Park, roughly 5th and Walnut, has begun feeling the effects of the recession. That is they have raised the price of cheese from $.25 to $.50. I’ll admit it’s hardly a budget buster for me, and when you sell as many cheeseburgers or cheese hot dogs as they do, it likely helps their bottom line, but here’s the incongruity—the price of everything else has not changed. And they don’t charge for a lot of other things.

At lunch today I got a kielbasa. I had them put it on the grill (they are always better grilled and they have to be just shy of burnt to get the full effect) and dressed it up with fried onions, brown mustard and, of course, the aforementioned cheese. Total cost: $3.00. Money well spent. Without the cheese it would have been $2.50. Without the onions and mustard, it still would have been $3.00.

What makes cheese so special that they feel entitled to charge $.50 for it? And why do we pay?

My sandwich had a lot, I mean a lot, of onions. Free.

They were also quite generous with the mustard. Free.

Cost of grilling (some trucks charge an extra $.25 for “anything on the grill.”). Also free.

Sandwiches often rise and fall on the quality of their condiment supplements. Even as Heinz dominates the ketchup market, we all know not all mustards are created equal. When you are making sandwiches in volume, condiments are a cost to consider.

When I was a kid, my McDonald’s hamburger came with three pickles. Today, they come with one. What’s a pickle? Nothing, unless you are making as many hamburgers as McDonalds, in which case it’s a big item on your condiment budget. If I wanted extra pickles I suppose I could get them, but they’d likely charge me for them, like they do for the extra sauce packets I keep in my refrigerator because my kids won’t eat regular bar-b-q sauce and I have yet to find an equivalent for their hot mustard.

But I digress…

You know how much McDonald’s charges for cheese?


What a world.


E-mail exchange from Monday, 3:17 p.m.

Subject line: The Problem with Hot Dogs…
J said:

Aren’t so much in the hot dogs themselves, but in the hot dog buns. I am not yet convinced that a sausage or a kielbasa is quantifiably better than a hot dog, but I do know that since most of us eat them portably, as opposed to with a knife and fork in our laps while we shoo away pigeons and the homeless, who interestingly have never expressed an interest in sharing my lunch even as they ask me for money for food, than the disparity here is relevant.

Specifically, the roll that a sausage or a kielbasa comes on is 100 times better than the hot dog roll.

Perhaps some of the food truck vendors would consider putting hot dogs on a sausage rolls.

That would be a change we can believe in.
I replied:

One of your best yet.

Now my question for you is this: What is your feeling on cheesesteak rolls?

It seems to me, most people that are really into hoagies and cheesesteaks and spend time telling other people their preferences, are always citing “the roll” as the reason why sandwich A is better than sandwich B.

As someone who enjoys good bread but finds the quality of the meat and cheese as the real marker of a delicious sammie, I find their arguments pointless.
J countered:

Hardly pointless, although I could see how it might seem so to someone who has eliminated meat from their lives and therefore would be reduced to eating a “hoagie” that consisted of lettuce, tomato, onions and cheese, which would be truly pointless, or, lord help us all, a cheese steak that consisted of fried cheese and onions which, when I think about it, does have a certain appeal.

But I digress.

The quality of a cheese steak depends on the confluence of cheese, onions and the roll in exactly the right amounts and if anyone of these is lacking, the entire cheese steak suffers. It’s hard exactly to quantify the quality of the roll (some like it warm, some don’t. Some like it hard, some don’t. It’s like pornography that way I suppose—that is we know a roll is lacking when it is).

To those who would dismiss the quality of a roll in a cheese steak evaluation, I would ask them to consider the following. A cheese steak on a hot dog roll, or on toasted sliced bread. Not the same. Indeed, not the same at all.

I shared:


When you put it like that, I agree.

I went on a sort of double-date road bike ride once, and spent the majority of said ride chatting with the other girlfriend. She worked for Wawa which I thought was totally cool. She worked in their call center so she assured me it wasn’t. I asked her if people had been calling and complaining about how the quality of the Wawa hoagie roll was in decline and she said that indeed, that had been one of their biggest complaints.

I then asked her if they logged the complaints and took action on them.  She said no.

My boyfriend at the time said that she was a comment box with no bottom.
J ends the exchange with this:

One of the greatest lines in TV sitcom history:

Matthew won Employee of the Month, but it was hardly a competitive election: “There were two votes for Matthew, 15 for ’employee of the month sucks,’ and 8 just said ‘ba-ba-booey.'”

Somehow the idea of comment boxes made me think of that.


  1. Places like WaWa and Subway shouldn’t be allowed to sell sandwiches. They suck. There’s no further analysis needed. Yes, Wawa has other uses like free ATMs and slim jims, but their sandwiches are an embarrassment. Subway may as well just close up shop. How they stay in business in this part of the country makes about as much sense as a Long John Silvers in New England or a Kentucky Fried Chicken down south. It’s just wrong.
  2. Wawa actually has a lot of opportunity. Managers can make up to $45,000 a year and about $1,500 in bonuses on top of that every month if their store performs well. I actually considered working for WaWa. I still haven’t totally dismissed it.

For the record, I disagree about Wawa hoagies.