Bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches are a distinctly New York thing. What the breakfast burrito is to Los Angelenos, or a Taylor pork roll is to a New Jersey native, a baconeggencheese rivals even bagels in the heart of New Yorkers. It's the one food I miss when I'm traveling in Italy.
The very best bacon, egg and cheese sandwich that you can possibly have requires a ring of "chicola" bread from Addeo Bakers on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. To sound like a true local, ask for "cheegola" bread, a Neapolitan-style pronunciation of ciccioli or pork rinds. (If you love Mexican or Caribbean food, think chicharrones.) Some people know this also as lard bread. Really old timers call it "anzonia bread."
Only made Thursday-Saturday, dough is brushed with lard that the bakers render themselves. Pieces of crispy smoked pork are sprinkled in and the dough is folded over. More lard gets brushed on, more pork... you get the idea. It is not diet friendly. Weight Watchers doesn't have a points system for this stuff. But it is outrageously delicious and addictive. Arthur Avenue devotees who drive in from the suburbs often joke that it doesn't last the car ride home.
Chicola bread really does need to be enjoyed as soon after baking as possible. If yours manages to survive the night, put it in the toaster oven and use it for the very best bacon, egg and cheese sandwich of your life. I like to add grated pecorino or parmigiano cheese to beaten eggs, scramble and then add a teaspoon of chopped chives. You can also fry chopped pancetta and add it to the scrambled eggs for even more bacon.
INSIDER SECRET. Addeo's has two locations. There's a storefront at 2352 Arthur Avenue (pictured above) as well as around the corner on 2372 Hughes Avenue. The bread is baked at the Hughes Avenue location and the first generation of Addeo's lived above it. I prefer the store on Hughes Avenue for its beautiful mosaic floor and tin roof. But both locations have the same exact products. You'll see the shop clerks going back and forth between the two with a metal grocery cart.
Join us on Arthur Avenue for a tour of Little Italy in the Bronx!