DDD #101 – Vegan Big Mac with Beyond Burgers & Copycat McDonald’s Special sauce



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


These came out UNBELIEVABLY well!  I was a lifetime Big Mac whore & no other fast food ever appealed to me.  My Big Mac pizza was pretty successful but this burger puts that to shame.

Above, beneath my Big Bam pizza, is a real Bic Mac – followed by my copycat & then a side by side.  Doesn’t the vegan one look BETTER?  This really is the closest I think you can come to the real thing.  Click the image below to watch the video.

DDD #101 – Vegan Big Mac with Beyond Burgers & Copycat Special sauce

Makes 2 Big Macs


1 package Beyond Burgers (or 4 vegan burger patties)

3 sesame seed buns (or just two – if you are not interested in the center piece of bread)

4 slices vegan cheese

Iceberg lettuce – chopped

Onion – minced

Pickles – sliced

Copycat Special Sauce

1/4 cup vegan mayo

1 TBS vegan French dressing

1 TBS sweet relish

1 TBS minced onion

1 TBS yellow mustard

1/2 tsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powdet

1/2 tsp smoked paprika


Whisk the sauce together.  et aside.

If using Beyond Burgers – make each patty into two thinner patties.

Cook the burgers & top with cheese & melt.

Assemble the Big Mac: smear two bottom buns with sauce & top with onions, pickles & lettuce.  Put a cheeseburger on each & stack them.  Top with the bun.


DDD Ep. #15 – Vegan Big Mac Pizza with Copycat Special Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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vromans back

DDD Ep. #15 is up! It is my Vegan Big Mac Pizza! Plus, some pop art & pop culture references for you! And the boobs in this episode are not mine.

Click the link for the video (or watch it here) & please subscribe!


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Ever since I was a child – I have been obsessed – addicted even – to McDonald’s.  McDonald’s – specifically.  No other fast food tempted me in the least.  Not Burger King or Taco Bell or any of the other burger chains.  Sure – I would sometimes eat a Fatburger – which inevitably – made me agonizingly ill and an occasional burger from the Tommy’s on Beverly at Rampart – mainly because that Tommy’s was so old school & cool.  But if there had been a McDonald’s next door – I probably would have gone there.  I have always been to insanely addicted to Big Macs that as a kid – I could eat 2.  And McDonald’s fries are the best on Earth.

Then I gave up meat, in the late eighties.  Fuck.  That meant Filet-O-Fish sandwiches for me – which I put up with for a while until I was struck my supreme inspiration.  I bought a Big Mac AND a Filet-O-Fish.  I took the patties out of the Big Mac & fed them to the dogs & put the fish patty in there, instead.  I dipped fries in the tartar sauce on the Filet-O-Fish bun & shoved that fishy Big Mac into my pie hole like I hadn’t eaten for days.  I began doing this regularly.  So many times – I would go spinning & then go the the McD’s drive-thru – still actively sweating from class & get this combo & pull over to a random curb & make my custom sandwich – like a junky cooking dope.  I even included this process in my novel – Bathing & the Single Girl.  Here is the excerpt:


I decided to make a trip to McDonald’s to take the edge off my panic and maybe finally end my waning hangover. There is nothing like McD’s. It is the only fast food chain I patronize. I’ve been a fish-eating vegetarian for over twenty years but McDonald’s remains my own personal crack. I have to pretend I do not know that there is beef tallow in the French fries and block out the fact that McD’s are a great supporter of the factory farming that spurred my vegetarianism to begin with, but when I am hung over, McDonald’s is my best friend.
I ordered a #1 Big Mac value meal with fries, a diet Coke (gotta save calories somewhere) and a Filet-O-Fish. Once out of the drive thru, I pulled over on a side street like a drug addict jonesing for a fix. I took several big gulps of the best fucking diet Coke I had ever tasted while throwing furtive glances around to make sure I was not being watched. I opened the fish sandwich and scooped all that tartar sauce up on the top bun. This would serve as a bowl and dip for the fries. I grabbed the golden goodness of the square fish stick looking back at me and threw the bottom bun of the fish sandwich in the bag. I took the top off of the Big Mac and threw it in the bag. I removed the burgers and put them aside for my dogs. I placed the fish patty on the middle bun piece and flipped it over onto the bottom bun and its remaining ingredients. Special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a filet of fish on what was once a sesame seed bun. I rammed it into my mouth and nearly fainted with pleasure. Every cell in my body reacted negatively to the toxicity and I felt zits popping out on my face as I chewed. I didn’t give a fuck. I dipped a handful of fries in the fatty tartar sauce and forced them into my mouth before I swallowed my first bite of sandwich. I was disgusting. I felt the shame of a tweeker turning her first trick for drugs. My eyes flashed a scan of the horizon searching for the PETA police. My pants felt a size tighter. I finished that food in less than two minutes, literally drinking the last bit of fries from the cardboard container. It was glorious.
Slouched in the car, high from whatever it is in McDonald’s food that made Morgan Spurlock’s liver begin to shut down in Supersize Me, the plan to dine with The Albino seemed like it might actually be a fun adventure.


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So – maybe now you understand the extent of my problem.  That problem got even worse when I gave up eating fish, too, a couple of years ago.  Now – there is no excuse to go into a McDonald’s – because the fries really do have beef tallow in them – so there is literally nothing in there for me to eat – especially as I am inching my way to veganism.

Still – my Big Mac addiction festers without relief.   The smell of McDonald’s still makes my hands want to turn into those drive-thrus – but I can’t.  I won’t.  I shan’t!  And – yeah – I guess I could make a faux Big Mac with a veggie burger (Beyond Meat makes GREAT ones) – but the shitty bun is part of the charm & the special sauce isn’t just Thousand Island – no matter what detractors try to tell you.  It is more magical than that.  My fake Big Mac would be off just enough to leave me feeling cheated.

And then it came to me!  Big Mac PIZZA!  That way – the differences would be more forgivable – because it wasn’t a lame Big Mac – it was a glorious Big Mac pizza!!!!!  And so – I did it.  I did it last night.  After taking two heated spinning classes in 14 hours – I undid all that good – all that blood, sweat & those tears.  Undid it and gave zero fucks.  This fucking pizza is the best Goddamn thing on Earth.  It will be difficult not to eat these every night this week – after all – I have like an infinity of my copycat special sauce.  I can’t wash that gold down the drain – when my gullet is right here craving it – wanting to drink it – inhale it.  So – sure – I have a birthday coming up & it might be nice to NOT be at my absolute FATTEST on that day – but shit happens.  Sometimes things are out of your hands.  Sometimes life presents tough choices.  But – enough about that.  Let me present – my Big Mac pizza!

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Vegan Big Mac Pizza with Copycat McDonald’s Special Sauce


for the special sauce

3/4 cup vegan mayo

2 TBS sweet relish

2 TBS yellow mustard

2 TBS French dressing

1 tsp (or more) each: onion powder, garlic powder, paprika


for the Big Mac Pizza

Pizza dough (I used this HERE)

Vegan ground beef (I used Beyond Meat beefy crumbles)

Shredded lettuce

Vegan cheese (I used some Parmela Creamery sharp cheddar, Chao original & some of my own homemade mozzarella)

Sandwich pickle slices

Onion – diced

Sesame seeds

Jalapeno – sliced (not in a real Big Mac but fuck it)

Semolina flour (optional) for rolling out the dough

Parchment paper (optional)

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for the special sauce

Whisk the ingredients together & add a bit of water to thin it.  Taste it & adjust at will.  I added 2 more tsp of onion powder to mine.

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for the Big Mac Pizza

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

Roll out the dough (I do this in semolina flour because I find it adds to the crispiness of the crust – but regular flour is fine).  Put the dough on a greased cooking sheet (I just use parchment paper – and I recommend it highly).

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Top with cheeses & ground beef.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until your crust is done.  I added grated mozzarella at this point & cooked it another minute but only because the pizza looked a bit barren.  You can just dump the meat & cheese on there – cheese under & over the beef.

Once the crust is done – top with the remaining toppings & get your fucking eat on!

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Spicy Vegan Vegetable Fried Rice with Chicken & Romaine Lettuce and 90210: The Musical



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.




vromans back



This past weekend, I went to NYC to host 90210: The Musical.    I had no idea what to expect.  I did not know if the writers & cast were talented.  I did not know the take they would have on the show, on my character & maybe even of me.  When they invited me, I had to reconcile to laugh with everyone if I got roasted brutally.  The fact is, I made fun of a lot of the aspects of the show myself – even as I was still shooting it.  Plus – I like to think I am able to laugh at myself – so – fuck it!  I went.  And I am SO HAPPY that I did!!!









HERE is a little review that includes a short video clip.

The show is brilliant!  Smart, dirty & REALLY funny.  Several females roles are played by men which just adds to the hilarity.  I honestly cannot recommend this show any more highly.  I saw it two nights in a row & I feel like I could watch it infinitely more times.  And what a surreal & amazing experience – to not only see such a large part of my professional life presented this way – but even my character – Emily Valentine.  Such a singular experience.  A highlight in my life.  Truly.

Now – on to food.  Every get overly ambitious about your intentions to eat healthier or come home from the farmer’s market with enough produce to cater a vegetarian wedding?  Ever end up just sorta watching that produce wilt & decay – because you ended up eating Kraft mac & cheese three days in a row or you went out to dinner all week?  SUCKS to watch all that costly food go to waste.

Well – upon my return from NYC, that is where I found myself.  Looking, sadly, at a fuckton of produce that needed eating.  No way to eat it all as separate courses.  Most frustrating was 2-3 heads of romaine lettuce just starting to brown at the edges & along the thick spine.  What to do, what to do?   My freezer is already chock full of frozen leftovers from past slow cooker efforts to use less than robust produce.  Then – I spotted a leftover box of rice from my favorite Thai restaurant – Torung.  Aha!  I would make a stir-fry!  And – guess what?  I decided to add LETTUCE to this stir-fry.  And why the fuck not?  Lettuce is a leafy green – just like spinach or bok choy.  So – I used it & it worked.

This dish is – as is often the case with my recipes – the result of what I had & what I needed to use.  You can customize this any way you want.  Add water chestnuts or baby corn.  Lose the tomatoes.  Lose the serrano peppers.  Add sriracha.  Whateverthefuck you want.  It makes a boatload so – unless you are feeding 6 people or you want to eat lots of leftovers – reduce this recipe – maybe by 50%.



Spicy Vegan Vegetable Fried Rice with Chicken & Romaine Lettuce

Serves 4-6


1 or more cups of cooked rice

Coconut (or other) oil

10 Brussels sprouts – sliced or shredded

4-6 carrots (I used heirloom and regular) – sliced

2 bell peppers (I used 5 small gypsy peppers) – diced

3 serrano peppers (or to taste) – sliced (remove seeds to reduce heat)

4 mushrooms – sliced

1 head broccoli

1 (9 oz) package Beyond Meat vegan chicken (or whatever brand you find available) – thawed & cubed

10 cherry tomatoes – halved (plus a few extra – quartered – as garnish)

7 scallions – green & white parts – sliced

1 head romaine (or other) lettuce – chopped

Fresh spinach as a bed for the rice – optional

Lime wedges as garnish (optional)

for the sauce

1/4 cup liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

3 TBS fresh ginger (or less – if you are not big on ginger) – I used a squeezable kind

1/4 chop Shao Xing wine

1 TBS chili garlic sauce

2 TBS hoisin sauce

1 TBS toasted sesame oil














Heat 1-2 TBS coconut (or other) oil in a wok or very large frying pan.  You might need to add more oil along the way – if things dry out – but that is your call.

The rest of this can really be done any whichaway – just start with the veggies that are take longest to cook first.  I started with the shredded Brussels sprouts because I like how they taste when they get sorta charred.  Here is how I proceeded:

Add the Brussels sprouts & then the carrots & peppers & serranos.




I added more coconut oil, at this point.  Stir.



I then literally put the entire head of broccoli in the pan & sliced it off right into the pan.  Seemed less messy that way.  I reserve the stems to steam for my dogs.  Add the mushrooms & chicken.  Combine.  Add the rice.



Add the tomatoes and scallions (reserving some green scallions for garnish).  Combine & then add the lettuce.




Stir in the sauce ingredients & heat through.

Serve on spinach (if you want to ) and garnish with scallions & raw tomato.  Lime wedges might be nice, too, though I did not have any.   See?  Easy!


Easy Vegan Thai Minced Pork with Holy (& Sweet) Basil – Pad Ga Prao Muu – in Lettuce Cups

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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vromans back

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I live very close to the area in LA called Thai Town (Hollywood Blvd – essentially – east of Western).  It is an incredible resource for Thai & other Asian ingredients – like canned jackfruit, every manner of noodle & rice & some exotic spices.  The other day, at my favorite Thai market, Bangluck, I spotted these guys here:

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Vegetarian pork, duck & generic meat – in cans – for just over a dollar each.  The photos are not so appetizing but I could not resist trying them.  For whatever reason – I got two cans of the pork & decided to try them out today in this Thai dish.  Apparently, authentic Pad Ga Prao Muu uses only the Thai Holy (or hot) basil but I dd not have enough of that so I added some sweet Thai basil.  Here is how they look (holy/hot basil on top & Thai/sweet basil below with the purple flowers:

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The holy basil has serrated edges & the sweet basil does not.  They really do smell & taste very different but, I think, only a true aficionado of Thai food would know or care about the difference.  I used both & I was very pleased with the result.

Even more exciting – the canned pork!  Seitan, really.  Here are the details:

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Drained, it did not smell or taste funky.  AT ALL.  And even kinda looks like pork.  Any seitan would work for this recipe – stuff from your health food store or Whole Foods or homemade.  I posted some recipes with a recipe for seitan HERE.  The advantage o this canned stuff is shelf-life and COST!  It is so cheap & easy!  If you don’t have Asian grocers near you, the canned stuff is available online HERE.  I will report on the other two cans of stuff when I think of what to do with them.

As to this dish – crazy easy & outrageously delicious.  I like my food genuinely spicy so – if you do not – be sure to adjust the hot elements to suit your taste.

The seitan pork, though?  Totally convincing!  I think you could serve this dish to a meat eater & they would not question it.  You might want to call it chicken, if you have a real skeptic on your hands, because pork tends to be chewier than chicken but – whatever you decide – this will look like meat & taste like meat.  This recipe is killer!  And once your ingredients are prepped – it takes about 10 minutes.  EASY!

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Easy Vegan Thai Minced Pork with Holy (& Sweet) Basil – Pad Ga Prao Muu – in Lettuce Cups

Serves 2


20 oz (or so) seitan (or enough for 2 portions)

2 TBS coconut or olive oil

2 packed cups fresh Holy/hot and/or Thai/sweet basil

1-10 cloves garlic – chopped

2 shallots (or one small onion) – diced

4 red scallions (OPTIONAL!  I only used these because I had them) – sliced (bottoms only)

1 red bell pepper – seeded & sliced

1 cup carrots – matchsticks or sliced

1-10 red/green Thai chilies – split (I used 10 & this was very spicy)

1 serrano chili – diced (very optional)

2-3 TBS vegetarian oyster or mushroom sauce

3 TBS liquid aminos or low sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp dark soy sauce (optional)

1 tsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) OR 2 tsp brown sugar

Lettuce leaves for cups (I used romaine but butter lettuce is nice, too)

GARNISH – lime wedges, cooked rice

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Prep everything because this comes together fast.  Whisk the liquid ingredients (oyster sauce, soy sauces) together.

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the shallots, chilies, scallions (if using), red bell, and carrots.  Saute until the peppers & carrots soften (maybe 5 minutes).

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Add the seitan & heat through.  Add the garlic & saute one minute.  Add the liquids & combine.  Stir in the basil & once it wilts – you are ready to serve.

Serve in lettuce cups or with rice & garnish with lime wedges.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups (Larb Gai – Laab Gai)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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BathingandthesinglegirlCover vromans back

OK – now we are talking!  These are clean & light & perfectly suited to hot weather – both in the ease of preparation & the lack of anything too rich, dense or filling.  Another nice thing is that these guys come together in less than 20 minutes.  I think lemongrass is a traditional ingredient but I left it out – mainly because I know most people don’t have ready access to it.

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As always, I used Beyond Meat’s chicken because it is, in my opinion, the best vegan chicken on the market.  If you click that link – you can find a store locator & maybe even a coupon!  I also used jarred ginger & garlic but fresh would, clearly, be even better.

You can make this as spicy (or not) as you like.  I tend to go heavy on spice so keep that in mind if heat is not your bag.  For my money – the most critical detail in this recipe is the mint – but basil will do in a pinch.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups (Larb Gai – Laab Gai)

Feeds 2


Enough large lettuce leaves to make 6-8 individual cups/wraps

9 oz vegan chicken – thawed

1 TBS olive oil

1 jalapeno – seeded & minced

1/2 red bell pepper – slivered

1/2 red onion – diced

1 TBS ginger

1 TBS garlic

4+ TBS soy sauce or tamari

2 TBS brown sugar

1-3 TBS sriracha (according to your taste for heat)

1 TBS peanut butter (optional)


Fresh mint (or basil) – but really try it with mint – the mint is SO GOOD!

Lime wedges

GARNISHES (use as many or as few as you like)

Carrot – cut into matchsticks

Cucumber – cut into matchsticks

Red cabbage – slivered

Chopped peanuts


Avocado (I show avocado in these photos but I did not add it to the wraps – though you might like to)

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Set two plates with the lettuce cups on them.

In a food processor, pulse the chicken together with the jalapeno, half the onion & half the red bell pepper until it looks like pulled chicken or ground chicken (depending on the brand you are using) – or chop it all very fine, by hand)

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan & cook the remaining red onion & bell pepper for a few minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, peanut butter & sriracha & blend until the sugar dissolves.  Add the chicken & heat through.  Tweak the seasonings & divide the chicken between the lettuce cups.  Top with cilantro and MINT (!) & serve with lime wedges & any other garnishes you opted to use.


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Grilled Romaine & Avocado Salad with Green Goddess Dressing


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


Ok – this dressing is my amalgamation of several recipes I looked at.  I wanted to avoid using avocado in it so I could save that for grilling.  I wanted to lighten it up with yogurt so that it wouldn’t be so rich and I added a huge jalapeno in a final moment of inspiration.  The result? I was literally eating this stuff with a spoon.  It is just ridiculous.  I suspect this recipe is very forgiving & could stand a few ingredient substitutions if something in it doesn’t appeal to you or is hard for you to find.  A vegan mayo could be used for both the mayo & yogurt portions to make this vegan.  Beyond that – this is made simply by blending the ingredients in a food processor.

As to the grilled romaine & avocado – very easy if you have access to a grill.  This salad is delicious & sort of unusual & an easy way to impress your less than culinary guests.  My one issue was that I was starving last night (having only eaten two bowls of my Zero Calorie Pho all day) and I was impatient to eat it.  Therefore – I failed miserably in getting a pretty photo of this salad.  Please, do not be thrown by my poor documentation of the dish.  It really is delicious!



Grilled Romaine & Avocado Salad with Green Goddess Dressing


For the grilled salad

Romaine lettuce, ends removed & halved

Avocados – peeled & halved

Tomatoes – diced (for garnish)

olive oil for grilling

For the dressing

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 TBS tahini

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 garlic clove

10 mint leaves

1 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 cup fresh parsley

1 TBS lemon juice

1 large jalapeno – seeded (optional but delicious!)

1 tsp pepper

1 TBS olive oil

salt to taste

Grated or shaved Parmesan




Blend all the dressing ingredients in a food processor.

Heat your grill to high.  Brush olive oil on the cut side of the lettuce & avocado.  Grill for a minute or two.

Place a wedge of grilled lettuce & half an avocado on each plate.  Drizzle with dressing.  Garnish with chopped tomatoes & Parmesan.



Easy Vegetarian B.L.A.T.

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Photo © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

Again – this is no back room secret but I thought I’d share it anyway.  You can make your faux bacon, lettuce, avocado & tomato sandwich any way you like.  I still haven’t found a meatless bacon that doesn’t suck – except for the completely chemical & sodium laden soy BACOS (http://www.amazon.com/Betty-Crocker-Bacos-Flavor-4-4-Ounce/dp/images/B000EFBM4O)!   This can easily be made vegan by simply using a Veganaise of some sort. So – my BLAT consists, typically, of some kind of sprouted grain bread (http://www.foodforlife.com/product-catalog/ezekiel-49/breads) which I toast, a larger quantity of mayonnaise than is likely wise, half an avocado, slices of tomato, as many artificially red Bacos as I can get to stick in the mayonnaise, whatever lettuce is handy & some freshly ground pepper.  Sure – the toast & shards of Bacos wreak havoc on the roof of your mouth but the fat-induced coma caused by the mayonnaise & avocado makes that pain easy to ignore.


Toast – your call

Mayonnaise – LOTS

Bacos – MORE


Tomato – 1/2 large

Avocado – 1/2

Assemble at will.