Archive for the 'Hot Dogs' Category

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The Slaw Dogs – Pasadena


In between consulting with a hair and make up gal who charged $400 for her services and visiting a bridal store that threatened a $100 rush fee for simple alterations, I gladly dug into some (relatively) cheap hot dogs at The Slaw Dogs. After being gouged left and right, the gourmet wiener shop felt like a sanctuary where brides-to-be could be properly fed without being nickel and dimed. What a relief.


When I arrived at noon to meet up with Pat of Eating LA, the restaurant was packed to capacity with lines snaking out the door. The positive LA Times write up and Jonathan Gold’s endorsement must be bringing in the crowds because the location isn’t stellar.  North Lake is no Colorado Boulevard.


The sky’s the limit when it comes to dressing up Slaw’s array of all-beef, natural casing, turkey, veggie, and kosher dogs. On hand are forty-five custom toppings including roasted garlic, pasilla peppers, kimchi, and truffle oil. I was mildly tempted to build my own dog, but decided otherwise because too many choices make me anxious. [See: “Paradox of Choice” by Barry Schwartz.] In addition to fancy hot dogs, the restaurant also serves salad bowls and burgers.


Pat ordered a basket of Belgian Style Fries ($2.99) to pair with her dog. The skinny spuds proved to be fine vehicles for the gourmet dips (roasted garlic mayonnaise, chipotle mayonnaise, Sriracha aioli) that owner Ray Byrne brought to our table. Eaten alone, the fries tasted under-seasoned.


My beer battered onion rings ($3.99) were bogged down by excess oil, but nicely flavored and slightly crunchy. The rings were “light, crispy, and not too oily” on Abby of Pleasure Palate’s recent visit, so it’s a distinct possibility that I got a botched batch.


Pat settled on the “Cali” market dog ($5.49) with kumquat chutney, habanero pickled onions, grilled onions, and curry ketchup. She chose a natural casing “Snap Dog” to go with the market-driven fixings. A hefty punch of spice was the first to register, followed by a jolt of raw onions. The dog wasn’t as snappy as we had hoped, but the loveliness of the kumquat chutney made up for it. The bun, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired.


Pat’s son thoroughly enjoyed the Picnic Dog ($4.99), which included barbecue sauce, two onion rings, potato salad, and a pickle spear. He was pleasantly surprised by how well the tangy sauce and goopy potato salad gelled together in between the flimsy buns. Compared to The Astronomer’s nightmarish Lord of the Rings hot dog at Pink’s, this one looked much more palatable and manageable.


I went with the Thai Slaw Dog ($6.59) with chicken sausage, spicy peanut-coconut satay dressing, cilantro-carrot slaw, crushed peanuts, and Sriracha aioli. The entire package was straight out of South East Asia, and it was mostly delightful. The chicken sausage surprised us with its oomph, while the slaw was zesty and fresh; however, the lightly toasted bun once again left us disappointed.


Lastly, we split the A.B.L.T Dog ($6.29) with double bacon, chopped romaine, tomato, avocado, and roasted garlic aioli. We loved the ripe avocado and savory bacon, but desired a more pungent garlic aioli.

From innovative fixins to tip-top customer service, there’s a lot to like about The Slaw Dogs. However, the bread situation is really holding it back. If I might make a suggestion, a custom-made brioche bun from Euro Pane would solve the problem deliciously. Until then, Italian sausages on the grill will be my go-to source for a local wiener fix.

The Slaw Dogs
720 North Lake Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91104
Phone: 626-808-9777

Pink’s Hot Dogs – Los Angeles (West Hollywood)


After supping on small plates at Cube, my mother desired a little something else to top off her evening. While visions of cupcakes dolloped tall with frosting were dancing in my head, my mom was dreaming of chili cheese dogs with thick squiggles of yellow mustard. Since Pink’s Hot Dogs was located only 469 feet away, I curbed my sweet tooth and we headed for the bright lights and lengthy lines—It was time to experience a Los Angeles institution.

Paul Pink started his hot dog stand, a large-wheeled pushcart to be exact, in 1939. He outgrew the hot dog wagon in 1946 and traded it in for a small building that was constructed on the same spot where the wagon stood. For the past 70 years, locals and tourists alike have been queuing up and patiently waiting for a taste of Mr. Pink’s famous hot dogs. Oh, the power of hype and nostalgia!


As we approached the culinary landmark, we were all wondering how long of a wait we’d have to endure. It’s a good thing we had eaten at Cube beforehand, because it ended up taking an hour from the moment we lined up to the moment we sat down to eat. Interestingly, Pink’s website notes that “an average Pink’s chili dog can be ordered, prepared and delivered to the customer in less than 30 seconds!” Damn those specialty hot dogs for holding up the line.


I had high hopes for Pink’s after seeing the wall of celebrity endorsements in the restaurant’s dining room. Everyone from Celine Dion to Nobu and Gordon Ramsay were bestowing heaps of praise upon the wiener shack. Of all the famous faces adorning Pink’s walls, I was happiest to see Martha Stewart smiling down on me—the woman has impeccable taste.


Finally, our hot dogs were ready. My mom and I ordered chili cheese dogs ($3.75), The Astronomer went for the “Lord of the Rings” ($4.85), and my mom’s friend David had a mushroom Swiss dog ($4.40).


The Astronomer’s Lord of the Rings was comprised of a 10-inch hot dog topped with onion rings and drenched in tangy barbecue sauce. It was impossible to consume the wiener as the chef envisioned it without looking like a caveman, so The Astronomer removed the rings and ate them on the side. [He also devised another rather ingenious mode of delivery.] The hot dog was so super-saucy that The Astronomer had to wipe off the excess barbecue sauce with napkins in order for it to taste palatable. Gross.

David was most pleased with his Swiss cheese, mushroom, and mayonnaise hot dog. I wanted to steal a bite, but didn’t want to disrupt his dream-like state.


My mother and I pretty much felt the same way about our chili cheese dogs—indifferent. The chili lacked the heartburn-inducing kick that we were hoping for, while the cheese was strangely tasteless. The extra-long hot dogs had a decent snap, but their flavors were hardly robust. Overall, we felt that Pink’s most famous creation was sadly lackluster. When I indulge in good ‘ol American junk food, I want to be overloaded with salt, grease, fat, and flavor. Pink’s brought the grease and fat, but didn’t pack the punch where it counted most.

I really wanted to count myself among the legion of Pink’s devotees, but the product just didn’t move me.

Pink’s Hot Dogs
709 North La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Phone: 323-931-4223

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