Jonathan’s Recommended Hot Dog Stands
My son Aaron and I are on a quest to enjoy the all-around tastiest, most memorable hot dog eating experience. This is no small challenge since hot dogs vary from the terrible to the transcendent, from the awful (offal?) to the awesome.
Our criteria include the quality of the hot dog meat, the bun, the fixings, presentation aesthetics and – importantly – the overall ambience of the vendor. From kitchen to kitsch, we judge the total experience. (Unashamedly, I am drawn to offbeat, plucky and wacky hot dog stagecraft.)
With veneration for the many wonderful and yet-be-visited neighborhood hot dog stands, here is my Registry of Recommended Hot Dog Purveyors:
- Speed’s Hot Dog Wagon (barbecued, messy quarter pound hot dogs on grilled buns smothered in onions and a “secret” chutney sauce; hold the onions)
- SuperDawg (kitschy drive-in serves up the famed Chicago dog)
- Rutt’s Hut (order “a ripper” — deep fat fried until the crispy skin splits — with the “secret recipe” sweet relish)
- Biker Jim’s Gourmet Hot Dogs (go with the rattlesnake/pheasant or the Alaskan reindeer dog served with grilled onions and cream cheese; unlimited Boylan soft drinks)
- Mustard’s Last Stand (excellent quarter pound char dog with superior fries)
East Bay, CA:
- XOLO Tacqueria, Oakland (cavernous rooms seat locals shoveling huge orders of tasty, innovative taqueria-style dishes, including the famed Danger Dog, a large bacon wrapped hot dog with mayonnaise, mustard, pinto beans, cheese, avocado on a bolillo roll plus optional jalapenos)
- Doggy-Style HotDogs, Alameda (The Doggyzilla, the house specialty, is a bratwurst with an Asian slaw, teriyaki sauce and seaweed with or without wasabi mayo; order waffle corn dogs for dessert)
Las Vegas, NV:
- Buldogis Café (awesome, tasty, wonderful fusion hot dogs with Korean toppings: Bulgogi = grilled marinated beef, Asian slaw, onions, sesame seeds; Gang-Nam = roasted pork belly, cucumber, sesame seeds, seaweed; Hawaiian = pork belly, pineapple slaw; onions, Dijon mustard)
Los Angeles, CA:
- Wurstkuche (experiment with a rabbit or an alligator hot dog; great fries with delicious dipping sauces)
- Pink’s (noted for its chili dog with mustard & onions)
- The Stand (order the messy Downtown L.A. Dog on a steamed bun, slathered with onions, bacon, mustard, ketchup and sour cream)
New York, NY:
- Nathan’s Famous (unlike the anemic supermarket version, a Nathan’s crispy grilled hot dog at the Coney Island mothership is worth the trip)
- Bark Hot Dogs (order the Bark Hot Dog, a grilled Austrian-style hot dog on a soft, grilled bun with decorative and sublime relish)
- Miller’s Twist (sublime all-beef dog encased in white cheese and pretzel dough, drenched in butter and salt)
San Francisco, CA:
- Japadog, Vancouver (my favorites: Tonkatsu hot dog #5 and Kurobuta hot dog #8. Great fascinating flavors!!)
- 40% of Americans prefer hot dogs grilled, 21% boiled, 8% microwaved, 3% steamed and the rest are confused.
- 48% of American children 18 and under will eat at least one hot dog in the next two weeks.
- All American Hot Dog Carts in Miami, FL makes all the hot dog carts in America with 13 employees producing 20 carts per day.
- Day in and day out, Chicago O’Hare airport sells more hot dogs annually than any other public building in America.
- Longest hot dog ever? A 197 feet long hot dog was prepared in 2006 in Toyko, Japan.
- First words Mickey Mouse ever uttered in a cartoon? “Hot dog”
- Mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey as far back as the 9th Century B.C., sausage is one of the oldest forms of processed food.
- New York City oyster carts were the forerunner of today’s street corner hot dog carts. At one point, oysters and hot dogs competed (ten cents bought a plate of oysters versus a single hot dog).
- The hot dog was invented in Frankfurt, Germany in 1487, five years before Christopher Columbus set sail. Vienna (Wien), Austria, counters noting that the term “wiener” proves hot dogs were born there.
- In 2007, Consumer Reports rated Hebrew National as the best hot dog.
Hot dog lover Jonathan in disguise at his home in California.
Mouth-Watering Wiener Websites