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The Hot Dog Days of Summer

This week on Off-Ramp, John Rabe, Kevin Ferguson and I ate at Slaw Dogs and talked about hot dogs—and there’s a whole lot more to hot dogs in L.A. than standing in a tourist-filled line at Pink’s.

To listen to the podcast of our talk, click here for KPCC’s Off-Ramp site.

Here’s our short list to help you find the best hot dogs and sausages in town:

The Stand's Downtown L.A. Dog and homemade potato chips

READY TO EAT

Fab
Home of the “ripper,” a dog deep-fried until its casing bursts—just the way New Jersey natives like it. You can also get your dog steamed or grilled, but why? Don’t miss the house-made mustard relish.
19417 Victory Blvd., Reseda, 818.344.4336, fabhotdogs.com.

Let’s Be Frank
Born in San Francisco, this deluxe hot dog cart is run by Sue Moore, who used to be a meat forager for Chez Panisse. Sue brought her cart to L.A. in 2007, predating the food-truck fad, and her dogs are as healthy as a tube of moderately fatty meat can be: uncured, nitrite-free, hormone-free, made from grass-fed beef and/or family farm-raised pork. Try the brat dog or the uncured turkey dog. You’ll find the cart regularly at the Helms center in Culver City and on Thursday evenings at Silverlake Wine, among other locations.
Various locations, 888.2333.7265, letsbefrankdogs.com.

The Thai dog at Slaw Dogs

Slaw Dogs
Pasadena’s newest hot spot is an order-at-the-counter café on a funky stretch of North Lake. They’ve taken the slaw dog—a hot dog topped with cole slaw—to new levels, with such creations as the Thai Slaw Dog, the Picnic Dog and the Caesar Salad Dog. Once they get their beer and wine license (allegedly any day), you’ll have to drag regulars out of there.
720 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena, 626.808.9779, theslawdogs.com.

The Stand
With three locations around L.A., the Stand is L.A.’s upscale hot dog king, and deservedly so. They’ve got every type imaginable, from beer-cured brats and spicy Polish to veggie dogs and kosher franks that are split and grilled; we’re partial to the bacon-boosted Downtown L.A. Dog. Add good beer and wine, house-made potato chips, comfortable seating, and $1 hot dogs on Mondays, and you’ll understand its success.
1116 Westwood Blvd., Westwood, 310.443.0400; 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, 310.785.0400; 17000 Ventura Blvd., Encino, 818.788.2700; thestandlink.com.

Wurstkuche
A beer hall for 25-year-old guys with ironic hats and intellectual tattoos, this place has met with huge success for two reasons: beer and hot dogs. The beer is Belgian and the dogs cover the gamut, from the classic (beef franks, pork brats) to the adventurous (rattlesnake and rabbit seasoned with jalapeno). Excellent caramelized onions and sweet or spicy peppers are among the toppings. An affordable must-visit on the edge of Downtown’s Little Tokyo neighborhood.
800 E. 3rd St., Arts District/Little Tokyo, 213.687.4444, wurstkucherestaurant.com.

READY TO COOK

Here are four great sources for quality franks, brats and hot-dog-suitable sausages:

European Deluxe Sausage Kitchen

Huntington Meats & Sausage

Let’s Be Frank
You can buy these natural, preservative-free dogs on the website or by phone: 888.2333.7265, letsbefrankdogs.com.

Schreiner’s Fine Sausages

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4 Responses for “The Hot Dog Days of Summer”

  1. Diana says:

    You forgot Bratz Brothers! What about Vicious Dogs?

    • Eat: Los Angeles says:

      No, we didn’t forget Bratz Brothers… we just don’t think it measures up to the others. But we don’t know about Vicious Dogs, so thanks for the tip!

  2. bigdog says:

    It is an interesting list to say the least. Am not a big fan of The Stand nor of Let’s Be Frank but I guess there is room in this world for all kinds of “dogs.”
    Carney’s, after Pink’s, is the best chili dog in LA and has been for 40+ years. Pure goodness.
    Jack’s, a small joint downtown on 5th/Hope, has great chili and homemade chips that top their natural casing all-beef dog.
    The Brat Bros. remind me of Europe and in a very good way…great stuff.

  3. […] Dogs, and Vicious Dogs, and The Stand and Wurstküche* and several others discussed at length on Off-Ramp with John Rabe, Kevin Ferguson, and the esteemed Colleen Dunn Bates. Right here in Pasadena […]

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