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Best hot dog?

I think there are two types of foodies. People who live to experience the highest forms of cuisine. And people who live to experience every form of cuisine. The former will spare no expense in the world to enjoy flavors. The latter will explore any food cart in the world. The former is Charlie Trotter. The latter Anthony Bourdain. You get the idea. We probably all have a foot in both camps but skew towards one. I'm more the latter.

So, where's the best hot dog?

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  1. This gets discussed often, so I'm curious about your pick at the current time since your profile says

    Underrated by Chowhounds:
    A really high-quality, grilled or charbroiled hot dog.

    Are you talking restaurant, cart or raw ingrediant to bring home?

    I love chargrilled. There are not enough of them in the Bay Area. This is sort of stupid, but my most memorable hot dog in the Bay Area is at Oscar's in Berkeley. There is not a thing that is special about it ... boiled Miller dog on a plain bun with supermarket-quality tomatoes ... yet, for some reason, if I have a hot dog craving and there's no place new to try, I go to Oscar's.

    4 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      I'll check Oscar's thanks. I'm still getting to know CH, so haven't seen that thread before. I lived in Chicago and got to know good chargrilled dogs at places like Hot Doug's and Super Dawg. Looking for equivilant around here. Sometimes that craving needs to be fed!

      1. re: sgwood415

        yup, hot doug's, we definitely need one around here. there's something about a mom n pop joint with a theme song AND a remix, and duck fat fries for the proles. sf could learn a thing or two. i think hot doug's is what rosamunde in sf aspires to (haven't been in after reported change). let's be frank is a really top cart, but i've had an off day from them.

      2. re: rworange

        Happy Dog, in Sonoma on Hwy.12 near the intersection with Verano Ave. (near McDonalds) does a chargrilled dog. I just had one yesterday, and it was very well done & crispy, with lightly grilled chopped onions and tomatoes(raw). $2.85. They also serve a cheese dog and a chili dog.
        For steamed dogs and sausages in sonoma, the permanent hot dog hut outside Friedman's hardware is a good bet. I've even gone there when I didn't need any hardware.

        1. re: rworange

          Link to oscars

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          Oscar's
          1890 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

        2. Ok ... Oscar's is the California dog that many places make ... steamed dog topped with onions, tomato, mustard, relish. One thing to ask is who makes the dog ... usually the answer is Miller's.

          You should try Kaspars with a K and Caspars with a C just for getting the Cal dog vibe.

          Even though it it grilled and a different type of Miller's dog ... long and skinny ... Smokehouse in Berkely has one of the worst, most dog-awful hot dogs I have had in the area.

          Top Dog has its fans and ships their dogs somewhere from the East, but for some reason, they don't do it for me.

          If you need a classic Chicago dog, the best so far I've tried is at Gumbah's in Vallejo ... where you might get other Chicago fixes.

          Those are mainly East Bay Places. There are a few dog places in downtown SF I haven't tried yet and I'm sure people will chime in.

          It has been a loooong time since I've had one, and the memory is not clear, but I believe Bullshead has hot dogs and they char-broil ... my favorite burger in the city.

          There's a new place called Gestalt Haus that I haven't tried yet with sausages and dogs ... this is CA, so they have a vegan dog too.

          In the South Bay I like Kirk's and Clarks which char-broil ... so shoot me ... not popular Chowhound spots.

          I've really been getting into Shwartz's sausages and I want to try a hot dog from the stand at the Friday Oakland Farmers market. That would probably be steamed.

          Depending on the supplier, those hot dogs outside of Home Depot can be good ... since you are a cart type of person.

          3 Replies
            1. re: sgwood415

              Gumbah's has a new owner with the same menu. It will be called West Side Cafe

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              Gumbah's Italian Beef (see West Side Cafe)
              138 Tennessee St, Vallejo, CA 94590

            2. re: rworange

              There is a CHicago Dog place in Santa Rosa, Melanie Wong knows the name ( I never remember), also there is an ice cream place in Mendocino that has Vienna Beef dogs Chicago Style. The dogs at Clark's/Kirks/Jeffrey's look decent, but they are the big fat grilled dogs- different from say a long skinny New York frank or a medium sized midwestern dog. Best char-grilled dog I'ver ever had was a Sahlen's (Buffalo company) at a chicago place (Franks for the Memories) done Chicago style. rw- what is the place in Petaluma? oh, Lombardi's- that dog is amazing

            3. Any places out here do "rippers"? You NJ transplants should know what I talkin' about.

              1 Reply
              1. If you don't need/want/desire a grilled dog, the ones at the food counter at Costco are awesome (and cheap).

                6 Replies
                1. re: tobze

                  The Costco $1.50 hot dog and drink is one of the best deals around. I don't think I know of a better deal.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Yes Mr. Lauriston but is the hot dog a 1/4 pound Hebrew National?

                      1. re: wolverine61

                        Costco does Sinai, not Hebrew National, but they are good. The polish are slightly disappointing, but only because I definitely prefer a chargrilled Polish, but can handle the straight kosher beef dog steamed.

                        1. re: P. Punko

                          I notice Costco in the bay area does Sinai, but in Southern California Costco's its Hebrew National.

                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                        .50 cents is cheap, really cheap...but no drink. I'd say it's pretty close. 2 Ikea dogs and a drink probably costs $1.50...but indeed, no 1/4 lb dog.

                  1. You might try Moshie's Pippic on Hayes street in SF. It's a "Chicago Style Deli" that has a bunch of dogs on the menu.

                    I haven't their dogs, I was doing a quick sammie grab during jury duty.
                    Actually, I have an aversion to hotdogs since I worked at a stand at Fisherman's Warf in highschool.

                    Also, not hot dogs, but sausages is Rosamunde's in the lower Haight. There has been talk on the board that the buns have gone downhill, but they do grill them with onions and peppers.