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May 31, 2007 06:33 PM

Berkeley - Desi Dog Happy Hour … $1.50 frank with grilled onions and Serrano peppers … how far is heaven?

Foot-long skinny Miller dog that is grilled with some nice char marks. Served on a more-than-fluff sesame seed bun that holds up nicely to the substantial choice of condiments.

Free translucent grilled onions and chopped Serrano peppers on request.

Complementary condiments include: salsa fresca, chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped onions, Mexican pickled peppers/carrots, sauerkraut (street temperature), relish, catsup, yellow mustard, BBQ sauce.

Chili and cheese available to top the dog … and IMO, this tops Top Dog … but hours are briefer.

From 5-8 pm the dog happy hour is $1.50 dogs and $1 fries. Regular dog price is $2.50.

All-day special – Dog, fries drink (bottled water or canned soda) $4.50. Jarritos Mexican soda is available, but not included in the special.

The fresh cut fries I’m guessing are either love em / hate em .. I love em … they are carney fries … when I was a kid, Savin Rock Amusment Park near New Haven, CT had fries like these … soft and hot from the oil with a nice potato taste that brought out the spud sweetness. They are really oily though … so be warned.

But to me they taste of summer by the sea and the promise of a ride on the merry-go-round. I'm not impartial here. These are fries strongly tied to memories.

Frito pies, chili and various fries/frank/chili/cheese combos available. Turkey dogs and Polish sausage also available.

You know, from the name I was thinking desi as in some sort of Indian/vegetarian thing. Turns out with the Latino / Mexican touches that’s Desi as in Desi Arnez.

Here’s a picture and a little info about owner Rogelio (Ro) Rabelo who bought the cart on Craigslist in 2005.

Desi Dog on YouTube … very cool ... vamos !!!

How far is heaven? … the corner of Bancroft and Telegraph … across the street from Carvel … which STILL doesn’t have the Italian Ice … I tell you, decent street hot dogs and Carvel soft-serve / Italian ice … it’s almost NY … with better weather.

Hours: Mon-Fri … noonish – 8 pm

If you don't watch the video, it plays a song by Los Lonely Boys ... How Far is Heaven.

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  1. I'm mystified by the name, though. Do they serve the dog on naan bread?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gary Soup

      Np ... really think Desi Arnez ... not a thing Indian here. Maybe the former owner? I'll ask next time.

      1. re: rworange

        Possibly the owner's name is Desiderio?

    2. definitely one of the best deals on the run. I'm regularly near campus for meetings and try to swing by during happy hour whenever i can. I'm a fan of the turkey dog and the hot link myself.

      2 Replies
      1. re: nicedragonboy

        Yeah, I forgot about the hot link. I bet with those Serrano peppers that give a slight spicy kick, the combo with a hot link would be excellent. Will try that next time.

        I forgot to mention the bun is nicely toasted.

        IMO, this is the new Original Kaspars ... the place that people will remember nostagically for years to come

        1. re: nicedragonboy

          ditto on the turkey dog, with grilled onions and fresh slices of avacado

        2. rw- please describe the fries in more detail, are they like this kind of fresh cut fries (my fave)?

          Also, I really am beginning to hate the peninsula. All the places up my alley are across the bay, and not physically up my alley. Grrrrr.

          2 Replies
          1. re: P. Punko

            Yeah ... that looks like them .. but they are in a big paper basket. The regular price is $1.50 and with the oil ... very filling.

            The grass is always greener on the other side of the Bay ... I keep wanting to get to Back A Yard ... and it is CJ Olsen time of year ... and there is Milk Pail and Dittmars and I want to try that Transyvanian restaurant in Los Gatos ... not to mention the frozen custard supposedly also in LG .... I I wish La Biscoteria in Rewood City was near me and there's the Venetian coffee place in Palo Alto and ... etc, etc, etc.

            The best thing is always to step in the door of the place nearest you ... the place you passed a zillion times ... and look closely ... amazing things can be found.

            I'm going to have to try the taco cart next to Desi Dog. They had jars of aqua frescas which I had planned to buy ... but Desi Dog upsaled me to the $4.50 special ... I was getting dog & fries and they said a drink would only be 50 cents more ...

            1. re: rworange

              Back a Yard is quite good, but the one thing that I make a good version of at home is jerk (!)

              And Gourmet Franks does do a decent dog, but it's not a Lombardi's or a $1.50 special.

              You can make that kind of fry without being too greasy, I think it just depends on getting the oil temp right, but it is definitely my fave fry with a dog, and it is not the usual. Like I mentioned in the picture caption, two great Italian Beef/Chicago Dog places that are my faves have those fries, as well as two decent BBQ joints in Boston. Actually, I think Armadillo Willy's has that style fry, so if there would ever be a reason to go there, most likely it is for the fries.

          2. Que lindo el tipo, que perfecta la cocina, que fantasico el remolque, que increibles los perros calientes! Do you know where they make trailer carts like that? Beautiful!

            1. Interesting! What other kinds of sausage do they serve?

              14 Replies
              1. re: a_and_w

                Polish, hot link, turkey dog and a larger version of the hot dog. Not quite the large menu of Top Dog, but to me more satisfying.

                I think all the sausages are available for the $1.50 during Happy Hours.

                1. re: rworange

                  When I'm rushing from work in San Francisco to Berkeley to see a film at PFA, I'll stop by and get a Polish or Hot Link. It's cheap, fast and surprisingly satisfying. I usually skip the fries though.

                  The $1.50 special is available M-F, don't know about the weekends though.

                  1. re: Philip

                    I walked by Desi Dog just a few minutes ago. That happens all the time. I stopped and actually tried something. That's never happened.

                    The dog itself wasn't bad, but that fresh salsa really made it good. Maybe next time I'll try the hot link with those pickled peppers/carrots. You could probably do a pretty close approximation of the Chicago-style dog with what they've got.

                    I don't really care for their type of fries but I do like how they're made fresh and how this little cart seems to be one heck of a well-oiled machine in general. Thanks for the tip...otherwise I'd have just kept walking on by!

                    1. re: Agent 510

                      Yeah, it's a Miller hot dog like a gazillion other places. Now we need a report on the Mexican cart next to it.

                      1. re: rworange

                        That cart wasn't around today, and may be gone for the summer. Things slow down quite a bit around here, even with summer school...

                        1. re: Agent 510

                          I think it was around on Monday (and for the last couple of weeks too.) They were setting up the cart at around 10:30 in the morning.

                          1. re: dreamsicle

                            I went back today. Just as I suspected, plain dog with pickle relish, mustard, jalapenos and a little chopped tomato, you have yourself a passable Chicago dog. Even if the bun is toasted rather than steamed and poppy-seed-covered, close enough. You can't do this at Top Dog.

                            I like all the little touches...Santana live in concert playing from the loudspeakers...the new Desi Dog frequency card...the clean condiment table (maybe because I showed up early).

                            The Mexican cart? Not there today either.

                            1. re: Agent 510

                              No, but you don't go to Top Dog for a Chicago dog. You go for the variety of high-quality grilled sausages at a reasonable price. It amazes me that people don't appreciate that you're getting gourmet sausages, despite the downscale decor.

                              1. re: a_and_w

                                I wasn't bashing TD (and it's not like DD is the opposite of "downscale decor"). But DD offers many toppings TD doesn't. That's worth pointing out, especially when so many hot dog places have the exact same TD menu with just mustard and kraut.

                                DD frequency card: free medium fries after your 5th dog, free dog after your 6th.

                                1. re: Agent 510

                                  Good lookin out. This sounds fantastic!

                                  1. re: Agent 510

                                    Gotcha -- thanks for the clarification. Out of curiosity, what other places have the "exact same TD menu"?

                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                      Lots of places: Fatt Dog, The Dog Out, Sparks in Emeryville, the place across from Berkeley High, probably many others. These places have the exact same lineup of sausages with maybe one or two exceptions. Sorry, forgot about this thread until it bubbled up again.

                                      1. re: Agent 510

                                        Belated thanks -- I will definitely check these out! Can you think of any across the bay in SF? I'm aware of What's Up Dog.

                                2. re: Agent 510

                                  A Desi Dog frequency card? How does that work?