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REVIEW w/ pics: Oki-Dog

pleasurepalate Jan 17, 2008 08:10 PM

Last week, I went on a morning job interview in Santa Monica. Unfortunately, it didn't quite go the way I would have liked, but that's how it goes sometimes. Feeling in a contemplative mood, I decided to forgo the usual freeway rush home and decided to take a more leisure drive along Pico Boulevard, heading East. Having not had breakfast and lunch time near approaching, I decided that if I saw any interesting hole in the wall restaurant along the way, I'd stop for food.

It seemed like I was driving for a long time and with my stomach grumbling, nothing was catching my eye until I saw the sign simply stating "World Famous Oki-Dog." The neighborhood was a little dilapidated and this fast food joint looked a little run down, but there was something about the words "Oki-Dog" that was pulling me in.

In my head, I was trying to flip through thousands of Chowhound posts and past TV shows that I've seen that focused on unusual hot dogs in the US to try and remember what made up a Oki-Dog, but drew a complete blank. Finally, I decided to park and give it a try. After all, I had no idea of when I'd be back in this part of town again.

Coming from an interview, I'd say I was dressed pretty nicely, so I definitely stuck out and got my share of stares as I walked up to the counter, both from customers and the counter staff. However, undeterred and with confidence, I ordered the Oki's Dog with Cheese and sat down to wait for my order.

Soon, my order was ready and as I picked up the paper plate and brought it to my table, I saw that my Oki-Dog was kind of flat and wrapped in a yellow paper. Looking at it, a memory started forming and it hit me that an Oki Dog was a burrito dog. Of course, taking it out of its wrapper confirmed it, but then I also remembered there was more to this Oki Dog that met the eye.

I took hold of the Oki-Dog and ate my way along the edge of the burrito, sat it down back on the plate and took a look. Ah-ha! Now it all came flooding back. Yes, there were hot dogs, but included were also pastrami, chili and cheese, all wrapped in a fairly good sized tortilla. I think my arteries were scared, very scared! But in this case, a hungry tummy and taste buds that were ready for action prevailed and I ended up finishing my entire Oki-Dog to the last bite.

So did I enjoy my Oki-Dog? You bet I did. The chili was actually a stand-out for me. It had lots of flavor and also had a little bit of heat. If I ever went that way again, I could see myself ordering chili cheese fries and being quite a happy camper indeed. I also liked the slight chewiness of the pastrami and the juiciness of the hot dogs.

In general, I'm glad I made a stop at the World Famous Oki-Dog. While I wouldn't drive all the way from the Eastside just for an Oki-Dog, that doesn't mean I wouldn't consider making a stop if I just happened to be in the neighborhood. If you happen to see the blue and white sign, you might want to check it yourself as well. Just don't tell your arteries that I encouraged you.

To see pics, go to:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/la_addict/sets/72157603681938079/

World-Famous Oki Dog
5056 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 938-4369

Thanks,
Abby
http://pleasurepalate.blogspot.com/

  1. n
    nosh Jan 17, 2008 08:24 PM

    Nice report, and good pics. I was wondering why the crowd seemed surprised, until I realized you were a single businesswoman dressed to impress.

    I'm trying to remember -- does the chili at Oki-Dog have beans? Oh, I hope not!

    1 Reply
    1. re: nosh
      pleasurepalate Jan 17, 2008 08:28 PM

      No beans in the chili, which is my preference, too.

    2. b
      Burger Boy Jan 17, 2008 08:38 PM

      And remember, there is an Oki Dog on Fairfax, 2 blocks north of Melrose, incase you get a craving late at night and do not want to trek to the Pico & LaBrea location. It is to bad the Santa Monica Blvd location closed, they had such colorful customers there!

      1. Xericx Jan 17, 2008 09:28 PM

        I've been twice..years ago....had the Oki Dog and the Teriyaki Beef burrito the next time...interesting..more of a feat of strength than something I would actually eat regularly. Still interesting and unique.

        1. n
          nosh Jan 17, 2008 09:36 PM

          Was your Oki-dog one jumbo dog split and grilled with the pastrami in the middle, or two regular thinner dogs, or just one normal dog split?

          2 Replies
          1. re: nosh
            pleasurepalate Jan 17, 2008 09:41 PM

            The Oki-Dog had two thinner hot dogs which were on either side of the pastrami which was in the middle.

            1. re: pleasurepalate
              Xericx Jan 17, 2008 10:44 PM

              same...two regular dogs.

          2. s
            snooze button Jan 17, 2008 09:36 PM

            I have been applying for countless jobs so I feel ya. Maybe I should just focus on going back to school. Well I like how you rewarded yourself! I went to Oki Dog for the first time a few weeks ago and I had their deep fried chicken sandwich (I think) mmm mmm! I liked it.... and their chili was.... interesting to me.... not a bad meal overall...

            1 Reply
            1. re: snooze button
              pleasurepalate Jan 17, 2008 09:42 PM

              Well, I hope that something turns up for you soon and I have to say a deep fried chicken sandwich sounds pretty tasty right about now. :)

            2. d
              Diana Jan 18, 2008 07:16 AM

              I have to say, your picture tour of an Oki dog is THE BEST EVER! Unique, really. The way you took it, I felt like it was me going in, perusing the menu, then sitting with the dog, then bite, another bite! Yum!

              Well done!

              1. n
                ns1 Jan 18, 2008 08:40 AM

                God I love this place. The oki dog is good but I love their chili dogs. They do it so nice and neatly.

                f- pinks, oki dog is where it's at.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ns1
                  Skunk2Racer Jan 18, 2008 07:03 PM

                  Pinks & Oki dogs are YING & YANG....... How do you compare "Apples" & "Oranges" ??????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                  1. re: Skunk2Racer
                    n
                    ns1 Jan 19, 2008 09:41 AM

                    i'm not comparing apples and oranges. apples and oranges are both tasty.

                    i'm comparing oki dog and pinks ;)

                2. l
                  la tache burger Jan 18, 2008 08:55 AM

                  I agree that these are really good pics, almost even appetizing. However, I recently went to the Oki Dog on Fairfax and it was like walking into Hell, two old men who could barely breathe sitting in the corner, the place surrounded by police tape and feeling like it had been condemned 30 years ago, but still serving food like a dive version of "The Shining". Why did I still order food? I dunno. It was revolting. Sorry, but it was. Is it possible the other location is that much better?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: la tache burger
                    n
                    ns1 Jan 18, 2008 09:02 AM

                    I've only been to the Pico one and it has not disappointed me yet. Have taken 2 others there and they loved it.

                    1. re: ns1
                      wutzizname Jan 18, 2008 09:09 AM

                      I have not eaten at either but drive by both frequently. The Pico location looks very approachable. Fairfax: reproachable.

                  2. Midlife Jan 18, 2008 09:32 AM

                    Chowhound continues to be a major source of culinary learning. I was reading this topic and thinking about some biz trips to Nebraska, where I was introduced to the local phenomenon known as the Runza (a sortof empanada-like sandwich). Of course, my brain is translating "Oki Dog" as 'Oklahoma Dog' and I'm trying to figure out how pastrami found it's way to Oklahoma. Well............. Google is my friend, and I soon learned that the Oki in Oki-Dog refers to Okinawa. Still don't get the pastrami connection, but at least I'm now in the right part of the world. :o)

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Midlife
                      Will Owen Jan 18, 2008 09:44 AM

                      I'm thinking that this mad concoction and Okinawa have a perfectly normal relationship, in that people on islands in the Pacific seem to love doing extreme things with meat! Why that should be is beyond me; all I know is that an Oki Dog is no more crazed than Spam misubi, or most of those other Hawaiian local-food concoctions. And for some strange reason I suddenly want one... Thanks, Abby.

                      1. re: Will Owen
                        Skunk2Racer Jan 18, 2008 04:29 PM

                        Okinawa is to japan what hawaii is to the USA..... Very Unique and different...

                      2. re: Midlife
                        Skunk2Racer Jan 18, 2008 04:27 PM

                        "Oki" in Japanese Means "Big" or "Large" As good as the oki dog is What brings me back is the pastrami burrito, pastrami with grilled cabbage, onions, peppers, chili and pickles all rolled in a huge flour tortilla. That served with the fries sprinkled with seasoned salt. And Check the Yellow pepper chili jar, i fish out the Hot pickeled cabbage pieces to eat with the burrito.....Tell them "Hiroshi" sent ya!

                        1. re: Skunk2Racer
                          mrshankly Jan 18, 2008 05:49 PM

                          ohhhh... that pastrami burrito sounds absolutely delicious!!! I'm trying it this weekend!! Thanks for the recommendation.

                          1. re: mrshankly
                            l
                            liwasaki Jan 18, 2008 05:59 PM

                            The owners are originally from Okinawa. The Hollywood location was in some movie, I can't remember the name. There were complaints - alot of teenage homeless kids hung out at the Hollywood location.

                            The Pico location has a dive bar next door - Madonna would sometimes pop in at Oki-Dog and the bar.

                            But if you have a craving for "junk food" the Oki-Dog would satisfy. It's been years since I had one.

                            1. re: liwasaki
                              Skunk2Racer Jan 18, 2008 06:59 PM

                              GO GO GO! If You see me there It's on me!

                            2. re: mrshankly
                              Skunk2Racer Jan 18, 2008 06:58 PM

                              K if you see me there I'M Buying! LOL

                            3. re: Skunk2Racer
                              pleasurepalate Jan 18, 2008 09:46 PM

                              Wow, that pastrami burrito sounds awesome. Maybe, I will have to make another trip to Oki-Dog to try that out.

                            4. re: Midlife
                              d
                              Diana Jan 19, 2008 08:37 AM

                              Man, Japanese are crazy. They'll mix interesting things. There's even a place devoted to mayo, from mayo on burgers to mayo on veggies to mayo on wierd crap, like the mayo-tini.
                              So I guess pastrami in and OKi-dog is a tamer thing.

                            5. Tom P Jan 18, 2008 11:31 PM

                              Excellent post! This is my own oki-dog experience, two years back. It remains a highlight:

                              Saturday night I went to see a friend of mine play in his band at Genghis Cohen on Fairfax. When I emerged, my friend and I were ready for something to, well, sop up the liquor. Having parked in front of OkiDog (which, strangely, I have never tried, even though I am a hot dog fan, and a dive fan as well) I said "Hey let's try one!" So we go into the place, which at the time was deserted. We sauntered up to the window and asked for two OkiDogs. The very nice gentleman behind the window asked if we wanted a 'hot-dog' or an 'OkiDog.' I said 'Oki Dog' of course. I wondered at the time what the difference might be, but I wanted to get the house specialty.

                              As we stood there talking, I watched the gentleman put 4 hot-dogs split down the middle on the grill, making 8 lengths of hot-dog. I thought to myself, 'Who is all that for??" Then, after a minute or two, he used some tongs to drag up and throw a HUGE portion of something that looked like corned beef on the griddle next to the hot dogs. Again I thought, 'Goodness, who the hell is all that food for??' I even looked around, but we were the only people in the place.

                              Then, he pulled two ENORMOUS flour tortillas from the refrigerator. He lay them on grill to warm. I started to realize what was about to happen. Ha! If only I knew! When everything was ready, he took each huge tortilla, arranged 4 halves of hot dog in each one, then piled on the 'corned beef.' THEN, he took chili that was cooking unforeseen next the grill and ladled it over everything. (It was Tommy's/Jay Burger type chili.) THEN he took large slices of cheese and put them on top. Finally, as I watched agape, he rolled it all together and gave us each the biggest 'burrito' either of us had ever seen. Hot dogs, chili, cheese, some kind of meat, huge portions of each, all rolled together in an enormous flour tortilla.

                              I just have to say, this was one of the most amazing, revolting, wonderful, literally heart stopping (cholesterol city), pleasure and heart burn inducing treats I have ever encountered. I am not sure I could ever eat one if I was not slightly toasted. But I will definitely be back.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Tom P
                                a
                                angelatmytable Jan 19, 2008 02:34 PM

                                Nice post Tom P. That is the traditional way to enjoy an Oki-Dog. Oki-Dog was an "OP" (original punk) place to eat back in the early eighties in LA and I enjoyed it the same way then that you did now, only at the since closed location on SM Blvd. There was nothing quite like finishing a night of listening to Top Jimmy & the Rhythm Pigs at the Cathey de Grande (a sweaty pit of flesh and noise back then) totally slammed, and then heading over to Oki-Dog at 2am for one of the cholesterol laden bombs that you described. The food aways seemed to match the music; intense, over the top and great for what it was.

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