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Mar 24, 2009 01:42 AM


I went to Fabs today in reseda. I had a ripper ant the coney island dog. The ripper was good nothing to great and the coney island wasn't really that good. I had a carney chili dog the day before that was way better. Still in search of the perfect hotdog from L.A. to N.Y. Someone was asking about vieena natural castings. You can get those by the pound at Brents Deli in Northridge.

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  1. You're "[s]till in search of the perfect hotdog from L.A. to N.Y."? In there somewhere is Chicago, which see, but you can get decent dogs out here. In fact, good hot dogs are easy to find compared to Italian Beef, Beef on 'Weck, and Philly Steaks, for example, because the Vienna Beef company ships widely, and their sausage -- the American hot dog -- is easy to cook. (Condiments are the major failing of "Chicago" stands in the diaspora.)

    Even the blasphemously non-Vienna Beef dog at Portillo's (in Buena Park and Moreno Valley) can be mighty satisfying, especially when accompanied by their chocolate-cake shake. I like the VB dogs at Mustard's in Los Alamitos, but the same at Whoositz (I don't remember the name) in Fullerton aren't nearly as good. You've already found Carney's -- go to Pink's to see that I was lying when I claimed that fine hot dogs are everywhere.

    Fab is OK. I give them a lot of points for trying hard and being nice. But when the guy sold me what he called a "Chicago Dog" made with some Eastahn brand that probably used pig spit for moisture, I was as insulted as our Eastern 'hounds would be if served a pizza on saltine crackers and told it was "thin-crust New York style."

    Speaking of which, my advice is to switch from hot dogs to pizza in your quest. You'll find very little disagreement in Los Angeles over who sells the best pizza pie. ;-)

    6 Replies
    1. re: sbritchky

      I'm from N.J. but know many people in the "hot dog" industry including someone who works for Vienna Beef. Portillo's does use a frank from Vienna, but it is made to a different recipe. Vienna does this as well as some other companies. In the East it is more common for a company to make one or two recipes. This doesn't stop the places that serve their dogs from falsely claiming the dogs are "specially made for us". This is the most common lie in the industry.

      1. re: hotdoglover

        Can you say how you know that Portillo's uses a Vienna Beef product, hotdoglover? It certainly doesn't look or taste like one.

        In Chicago, using Vienna Beef as a sandwich ingredient is *exactly* like signing Angelina Jolie to your next movie would be in Hollywood. Well, almost. You'd expect Portillo's to at least mention it on their Web site, but they don't.

        I did a google site search on for "Vienna" -- and on (wonderful Chicago girl-next-door eating a hot dog in front of the Art Institute) for "Portillo's" -- and got zip.

        1. re: sbritchky

          I know someone who works for Vienna Beef. The frank made for Portillo's is a different recipe.

          1. re: sbritchky

            "In Chicago, using Vienna Beef as a sandwich ingredient is *exactly* like signing Angelina Jolie to your next movie would be in Hollywood."

            There have probably been a few producers who regretted casting Angelina Jolie. I can't imagine anyone in Chicago regretting serving Vienna Beef products.


          1. re: sbritchky

            My friend and her husband (who are from Chicago and owned a hot dog place there) go to Portillo's as often as they can (they live in the valley and get down there at least twice a month). I told them of Fab's and she told me that they went and her husband watched the owner spritz the bun with water and sprinkle on the poppy seeds. I thought it was funny. They were not that impressed with Fabs Chicago Dog. It is not easy to find authentic Chicago dogs here for the toppings (neon green relish, sport peppers) but I think I remember QTs (several locations - definitely in the valley) had a very serviceable version. Taste of Chicago's in Burbank was decent but I have not been there in at least 5 years.
            At least the Dog House in La Crescenta calls theirs, and rightfully so "Chicago- style" since it is a huge step from the real deal.

            1. re: monku

              Awesome -- thanks for the info.

            2. a long time ago there was a outdoor patio in Vernon that was part of the Vienna factory that served hot dogs and sandwiches in wicker baskets. Not sure if the place still exists but I did have some good hot dogs there and the salami sandwich was fantastic. This was in the 80's so Im dating myself..

              7 Replies
              1. re: Foodandwine

                I'm assuming your talking about their cooporate LA headquarters. According to their website I work 3 minutes away, so if I can I'll try to scout it out around lunchtime. Stay tuned!

                1. re: ReelMike84

                  Please do, thank you! I loves a good dog but bring on the salami sandwich!

                2. re: Foodandwine

                  I went by today about 12:30PM hoping for a hot dog. I found the Vienna Beef offices but there was no cart to be found. Sorry I couldn't bring better news.

                  1. re: ReelMike84

                    ReelMike84, thank you for checking that out. I went to the Vienna site and there seems to be the same set up as I had described at their factory in Chicago. As stated my information is rather old and I appreciate your effor in any event. BTW, it was not a cart.. actually a covered patio with picnic tables that served all items in straw wicker baskets with a bag of chips. Great prices and I do remember that salami sandwich well. The dogs were great as well. Bummer that they are no longer there..

                    1. re: ReelMike84

                      Maybe someone could call, unless Mike asked someone, like a guard, and they said we do not do that.

                      1. re: Burger Boy

                        Actually no I didn't ask anyone. Had I seen a guard to ask I would have, but none was around.

                        As a true hound however I will probably go back a little later in the day tomorrow. I have a hard time giving up...

                  2. I make no claim that is either the "perfect" hot dog or the "L.A. hot dog" but I always enjoy the hot dogs at Costco.

                    Crazy, I know.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Let's see if you enjoy the Kirkland dog....coming soon to a Costco near you.

                      1. re: monku

                        Costco uses the 1/4 pound Hebrew National dogs that they sell in store. I buy them all the time when I am not in the mood for my normal Sabrett hot dog.

                        1. re: A5 KOBE

                          They're in the process of changing from Hebrew National and Sinai *(at the food courts) because they can't keep up with the demand. Read about it in the March Costco Connection.

                          Switching to a 1/4 pound Kirkland hot dog that's supposed to taste better (in a blind taste test).

                          1. re: monku

                            HAHAHA, that is an interesting read. I can't believe they are going to use choice meat.

                      2. re: ipsedixit

                        Not crazy - I think they are good as well. I even like the $1 hot dog at the Academy Theatres in Pasadena!

                        1. re: WildSwede

                          I think they have the same all beef dog at the theater on Beverly at Fairfax. Surprising tasty.

                          1. re: Kate is always hungry

                            Could be - they advertise them on their website as Eisenberg All Beef Hot Dogs.

                      3. to me, its not the acutal hot dog itself, but how its prepared. But i am a sucker for a dog with that juicy snap when you bite it. But the best dogs in the city to me are the lil cop dodging, health department hating Death Dogs in hollywood! You know where to find them.... posted outside a club or bar at 2am. Bacon wrapped, sauteed onion and pepper topped goodness!!!!! By far one of LA's best "Hot Dog Chain" Wanna good dog???? find those peeps!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: whospizza

                          You're referring to the Tijuana/Sonora dogs, and they are well covered on this board and in the media:



                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            I would hit up the farmer's markets in one's area to see if those show up... Thursday late afternoon gorgeous dogs of this variety will be on Main St. in El Segundo, at their farmer's market.

                            Here's a west-side thread:

                            1. re: Cinnamon

                              Every Friday, there's a Farmer Market at the Wilshire/Vermont Red Line Station and a stand sells them. Personally havent tried it though.

                          2. re: whospizza

                            Fab's does this dog very well, though I have to admit there is something about being served this particular dog from a cart that sings a delicious "dance with the devil."