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Best Hot Dogs

MikeLee Jul 5, 2009 09:20 PM

MMmm. I love the Frank Dog at Let's Be Frank at the Helms Bakery complex, especially with the grilled onions and homemade pickles.

The dogs at Brats Brothers on Ventura Blvd are amazing. I'm going through the exotic meats one at a time.

I've been to the Stand and to Pinks but Let's Be Frank and Brats Brothers has both beat. Any where else for good dogs?

Mike Lee
http://tocookandeatinla.blogspot.com/

  1. Thi N. Mar 11, 2010 08:54 AM

    I was going to do a ranked list, but I'll do points out of a hundred instead, because it better expresses the distances between things:

    Points (out of 10): (this is PURELY SUBJECTIVE and the fact that I'm putting numbers on things in no way indicates a claim to definitiveness, objectivity, or whatever. Just marking out distances in my internal pleasure-scale.)

    Pink's : 1 (rancid grease over lifeless dog. I would rather eat unwashed intestine straight off the pig.).
    Costco: 5 (would eat if I was hungry and right there. Maybe.)
    Tommy's chilidog: 5 (basically disgusting, but a weird sort of sticky balance-life. I leave sated, with a mild-degree of self-hate, and smelling a little like an accident in the home-cleaning product section of the supermarket)
    Jody Maroni's Sausage, Venice Boardwalk: 6
    Carney's chilidog: 7 (like Tommy's, but better, slightly cleaner.)
    Average random street-stand in Manhattan: 8
    Skooby's chilidog: 8 (much finer ingredients than the average Manhattan dog, but somehow lacking in magical balance. Lots of respect, low in soul-punch-gut-satisfaction.)
    Fab Dogs chilidog with coleslaw: 9 (glorious and gorgeous)
    Slaw Dogs chilidog with coleslaw: 10 (this was better than the best hot dog I could have imagined before I had it, and is now my internal gold standard. I'm sure years from now, I'll be turning sadly to my friend on Mars City Prime and saying, "This is pretty good. It's almost good enough to remind me of Slaw Dogs...".)

    I just splurged my Slaw Dogs love over at this other post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/693461

    (Note: for non-hotdog sausage sourcing, I've been a longtime bigtime lover of European Sausage Kitchen in Beverly Hills)

    15 Replies
    1. re: Thi N.
      b
      Burger Boy Mar 11, 2010 10:00 PM

      Try the jalapeno dog at Pink's with mustard and onions only. Can not wait to get to Slaw Dogs, but give me a break, I heard were they saw they had never seen a slaw dog out here, REALLY! I call BS.

      1. re: Burger Boy
        monku Mar 20, 2010 09:10 PM

        I'm with you BB...give Pink's credit.
        Their Polish sausage is good and their chili dogs is as good as any around. I don't think the long lines lie. It's no fluke. Went to Carney's on Sunset about 4pm and a couple people are in line and drove by Pink's and there had to be the day long 30+ people in line. I'm a hot dog fanatic and Pink's is right up there with me. I'll only go when there is no line, like 9:30am when they just open.

      2. re: Thi N.
        Foodandwine Mar 20, 2010 07:44 PM

        I actually had my first Tommys Chil Dog ( no cheese ) this past Tursday. I was pleased..

        1. re: Foodandwine
          monku Mar 20, 2010 09:00 PM

          Tommy's chili dog was better before they switched to Cantella hot dogs.They seem to consistently have weak rubbery "snap" to them. I think they used to use Hoffy's.

          Today I went to Carney's and had a chili dog and it was pretty good. I stopped going for several years after getting a chili dog that had been sitting in the steamer too long. I thought it was strange that their hot dogs looked darker than I remember them to be, maybe a different recipe?

          1. re: Foodandwine
            b
            Burger Boy Mar 21, 2010 07:51 AM

            ME, I would rather have Pink's, just my preference.

          2. re: Thi N.
            monku Mar 21, 2010 07:06 AM

            Your high praise and perfect "10" ranking for Slaw Dogs (not only this post, post you reference and your LA Times review) leads me to believe you're the resident expert on Slaw Dogs.

            Maybe you can answer me the following question.
            Why do they use and sell different hot dogs? Menu....a Vienna All Beef $3.49, Natural casing "snap dog" $3.99, All Beef Kosher Dog $3.99 and then for their #1 The Original (chili, cheese, onions and cole slaw $4.99) they use a puny 6" skinless hot dog. Every great hot dog stand I've been to only sells one kind of hot dog and in my book it has to be a natural casing hot dog.
            I've gone and I've had their #1 The Original and wasn't impressed for $4.99. Maybe the day of the $5 hot dog has arrived, but maybe they're in the wrong neighborhood for that. Similar to the oberservation I made 4 years ago about the over-priced $3.59 chili dog at Between the Bun in East LA, they were also selling a puny 6" chili hot dog...maybe they lasted six months.

            As far as your Pinks comment:
            "Pink's : 1 (rancid grease over lifeless dog. I would rather eat unwashed intestine straight off the pig.).". Why such praise for the #1 hot dog seller in LA? You put up the Pink's chili dog against the #1 Slaw Dog in a blind taste test and I know which would be the winner. Why not an LA Times blind taste test of the all the chili dogs, that would settle it once and for all.

            1. re: monku
              b
              Burger Boy Mar 21, 2010 07:59 AM

              Check out Fab's, they use different dogs depending on where they come from. The get their Chicago dogs from Chicago, their Ripper Dogs from New Jersey, Cinci dogs from Cincinnati. Fabs is true to the flavor of the dogs and sources them from the correct region. I still miss Big Weinnie's but Fabs is really good and I am looking forward to going to Slaw Dogs.

              1. re: monku
                b
                Burger Boy Mar 21, 2010 08:10 AM

                Good idea, a chili dog taste test before summer starts. Pink's, Fab's, Cupid's, Slaw Dog's, Art's on Florence, Tommy's, Carney's, Papoo's, Larry's in Burbank, Earlez. on Crenshaw, Chronie's in Whitter, Art's in El Monte. There you go Thi, "The Chili Dozen". Do it brother!

                -----
                The Slaw Dogs
                720 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104

                1. re: Burger Boy
                  Servorg Mar 21, 2010 08:12 AM

                  Should we throw Ketchy's II into the scrum as well? ;-D> (nice list BB!!)

                  -----
                  Ketchy's II
                  11270 La Grange Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                2. re: monku
                  n
                  ns1 Mar 21, 2010 10:11 AM

                  I'm pretty sure McDonalds is packed everyday at lunch and sells more hamburgers than anyone in LA as well.

                  and yes, I've tried the hype that is Pink's before. OMG LONG LINES, THEY MUST BE GOOD

                  1. re: ns1
                    monku Mar 21, 2010 06:05 PM

                    There's no hype at Pink's....they've been selling hot dogs for 70 years, there must be something they do right.
                    You're the one hyping Slaw Dogs...they'll be lucky if they're pushing $5 hot dogs till the end of the year in that neighborhood.

                    1. re: monku
                      n
                      ns1 Mar 21, 2010 06:06 PM

                      I'm actually not hyping anything at all, since I've yet to actually go to slaw dogs ;)

                      I'm not arguing that they're doing something right, I just don't think it's the hot dogs. But hey, everyone's got their own opinions.

                      1. re: ns1
                        monku Mar 21, 2010 06:11 PM

                        My bad...I reacted to quickly and thought you were poster Thi N who has been doing the Slaw Dogs hyping.
                        Hard to understand the down playing of Pink's success and although I like them I know they're not the only good hot dog in town.

                        -----
                        The Slaw Dogs
                        720 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104

                  2. re: monku
                    b
                    Briggs Mar 21, 2010 12:53 PM

                    "praise for the #1 hot dog seller in LA? "
                    Music, movies, food - since when did #1 mean the best? Maybe it's best to use the Langer's/Hat analogy with Slaw Dogs & Pink's. Meaning there are times I don't mind Pink's for what it is, but it certainly doesn't compare to Slaw Dogs or the better dog joints. It doesn't have to necessarily be an either/or choice.

                    Also, as much as really I like Slaw Dogs (and have since their soft opening days), it's sometimes a little hard to justify $4 for a dog when I can mozy over to Costco Los Feliz for a Hebrew National dog PLUS soda for a buck and a half. But then I can't get it chargrilled or ripped at Costco.

                    -----
                    The Slaw Dogs
                    720 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104

                    1. re: monku
                      c
                      cdub Mar 21, 2010 08:54 PM

                      i have to say, i thought i was the only one that didn't get the hype for slaw dogs. $5 for a tiny dog with minimal chili but a ton of slaw really didn't work for me. i just feel like the value isn't there for a place like that. I thought the onion rings were good but for $4, i'd like to expect more than 6 rings.

                      admitingly, i am a big eater so i had 2 dogs, onion rings and a diet coke. i believe it was about $17 and i'd be hard pressed to say that i was stuffed.

                      i guess it just didn't work for me. i think i prefer fab. i will say that slaw dog made me miss weiner factory that much more.

                  3. jayspun Jul 13, 2009 01:33 PM

                    Nobody has mentioned Cupids. Definitely a contender, though some of the locations like the one on Ventura in Tarzana has dropped off in quality.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jayspun
                      m
                      Melvin Surdin Aug 12, 2009 07:05 AM

                      Did not realize Cupids was still in business ... good to hear.

                      1. re: Melvin Surdin
                        c
                        chuck Aug 12, 2009 02:49 PM

                        The one on Ventura Blvd is different than the other ones. They sell different things besides just hot dogs. There are still plain Cupids on Lindley and Nordhoff in Northridge and on Vanowen near Winnetka.Both great basic hot dogs and chili dogs.

                        1. re: chuck
                          b
                          Burger Boy Aug 12, 2009 03:05 PM

                          I saw on in Valemcia or Santa Clarita over the weekend, off of McBean near Valencia Blvd.

                          1. re: Burger Boy
                            jayspun Aug 13, 2009 10:11 AM

                            also on Ventura Blvd. north of White Oak

                    2. o
                      Ollie Jul 13, 2009 12:12 PM

                      This is an old blogsite in search of the best hotdog in L.A. A few years old now. Goodness how I miss "The Weiner Factory"!

                      http://www.hotdogspot.com/

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Ollie
                        w
                        WileysHungryAgain Jul 14, 2009 08:46 AM

                        Yes indeed it's a very old blogsite. I don't think that www.hotdogspot.com has been updated in years.

                      2. o
                        Ollie Jul 13, 2009 12:01 PM

                        I truly miss "The Weiner Factory" 's Chilli Cheese dogs

                        1. a_and_w Jul 10, 2009 11:51 AM

                          Lately I've been stopping off at Rockenwagner Bakery on Arizona by 4th for a polish sausage on my way home from the Santa Monica farmer's market. I'm not wild about the price (around $5) or the fact that the sausages are boiled, not grilled. But the quality of the sausage and bread are great and the polish comes with this delicious paprika sauerkraut.

                          1. MikeLee Jul 10, 2009 11:46 AM

                            I'm hearing a lot of love for Fab's. I'm surprised nobody chimed in for Oki-Dog.

                            1. h
                              Hackenbush Jul 9, 2009 02:48 AM

                              Best hot dog I've had in L.A. has been at Carney's.

                              A close second is Skooby's on Hollywood Boulevard. Actually, Skooby's has much better fries. Given the choice, I'd pick Skooby's for the total dog plus fries experience.

                              -----
                              Skooby's
                              6654 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Hackenbush
                                b
                                Burger Boy Jul 9, 2009 10:02 AM

                                Have you been to Fabs, I agree on the chili dog at Carney's but you need to get out to Art's in El Monte, they make chili just like Jay's used to make.

                                1. re: Burger Boy
                                  ReelMike84 Jul 9, 2009 11:58 AM

                                  Wait a tick here... chili like Jay's? Does this mean they have a burger like Jay's?

                                  1. re: ReelMike84
                                    b
                                    Burger Boy Jul 10, 2009 11:13 AM

                                    They make an In n Out style burger, but if you order a double cheese, no lettuce, no thousand island add chili, add pickles, (not sure if they have pickles) you will have as close as you can get to a Jay Burger, they also do a great chili do with steamed bun and all. I have 3 sides of their chili in my freezer right now.

                              2. bodie Jul 8, 2009 05:51 PM

                                Vicious Dogs in NoHo (on Lankershim just N. of Magnolia) is really, really good. They take their hot dogs pretty seriously and it shows!

                                -----
                                Vicious Dogs
                                5231 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: bodie
                                  m
                                  maudies5 Jul 8, 2009 08:35 PM

                                  The hot dog at Surfas Cafe is amazing. Next time you are at Surfas, try the hot dog.

                                  1. re: maudies5
                                    a
                                    asifesmail Jul 8, 2009 09:46 PM

                                    Best Place in town is QT's Chicago Dogs in the Valley, they have several of them in the Valley. The have been selling Vienna Beef for like the last 30 years. Steamed Poppy Seed Buns, Vienna Relish, Italian Gravey, Pickles, everything is authentic. Natural Casing Hot Dogs, Polish, Fire Dogs, 1/2lb Foot Long Hot Dogs...dude give it a try. family owed....and they make it fresh when you order it...not lieing around like these other joints....it may take a little time...but its worth it. try the Gyro, Philly Steak, and the Pastrami too...this has become a reagular stop for me...as you can tell.

                                2. SmokeyDoke Jul 7, 2009 11:05 PM

                                  I don't know if I can call them "hot dogs". They may have a fancier name than that. Whatever they are called, you can find a great sausage in between a hot dog bun at Wurstkuche Restaurant in DTLA.

                                  -----
                                  Wurstkuche
                                  800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: SmokeyDoke
                                    m
                                    Melvin Surdin Jul 8, 2009 09:36 AM

                                    Pinks on La Brea .....

                                    1. re: Melvin Surdin
                                      s
                                      sdv231 Jul 8, 2009 09:59 AM

                                      Pinks is, IMHO, the worst dog in L.A. Have never understood why this place holds the facination it does

                                      1. re: sdv231
                                        n
                                        ns1 Jul 8, 2009 10:15 AM

                                        They have a decent dog and then kill it by slobbing tons of low quality ingredients on top.

                                        1. re: ns1
                                          JAB Jul 8, 2009 01:34 PM

                                          You order it how you want it. It's double dogs and chili only for me.

                                        2. re: sdv231
                                          j
                                          jillso Jul 9, 2009 06:25 PM

                                          Ugh....PInk's is terrible. It's amazing what people will buy just because of the hype. Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas was selling Pink's dogs for like $8.00 a pop........they should be arrested for such thievery.

                                          1. re: jillso
                                            s
                                            silence9 Jul 10, 2009 12:47 PM

                                            Hi... Yes, there is a growing legion of Pink's haters (probably always has been). Nevertheless, Pink's has been around and thriving since 1939; that's 70 years! Not 7 years, not 27 years, not 57 years. 70 years and still thriving. Pink's opened for business the year the Wizard of Oz was released. I'm sure that there are Wizard of Oz haters, too. In this town, staying in business and thriving for 7 decades counts for something. And BTW, I'm very glad that there are other _better_ hotdog alternatives in L.A. in 2009. Let's see if they are still around in 2079...

                                    2. Foodandwine Jul 6, 2009 12:47 PM

                                      If you purchase the Nathans Skinless ( I worked at the Nathans in Staten Island when I was in H.S. ) grill them in a flat pan only.. just like they do on one of those steel griddles. Get the pan to medium heat and cook until the dogs are crisp and brown, you have a wonderful hot dog. To keep this post on topic do you know of any Nathans outlets here in LA. there was one on Pico awhile back but not too good..

                                      1. n
                                        ns1 Jul 6, 2009 12:31 PM

                                        Fab's

                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/632927

                                        I did a side by side with Stand and found Fab's to be better in every single way, when referencing ONLY THE HOT DOG

                                        Stand pickles > Fab's by a huge margin though, but Fab's got mustard relish! (and a way better saurkraut)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: ns1
                                          d
                                          dip22 Jul 7, 2009 07:42 PM

                                          another vote for fab's from a new devotee

                                        2. mrshankly Jul 6, 2009 11:07 AM

                                          Fab's hot dogs is the "best" I've had in LA... wasn't too impressed with Let's Be Frank but I think I was expecting all of the ingredients that they don't put in it to be there that makes a hot dog taste great.

                                          Costco hot dog isn't too bad.

                                          Just save yourself the trouble and order a sack of dogs from Top Dog in Berkeley and don't look back... best dog you'll ever taste.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: mrshankly
                                            a_and_w Jul 10, 2009 11:51 AM

                                            Top Dog clones are now everywhere in SF. Why hasn't someone imported this model to LA?

                                            1. re: a_and_w
                                              mrshankly Jul 13, 2009 06:37 PM

                                              Being that I order Top Dogs practically every month from them, I've gotten to know the owner and he's hesitant to go the franchise route again as he got burned with the "Dog Out" attempt a few years back. However, he is willing to distribute his dogs down south in SoCal if anyone is interested. Maybe it's time for Top Dog Truck and a Twitter account!!

                                              1. re: mrshankly
                                                a_and_w Jul 14, 2009 07:41 AM

                                                Is Top Dog still owned by Dick Riemann? I think a truck would be brilliant. It doesn't even need to be an official franchise. As I said, there are a million clones (Fatt Dogg, What's Up Dog, etc.) that have adopted the same model. I wonder if they're getting their sausages from the same place...

                                                1. re: a_and_w
                                                  mrshankly Jul 14, 2009 12:45 PM

                                                  Yup, Dick still owns it and they are getting the sausages from a new place as of about 6 years ago but the taste is just as fantastic!

                                            2. re: mrshankly
                                              HerbyN Mar 11, 2010 08:27 AM

                                              I think let's be frank is okay but not as good as the hype. also overpriced for what you get. not a bad dog, but not the best value in town. also think pink's is overrated and not worth waiting in line, but i like to take friends there that are visiting from out of town b/c it is somewhat of a "landmark". in hollywood, though, i prefer Skooby's, but parking can be a drag. also a fan of Fab Hot Dogs, but giving where i live it is a bit too far of a drive to go there more than a few times a year....

                                              1. re: HerbyN
                                                Servorg Mar 11, 2010 08:37 AM

                                                Noticed that Skooby's got a fairly major location appearance in the latest "Southland" episode on TNT the other night. Good to see someplace other than Pink's garner some air time / PR.

                                                1. re: HerbyN
                                                  b
                                                  Burger Boy Mar 11, 2010 09:57 PM

                                                  Try the jalapeno dog at Pink's, mustard and onions only! OMG The Coleslaw dog is also good.

                                                  1. re: HerbyN
                                                    monku Mar 12, 2010 04:51 AM

                                                    I LIKE PINKS !!!
                                                    Give Pink's some credit....lot's of celebrity endorsements. Even Gordon Ramsay says "good dogs" on his picture.
                                                    I despise the wait (no dog is worth waiting in lines like that for) and will go there only at 9:30am when the first open.
                                                    They use Hoffy dogs and the Polish dogs are as good as the ones The Weiner Factory served. Their chili is beats out that pasty stuff Tommy's serves.
                                                    I like Tommy's in a pinch too.

                                                2. wienermobile Jul 6, 2009 10:45 AM

                                                  Portillos hot dogs in Buena Park near Knotts has great Chicago dogs.
                                                  /www.portillos.com/

                                                  1. s
                                                    SoCal Foodie Jul 6, 2009 10:23 AM

                                                    Love the dogs and burgers served at Carney's!

                                                    http://carneytrain.com

                                                    1. b
                                                      Burger Boy Jul 6, 2009 09:46 AM

                                                      Try Fab in the Valley, Rockin Hot Dogs, take it from Hot Dog Boy, I mean Burger Boy. Get some tater tots to go with the dogs.

                                                      -----
                                                      Fab Hot Dogs (location as of May 2010)
                                                      19417 Victory Blvd, Reseda, CA 91335

                                                      1. j
                                                        josephnl Jul 5, 2009 09:31 PM

                                                        I'm a big fan of Jerry's Wood-Fired Dogs in OC. Several locations...standard beef dogs, sausages, and burgers are all great. See: www.jerrysdogs.com

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