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Best Gas Station Hot Dog in Los Angeles?

Is there one?

Here's the thing.

I've found myself sort of addicted to the 7-Eleven hot dog.

I know deep down that it's sort of a pedestrian icky tuber (even though it's supposedly all-beef), and that it's not really "cooked" so much as left to the elements by just perpetually rolling along on those gnarly steamer grills like some science lab hamster on its exercise wheel after feeding time.

But I have this sort of strong, strange attraction to it, sort of like how Halley's Comet seems to grace our night sky every 75 some odd years. Every once in a while, I actually drive to a 7-Eleven specifically to get that hot dog.

Maybe it's the fact I can lard on as many accompaniments and toppings as that silly little paper dish-saucer thing can hold. I mean, seriously, with just the right ginormous amount of chili, cheese sauce, onions, ketchup, mustard, etc. I can make the perfect Franken-dog that tastes like the love child of an all-out orgy between a day-old NY street cart dog, a half-eaten Chicago dog, an Oki dog, and a big plate of baseball stadium nachos. Yum!

All of this got me wondering. Is there a better equivalent of the 7-Eleven hot dog to be found out there in the myriad of gas station "kitchens"?

If so, do tell.

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  1. Costco City of Commerce.
    Get gas for 5-10 cents a gallon cheaper than other Costcos and drive over to the food court for the Kirkland 1/4 pound plus for $1.50 frank or Polish sausage.(includes a drink)

    62 Replies
    1. re: monku

      Sorry, ever since they stopped selling Hebrew National, I don't eat there. There is a distinct difference between Kirkland and Hebrew National. Do not like Kirkland at all.

      1. re: paprkutr

        well, this IS a thread about gas station hot dogs...

        1. re: ns1

          True, but Costco is not really a gas station. If you want to get technical, you drive into a gas station and walk inside and get your hot dog. At Costco, the gas station is way at the other end of the food court, so you would have to drive over there and park, two times versus one.
          I just don't happen to like the new Kirkland hot dogs, that is just my personal preference. For those who do, happy eating.

          1. re: paprkutr

            And most 7-11's aren't gas stations.

            The only gas station 7-11 I can think of that the OP might frequent is on San Gabriel Blvd. near the 10 freeway.

            1. re: monku

              I did not mean to imply that a 7-Eleven was a gas station hot dog.

              I'm simply asking for a gas station hot dog to compare to the 7-Eleven iteration.

              And, no, Costco doesn't really count. Parking alone would deter me from comparing a gas station or 7-Eleven tuber to a Costco version.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                That's why I mentioned the Costco in Commerce.
                You get your gas and drive almost right up to the front of the food court (it usually isn't very crowded).

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  FWIW:
                  Tuesdays at Hot Dog on a Stick it's $1 for corn dogs and cheese sticks.

              2. re: paprkutr

                I was referring to the quality (ie excluding Costco because it's not HN, when this is a thread comparing gas station hot dogs)

                does your your local 76 stock HN's?

                lol

                1. re: ns1

                  Many Costcos are still Hebrew National

                  1. re: Burger Boy

                    We were just at the Costco in Oxnard, CA, and they're HN.

            2. re: paprkutr

              If you don't like Kirkland, I'm sure you're not going to like 7-11.

              1. re: paprkutr

                papr, are you certain they are selling Kirkland dogs in the prepared food kitchen? AFAIK, all the L.A. Costco's are cooking up Hebrew Nationals.

                I say this because I interviewed the corporate VP of Costco last month, and he told me that Hebrew National is still sold in the San Diego and LA markets, as well as the Northeast. In other parts of the country,Kirkland brand is sold as ready to eat dogs.

                1. re: Professor Salt

                  At the Costco in Commerce they serve Kirkland.
                  Also I was at a Costco in valley and believe it was Canoga Park and they served Kirkland.

                  1. re: monku

                    The Costco in Van Nuys is also Kirkland as of last year.

                  2. re: Professor Salt

                    YMMV; Just depends on which Costco you go to. Some still have the HN others use Kirkland. And the HN sign is meaningless. Some Costcos still have the sign but use the Kirkland brand.

                    1. re: reality check

                      "Some Costcos still have the sign but use the Kirkland brand."
                      Where did you get that information?

                      1. re: monku

                        Because I've seen it. The HN brand name & umbrella's are easy to see. A simple question to the workers, and you will find what brand they use, Kirkland or HN.

                        The Alhambra uses Kirkland for sure, no matter what the signage says.

                        1. re: reality check

                          "Because I've seen it."
                          The only thing you see is the Hebrew National umbrella's and signage.

                          Costco isn't going to put their reputation on the line for a hot dog.

                          1. re: monku

                            Keep thinking and saying that, you maybe right. SMH.

                            I've seen the packages of sausage and hot dogs that say Kirkland, even though the signage has HN.

                            1. re: reality check

                              "I've seen the packages of sausage and hot dogs that say Kirkland,"
                              You've seen those Kirkland packages inside the food court kitchen?

                          2. re: reality check

                            I didn't have to ask.
                            They were loading the steamers from boxes with "Hebrew National" franks and Polish sausage.
                            "check" your facts next time.
                            Let's play poker some time.

                             
                             
                            1. re: monku

                              WOW impressive, I could take pics of HN box and say it was from Alhambra or take the pic of the HN sign from a couple years ago.

                              Weren't you the guy complaining about Slaw Dogs not having a natural casing hot dog and then complaining it was a $1 extra?

                              Why would you even bother to go to Costco for their $1.50 hot dog & polish special? Oh, that's right, I forgot.

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

                              1. re: reality check

                                RC, this isn't the first time you've been called out as wrong. (see Boneyard Bistro thread).

                                credibility--

                                1. re: ns1

                                  Argumentum ad hominem!

                                2. re: reality check

                                  I backed up my claim, can you?

                                  1. re: reality check

                                    If you look at the HN box you'll see the " sell by date "of 12/8/2010.
                                    I can e-mail you the photos and you can check the time stamp and tag location where it was taken.

                                    $6 For the NC Slaw dog is a bit much. They'll be gone like Between The Bun, they tried selling a $5 chili dog. I'll stick with the $3 Pink's chili dog.

                                  2. re: monku

                                    Nice detective work.

                            2. re: Professor Salt

                              Sorry, but very few of the Costco's still sell Hebrew National, the sell the new Kirkland brand. A couple years ago, there was a problem with Hebrew National, so they went to their own. There were so many complaints, not very many like the Kirkland.

                              1. re: paprkutr

                                "Sorry, but very few of the Costco's still sell Hebrew National, the sell the new Kirkland brand."

                                You're sure of that?

                                1. re: paprkutr

                                  Last year or so , in the Costco magazine, the food court manager stated that they were switching to the Kirkland brand. I frequent the one in Alhambra and they definitely do NOT use Hebrew National. Pity. They sell the small ones in the store, but not the big ones.

                                  1. re: granadafan

                                    I've read the Costco magazine article.
                                    I shop at the Alhambra Costco on a regular basis. They still have the Hebrew National umbrella's and signage. Costco wouldn't falsley advertise a product they sell. They have nothing to gain.
                                    Costco's that sell the Kirkland franks and Polish sausage have Kirkland umbrellas and they specifically say they are selling the Kirkland quarter pound plus.

                                    How is it you're so definite?

                                    1. re: monku

                                      Both Costco Hawthorne and Culver City still sell and serve Hebrew National.

                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                        I don't doubt they are.
                                        That's not the point.
                                        These other posters are accusing Costco of false advertising by saying they're using Hebrew National advertising and serving the Kirkland product.

                                        1. re: monku

                                          As a veteran of the Burbank, Los Feliz, Alhambra Costcos, let me chime in.

                                          Burbank & Los Feliz = Hebrew National.
                                          Alhambra = Kirkland.

                                          How do I know? Two ways - first by taste: the Alhambra dog that I got for my son (and sampled) was absolutely lousy. Burbank & Los Feliz taste as they always have.

                                          Second (and simple method): noticing that the Hebrew National signage was gone from ABOVE the order window when I was at Alhambra a few months ago. Los Feliz still had HN on the menu. I'll be in Burbank tomorrow to confirm.

                                          In any case, I'd check the MENU as is the indicator of what type of dog they're selling. Costco very well might still be getting dough to advertise Hebrew National on the umbrellas since they do sell HN uncooked dogs INSIDE.

                                          1. re: Briggs

                                            Vet,
                                            You better check your taste buds and eyesight.
                                            Checked out the Alhambra Costco.
                                            The signage says "Kosher" hot dogs and I just saw them fill the hot dog steamer with franks and Polish sausage from boxes that are labeled "Hebrew National".

                                            1. re: monku

                                              The Azusa Costco has Hebrew National signage. I haven't had a hot dog there, so that's all I can report.

                                              I can't really get behind the quest for a gas station hot dog. I enjoy all sorts of chow-related treks, but I think I'll pass on this one.

                                            2. re: Briggs

                                              Maybe they changed the sign since you were there last.

                                               
                                               
                                              1. re: monku

                                                and the winner is: monku

                                        2. re: monku

                                          The Costco in Van Nuys sells Kirkland and has Kirkland signage. Why would Costco want to piss off thousands of members and share holders for something so trivial. I am a share holder and would ream executives via the proper channels and sell my shares!

                                          1. re: Burger Boy

                                            Don't ask me ask the other posters.
                                            I'm a shareholder too.

                                        3. re: granadafan

                                          " I frequent the one in Alhambra and they definitely do NOT use Hebrew National"

                                          Go there today, I saw them loading the steamers with Hebrew National franks and Polish sausage.
                                          Maybe tomorrow they won't.

                                          1. re: granadafan

                                            Talk to the manager if you don't believe me.

                                          2. re: paprkutr

                                            Yes, I spoke with the VP of Food Court operations for Costco, and he confirmed that there was a national shortage of kosher franks several years ago when Sara Lee bought Best's National brand and closed its factory. That's when they decided they couldn't have industry consolidation put its supply chain at risk, and found a second supplier besides Hebrew National to make its Kirkland brand kosher dogs.

                                            However, he also told me that the 150 warehouses in L.A., San Diego, and the Northeast still serve Hebrew National in their food courts. 250 other warehouses nationwide serve the Kirkland brand. The man is the VP of Food Court Operations. I would think he'd know what's going on in his stores.

                                            Has anyone actually spoken to the food court managers, or are we all just getting worked up based on unverified conjecture? If you find verified evidence of brand-swapping, I'd like to hear about it and press the VP on this issue.

                                            1. re: Professor Salt

                                              I spoke to a guy who overheard a guy who was friends with this girl who saw a guy load up the steamers @ Alhambra Costco with KS hot dogs. Therefore, I'm sure that they have Kirkland dogs, no matter what the signage says.

                                              1. re: ns1

                                                "Therefore, I'm sure that they have Kirkland dogs, no matter what the signage says."
                                                Wonder if some people "misunderstand".
                                                Costco does sell the Kirkland brand hot dogs and Polish sausage in their refrigerated section for customers to purchase along with Hebrew National franks.

                                                "I spoke to a guy who overheard a guy who was friends with this girl who saw a guy load up the steamers @ Alhambra Costco with KS hot dogs."

                                                The perfect incubator for a rumour.

                                                1. re: monku

                                                  you realize that post was made in jest, yes?

                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                    No.
                                                    I read comments like that all the time on these boards.
                                                    But, I'll know for for the future you wouldn't.

                                              2. re: Professor Salt

                                                Good work, Salt!

                                                -Harry

                                                1. re: Professor Salt

                                                  "Has anyone actually spoken to the food court managers, or are we all just getting worked up based on unverified conjecture?"
                                                  _____________

                                                  Better yet, can people actually taste a difference? Y'know, blind taste test and all ...

                                                  1. re: Professor Salt

                                                    Is this VP of food operations the same guy Sol Price set up with a hot dog cart at the original Price Club in San Diego?

                                                    1. re: monku

                                                      I don't know his history. I just know I called corporate HQ, left a message for someone who can speak about the food court menu for an article I was researching, and this man returned my call.

                                                      1. re: Professor Salt

                                                        His name is Jay de Gues, he's the regional food-service supervisor.
                                                        http://costcoconnection.texterity.com...

                                                        1. re: monku

                                                          Nope. Different person. My guy is further up the totem pole.

                                                          1. re: Professor Salt

                                                            Good.
                                                            Have him get us gelato at the food courts down here. They have a few in the bay area. Like 3 scoops for $1.50.

                                                    2. re: Professor Salt

                                                      "Has anyone actually spoken to the food court managers, or are we all just getting worked up based on unverified conjecture?"

                                                      As a matter of fact... I did this afternoon at the Burbank Costco. However first, here's a photo of the Burbank Food Court menu. Notice the Hebrew National logo in the right lower corner of the hot dog photo - which is ABSENT from the Alhambra photo. Take this info FWIW...

                                                      Second, I DID speak to the Food Court manager - very nice guy. I'm paraphrasing his take on the matter: Yes he's aware that most people hate Kirkland dogs compared to HN. Unfortunately hot dogs are a loss leader for Costco, and the president of the company insists that Costco still be able to provide the service without continuing to take a deeper loss. This is pretty much what was written in a Costco Connection newsletter. We didn't discuss the Sara Lee/Best situation as being the catalyst for all this. The manager also said that Kirkland has its own food processing center for hot dogs (vs. just slapping their logo on), and that in about a year, ALL Costco would be changing over to Kirkland dogs.

                                                      As for who sells what: the manager knows that Burbank & Los Feliz are still HN, was pretty sure that Van Nuys is Kirkland, and didn't know about Alhambra. One surefire way to tell them all apart: Hebrew National dogs are listed on the menu AND on the umbrellas. Kirkland Costco dogs are listed as "Kirkland Signature", and the umbrellas are red and white.

                                                      My eyes are fine, my taste buds are fine. The Alhambra dog tasted off, and there was no Hebrew National on the sign. Maybe it was a one time thing, maybe the logo fell off in a snow storm. But since I've had them hot, lukewarm, and cold, I still know a Hebrew National Dog when I devour it. If you care to stake me to an Alhambra dog Monku, I'll be happy to report back again.

                                                      And I did not have a hot dog there today...

                                                       
                                                      1. re: Briggs

                                                        "If you care to stake me to an Alhambra dog Monku, I'll be happy to report back again."

                                                        Vet,
                                                        Why would I "stake" you?, you told me you were a regular there. I told you I saw them putting HN hot dogs and Polish sausage in the steamers. As far as the Hebrew National logo I don't know why they don't have it on the sign, but like the Burbank sign it says "Kosher". FYI: Kirkland hot dogs are not Kosher and I don't think Costco would say they're serving a Kosher product and they don't.

                                                        Have you ever had a Kirkland hot dog or Polish sausage, or you assumed because it tasted "lousy" it was a Kirkland?
                                                        I always order the Polish sausage and have had the Kirkland Polish sausage at the Commerce location a few times and it was fine. Matter of fact unless it was a side by side tasting I don't think I could tell the difference between the two. I don't think one is any better or any worse than the other.

                                                        1. re: monku

                                                          "Why would I "stake" you?, you told me you were a regular there."
                                                          First dude (or dudette), lighten up... Second, I said I was a regular where?

                                                          Lousy/off/whatever... The dog at Alhambra just did not taste quite right. Again, it was only one bite - but that was enough. Perhaps I was presumptuous to assume that the off-taste and missing Hebrew National sign meant it was Kirkland. My mistake that I didn't do further research about the general consensus of disdain for the Kirkland dog.

                                                          To clear up any further assumptions you might be making, I actually like most Kirkland products quite a bit, and would have no problem with a Kirkland dog if it tasted okay. I personally also prefer Nathan's and Sabrett's to Hebrew National dogs, so I have no brand loyalty to HN.

                                                          OTOH, I am happy for you that you can't taste the difference between HN & Kirkland. Perhaps you have a more sophisticated palate that's in conflict with the many here (as well as a good many other Costco customers) who seem quite vocal about the taste disparity between the two.

                                                          1. re: Briggs

                                                            You said you were a veteran of the three Costco's, that sounds like regular. I don't think most who claim a disdain for the Kirkland hot dog or Polish sausage have ever had one. Perfect example is granadafan, he goes to Alhambra all the time and thinks he's eating Kirkland, but he's been eating Hebrew National. Does he not like Hebrew National or is he crying fowl because he believes there's a conspiracy at Alhambra like you.
                                                            I prefer the hot dogs you mention because I grew up with them.
                                                            A blind taste test is probably impractical for most people, but I don't think they could tell the difference.
                                                            FYI According to the Costco Connection in a blind taste test people liked the Kirkland. Maybe the fudged the report?
                                                            I think people in general don't like the change from a name brand product.

                                                        2. re: Briggs

                                                          Now we have a ballgame. Thanks for your diligent report, Briggs.

                                                          1. re: Professor Salt

                                                            My pleasure. Maybe I can snag an investigative reporter gig at The New York Times...
                                                            Next: on to Super A on Division in Cypress Park to see if the dogs are grilled or boiled.

                                                  2. re: paprkutr

                                                    Some Costcos still have Hebrew Nationa, Burbank, Los Feliz and Culver City do.

                                                    1. re: Burger Boy

                                                      I know.
                                                      Lots of them do.
                                                      That's not the point.
                                                      You concentrate on Nick's. I've easily spent $100 there in the last month and I'm not that impressed.

                                                2. I did partake of a Johnson Brat at a Chevron station on Victory in Glendale once that was pretty good.

                                                  1. There is 76 gas station near Staples that sells fried chicken and hot dogs too. I see people eating those hot dogs and they seem to like it. I personally have not tried the hot dog.

                                                    1. I've always liked AMPM hotdogs and burgers. Depending on which location, you can find some really fresh ingredients (onions, lettuce, fresh (not canned) salsa, etc.) I've been eating there since the 80's when the burgers were 2 for .99. I used to joke with my brother that they couldn't possibly sell it so cheap unless it was kangaroo meat so we called em kangaroo burgers.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: macnut

                                                        i can't believe i am admitting it here, but i like AMPM, too. haven't had it in awhile, but their tacos and faux McRib sandwiches are not bad.

                                                        i agree about the condiments, they are much fresher than one would expect. if you get to learn the schedule at your local AMPM, you can figure out when the food is the freshest and go accordingly.

                                                        i wish we had QT here like in AZ. THAT is one amazing gas station! their food selection is AMAZING! makes AMPM look amateur in comparison.

                                                        1. re: Jelly71

                                                          Haha, I used to get those AMPM dogs all the time in high school. Great memories, though I wouldn't get them now.

                                                      2. Not a gas station dog (yech), but one better in Northeast L.A. For the last month or so the Super A's on Division in Cypress and York Ave in Highland Park have been having a $1- deal on an all beef hot dog WITH soda. ONE BUCK! They've even outdone Costco!

                                                        The caveat:
                                                        - The photos show a GRILLED dog. I've only had the dog at York Ave, but it was steamed/boiled (a la Costco). I normally HATE boiled dogs, but this was pretty good - maybe even Hebrew National. I'll see what's going on at Division St. The deal may even be going on at other Super A's that have on-site cooking (not all do).
                                                        - Don't know if the promo/deal is still going on.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Briggs

                                                          wow, that does so0und like a great deal.

                                                        2. Can't speak for gas station dogs, but Flea Market hot dog stands are pretty good. Try the few that are at the PCC flea market.

                                                          1. The gas station at the NE corner of Bundy Dr. and National Bvd. across the street from the Santa Monica Airport used to have Nathan's hot dogs, and they were pretty good. But I haven't been there in quite sometime so caveat emptor.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                              ok, i shall check it out shortlyl.

                                                            2. Sometimes I need to get a Chevron hot dog when I'm between meetings in Culver City. They are good in the same way that boxed mac and cheese or cup o' noodles are good. Sometimes they are too dry, but if you put enough toppings on it, you won't notice the dry rubbery taste. ;)