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Someone explain The Fascination with Tommy's and Pinks?

  • c

Be warned this is a mild rant.

I think they're both horrible excuses for a chili burger and dog.

I'll start with Tommy's first. First of all the meat patties are thin, completely void of any real meaty substance. This is clearly an issue with Tommy's as a In N Out burger does not have this problem. Secondly and most puzzling to me is the (in) famous chili. To me, it tastes much like mashed up Dennison's with added lard so it tastes less like chili and more like... I don't even know what to compare it to. It's horrible.

Pinks. I don't even know why Tony Bourdain bothered to eat one. If it doesn't look like a dog it probably doesn't taste like one either. Why can't there just be a Top Dog or a Papaya King? Why Pinks? Why defile the hot dog with such appalling toppings and combinations? I'll tell you why. It's because the dog itself sucks. It's a way to mask the cheap disgusting quality of the star ingredient itself. I've had 100x better luck with the Hotdog carts outside of the Staples Center after a game.


I don't get these two very famous and saught out Los Angeles traditions...

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  1. All good points, except are you aware of what actually goes into a hot dog wiener? It ain't filet mignon and foie gras!

    1. Why patronize Pinks and Tommy's, when there are far 'superior' dogs and burgers to be had? Same reason that the likes of Hugh Grant (allegedly) patronized a hollywood prostitute, when he had Elizabeth Hurley's superior posterior waiting at home. Hugh did not seek out 'finer goods' when he had a hankerin' for some strange; he wanted something illicit and arguably bad for him... When I go to Pink's, I want something bad for me; something nasty & something cheap, that I'd be embarrassed to be seen putting in my mouth by my refined peers. Pink's coterie of wild toppings are akin to going to the Bunny Ranch in Nevada and having a dozen choices of ill-costumed, poorly-dye-jobbed trollops paraded before you, to select one's perverse fantasy of choice; no one goes to the Bunny Ranch looking for Angelina Jolie. And no one patronizes Pink's looking for prime beef. It's an aspect of human nature, I believe, to feed our shadow desires, and Pink's and Tommy's is a legal and relatively safe means to 'slum' with the dark lords of the lake of fire known as our gut...

      15 Replies
      1. re: silence9

        Pinks is just tradition, I used to go with my dad and mom, it was one of the first chili dog places in LA, sort of. They also have some really good stuff, try the 12" jalapeno dog, no chili, just mustard and onions. They wait is a joke, I only go when i am near and there is a short short line. Back in the day, Paul Pink and his helper could crank out a million dogs, you never waited more than 3-4 minutes max, but back then it was not as big a menu and they did not do burgers.

        1. re: silence9

          Absolute brilliance, Silence...

          Welcome to LA, crap!

          1. re: silence9

            Best response to a post EVER!!!!

            Kudos to you silence9! I was laughing my head off.

            Link: http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

            1. re: silence9

              Beautifully put, as usual, Silence!! ;-)

              1. re: silence9

                ha! Ok, I'll buy that for a dollar.

                Personally, my palate and gut don't work that way but I see your point.

                1. re: silence9
                  s
                  Silverlake Bodhisattva

                  As good as Hemingway, Silence9. ROTFLOL. Possibly the single greatest piece of food writing I've seen this year!

                    1. re: silence9

                      Hi, and thanks to all for the kudos. Just couldn't resist the opportunity to justify both Pinks and the world's oldest profession in the same post ;-)

                      1. re: silence9
                        s
                        Slverlake Bodhisattva

                        There's lurking somewhere in that comment ("Just couldn't resist the opportunity to justify both Pinks and the world's oldest profession in the same post") the seeds of a REALLY crude, and possibly funny, joke, which I will not, however, plant, tend and harvest.

                        r gould-saltman

                      2. re: silence9

                        thank you silence for explaining it so well.
                        i never understood before.
                        you are a master.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          Hi there... Haha, I forgot about that post! Thanks for the reminder :-)

                        2. re: silence9

                          If Hugh Grant had responded to Jay Leno's infamous "What were you thinking?!" question with the brilliant philosophical words of silence9, even Liz Hurley would have forgiven the poor soul for his Sunset Blvd. transgression!

                            1. I agree with you. For me it's not the food but rather the company I was with and good memories times I have had at both places. Even if you go back again alone, it's still the previous memories that keep you happy.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Dave Gee

                                Yup, after a first date at the Dorothy Chandler, after HS football games, after prom... all great memories!!

                              2. Tommy's chili dogs are great especially with some cheese, a little mustard and some pickles. Go to the original (I believe) location off of Rampart.

                                1. Personally, I absolutely love Tommy's and Pink's. They both have great chili - I don't mean Texas Chili Cookoff type of great chili, but I happen to really like it. A little goopy but good.

                                  When it comes down to it, it's all a matter of what a person likes. I love Tommy's and Pink's, but I also love Langer's pastrami, Cimarusti's seafood creations at Providence, sushi from Kiriko, seared Hudson Vally foie gras, steak from Ruth's Chris, and, dag nabit, I like the McRib from McDonald's.

                                  So the bottom line is that you don't have to "get it". If you don't like it, then don't go. Don't question why they're famous or sought out just because they're not your cup of tea. Plenty of other folks like it.