Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cupid's Chili Dog

Cupid's Chili Dog, originally uploaded by ~db~.

Cupid's Hot Dogs is another Los Angeles institution. Yet I don't remember the last time I had eaten there. But when I drove by one of their locations the other day, and hungry for lunch, I decided it was a good time to reacquaint myself.

This dog is simple. It's a frank in a bun, with optional toppings of onions, mustard, and chili. I took all three. The frank itself it probably the best hot dog I've had in a long time. Maybe a bit small, but that's not bad. It had an excellent snap and nice consistency. The chili was fine for what it was and, unsurprisingly, overpowered the flavor of the dog. But the sharpness of yellow mustard and fresh onions did cut through and offered a good contrast. The bun is very soft and had pretty much disintegrated by the time I was finished. The fries were edible, but too soft. I suspect they were only fried once since there was no bite at all. Fine, but meh.

This ain't gourmet. And it's not supposed to be. It's a good, cheap hot dog, which you get fast and eat fast. Just as it should be. Dog and fries, about $5.

Tommy's Chili Dog

Tommy's Chili Dog, originally uploaded by ~db~.
One thing that sets apart the best hot dogs is how carefully they are constructed. This is especially true when the volume of the ingredients is substantial. And that's where Tommy's chili dog fails.

It's a mess, and not just because it's served open-faced. First, look at the size of the bun compared to everything else. There's no way it's big enough to contain anything beyond the frank. So instead of a chili dog, it ends up being a chili coated dog with a big puddle of chili on the plate to be mopped up later. And what in the hell am I supposed to do with that huge tomato slice and those pickles? It's as if the person who put this together thought it was fine to just plop down each item on their 6-ingredient checklist, one on top of the other, without regards to how it's actually supposed to be eaten. So indeed, I treated it as what it was, and open-faced sandwich, and dug into it with a knife and fork.

First, the chili flavor smothered everything. But as a person who grew up eating at Tommy's, that was expected. The Cantella's beef frank is dense and chewy with little discernible snap, but good flavor. The tomato was a bit soft, leaving me chewing a long thin string of tomato peel. None of it was bad, but none of it was great. In the end I left half of the grease-soaked bun and a couple pickle slices behind on the plate. It was an okay hot dog, as long as you like Tommy's chili, but nothing I plan on ordering again. A bigger bun and more care in its assembly might have changed that. Chili dog, about $2.50.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

NABS Crabcake Sandwich

Crabcake Sandwich, originally uploaded by ~db~.

The crabcake sandwich at Not a Burger Stand was one of the few things on the menu that I had yet to try. When I asked Super-Waitress Melissa about it she told me she hadn't tried it but customers said it was "A-May-Zing!" While I'm not a crabcake aficionado, I like crab a lot. So I ordered the sandwich with everything, along with a side of sweet potato fries.

The sandwich was fairly simple, as it should be. A crabcake topped by lettuce with thinly sliced tomato and onion, all set inside a toasted bun. The toppings were fresh and added a nice crunch with every bite. The crabcake was good and I admit to uttering one of those ooooohhhhh groans after my first big chomp. The only real downside was most of the crabcake smushed out after a couple bites and I ended up shoveling much of it back into the sandwich, and ultimately just ate about half of it off the plate. So not a bad thing, just messy. Tasty and messy.

The sweet potato fries were wonderful, as usual here. Well done on the outside, nearly crunchy, and pillowy soft on the inside with a ton of flavor.

It was a nice lunch with fantastic service on a beautiful afternoon. You can't beat that. Crabcake sandwich and sweet potato fries, about $14.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Goomba

The Goomba, originally uploaded by ~db~.

Willie calls this the Goomba. It's a chicken, mozzarella, roasted tomato, basil sausage, topped with mozzarella cheese, a chopped chicken tender, marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese. That's all baked until the cheese gets melty. I think of it as the Vicious Dogs version of an Italian sausage sandwich. It very much has that taste. The chopped chicken tender adds a very nice crunch. The sausage is grilled before things are assembled, so it too has a nice snap with each bite. The sauce was a bit acidic and the parmesan reminded me of stuff that comes in a green can, but it's not pretending to be more than it is, and it was a good filling meal. Dog and garlic fries, about $9.

Friday, March 01, 2013

The Skooby's Dog

The Skooby's Dog, originally uploaded by ~db~.
Skooby's Original Hot Dog is a seven inch natural-casing beef frank served bare inside three King's Hawaiian original sweet dinner rolls which have been toasted and split down the middle. I chose to add a little relish, mustard, and onions. The dog has a nice snap when you bite, which is offset by the pillow-soft bun. Also, unlike my experience with their Street Dog, the dog retains its juice. It's simple. It's good. Go get one. Heck, it's only $3, so get two.