The all-American hot dog is one thing that can send many of us right back to childhood. Purists insist on mustard only — never ketchup. But what about the adventurous eaters in search of something more? Maybe a lot more.
Los Angeles has quite an exceptional hot dog scene, from simple classics to the extremely weird and wonderful. A dog loaded with pickled papaya with pork rinds? Check. How about one covered in teriyaki sauce and seaweed? We've got that too. Here are 10 totally over-the-top iterations of the (normally) simple hot dog.
Chili John’s chili cheese dog — Chili John's chilie cheese dog is covered with so much chili that you’ll have to search for the hot dog underneath. This chili-to-dog ratio is what makes this dog over the top — plus they’ve been using the same rich (and spicy) Texas brick-chili recipe for almost 70 years. $8.25. 2018 W Burbank Blvd., Burbank, (818) 846-3611, facebook.com/ChiliJohns.
Dog Haus' Sooo Cali Dog — This is an all-beef, skinless dog topped with wild arugula, spicy basil aioli, crispy onions, avocado, and tomato. All this goodness is served on three connected Hawaiian rolls, grilled in butter. Grab a brew and sit outside in the beer garden: The Pasadena location has 14 beers on tap. $5.99. 93 East Green St., Pasadena, (626) 577-4287, doghaus.com.
Fab Hot Dog’s Breakfast Dog — This dog is a well-tested hangover cure. Topped with a fried egg, bacon, mayo and good old American cheese. There are several hot dog options, but go for the Jersey-style, deep-fried “ripper.” $5.90. 19417 Victory Blvd., Reseda, (818) 344-4336, fabhotdogs.com.
The Infield’s Chili Cheese Frito Dog — The Infield in Sherman Oaks serves a classic dog with yellow mustard, chili, cheddar cheese and crushed Frito corn chips. Craving a Dodger Dog? They have those too, and charge only $2 on Mondays. $3.50. 14333 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 501-1850, infieldhotdogs.com.
Japadog’s Terimayo Dog — The Terimayo Dog at this new cart from the Vancouver, Canada-based business is slathered in teriyaki sauce and topped with Japanese mayo and seaweed. After several visits, we’re still waiting for the Kurobuta pork dog advertised on the Santa Monica Pier cart. $5.25. 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, japadog.com.
Meea’s Eagle Rock Dog — The Eagle Rock starts with spicy mayo, pickled papaya, avocado, Sriracha, then finishes with pork rinds for added crunch. This is one of their most popular dogs, so get there early before they run out of chicharrones. $5.75. 1734 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 285-4850, meeas.net.
The Mucho Perro Dog — This is a beef hot dog with bacon, mozzarella cheese, smashed potato chips, ketchup, mustard, pineapple sauce, cilantro sauce and “pink sauce” (mayo and ketchup). This Colombian dog is available Friday and Saturday nights only, usually after 10 p.m., at a cart on Sunset Boulevard. $4. Follow @MuchoPerro on Twitter for the current schedule. 5851 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, Muchoperro.com.
Pink’s Pastrami Reuben Dog — The longtime (since 1939) local favorite stand on La Brea in Hollywood features, among many dogs, a stretch hot dog piled high with pastrami mustard, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Definitely an over-the-top, winning meat-on-meat combination. $7.20. 709 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 931-7594, pinkshollywood.com.
The Stand’s O Dog — The O Dog at The Stand is covered in corn salsa, cilantro lime aioli, Sriracha and wonderfully crispy onion strings on a poppy bun. If you’re a pork lover, do add an order of porchetta fries. You’re welcome. $4.60. 17000 Ventura Blvd., Encino, (818) 788-2700, thestandlink.com.
Vicious Dog’s Krusty Krab — This elaborate dog starts with a bacon-wrapped hot dog, sweet-spicy chili sauce, grilled peppers and onions. Then it’s topped with a large chopped crab patty and tartar sauce (made in-house). And if you're still hungry, check the specials board (for new creations) on the sidewalk. $6.00. 5231 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, (818) 985-3647, viciousdogshotdogs.com.