Though most kids and baseball fans can make do with the old-fashioned hot dog, talk to people who frequent late-night concerts, make after-hours drunk food crawls or spend a lot of time at USC football games and you’ll get rhapsodies on the bacon-wrapped hot dog that border on devotion.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone. First, because being drunk and crazed on music or football will make most junk food taste extraordinary. Second, and just as obviously, it’s a sausage wrapped with bacon (bacon!) and grilled with peppers and onions. Right.
But the bacon-wrapped hot dogs that one finds at 2 a.m. on the streets of Los Angeles, or among the tailgate madhouse crowds outside the Coliseum, are also often from illegal, ad hoc carts without proper permits. Which is probably what makes them taste so good, but also means that we can’t really tell you where to find them.
We can, instead, tell you where to find legal bacon-wrapped hot dogs around town. (If making your very own hot dog cart is just too much for you.)
Dirt Dog: Dirt Dog is what happens when you take street food, conceptualize it and open up a place next to a giant university. Which is why you should not be surprised to learn that this hot-dog shop also serves breakfast (tres leches French toast combo) and has fried Twinkies and Oreo cookies for dessert. The list of reengineered bacon-wrapped hot dogs is color-coordinated, as if to make it easier for you to fit in with your homework. There’s the Green dog, which has chimichurri sauce and guacamole, as well as the requisite grilled onions and bell peppers. The Red dog has tomato chili sauce and chipotle aioli; the Brown has teriyaki sauce. There’s also the House, or original, and a soy Veggie dog. All of which you can get on a lobster or Portuguese roll if you want. Oh, and there are bacon bits too, which you’d think would make the whole thing taste even more bacon-y but do not. 2528 S Figueroa St., Los Angeles, (213) 749-1813, dirtdogla.com.
Dogtown Dogs: Dogtown Dogs has been rolling around L.A. for six years now, making it among the first wave of new trucks after Roy Choi essentially reinvented the genre. There are two trucks now, at which you can get many hot dogs -- including many wrapped with bacon. (In fact, any beef hot dog on the menu can be ordered bacon-wrapped. Not the tofu dogs though, because that would kind of defeat the purpose of those.) Thus you can get a bacon-wrapped hot dog with fennel slaw, roasted peppers and mustard; or avocado and arugula; or a fried egg; There’s also the Trailer Trash, which has chili, nacho cheese and Fritos corn chips. dogtowndog.com.
Slaw Dogs: Open since 2010 on Lake Avenue in Pasadena -- with outposts in Duarte and West Hollywood too -- Slaw Dogs was one of the first in the new wave of hot-dog shops. These are hot dogs in the new manner, recombined with Thai flavors or with mac and cheese or potato salad and, yes, slaw. There’s also the old-school bacon-wrapped dog, here called the L.A. Street Dog, wrapped with bacon, loaded with grilled peppers and onions and squirted with garlic mayo and pico de gallo. There is sriracha as well as ketchup, and the fries come with kimchi and, of course, an egg. 720 North Lake Ave., Pasadena, (626) 808-9777, theslawdogs.com.
And because there are many more, let us know your favorite and we’ll update our list. Any excuse to eat more bacon-wrapped hot dogs is most welcome.
Beause taking pictures of food is almost as much fun as eating it, on Instagram @ascattergood