Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Ubiquitous Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog Lady in Los Angeles

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog Lady, Los Angeles

On Monday night, I saw a band at the Silver Lake Lounge. Once the show was over, I headed for the door. But as many of us Angelenos know, around the bar and club areas, there's always something in the air. Before you even step out into the sidewalk, you've been hit with that fabulous aroma of something salty, something being crisped up, some type of animal being immolated – luring you, whoring itself for a mere $3. And then there's that sound that appears to be like one hundred snakes hissing in unison.

Enter the Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog Lady.

This definitely isn't a new thing here, but it is an integral part of Los Angeles' food culture like taco stands and trucks. I had forgotten about this snack long after my college days because I nearly overdosed on a whopping 8 smaller bacon-dogs while in Mexico. I have not eaten one in nearly a decade.

I got it out of my system.

But every now and then, I'll shamelessly stop in front of a lady and ask her how much one dog would cost. Even though I know exactly what they cost, I am really just buying some sniffing time. A cheap high that any midnight civilian would take up, even vegans and vegetarians.

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog Lady, Los Angeles

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog Lady, Los Angeles

For me, a danger dog represents something of the past. I'm much older and my tastes have changed, but it doesn't mean I don't appreciate its divine simplicity. It is what it is. A long slab of bacon wrapped around some unknown hot dog and sloppily topped with greasy onions and condiments. It's what Gallagher would eat.

Last year on a trip to New York, I met a friend at the Please Don't Tell bar. A simple call from a phone booth in the neighboring Crif Dogs, reveals a "secret door", and you're transplanted in a dark, timeless bar in the East Village. The drinks, they say, are the main attraction, but I think it's really the various hot dogs customized by New York's top chefs that put them in the lead.

Please Don't Tell, New York

Please Don't Tell, New York - Menu

Please Don't Tell, New York - David Chang Kimchi Bacon Dog

I ordered a Wylie Dufresne, being a fan of WD-50. And of course, David Chang's Kimchi Bacon Dog. I had to order the Chang special – I'm from Los Angeles and I adore Korean food. It tasted fine - chopped up Kimchi relish on top of a neatly wrapped bacon hot dog. But it didn't look right... it was too clean. There was no oil on the bun from the Danger Dog Lady's fingers. No half charred onions. No special aioli created from the mayo & grease.

I may not eat one of these again because of its threat to my health, but I hope these ladies continue to serve their street delicacies. I'd be very sad if the health department ever deleted them from Los Angeles' food scene – it'd be a true loss of culture.

Do YOU crave the Danger Dog? Thanks for reading.


MyLastBite said...

My husband and I had TWO danger dogs (each) after a recent Pretenders concert. Didn't feel too bad after, but felt sort of greasy-happy for sure.

That's what a couple of vodka tonics and a screaming, sing-along to "Brass in Pocket" will do to us I guess!

The crif dogs sound amazing.

WeezerMonkey said...

After all these years, I've still never had one. I do love the smell, though, as well as the chant "hotdoghotdoghotdoghotdoghotdog."

mycookinghut said...

Oh la la... looks good!! I would love to try one but it's too far for me!

Aria said...

You call her the "ubiquitous", we refer to as the "elusive" bacon wrapped hot dog lady.

Used to be you could eat (what we call) a Guadalajara Dog from almost any corner in Hollywood after the sun went down. A year ago we took our brother-in-law on a search for one. We couldn't find one damn dog. Where is she!? Silverlake? She smells so good...

pleasurepalate said...

I still haven't tried a bacon dog either from a steet vendor. Where can I find her in Silverlake? :)

Hank said...

Sadly the John John Deragon (cream cheese bagel dog) was off the menu when I visited PDT last week. There is a new dog designed by Sam Mason of Tailor - a huitlacoche corn dog. It was meh. Wylie dog is still my fave.

e d b m said...

MyLastBite, haha two FULL sized ones? I'm gonna guess you guys did some time traveling. You're right, it is a guilty greasy happiness – perfectly described. Crif Dogs is a fun place.

WeezerMonkey, they are best at night. I would ruin my plans for a day if I ate one at 11 am.

MyCookingHut, you can easily make one at home. If you're gonna do it, keep it real by using a sheet pan.

Aria, they are not as available in Hollywood anymore – not from what I seen. I've seen a good 2-3 of them in the Echo Park area. This photo was taken in front of Silver Lake Lounge on Sunset Blvd at about midnight.

PP, Silver Lake Lounge on Sunset Blvd probably after 9.

Hank, Wylie Dog is definitely interesting but if I had to pick, I'd take the kimchi dog b/c it's so different. Huitlacoche corn dog?! – interesting.

Gastronomer said...

When I first moved to LA after spending a year eating street food in Asia, my heart skipped a beat at the sight of the bacon-wrapped hot dog lady.

I was delighted to see her, but the chances of eating her wares are slim to none. The fruit cart lady, on the other hand...

Tricerapops said...

great tribute to, what can now be called, an LA institution (in my humble opinion). remember that back in the day, mexican immigrants sold tamales on corners, alongside hotdogs - our culinary history continues on....

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Mimi said...

I love your photographs here--and the Mexican hot dog is my favorite of ALL hot dogs.

I actually just posted a recipe for my make-at-home version of this hot dog!!

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