Epically I always thought it was awesome to show some of your out of town guest/family members/friends around all parts of Los Angeles to let them get a grasp of all the glory what L.A. has to offer. Plenty of times it disintegrated into the few usual touristy trap places like Disneyland, Hollywood area (where they can see that big sign), Universal Studio, and get this: #1 choice of out of town tourists destination is..... the outlet malls to get cheap discounted name brands.
When it comes to food, they don't really want comfort food. Shoot, they can get the real authentic dish once they get home. So which food or type of food do people conjure up when they think of L.A.? Yup, so far by a wide margin in an unofficial Pepsi Monster's poll from his loved ones out of town, it is Pink's Hot Dogs.
It's funny because I don't associate cheesesteaks to Philadelphia or clam chowders to Boston, but apparently people thinks Angelinos eat hot dogs. Pink is the choice for that place to visit when out of towners want hot dogs to taste. Damn those visitor's guides and travel books!
Usually, I am very persistent in showing other L.A.'s famous eateries or convince someone else to endure this pain. The pain I'm talking about is the tedious long wait just to get a hot dog in a landmark place that has opened since 1939. Trust me, I'm not that impressed when the word "institution" or "landmark" get thrown around. Just read my Apple Pan review.
Sure enough, when we rolled in the line was stretch around a furniture store and almost to the parking lot next door. I slightly peeked at the front line and hoping it was going to be fast with multiple cashiers. Guess what? They still have one cashier system with one employee taking one order at a time in a rotation. Knowing the case, standing in line around the corner of the furniture store, I calculated it'll be more than 40 minutes of wait time.
I figured I had nothing to lose at this point. The above photo was taken 20 minutes after the initial wait. At the time, we were deciding if what types of chili hot dogs we like. I have noticed they dedicated a few hot dogs to celebrities or well known figure heads like our Mayor of L.A. I think it's part of their regular orders, but they added in some other obscure ingredient and dedicated the chili dog to the few lucky famous figures such as our Mayor.
With my initial forecast of 40 minutes being incorrectly predicted, I had finally got inside of the canopy and away from the searing hot sun. That wait took about 50 minutes to endure and with the ordering station not far from the reach as I'm turning around the corner.
Since I stuck this long, I think I can see the promised land (ordering station). I just never realized that the hot dog stand from the Great Depression can expand into a global business empire where Huffy brand hot dogs with unique casing on the outside makes it easier for the dog to snap when you bite into them.
They don't take phone orders (or I would have gladly faxed it in), but on their website they promised speedy service. Yes, that's the sound of laughter in my head as I now waited in excess of over one hour to order any food.
When I finally did reached my destination (the ordering station), I quickly ratted it off a New York Dog with Spicy Onions, 10" Stretch Dog, and a Poli Bacon Burrito Dog. With a few orders of drinks. All that for an approximately 1 hour and 12 minutes.
Before anyone thinks I'm sourly complaining, other famous celebrities don't get special treatment to cut lines either. I have heard stories where famous celebs would sent out their newly hired Personal assistants to get some of these dogs. One of the famous test was that the PAs would need to get these dogs within less than half of a hour back to their boss, in order to keep their jobs.
True story, I have seen some desperate errand boys bribing the people in front of the line to add their orders.
Some interesting observations when the tray of dogs are completed. The hot dogs are long and skinny. The chili was very comforting and not too heavy. Spicy red onions did have some kick to the flavor, but it wasn't too overpowering to ruin the flavor the dog. One good thing about the hot dog was that it has a natural casing and a good meat in the ingredients.
The interesting thing about the Poli Bacon Burrito Dog (Polish sausage with bacon) was that the all beef dog was wrapped like a burrito. Are they trying to play up the cultural reference to the city? Maybe. Just like adding burgers in their menu, I do think Pink is trying to re-invent themselves and catching up with some of the changes in today's times.
For over an hour of wait in a ridiculous long line, I can honestly say that I will never want to endure that kind of wait again. As in for the hot dog, it was very satisfactory. Both of the standard long dogs like the 10" stretch and the New York Dogs had always been my favorite whenever I stopped by. Too bad I didn't have the forsight to order more than just one dog for myself, but I can take one thing in comfort when we started to leave the place.
Looking at the long line that never get shorter for the people that is waiting to order. It didn't bring joy to my eyes, but at least I know I'm not the only one that need to suffer this fate. Everyone needs to share the pain equally!
Pink's Hot Dogs
709 N La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038