Several years ago, Matt and I were up late one night watching television. Nothing exciting was on, so Matt started channel flipping. I'm of the opinion that you should select a show and commit. Not Matt, he pretty much flips all night long and it drives me crazy. (I hope I'm not the only woman who suffers from this male habit.)
In the middle of the channel flipping, we came across a Food Network special about America's best hot dogs. I yelled "Stop here!!!" (I love hot dogs and I'm always on a quest to find the perfect dog). Luckily Matt was intrigued, so he set down the remote and we settled in and spent the next 60 minutes drooling.
Shortly after that program aired, we were talking about it with our friends Gary and Lanel. They are hot dog lovers too. So much so, that they actually had official Chicago Dogs shipped to their house -- the dogs, the buns and the relish!! (It pays to have connections with a wholesale food supplier.) And, they were nice enough to invite us over to partake. That was my very first Chicago Dog experience -- the best dog I've ever eaten.
You know you are a lover of hot dogs if you think about a program you watched over 5 years ago . . . and would you believe, I still think about that specific Food Network episode. I do. I'm just dying to try a deep fried hot dog from a place in New Hampshire. The name escapes me now, but you better believe that I will hunt that place down if I ever travel East and end up somewhere with a 50 mile radius. And there's a place in Hawaii that is supposed to have the ultimate dog. I'm going there too -- one of these days.
"Why is she droning on and on about hot dogs" you ask? Well, last Friday I found Pinks. That's right Pinks -- the ultimate hot dog stand in Los Angeles. And yes, it was featured in the aforementioned Food Network program. Ironically, I've never been there which is funny when you consider that I lived in L.A. for three years and worked right down the street. I have no idea how I missed it, but I did.
Last Friday, Claire and I were on our way to a television commercial audition, and as we were driving along Melrose Avenue, we saw it -- a hot dog stand with a giant sign that said "Pinks."
I yelled "Oh my gosh!!! There it is -- the best hot dog stand in L.A.!!!!! Claire we have to go there!!!" She was on board after I told her about the Food Network show, and that celebrities frequent the joint.
So after the audition, we drove to the corner of La Brea and Melrose and parked our car in the tiny lot behind the world famous hot dog stand. We went around to the front and got in line, which was a lot like waiting for a ride at Disneyland. It was even roped off, and wound back and forth so that it didn't look like you had to wait that long. We got behind a guy smoking a cigar, which I thought was completely rude as it instantly tainted my sense of smell. How can you enjoy a dog when it tastes like cigar??? Fortunately for all, Cigar Man doused his stogie after several glares from people besides me. (I'm glad I wasn't the only one.)
As we waited in line, we chatted with our comrades and discovered that the majority of us had never been to Pinks. Those who "had" helped those who "hadn't" navigate the menu, because the "had-nots" we were having a really hard time deciding what to order. (So much to choose from and not enough room in our stomach to try it all.) Claire and I settled for a bacon, chili, cheese dog, AND a Lord of the Rings Dog, which was a hot dog with barbecue sauce topped with onion rings. I was hoping they had a defibrillator on the scene in case I had a heart attack from all the fat, or at the very least, offered a side of Pepto Bismal, but they didn't. But, you could get a cup of nacho cheese if you asked nicely.
Once we paid (with cash because they don't accept anything else), we went to the patio out back to enjoy our feast. It was delicious. We ended up covered in chili and left smelling like onions, which isn't a good thing if you plan to go shopping for cloths later on. We got some pretty awful looks from the store clerks in Forever 21. I'm sure we reeked -- which made me feel a little sorry for Cigar Man and the way we treated him in line.
I have to say that Pinks makes a pretty decent dog. But . . . not the best dog I've ever eaten. My Chicago Dog experience still ranks number one. Maybe Lord of the Rings would have tasted better if we were sitting next to Ellen DeGeneres or some other star . . . who knows. But, I'm glad we made the time to stop. We had fun.
I can officially cross Pinks off my hot dog bucket list. If you pay a visit to Pinks, you'll have to let me know what you think.
Post Script: In case you are wondering, Claire is drinking root beer. I repeat, root beer. :)