Monday, April 6, 2009

The Long "Stretch" @ Pink's Hot Dogs (Los Angeles)

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.

20 minutes later...

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.

...50 minutes later

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.

More signage of other dogs that named after famous celebs or "figures"

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.

...finally! They are making my dogs!

The Tray (ps the Coke can is not mine!)

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.

10" Stretch Chili Dog ($3.55)

New York Dog with Red Spicy Onions ($3.65)

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.

Poli Bacon Burrito Dog ($5.60)

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!

The line was still a long stretch after the visit

Pink's Hot Dogs
709 N La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 931-4223


Pink's on Urbanspoon


pleasurepalate said...

I got such a good laugh from your post. I can certainly feel your pain. I don't understand why people want to brave the wait for a hot dog that is by no means bad, but definitely isn't spectacular. Oh well, hopefully, this visit will be your only one this year.

Anonymous said...

Pinks is kind of like an L.A. rite of passage. Even though I know it's probably gonna disappoint, I just have to line my butt up and give it a try ;-)

EatTravelEat said...

I've never visited Pinks yet in my life. This is very informative, and in the photos I can see the hot dog's special casing!

The spicy red onions look very interesting. I've never had that type of topping on a hot dog before.

Epicuryan said...

Nice shots Mike and thanks for braving the lines so I don't have to.

I tried to convince my girlfriend to try the place with me. I believe her response was "you are a moron for wanting to wait in line for a damn hot dog."

kevinEats said...

Next time see if she has a problem with waiting an hour for Kogi...

Unknown said...

lol i remember seeing salma hayek in line at pinks... so i take it u hated the wait?

K.J. said...

I really wouldn't wait for that long for a hot dog!
I did however, went there and see the line and show my oversea family and friends for the stand and the line and we left for something better though :)-


Right Way to Eat said...

Hi PleasurePalate,

I think I'm too old for this kind of wait for a hot dog. When I was a kid, I didn't mind, but nowadays I think I might suggest Carney's or Skooby's.

And yes...this will be my only visit for the foreseeable future. LOL

Hi Gastronomy,

You are right. You have to make one visit if you are in LA. It is a rite of passage.

Hi EatTravelEat,

You do need a visit to this place one of these days. I think you would get a good sense of varieties of hot dogs that are being served. The New York hot dog with spicy red onions is delicious if you do get a chance.

Hi Tangbro1,

Trust me. It's worth it for one time visit. Ask her if she thought Kogi's long line was worth it. LOL

Hey kevinEats,

Same thoughts here! :P

Hey Sassy,

You know the wait just kills me. Salma Hayek? Wow! Someone said that they saw Jack Black waiting in line too. Hehehehe.

Hi KJ,

Glad that there was "something better"! Always leave for that reason. I would have done it if I could have think of one, but my pal insisted on wanting to try Pink's. *oh well*.

H. C. said...

After discovering tastier hot dogs at the likes of Golden State, Skooby's and Let's Be Frank, Pinks is more a memory of my impressionable, cave-in-to-peer-pressure days.

I'll still cave in for the trip to Melrose & La Brea now, but I'll head to the tastier and healthier M Cafe de Chaya instead and relax with my bento while my friends are still in line!

Right Way to Eat said...

Hey H.C.,

It's funny about it. I forgot the days of waiting for a long time just to order something at Pink's. Now that I'm an old man *cough*over 25*cough*, anything that required a long wait like at Kogi's taco truck would just drives me batty.

Next time, I'm sending somebody else to order my things and I'll join you at Golden State and get a few Scoops ice cream.

shavedicesundays said...

Pink's is good but overly hyped, but I agree, tourists want to go here. I don't understand why they wouldn't rather go hang out at the beach or something instead of waiting in line for heartburn.

Right Way to Eat said...

Hi ShavedIceSundays,

I think everyone still wants to go to the beach, but whenever food are being brought up, Pink will always be the one. Don't know why really. LOL

Aaron said...

First time I went there, my car got towed at Quiznos at 3 am. Hot dogs still worth the impound fee. It's the snap in the casings that makes it all worth it. In my experience, Sunday mornings is a good time for the shortest wait

Right Way to Eat said...

Hey Aaron,

You're right! Sunday morning is probably the best time to grab these things. People are still sleeping at around that time. Good call!

Oh, sorry to hear about your car getting towed in that area. It can be the worst!

Anonymous said...

The reason you had to wait so long is because you went at the wrong time of day. 3PM (yes I know it's past lunch time) is the PERFECT time to go. The lunch rush has ended and after 4 there is no parking on La Brea so people don't chance it. I will ONLY go around 3PM. The longest I've had to wait at that time is 15 minutes and that was because three of the people ahead of me were ordering for 6 other people in addition to themselves.