I’ve heard that no trip to LA is complete with out a trip to Pink’s Hotdogs. Word on the street is that they have the best hotdogs in LA, some say the world, well maybe not the world.
Did it live up to the hype? Here are my thoughts…
I had a chance to visit Pink’s this weekend and had the pleasure of waiting in their infamous “Line”, waiting patiently for my palate to be covered with some Los Angeles history. Pink’s has been in business for a impressive 73 years at the corner of Melrose and La Brea Avenue, has been know to put out 2500 wieners in a single day!
We arrived around 3:30pm the weather was a beautiful 73°, we hoped that we had missed the lunch rush, but we weren’t that lucky, we found out that the rush starts as soon as the window slides open.
We positioned ourselves at the end of the line, which happened to be a couple businesses doors down and then proceeded to inch forward. Within a few feet a Pink’s employee approached us with a menu and asked if we would like to browse it while waiting. Which is a smart distraction so you don’t realize how much time has passed. To my surprise the menu had far less hotdog verities with accompanying ingredients then I had imagined. Since Pink’s is Located in the heart of LA where cultures are a dime a dozen, I thought they would have evolved into a Mecca of worldly flavors and versions. I now realize that quantity is more important then variety there.
They did have a few gimmicks such as the Giada de laurentiis dog, which is a 9” dog, sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms, topped with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, "now that's Italian"... hmmm? If you put mozzarella on a taco, is that Italian too?
Let's talk about the line....
I have worked in many restaurants in my time and have seen some questionable standards and techniques, and here was no different. While waiting in line I watched what appeared to be a prep/restock person bring up large “#10” can of products to the line to be heated in the steam well (which is a health code violation BTW). Seeing the nacho cheese being scraped out of the can into a place that is meant to keep hot food hot and not to bring ingredients up to temperature was disappointing.
Don’t think I’m always picky or I’m pointing out things for the sake of this review but just seeing the random company’s name on the can of cheese took away any mystery regarding the origin of that rich golden delight known as nacho cheese. I know how it comes, but I don’t think bringing the dirty can up to the line is the way to go when every inch of your kitchen is visible to the guests!
Time to order! To satisfy my hotdog cravings, I decided on The Planet Hollywood Dog, which consists of a polish sausage, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, bacon, pickled jalapenos and nacho cheese, all things that I love. My sidekick for the day, Chelsea, ordered the chili cheese dog and we shared an order of onion rings.
From ordering the dogs to having them was just over 3 minutes! WOW! As we approached the assembly line, the aroma of the steamed hotdogs was nothing short of amazing, it put purpose to us being there, really into perspective, which at this point was helpful. It smelt that good! We finished up our interaction with the cashier who franticly went from person to person trying to keep up with the pace of the line. No “thank you” or “have a good day” given here, you are just another head in their line of cattle.
We did it! We made it through the Labyrinth line of Pink’s, correctly ordered and received our dogs and it was the moment we had been waiting for. We found our spot in the cozy corner of the outside seating, which was shaded by an abundance of red and white Pink’s umbrellas.
To the eye, the food looked really good, even though in the back of my head I was still a little wiry of the cheese that coated my entire meal. For my first attempt I found myself lacking confidence about how to attack this loaded frank on a flimsy bun, but quickly realized just diving in was the best plan. Two bites in and everything that was once on top of the sausage, was now on the paper that posed as my palate. The one handed attempt failed and now needed the assistance of a fork, NOT the hot dog etiquette I like to live by! But it was the only way through this.
The dog was good, overall, the sausage had a nice spice to it, onions freshly grilled along with moist mushrooms and jalapenos, crisp bacon and cheese that could have been hotter but still completed its mission in bring all of this ingredients together for balance of textures and flavor. Chelsea enjoyed the chilidog as well; she didn’t update her status at all, so I believe it came in a close second to her favorite Costco dog! The Onion rings we shared were sort of just there, they added a nice crunch to our meal but in the end they were just frozen and bagged, over cooked and just bland onion rings.
To sum it up....
2 hotdogs, onion ring, and 35 napkins later we had completed our first Pink’s experience. Something that I had been waiting for, had come and gone just like that, but it was an experience that I am happy to share with you all.
The name really saves this place, this is a LA landmark and something that should be tried once, but, in my opinion, once is enough.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my thoughts on Pink’s and this helps when you are on a road trip, looking for that next dog. I give this 2 Avocados! Which, by the way, is our scale of delicious!
Thanks for reading