Dog Haus

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Dog Haus is popular. I get it. Hot dogs all jazzed up with different condiments and toppings, and served on King’s Hawaiian buns. Menu sounds like Pink’s but updated for present day. I wanted to like this place. And I do, but there’s one small flaw to the place: the hot dog itself. The frank itself is pretty…unspectacular. Basically looked and tasted like a good Hebrew’s National that you boil yourself (yes it was boiled, not grilled). So I’ve come to the conclusion that a hot dog at Dog Haus (like the Sooo Cali one above) is the equivalent of a specialty roll from cheap sushi joints. But that’s not too bad. In fact, it can be quite decent. If distance is not a problem, I’d go to Fab though.

Chris Hei grade: B-

Dog Haus
105 N Hill Ave, Ste 104
Pasadena, CA 91106
(626) 577-4287

Dog Haus on Urbanspoon

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Seoul Sausage Company

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You know how excited I was about Seoul Sausage’s opening last week? I went on opening week (which I never do). And you know how much I liked it? I went again the very next day. Yeah, it’s pretty damn good.

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I actually went to lunch early last Thursday, to beat the crowds at Tsujita. But in beating the crowds and eating relatively fast, I got out of the restaurant a little after noon and walked right by Seoul Sausage as they were opening up. I had already planned on trying it the very next day with coworker Han, but the line wasn’t bad at all, so I figured I’d covertly take a second lunch. Got a galbi sausage and a Lil’ Osaka rice ball, and took it back to work to see what the fuss was all about. After all, these are the guys who had just won the Great Food Truck Race show on the Food Network (I’ve never watched the show, but I know plenty of people who do), and are always a hit at local food festivals.

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Let’s start with the galbi sausage. Like I told some people immediately after trying it, it tasted exactly like…galbi. That’s a pretty amazing feat. For some reason, I was afraid that all these sausages would be just plain ol’ sausages with various Korean/Asian toppings and condiments (like an Asian version of Dog Haus), and man was I ever glad to be proven wrong and then some. It was as if galbi went through the meat grinder and into a casing, which is what I’m sure it basically is. Wanted a little more char on the meat (my usual preference for cased meats finished on the grill), but all the intended flavors were on point. The “bun” was basically a mini baguette/French roll, but was soft and not dense at all as to not distract from the sausage – impressive. The Lil’ Osaka was basically a love child of an Italian arancini (fried rice ball) and a Japanese curry croquette. Very nice.

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So I did return the very next day with coworker Han, and this time I ordered the other sausage, the spicy pork, the Flaming rice ball, and a special: Da KFC (Korean fried chicken). Galbi poutine is technically on the board as a special as well, but it wasn’t available that day (nor was it available the previous day). Anyways, effort to try entire menu was accomplished in two visits. The spicy pork was basically a take on pork bulgogi in cased form, but less on the spicy side and more on the sweet side (but not as sweet as the galbi one). I liked this one better; had a better balance of flavors, was juicier, and had more char from the grill – and I already liked the galbi one quite a bit. Also, the slaw was a nice complement. The Flaming ball is their more famous variation of their two rice balls, with kimchi and cheese flavors. I liked it, though it brought back some memories of elementary school when I used to drench my Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in nacho cheese. The KFC was basically cut-up pieces of fried chicken cutlets (fried like the pork cutlets you’d find at Taiwanese restaurants – so sweet potato flour maybe?) tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce like standard KFC wings, and topped with some diced pickled radish and a nice square of Jalapeno cornbread. Not as exciting as the other menu items, but still delicious (or as Robyn would say, “the shizz”).

I can never have enough lunch options, because quite frankly there aren’t that many, but this rookie has already found playing time in the rotation. In fact, it’s in the starting lineup.

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Lil’ Osaka Ball ($3) – shoga sriracha mayo

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Galbi Sausage ($7) – kimchi relish & garlic jalapeno aioli

Visit #2:

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Da KFC ($8) – Korean fried chicken

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Flaming Ball ($3) – DMZ sauce

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Spicy Pork Sausage ($7) – apple cabbage slaw

Chris Hei grade: N/A (no official grade < 1 month of opening, but already one of my go-to lunch options after opening week)

Seoul Sausage Company

11313 Mississippi Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(310) 477-7739

Seoul Sausage Company on Urbanspoon

Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory

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As part of my self-serving lunch section of the blog (since I’m really doing it to create more lunch options for myself), I polled a dozen of my coworkers on what their top 5 lunch spots were. I’ve been to most of their choices, or am fairly indifferent about the ones I haven’t been. But one choice, by coworker Melody, caught my attention immediately: Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory. She really recommended the place for their burgers, but I remembered reading about Jeff’s Gourmet re: the Kosher Corridor in LA Weekly, as well as the publication’s top 10 best hot dogs list (at #7). So last Thursday, I decided to give the place a go.

I was determined in ordering 1 of the gourmet sausages and 1 of the regular hot dogs, but while I was looking up the address of the place I stumbled upon this LA Times article. The article sung praises for Jeff’s old-fashioned pastrami sandwich, and it didn’t help the cause when coworker Han was coincidentally bragging about how he brought a Langer’s pastrami sandwich to lunch that day. For a wuss who proclaims himself as agnostic, I do have an affinity towards believing in “fated” events. And there it was on the specials board when I arrived at the restaurant: the old-fashioned. They callin’ me…

Determined to be a kosher fatty, I ordered an old-fashioned and a regular hot dog with grilled onions. First of all, the hot dog, while fairly standard, was pretty damn good. Jeff’s makes all of their hot dogs and sausages in-house, as well as cures and seasons their deli meats as well. In this case, the house-made aspect was evident – the hot dog had a cleaner taste than the street hot dogs I’m more accustomed to. But I didn’t write 300+ words so far to talk about the hot dog. It’s all about the old-fashioned here.

The sandwich was old-fashioned indeed: thick-cut pastrami slices with deli mustard on rye bread. It’s very easy to hear that and immediately discredit it as some cheap imitation of the legendary version that can be found at Langer’s (and understandably so). But while Langer’s has essentially perfected the execution of the cured and seasoned pastrami, Jeff’s takes a (literally) sloppier approach. The beautiful slices of pastrami are unapologetic-ally bursting with fat, loaded with enough juice to soak the toasted rye bread as if it was dipped a la Philippes. You pick up alternating hints of garlic and smoky flavors with each enormous bite, but the star is that fat. Kosher pork belly, if you will.

It’s not the cheapest of options at $15/sandwich, but such delicacy transcends a moot price point. I will definitely be back to try other items on their extensive menu (the boerewors sausage and the western burger in particular), but if that old-fashioned is there on the specials board, it’ll be might hard to say anything but l’chaim and submit to the Old Testament. In my search for a greater purpose in life at lunchtime during work hours, I have finally found my calling.

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The Old Fashioned Pastrami Special ($14.95) – a ½ pound of hand-carved garlicky pastrami on crusty rye bread with deli mustard. Served with cole slaw and a pickle.

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Jeff’s Kosher Dog ($3.25) + grilled onions

Chris Hei grade: A-

Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory
8930 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 858-8590

Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory on Urbanspoon

Fab Hot Dogs

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Sunday is slowly becoming the day of the week when I drive out of my way to try a restaurant, a casual one at that. Past places I frequented (and greatly enjoyed) on the day of rest include Bludso’s BBQ and Pollo a la Brasa. To this day, those two places have the best BBQ and rotisserie chicken I’ve had, respectively. On this particular Sunday last month, I decided to head up north to Reseda, to the place that is considered to have the best hot dogs in LA County: Fab Hot Dogs.

Fab is famous for being on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and J. Gold’s 99 list. They have a large list of hot dogs (think Pink’s, but better), including the ripper, which is a beef and pork hot dog that is deep-fried. The joint has the rippers shipped from New Jersey, and it’s their most popular and acclaimed item. On this visit, I ordered the Bald Eagle Ripper, which is the ripper topped with a spicy mustard relish. I also ordered the Fab Dog, which is your standard hot dog with the fixings. To supplement these two dogs, I got a tray of house-made tater tots on the side.

I can say with fair certainty that these hot dogs are the best in LA indeed. The hot dogs were juicy and flavorful, the casing on the Fab Dog had a nice snap, the Bald Eagle Ripper had a nice “crust” from the deep-frying, and the house-made toppings went well with them. But I wasn’t exactly…amazed by the hot dogs. They’re good hot dogs, oh yes, but I’m not sure about them being good enough to drive 15-20 miles for. But if there was a Fab near my apartment, I would be fat from being stuffed with hot dogs all the time (har^2).

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Fab Dog

Fab Dog ($4.25) – charred all-beef dog topped with our sweet & spicy tomato relish, smoked bacon, deli mustard and diced onions

Bald Eagle Ripper

Bald Eagle Ripper ($3.60) – topped with our house made spicy mustard relish

Tater Tots

Tater Tots

Chris Hei grade: B

Fab Hot Dogs
19417 1/2 Victory Blvd
Reseda, CA 91335
(818) 344-4336

Fab Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

The Greasy Wiener

10/25/11

The Greasy Wiener was at my work a couple of weeks ago, and my coworkers said that they won some OC Fair competition. Award-winning hot dogs? Just like that, I was sold.

I decided on the Bomb Pack, which is a combo consisting of The Bomb (bacon wrapped dog, mustard, chili & cheese, grilled onions) and Bacon Chili Cheese Fries. That sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen. I’m just lucky I didn’t soil my pants immediately after eating. Anyways, I’m not sure if the hot dogs themselves are any more noteworthy than the standard ones you’d find at hot dog stands and places like Pink’s. And the preparation isn’t really sexy, but rather just a combination of nice toppings like bacon, chili & cheese, and grilled onions. Nothing spectacular, but solid comfort food – comforting all the way to the grave.

Chris Hei grade: B-

The Greasy Wiener

The Greasy Wiener (food truck) on Urbanspoon