The Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog: So Good It's Illegal
Jailed for selling L.A.'s famed "heart attack" dogs, licensed street vendors are fighting back
By DANIEL HERNANDEZ
Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 10:15 am
Not quite Mexican and not quite American, the bacon-wrapped hot dog, like the city that so fervently embraces it, has a curious romance about it. You can smell one from blocks away. The grilled bacon, twisted around a wiener, is topped with grilled onions and a mountaintop of diced tomatoes, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. Then one whole grilled green poblano chile is plopped impossibly on top. You take a bite and think, This is so good, no wonder it's illegal!
Among working-class downtown shoppers, belligerent clubgoers and adventurous foodies, devotion to the famed "heart-attack dogs" is strong and strident, a source of raw L.A. nostalgia.
"I probably saw my first one while I was trying to pick up 18-year-old girls at Florentine Gardens," says Eddie Lin, a food blogger at deependdining.com, who has rhapsodized about the bacon-wrapped dogs on local public radio.
To get them, "I go to places like the 99 Cents Only store in Reseda or other Hispanic working-class neighborhoods in the Valley. Parks are good too. It's the only street food L.A. can really claim as its own," Lin adds. "It's illegal and yet it's a ubiquitous part of L.A. culture."
Edit: It appears it's a county ordinance: "Instead, she prepares dogs the only way the county Environmental Health Department currently allows, by boiling or steaming. Not grilling. And grilling is the only way to make a classic L.A. bacon-wrapped hot dog."