One of the first foods that most of us remember as a child is the hot dog. Sitting in our high chair with the our cut up rounds of hot dogs, it was the ultimate finger food for a toddler. But our love of hot dogs only grew as we grew up…4th of July cook outs with family and friends always included the ever faithful hamburger and hot dog, trips to the baseball park always included a hot dog and a bag of peanuts. And now, many of us have the toddler still inside us and the hot dog is still one of our secret favorite foods.
A while back, I had our daughter over for dinner and I made, what I thought, was quite an amazing new creation. I knew it was a little risky because there were a couple of ingredients that were not my husband’s favorites. After just a few bites and watching his face, I asked him how he liked it – with a sheepish look on his face he said “Can I have a hot dog, please?” Our daughter was stunned and thought that I would be upset since I had taken such care in preparing the meal. I wasn’t upset at all, I knew that hot dogs were his favorite thing in the world, so he finished his dinner with us happily eating away at his hot dog with mustard and onions.
So, after that night, I decided to see if I could find the best place in Los Angeles to get a hot dog. Ask 10 different people and you will get 10 different answers to where is the best hot dog in LA. I am a big fan of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and I happen to catch one episode that was about a hot dog place in the San Fernando Valley that could possibly be the one! I found the directions and told my husband, that is where we were going for lunch that day. So we drive up to a little place in a shopping plaza called Fab’s Hot Dogs.
Fab’s, owned by New Jersey native, Joe Fabrocini – a 30 year restaurant veteran, is not your typical hot dog stand – it is a true reflection of the multi-cultural fabric around the country and of Los Angeles. These dogs are named from locations all over the country and have accompanying condiments that are surprisingly sophisticated with a mix of various vegetables and seasonings freshly cooked and simmered until just right. Fab’s is best known for the “Ripper”. The Ripper is the real deal Jersey dog — it’s very lightly fried in a deep fryer, so it’s crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside — you can order the “Bald Eagle” — a Ripper with a special tangy relish made from carrots, cabbage, onions, mustard, Mexican oregano and cider vinegar. The hot dog that reflects the street food of LA is the “LA Street Dog” — a bacon wrapped all-beef dog topped with mustard, mayo and ketchup with freshly grilled onions, bell peppers, diced tomato and jalapeños! It’s a spicy kick to the last bite. Actually, Fab’s has over 22 specialty hot dogs and offers a “Firecracker” polish sausage, my husband’s favorite, and a milder version of the polish sausage that has plenty of flavor and kick to boot. The chili at Fab’s is the best I think I have had, EVER. Joe’s Hel’s Relish is a must try. And if you really want to bring out the kid in you, order some of his fresh and crunchy tater tots!
Needless to say, as my husband’s eye’s water, happily munching away on his Firecracker, he has found hot dog heaven. So, check out my favorite hot dog “trap” if you are in the Los Angeles area, Fab’s Hot Dogs, 19417 Victory Blvd. Reseda, CA 91335.