I was raised in an unglamorous area of northern Ohio, not far from the Michigan border. And as happy as I am to be in the paradisiacal precincts of the San Fernando Valley, close to the mountains and far from Hardee’s, I do occasionally find myself missing the Hungarian hot dogs they serve at Tony Packo’s, which are more or less kielbasa dressed with chili and sweet-hot pickles. That’s the kind of place Toledo is — the most famous restaurant in town serves hot dogs. With L.A.’s wealth of immigration from all parts of the world, surely somebody in town serves Hungarian hot dogs.
Baroque hot dog traditions do sometimes make it to Los Angeles — I treasured the Rochester-style garbage plates that somehow established a beachhead in Historic Filipinotown in the late ’80s — although they generally don’t last long. Hungarian hot dogs, you can’t find around here, at least as far as I know. But the excellent Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City, a store that will lop off bits of Morbier, Tuscan pecorino and 10-year Wisconsin cheddar for you to taste even if you were just planning on buying a little fontina for some Wednesday-night macaroni and cheese, carries the whole line of Tony Packo’s pickles, and even serves a bit of the hot ’n’ sweet with the cheese-intensive panini they make every afternoon on Bread Bar baguettes. You could always buy a jar of Artisan’s Packo pickles and garnish a chili Polish dog from Carney’s down the street. It won’t be the same, but it’s better than nothing. 12023 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 505-0207 or www.artisancheesegallery.com.