L.A.’s street-food scene was dealt another blow this week when the Los Angeles City Council voted to create a new set of rules that would ban food carts from public parks and beaches, making it a misdemeanor to sell some of our favorite summertime snacks from the ubiquitous carritos.
And given the incredibly slow progress of a legal permitting system for all the other sidewalk vendors, this summer is looking to be the bleakest yet for a city that has no mechanism in place for licensing its many fruteras, loncheras and pop-up puestos.
So what’s an Angeleno to do when that craving for elotes and bacon-wrapped hot dogs becomes too much to bear and, God forbid, the sidewalks have been cleared of Oaxacan ladies manning shopping-cart grills?
Two words: Dirt Dog.
Hiding in a Quiznos-sized strip-mall spot on the corner of Figueroa and Adams, Dirt Dog opened last year with a small menu of classic and modified street dogs, all of which come off a familiar flat griddle that — unlike its unregulated counterparts — is approved for food service by the county’s health department.
Made with big, all-beef Nathan’s hot dogs, these $6 bacon-wrapped beauties are served on a semi-sweet Portuguese roll and topped with the standard grilled onions and bell peppers — then loaded up with everything from the traditional (ketchup, mustard and mayo) to the cross-cultural (sesame seeds and teriyaki sauce) to the throwback (guacamole, cilantro, lime), which pays homage to the piled-high Sonoran dog.
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So-called “Dirty Sides” include the elote of your dreams — rolled in crema, cotija, bacon bits and chili powder — plus a few things you’ll never find on your most beloved street cart, like tallow-fried French fries with a side of ketchatio (yes, a very L.A. house blend of ketchup and Tapatio). Wash it all down with a Mexican Coke or a fresh baby coconut.
Dirt Dog, 2528 S. Figueroa St., downtown; 213-749-1813; dirtdogla.com