Ever since I did a hot dog sampling at The Slaw Dogs last year where 8 of us from my dining group tasted 8 different hot dogs, I've been wanting to do the same thing at Fab Hot Dogs. Finally, a few months back, we did and considering that Reseda, where Fab Hot Dogs is located, was quite a drive for me, those hot dogs better be pretty darn good.
Before I talk hot dogs, our group also ordered French fries, tater tots and a Frito Pie. If you didn't know, a Frito Pie is a bowl of homemade chili with beans topped with Frito chips, cheddar cheese and onion. The fries and tater tots were good supporting players.
However, I could have easily eaten just the Frito Pie on its own. It's a simple dish, but if you don't have good chili, this Frito Pie could simply just be bad. Thankfully, the chili had good flavor and was seasoned well. It also had a nice meaty consistency and wasn't greasy. I've had greasy chili in the past and believe me, it's not a good mouthful.
Now's the time to talk about our first hot dog and it was the Fab Dog which is a charred all-beef hot dog topped with sweet and spicy tomato relish, smoked bacon, deli mustard and diced onions. Although I would liked the tomato relish to be a bit more spicy, all the ingredients went well together and it made for a tasty dog.
Second to bat was the Bald Eagle Ripper which is a deep fried hot dog topped with a housemade spicy mustard relish. Just like the tomato relish, I think this spicy mustard relish could have been spicier, but I liked how it was a blend of mustard, sweet relish and shredded cabbage. It had a tangy, slightly sour taste that I liked that could be attributed to my Filipino palate and the crunch of the cabbage also added a different texture.
Our next hot dog was the LA Street Dog, bacon wrapped all-beef hot dog topped with grilled peppers and onions, mayo, mustard, ketchup, jalapenos and fresh tomatoes. There was too much going on with this hot dog for me to fully enjoy it. The amount of peppers and onions that topped this dog was too overwhelming and the bacon wrapped dog itself just seemed so buried under all this stuff. Less would have been more; however, the fresh tomatoes were a nice touch though because of their bright acidity.
The fourth dish that hit our table was the Fairfax Burrito Dog with two all-beef dogs, pastrami, chili, cheddar, onions and mustard in a grilled tortilla. The Fairfax Burrito Dog is a homage to the Oki Dog, which has two locations and one of them is on Fairfax.
As for the Fairfax Burrito Dog, Fab Dogs definitely isn't shy about stuffing that burrito to the gills with ingredients. That burrito dog is definitely meant for 2, maybe even for 3 people to consume. It was huge, but it was also delicious. The chili was the star and unlike the Oki Dog, I liked that the Fairfax Burrito Dog had enough cheese to make this cheese lover happy.
4 hot dogs down and 4 more to go and following the Fairfax Burrito Dog came the Lincoln Log Dog which was a bacon wrapped all-beef hot dog topped with cream cheese, tomato, diced onions, hot sauce, mustard and celery salt. Generally, I liked the Lincoln Dog, except for a couple of things. First, I thought there were just too many onions. I actually like raw onions on my hot dog, but I don't need to get a big mouthful with every bite. Second, I wasn't completely sold on the cream cheese. Even now, I can't decide whether I liked it or didn't like it. The celery salt on the onions though was a nice touch.
My favorite hot dog at Fab Hot Dogs, which actually surprised me, was the Monte Christo Dog. When you hear that the ingredients consist of a grilled turkey dog, grilled Taylor ham, melted Swiss cheese and strawberry jam, some of you might question my sanity. Somehow, it all worked for me. The saltiness of the ham with the tang of the Swiss Cheese and the sweet fruity flavor of the strawberry jam all gelled and made my taste buds happy.
Second to last was the Chicago Dog, which was a steamed all-beef dog with neon relish, onions, sports peppers, tomato, pickle spear, celery salt and mustard. For those of you who are from Chicago, please don't get mad at me when I say that the Chicago Dog just isn't my thing. Granted, I've never been to Chicago, so I've only had copy cat versions here in LA like the one I had at Mustard's in Long Beach, but it's just the way the hot dog is constructed that isn't appealing. On their own, the ingredients are fine, but it's such an unwieldy hot dog to eat that I can't get any pleasure out of it. Maybe, if I had a knife and fork, it would be a better experience.
Last, but not least was the Bacon Cheddar Melt, bacon wrapped all-beef hot dog topped with cheddar sauce, grilled onions and brown mustard. This was one of my least favorite hot dogs. While I like grilled onions, I thought they were cut too thick, too long and again, too many of them. There was also something about the cheddar sauce and the brown mustard that didn't appeal to me.
That was definitely a hot dog extravaganza, but one highlight of my visit to Fab Hot Dogs that wasn't a hot dog was their Vanilla Bacon Milkshake with Chocolate Syrup. What a great shake. The vanilla was a great foundation for the sweet-salty-smoky flavors of the bacon and the chocolate syrup.
Overall, I'd say that Fab Hot Dogs was worth my trip from the Eastside. While I didn't like everything, there was enough that I did like and also saw on the menu that I'd be willing to make a trip back to SFV for more hot dog exploration..
Fab Hot Dogs
19417 Victory Blvd
Reseda, CA 91335
To see the post complete with photos, go to:
5056 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019
860 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Fab Hot Dogs (location as of May 2010)
19417 Victory Blvd, Reseda, CA 91335
The Slaw Dogs
720 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104