#30 Hollywood Walk of Fame
#28 Hollywood Billiards
#27 Genghis Cohen
#26 Piano Bar
# 24 Loteria
# 23 The Griddle
# 22 Proximity
# 21 Hollywood Freeway
#20 Kitchen 24
# 19 The People
# 18 Sushi Eyaki
#17 Raymond Chandler
# 16 Jumbo's Clown Room
I mentioned in the Griddle blog that for some strange reason, the LA foodie culture embraces strange foods as relevant. In a related story, another strange thing about LA food culture is the competitiveness of food. You'll constantly hear arguments about the city's best pizza, deserts, cheeses, charcuteries, and (thankfully, for my bank account's concern) burgers. It's never ending. As soon as a new burger place opens, it's immediately thrown into mix of the "best burgers in LA" Royal Rumble. Everyone's always talking about the best this and the best that; and it's the weirdest foods that shouldn't have to have a thumb war to prove it's worth: burgers, cupcakes, sandwiches, come on already, just eat and enjoy and stop trying to turn every meal into a VH1 show.
Which brings me to this topic: the best hot dog in LA.
In LA, you are not allowed to bring up hot dogs without mentioning Pink's. Pink's is a dive on the corner of Melrose and LaBrea that has been serving chilidogs since before California was granted statehood. Pink's predates the gold rush, and I think opened around the time the Lincoln was born in 1809. There is constantly a line extending down the street from Pink's. It is a historic landmark and an LA rite of passage. Only problem with Pink's is that it sucks.
The other hot dog haunt that legend has it competes with Pink's is the freestanding train car on the Sunset Strip: Carney's. Carney's is a really cool place, with a good crowd, and you get to eat in an old train car. A few years ago, Carney's put a big billboard right above Pink's that said something along the lines of "the best hot dogs in LA are at Carney's." This is a bold move. The hot dog wars were on. However, Carney's has a problem too, it sucks.
There are other hot dog ventures around the city, from Oki-Dog to Let's Be Frank. They're all pretty good. But the jewel, the winner, the champion for the crown of best hot dog in LA, is Skooby's. Skooby's caters to mostly tourists on Hollywood Blvd. It is a very small alcove in between a weird electronics store and a tattoo parlor (the Tattoo Parlor that lends it's sign to Jeremy Piven's credit in the opening sequence of Entourage). It is kind of hard to notice, and very few Angelinos have been there. But to me, there is no doubt whatsoever it is the best hot dog in LA.
The hot dogs are grilled, the buns are toasted, the French fries are fucking incredible, the chili is perfect, and the lemonade is the best I've ever tasted. There is seating for about 8 people, but that's ok, because our apartment is a five-minute walk away. In fact, when moving here, Skooby's was one of the few places we were familiar with, and don't think that wasn't mentioned when selecting this place.
Speaking of moving in here, Skooby's is also the source of one of my all time favorite stories about moving, a story I warn everyone using U-Haul day laborers to remember. We picked up two day laborers from the local U-Haul to help us move. The English was sparse, but their work ethic was long. The move would require two trips in our small truck. As they were unloading the first load, we decided to buy them lunch. Olsen walked down Cherokee to Skooby's and picked up about forty dollars worth of chili dogs and chili fries. We all smashed. That was essentially the end for our two heroic workers. After smashing their own weight in chili cheese dogs, they became lethargic and unmotivated. The second packing session was filled with broken-english pleas like "does this come too?" and "how much more stuff?" The second half of the trip doubled the first half in time. So lesson to those of you getting day laborers: NO SKOOBY'S!
Skooby's is probably the unhealthiest thing I have eaten in the last year, so I've tried to limit myself, but sometimes I have no choice. It is perfect. There is nothing like a Skooby's chili dog, and I can assure you that I will be making red line trips just to smash the hot dog perfected at Skooby's. And then maybe walk back downtown.
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