Pink's claims to be the most famous hot dog stand in the world. They may be right. Seated in the center of Los Angeles and established in 1939, it's not hard to imagine the city developed around this most epic of eateries. Its reputation certainly precedes it. The line was as extensive as the menu, with a well planned airport-security style queue, and at the awkward 3pm between meal hour at that. Besides its obvious popularity as a heart-attack haven and tourist attraction, the next most visible feature is the menu, which is huge and terribly confusing. They apparently have 3 - 6 different kinds of tube meat (all of which are intimidating to see) in addition to dozens of toppings that come in an overwhelming number of combinations. Here's what we tried:
Notice it can't all fit in the picture.
The Dog: (5/5) If you have self-esteem issues or hang-ups about your masculinity, this isn't the hot dog for you. Some are so long I had a hard time fitting the entire thing into the frame for a photo. And they are delicious. Thick, dense, meaty, and with the needed classic snap. They have sausages and all-beef dogs, and mysterious mixes, some with spices, others with jalapeños actually embedded into the dog itself. All are delicious (except the turkey ones, which are only ok, but it's turkey and shouldn't have been a hot dog in the first place).
So Much Topping. So. Much.
Accoutrement: (5/5) One does not simply walk into Pink's and not order toppings. Especially chili. Good lord the chili is delicious. There isn't enough room to go over all the different toppings available, but you can see they certainly don't skimp on them.
Not exactly proper etiquette. Don't judge.
Value: (5/5) I won't lie, the prices at Pink's made me a skeptic. $7 dollars for a hot dog? This seemed a bit much for a souped up food cart. I over-zealously ordered two, which was a mistake. The regular 9" 'stretch' dog (in the middle above) was by itself a meal. I tried to dig into the larger 12" monstrosity, but couldn't even figure out how to pick the thing up. After taking a not so delicate bite, I realized this was a fork and knife job. Even then, I only made it half way through the dog before I had to call it quits. That's three meals out of two hot dogs, and at the end of each one I was pretty sure my arteries couldn't take another bite. Now that's value.
Jalapeños inside the dog. How is it done? How?!
Other: (4/5) They've got veggie and turkey options, outdoor seating, and their fries are unbelievable. I even saw one of the managers warn customers that a cop was coming down the street handing out parking tickets incase anyone needed to move their car. If that isn't service, I don't know what is.
I was in the middle of a heart-attack during this photo.
Overall: (5/5) Yes the line is long and the place is super-hyped, but sometimes this is justified. Tourists to LA should certainly take the time to visit, and locals already know this is a solid place for a meal. Don't kid yourself about stopping in for a light snack, and prepare yourself spiritually for what will surely be a physical and moral assault on your sense of delicate propriety. Don't let that stop you though, everyone needs the occasional slap in the face of their soul to remind them of what real luxuries look like.