Friday, November 28, 2008

Reason to be Thankful (and to Come Home)

It's the day after Thanksgiving, and yesterday most people in the US have celebrated thanks for the early US settlers' exploitation of the indigenous people of this great land, and perhaps done so by eating lots of this country's native bird. I, on the other hand, am a few thousand miles away not having had a turkey meal while traveling around or out of Austria, hopefully thankful I'm warm enough.

Some may know I'm a bit of a Germanohpile, and since this is my first trip to this area in a few years, the notion to not come back has crossed my mind. Along with the fact that Germany is now in a recession with its already difficult foreign work visa process, there are several other reasons, like a milder climate and the frequent use of the English language that will have me coming back.

There is one thing in particular that sticks out in my mind that will have me coming home to the U.S. of A., but more specifically, back to the love-to-hate city of Los Angeles:


For those who can/choose to eat meat and haven't had one, you're really missing out. They go by many other names, such as the "Dirty Dog," the "Hollywood Dog," these illegal hot dog carts can be found in high-foot traffic areas, most notably around the Fashion District and in Hollywood late at night where many inebriated and hungry clubbers roam the streets. Its execution is simple: bacon is wrapped around a hot dog and is cooked over a metal surface heated by propane below. Onions and jalapenos are typical toppers, along with the usual ketchup, mustard and mayo on the side.

I have been vexed by this one particular bacon-wrapped hot dog cart that's just around the corner from my work, and there is usually one time each day I have to walk past it, and each time, I have to stop myself from getting one each time. It's the smell of the meats being cooked with the smell of caramelizing onions that one just can't deny.

On my last day of work before this trip, the allure seemed even stronger. It also didn't help that the fruit stand guy that's usually stationed 10 feet away wasn't there, for there wasn't as much as some sort of angel-devil contrast between healthful fruit and artery-clogging goodness.

But why, of all things I could eat, would I want a bacon-wrapped hot dog before I'm going to Germany, the land of Wurst? This dog is a sad bastardization of the glory of its source, so why taint that? After much thought, the answer was simple: This is cuisine that's so L.A., and if anything, I would need something to remind me what I need to come home. With that, I went out and got myself one hot dog with onions, jalapenos, a bit of mayo and ketchup for the road.

I had the dog packed to go and took it back to my office, and in that short trip, the grease had already seeped through the paper in which it was wrapped and already hit the paper bag it was in. It was beautiful when I unwrapped it, and that first bite was divine. The jalapenos weren't that hot, unfortunately, but the onions and the bun were slightly sweet and mixed perfectly well with the saltiness of the entwined meats.

Though I'll be sad to be leaving my current location (at the time of this blog entry's posting) so soon, I at least have a few things to look forward to when I'm home. I'll probably be wearing skirts and tank tops when everyone else is in scarves and coats if it does get cooler in LA, and when I go back to work, I'll know I've got these bacon-wrapped goodness waiting for me.



  1. I am still keeping the dream of a veggie bacon wrapped tofu-pup cart alive!

  2. I could go for some of that right about . . . NOW! Aw, the moment's passed.