I like hot dogs.
I've always liked hot dogs. I loved them as a kid, and then loved them enough to finally stop loving Dodger Dogs. I ate regularly at Oki Dog back in the day. When Wendy and I were first married, we regularly ate at the "Hot Dog Factory" on Raymond in Pasadena, back when Old Pasadena was just... old. I stop at CostCo just for a dog. I've let following foursomes play through if the hot dogs I bought at the nine-hole turn of a round of golf were particularly good. I particularly remember a round and the hot dogs at Recreation Park - drove the green on the first hole, great dogs at the turn - in Long Beach sometime around 1991 or '92. I've made it a point to visit some of the classic hot dog places around L.A., eating at Cupid's, standing in a long line at Pink's, and chowing down at Tail o' the Pup. And of course, the bacon wrapped hot dogs, sold on carts outside the Galaxy's stadium, have become a staple of my soccer experience. "Dos, con todo" are my three favorite words in Spanish.
So it was with great pleasure that we added The Stand in Encino to our hot dog experiences this past summer. I had read about The Stand on the definitive L.A. hot dog site, HotDogSpot.com, and was finally spurred to action by the cover of the August issue of Los Angeles Magazine. The Stand is located on a nice part of Ventura Boulevard which looks like the Champs Elysees compared to the blighted stretch of Route 66 by my house.
The Stand is very attractive, with comfortable tables inside and a nice, vine shaded patio out. It feels classy, like the owner was thinking, "As long as I do this, I may as well do it right". And the dogs are great. On several trips over the past few months, we've had their Loaded Stand Dog (just $2 on Mondays!), Chili Dog, Big Blue Dog, Midtown Dog, Downtown Dog, and Andouille. The Andouille was just all right (not very spicy), but the other dogs were all wonderful.
It all starts with a great bun, which is very fresh and nicely steamed. The dogs have some snap, but not a lot, which is how I like 'em. And all of the toppings are of a high quality. My favorite has been the Big Blue Dog, which is a grilled dog topped with grilled onions, blue cheese, tomato and the Stand's own special Red Sauce. And each dog is served with a generous amount of freshly made potato chips - the best I've ever had.
Not quite a destination restaurant, but clearly a "make the effort if you're in the area" kind of place.