12. Let's Be Frank


I woke up with a hankering for a hot dog yesterday. I have been reading and hearing so much about Let’s Be Frank, from so many different sources, for so long, that my path was clear. All the way to Culver City I went. I’m not sure what was going on in the world, but, my lord, every way I turned, and every lane I chose seemed to be a bad idea. Friday. LA. I wasn’t in a hurry, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Plus, I could use this jaunt as an excuse to zip into, my Heaven-on-Earth, Surfas, which is super close by, to pick up some rendered duck fat!

Let’s Be Frank opened, in 2005 under Sue Moore and Larry Bain, in San Francisco. They expanded to Los Angeles in the fall of 2007. The currently have a truck set up, weekdays, in Culver City, and a cart parked in front of Sliverlake Wine, on Thursday nights, during their wine tastings.

Previously, Moore was the meat forager for Chez Panisse. They serve only pasture-based livestock free from hormones, steroids, nitrates and nitrites – and all from local producers. These are earth-friendly hot dogs.

I ordered the Frank Dog ($5) with grilled onions and their homemade bread & butter pickles. The woman working, who was a bit frazzled, but as sweet as can be, told me that I MUST try the Devil Sauce as well. Clearly, I did. I really enjoyed my dog. It was substantial and fresh and snappy. The meat was thoughtful, with robust flavor and dimension. The Devil Sauce was thick, smoky and spicy, and almost chili-like. This dog also completely filled me up.

Actually, while I was eating my Let’s Be Frank frank, I overheard a father and son talking about how much they liked their dogs, but (father to son) “your mom wouldn’t like these. She hates the snap. We won’t tell her.” This reminded me that in this world, there are two types of people: pro-snap in their dog and anti-snap in their dog. What causes the snap is the meat’s natural casing (in this case, lamb). Kosher hot dogs are all beef and made under rabbinical supervision. They are skinless or stuffed into collagen casings, because natural casings are not permitted.

At the end of the day, I’m really not a snapper. I still think a Dodger Dog is my personal favorite. I don’t need homemade, gourmet condiments – just the standards: ketchup, mustard, onions and relish (or chili and slaw if I can find a good Carolina dog). I appreciate everything that Let’s Be Frank is doing and will support them by returning, but frankly, I prefer a different breed of dog.

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