Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pink's


Need I say more to get your mouth watering?  Well, depending on where you are as you’re reading this, maybe you don’t know what I am referring to.

Pink's is simply the best chili hot dog stand in the world.

When I was a little boy, I was going to a nursery school near USC just South of downtown, L.A.  Sometimes on the way home, if my dad happened to pick me up, we’d roll by Pinks, and I’d beg him to stop for a chilidog.  The funny thing was that my dad was the one who introduced me to Pinks, and when I pleaded him to stop, I knew that he wanted to stop there too.  And you can never find Pink’s without a line in front of it.  Not even at 4am in the rain.  No kidding!


The ritual is, you get in a queue, which is on the sidewalk, and maybe after about ten minutes of waiting with a hoard of other people, you get up to the very high counter to order.  I have never been in the Pink’s line and not heard conversations about the entertainment business going on.  It’s a favorite stop for show-folks.

They make hot dogs and chilidogs every which way possible.  There are items on the menu boards in back of the servers that the owners clearly though up in their sleep and wrote down their names on a pad next to a bedside table.  They have every possible combination of everything.

When you order, the server takes a tin lid off of a deep trough of hot dogs, all huddled together ready for eating.  He lays it on a bun, puts on the chili, mustard, onions, whatever you want on it, and you are moved to the next station which is where you grab your bottled root beer, cream soda, or what have you.  Then you pay.

The whole thing, including completing the ordering, really takes about 15 minutes, which is important to remember because you need to order enough to satiate you so that you don’t have to wait through the line again.

You can sit inside, where they have “more stars than there are in the heavens” pictured on their walls, to borrow the MGM phrase.  Or you can eat outside on plastic tables, which is nice during the summer.

I didn’t mention parking.  Parking is a bitch.  You either park in their very small lot where cars are jostled back and forth as people move in and out of the lot, or you park on a nearby street which is dark and makes you wonder if you’ll have all of your wheels when you return.

But it’s all worth it.  Once you bite into a Pink’s chilidog, feel the snap of the wiener and the taste of the onions, chili, mustard, and whatever else you’ve imagined up to put onto it, you are in heaven with 21 virgins!

Pink’s is located on Melrose and La Brea in Hollywood, CA.  It’s always open.