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Chilli Cheese Dog
Copyright©2009 sandiego.com, Inc.

Sometimes you just want a hot dog. Not necessarily the finest cuisine you’ve ever tasted but it just sounds right. Where to go to indulge yourself, especially if you’re trying to take it up a notch from the usual fast-food joints? First clue…not Costco. Look around, there are not many places promoting hot dogs on their marquee or menus. We have recently discovered a fun little hole-in-the-wall called HotDogs at 428 in the Gaslamp.

HotDogs at 428 is one of those “blink-and-you-will-miss-it” locations, especially when you’re surrounded by restaurants of every genre and price point. Yet smack dab in the middle of it is where HotDogs @ 428 resides and has for some time now. And, yes, don’t be surprised if you see a guy on the street corner spinning one of those signs to get your attention amongst all of the other restaurants fanfare. He will also let you know that these are the “best hot dogs in town” and we’re going to have to argue that point.

Sauntereing in, believe or not, during Taste of Downtown it was decided after several small morsels we needed something quick with some bones on it. Besides, we were late for the San Diego Film Festival local flicks screening. Remembering spoting HotDogs at 428 before and commented that we “needed to try it someday”, we did. Right place at the right time and before we knew it a couple of hot dogs were in front of us.

Seventeen different types of dogs comprise the menu, if you also include the veggie and turkey dogs. Signature dogs sport the shmaltzy names hot dog joints have used for ages. Naked dog on bun (period!), Diego dog (salsa, jalapeno, avocado), Charger dog (mustard, sauerkraut), Padre dog (mustard, cheese, sauerkraut, jalapenos), Texas dog (BQ sauce, cheese, coleslaw), sushi dog (wasabi, ginger, soy sauce) and bacon dog (jalapenos, salsa) to name a few. Most range between the $3.00 to $4.99 price range with the latter being the Big Daddy with everything but the kitchen sink. Add two bucks more and you can make it a combo with chips and a soda.

We ravaged the chili cheese and bacon concoctions. How can you not love big ole messy hot dogs? Waistlines cause most to rarely partake due to the evil scale every morning, so these better be good. We were told the chili was homemade by “world famous chef Miko”. Don’t quite know who gave him the title but the chili, while good, was nothing close to being “the best”. The bacon hot dog fared better with some heat in the mix from the jalapenos and salsa ingredients giving it a nice punch. Both lost a little from not having heated buns which immediately cools down the dog. The owner told us these were shipped in daily from some acclaimed bakery, but seriously, these were dry, cool basic high-school cafeteria buns.


Bacon Jalapena Dog
Copyright©2009 sandiego.com, Inc.


HotDogs at 428 also offer traditional sandwiches and the ever classic peanut butter and jelly, a house fave enveloped in your Mom’s saran wrap. Chicken, tuna, potato and macaroni salads abound. Coleslaw entices you and Dolma, which are stuffed grape leaves can be had for a couple bucks. Yeah right, that’s a staple at a hot dog joint. Gotta love the variety.

HotDogs at 428 may not be the greatest joint to eat at (maybe the cheapest) but at 2am on a lubricated Saturday Gaslamp visit, it’s good to know there is somewhere to get some good stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. P.S. they sell cigarettes too. The owner got tired of being offered money for his by the late night nowhere-left-to-go crowd. Like we said, interesting variety. Enjoy!

The good – great late night fix after hitting downtown nightlife.

The bad – wouldn’t say they’re the BEST we’ve ever had and, c’mon, heat the buns.

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