The Ultimate L.A. Street Dog & Big Gay Ice Cream

The snap of a Pink’s hot dog, celebrated by the likes of Jonathan Gold and Calvin Trillin, has never done much for me. In fact, I had one many moons ago when I was visiting L.A. and that was enough for me, thank you very much. I’m a New York street dog devotee: a warm, soft dog straight from the steam bath might be gross to some, but for me it’s heaven. The less it snaps when you bite in the better. I was ready to write L.A. off in the hot dog department until I ran into my friends Doug and Bryan of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck here outside Lindy & Grundy. They told me their truck would be parked on Sunday in front of a gay bar, Faultline, and next to it would be a woman who makes the best hot dogs they had ever had in their lives. I should swing by and say hello.

I did one better than that: I invited a group of L.A. gay friends to come along with me.

The line for the Big Gay Ice Cream truck was unbelievably long, a fact that made me happy: I’m glad L.A. is catching on to something New Yorkers have celebrated for a while. Before getting in the ice cream line, we got on the hot dog line. Here’s our friend Jason, our friend Gabe, and then a group (including Craig) studying their hot dog options.

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Here’s the woman making the dogs, an absolute maestro at her craft.

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Seriously, this woman had me in total awe: she carved up a green pepper using just a steak knife and a fearless swiping motion that would cause most of us to lose our fingers. She moved at such a quick speed, she had your order ready before you even said it. Here’s her work station.

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A few things to notice: most of the hot dogs are BACON-WRAPPED. There’s whole garlic there on the flat top that perfumes all the other ingredients. The vegetables are in various stages of being cooked; she moves them all around with her tongs like naughty school children.

When I went up there, I ordered a bacon-wrapped hot dog with everything on it (you can see it in the lead picture). Actually, that’s someone else’s hot dog; mine, I got with everything on it except mayo and ketchup because I’m just a mustard kind of guy.

This really was one of the best hot dogs I’ve ever had, best compared to a Chicago-style hot dog than anything you might have in New York. In both Chicago and here, ingredients are piled on with abandon. Here, those vegetables are deeply caramelized, there’s also charred cilantro, and, if you want, a jalapeƱo. It’s pretty much a whole dinner crammed on to a hot dog. After one of these, all I needed was ice cream; so let’s get in line.

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My L.A. friends wanted to know the story of the Big Gay Ice Cream truck and I told them what I knew: Doug was an bassoon player, his friend leant him an ice cream truck for the weekend, he made it into the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck and the rest was history. Also, he and Bryan once came to my apartment and let me interview them before they were famous.

Once at the window, Doug and I said hello; here he is giving my friend Japhy the famous Salty Pimp.

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I can’t think of anything better to have after the Ultimate L.A. Street Dog than a Salty Pimp: a soft serve vanilla cone with Dulce de Leche that’s dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with salt. Yum.

Here’s Bryan with some more of the friends I brought eating their Salty Pimps.

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It turned out to be a fantastic L.A. night. So thanks, Doug and Bryan, for telling me about the best L.A. street dog and for making such fabulous ice cream. You need to make your residency in L.A. permanent.

20 thoughts on “The Ultimate L.A. Street Dog & Big Gay Ice Cream”

  1. Adam, I went to the Big Gay shop in the east village and had the salted pimp when I was visiting family. Now that I”m home, how do I find out where the truck is going to be. I’m hooked!
    Thanks!

  2. I want…nay, I NEED a Salty Pimp delivered here to Helena, Montana. Please forward at your earliest convenience. Thanks in advance.

    And the dog looks amazing as well.

  3. Doug and Bryan drove their truck across country from NYC to LA? Gee, I can only imagine the many stares and shocked looks they must have received during their journey. HAHA

  4. Great post and those sure are some lovely hot dogs, but my oh my I can’t be the only one to think that you have some handsome gay friends.

  5. Oohhh…as a native Chicagoan, I just shuddered a little as I read the first part of your post. New Yorkers just don’t know from hot dogs. But I trust you completely on everything else!! Hmmm, maybe not pizza either…but, truly – everything else! :)

  6. This was a very nice post, but may I suggest that it might have been nicer if you could have included the name of the woman who made you your hot dog.

    I’m not trying to make you feel badly, or self-conscious (I tend to overthink situations, too), and for all I know perhaps you did ask her for her name and she declined and/or requested you not mention it. Or perhaps there was a language barrier and no one around could translate. I realize you are trying to be nothing but nice to this woman in singing her praises, but for the amount of text you dedicate to her skill, she is kept nameless, in contrast to the name mentioning / promotion that you gave to others in this post. But just like your friends selling ice cream are running a business, she is running a business, too, and isn’t her name worthy of mention?

    Perhaps at some point her name could be included (or that you keep this in mind for future posts). Otherwise, your post here gives the impression – however unintentional – that this vendor is yet another nameless foreign worker in the food industry.

    I’m a big fan of your work, and please don’t read this with any sense of harshness or derision, I just wanted to make one aware of how something left out – in this case, something as simple as a name – could create a certain impression.

    Red

  7. This was a very nice post, but may I suggest that it might have been nicer if you could have included the name of the woman who made you your hot dog.

    I’m not trying to make you feel badly, or self-conscious (I tend to overthink situations, too), and for all I know perhaps you did ask her for her name and she declined and/or requested you not mention it. Or perhaps there was a language barrier and no one around could translate. I realize you are trying to be nothing but nice to this woman in singing her praises, but for the amount of text you dedicate to her skill, she is kept nameless, in contrast to the name mentioning / promotion that you gave to others in this post. But just like your friends selling ice cream are running a business, she is running a business, too, and isn’t her name worthy of mention?

    Perhaps at some point her name could be included (or that you keep this in mind for future posts). Otherwise, your post here gives the impression – however unintentional – that this vendor is yet another nameless foreign worker in the food industry.

    I’m a big fan of your work, and please don’t read this with any sense of harshness or derision, I just wanted to make one aware of how something left out – in this case, something as simple as a name – could create a certain impression.

    Red

  8. This was a very nice post, but may I suggest that it might have been nicer if you could have included the name of the woman who made you your hot dog.

    I’m not trying to make you feel badly, or self-conscious (I tend to overthink situations, too), and for all I know perhaps you did ask her for her name and she declined and/or requested you not mention it. Or perhaps there was a language barrier and no one around could translate. I realize you are trying to be nothing but nice to this woman in singing her praises, but for the amount of text you dedicate to her skill, she is kept nameless, in contrast to the name mentioning / promotion that you gave to others in this post. But just like your friends selling ice cream are running a business, she is running a business, too, and isn’t her name worthy of mention?

    Perhaps at some point her name could be included (or that you keep this in mind for future posts). Otherwise, your post here gives the impression – however unintentional – that this vendor is yet another nameless foreign worker in the food industry.

    I’m a big fan of your work, and please don’t read this with any sense of harshness or derision, I just wanted to make one aware of how something left out – in this case, something as simple as a name – could create a certain impression.

    Red

    1. Adam Amateur Gourmet

      Hi Red,
      That’s a fair point, and I’ll consider that in the future. Thanks for your measured, thoughtful criticism. Adam

  9. This was a very nice post, but may I suggest that it might have been nicer if you could have included the name of the woman who made you your hot dog.

    I’m not trying to make you feel badly, or self-conscious (I tend to overthink situations, too), and for all I know perhaps you did ask her for her name and she declined and/or requested you not mention it. Or perhaps there was a language barrier and no one around could translate. I realize you are trying to be nothing but nice to this woman in singing her praises, but for the amount of text you dedicate to her skill, she is kept nameless, in contrast to the name mentioning / promotion that you gave to others in this post. But just like your friends selling ice cream are running a business, she is running a business, too, and isn’t her name worthy of mention?

    Perhaps at some point her name could be included (or that you keep this in mind for future posts). Otherwise, your post here gives the impression – however unintentional – that this vendor is yet another nameless foreign worker in the food industry.

    I’m a big fan of your work, and please don’t read this with any sense of harshness or derision, I just wanted to make one aware of how something left out – in this case, something as simple as a name – could create a certain impression.

    Red

  10. This was a very nice post, but may I suggest that it might have been nicer if you could have included the name of the woman who made you your hot dog.

    I’m not trying to make you feel badly, or self-conscious (I tend to overthink situations, too), and for all I know perhaps you did ask her for her name and she declined and/or requested you not mention it. Or perhaps there was a language barrier and no one around could translate. I realize you are trying to be nothing but nice to this woman in singing her praises, but for the amount of text you dedicate to her skill, she is kept nameless, in contrast to the name mentioning / promotion that you gave to others in this post. But just like your friends selling ice cream are running a business, she is running a business, too, and isn’t her name worthy of mention?

    Perhaps at some point her name could be included (or that you keep this in mind for future posts). Otherwise, your post here gives the impression – however unintentional – that this vendor is yet another nameless foreign worker in the food industry.

    I’m a big fan of your work, and please don’t read this with any sense of harshness or derision, I just wanted to make one aware of how something left out – in this case, something as simple as a name – could create a certain impression.

    Red

  11. This was a very nice post, but may I suggest that it might have been nicer if you could have included the name of the woman who made you your hot dog.

    I’m not trying to make you feel badly, or self-conscious (I tend to overthink situations, too), and for all I know perhaps you did ask her for her name and she declined and/or requested you not mention it. Or perhaps there was a language barrier and no one around could translate. I realize you are trying to be nothing but nice to this woman in singing her praises, but for the amount of text you dedicate to her skill, she is kept nameless, in contrast to the name mentioning / promotion that you gave to others in this post. But just like your friends selling ice cream are running a business, she is running a business, too, and isn’t her name worthy of mention?

    Perhaps at some point her name could be included (or that you keep this in mind for future posts). Otherwise, your post here gives the impression – however unintentional – that this vendor is yet another nameless foreign worker in the food industry.

    I’m a big fan of your work, and please don’t read this with any sense of harshness or derision, I just wanted to make one aware of how something left out – in this case, something as simple as a name – could create a certain impression.

    Red

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