San Fernando Valley Sandwich Crawl

Hot Dog Los Angeles

Warner Center. End of the line. The impatient Orange Line bus driver deposited me and my mountain bike in Woodland Hills to start a sweltering day. The gleaming glass and steel buildings turned out to be as modern as the scenery would get as I traversed 29.3 miles of industrial, residential and seedy areas on my route home. Along the way, I ate three lauded sandwiches and reserved just enough stomach space for premium Thai sweets. The June 28 experience cost less than $20 and re-confirmed my belief that the San Fernando Valley features destination ethnic eats.

Sandwich Express, 18575 Sherman Way, Reseda, CA 91335, 818 757 7698


My first stop was at a family-run banh mi shop with a faded sign and a frozen yogurt machine that inexplicably colvulsed every few minutes. The manager recommended a “special” banh mi that included thin-sliced BBQ pork, creamy pork pate and crunchy vegetables – daikon, carrot and fiery jalapeno. The house-baked baguette was pretty good, fairly crusty but not scrape-your-mouth hard.

Vietnamese Food Los Angeles
A flaky pate chaud with crimped edges was filled with a juicy, well-spiced patty of pork and chicken.

Fab Hot Dogs, 6747 Tampa Avenue, Reseda, CA 91335, 818 344 4336

Hot Dog Los Angeles
My first 18 years were spent in New Jersey, home to a style of hot dog known as the ripper that bursts in the deep-fryer. It inexcusably took a trip to Reseda to try my first ripper. Jersey native Joe Fabrocini translated our state’s specialty to the West Valley, and he’s already been hailed by Jonathan Gold and in an upcoming episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.” The Bald Eagle ($3.10) is a juicy, crisp-skinned ripper loaded with a spicy, utterly addictive spicy mustard relish.

Tater Tots Los Angeles
Fabrocini loaded up a cardboard boat with top-flight tater tots ($1.50) that beat the hell out of the version I ate in elementary school. Fab’s tots featured thin, crispy sheathes, soft cores and plenty of salt.

GUIDE CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

i have tried the ripperat fab hotdogs it was to mushy for me an not enough flav/but the chili fries/an the i think its called the kansas city my sister had was my fav. i am looking forward to try the other places u talked about thanks 4 the info

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Pal Cabron sounds great! I missed JG’s article on it as I was moving house that week. I’ll definitely try it. And, yes, I love pork skin (if it’s not too gelatinous). Thanks for the recommendation.

I haven’t had better cemitas than Don Adrian, but I haven’t been to too many places. I’m really interested to know which place(s) makes your favorite cemita poblanas.

P.S. I’ve been to Cooks Tortas, which is fantastic, but I’m not sure if they make cemitas.

The bread could use a little work, but the cemitas were better today at Pal Cabron in Huntington Park. They import the mozzarella-like quesillo from Mexico and use papalo, cilantro’s more assertive cousin. I’d recommend the barbacoa, and they just introduced a cemita with fatty pork skin, if that’s your thing.

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Food GPS » Blog Archive » San Fernando Valley Sandwich Crawl

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