Mustard's - Los Alamitos
It's a veritable sausagefest out there. As I type this, a new gourmet wiener joint called Berkeley Dog has just been erected in Mission Viejo. It will soon be a double team when another store comes to Brea in August.
In Long Beach, The Dog House has been shoving their Cajun Hot Links, bratwursts and foot long franks into crusty buns for the better part of a year, going by the same game plan as Berkeley Dog, which, it must be noted, is inspired by Top Dog, a hot dog house in, you guessed it, Berkeley.
And it was earlier this year that two Indonesian sisters opened Valhalla Table, an ode to beer and artisan brats (the kind you eat, not the kind you spank...wait...oh never mind).
Why the sudden spike in sausage love? Frankly (pun intended), I don't know. Even if there was no causal link (thank you, I'm here all week), all of it makes me nostalgic for when a hot dog is just a Kosher style frankfurter, where the buns are spongy and the relish as green as Nickelodeon slime.
I'm talking, of course, about a Chicago-style dog, the kind touted ad nauseam by re-runs of too-similar-sounding Travel Channel series and other food shows that function, more or less, like commercials for places like Superdawg and Portillo's.
There's a Portillo's in Buena Park, as everyone knows, which I have not tried. But there's also Mustard's in Los Alamitos, which must be the anti-Portillo's since it looks like a working-class watering hole more than a theme-park-adjacent tourist attraction.
Mustard's has on its walls more than a few nods to Chicago. The Bulls, the Bears, the Cubs and the White Sox are all represented canonically with framed pictures, articles, pennants and other memorabilia. On the menu, you'll find sandwiches named after Mayor Daley, Comiskey Park and at least one char-burnished dog called "The Great Chicago Fire" -- a title that would've been distasteful if the tragedy didn't happen back in 1871.
You'll find that the fries taste no better than a fast-food drive thru's, but the dogs here will satisfy your Windy City loving heart. It's the requisite acidity of pickled sport peppers, the weird candy sweetness of the relish, and salty-juice spurting tube of meat that manages to assert itself over it all -- just the mouthful you need to bring you closer to the City of Oprah.
Mustard's Chicago Sytle Eatery
3630 Katella Avenue
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
THIS WEEK ON OC WEEKLY:
The Dog House - Long Beach