Jerry's Dogs - Irvine
Jerry's Dog is homegrown and that's the way I like it. The chain, started seven years ago in Santa Ana by one Jerry O'Connell (no, not the guy in Piranha 3D who married Rebecca Romijn) has grown to four outlets, each with buckets of free peanuts, and all exclusive to Orange County and Orange County alone (at least for now). This one's the newest and to me, closest. So close it can be walked; but far enough that doing so can be called exercise.
I took the hike after some urging from my lovely companion who thinks I could do well with a little cardiovascular activity once in a while. I agreed on the promise that a glistening, fat-spurting sausage sandwich was at the finish line.
Yes, my carrot was a Jalapeno Hot Link flecked with nicely sooty black spots where a wood fire kissed it. The bun? It was grill toasted too. And that part's essential because since they use a particulary soft roll, you need the extra protection from the moisture that will leech out from all the free toppings you will be invited to pile onto it.
I've matured some over the years and stick with maybe just two sauces, grilled onions, grilled peppers and some tomato. That's about all I need. Any pickle (and they have a lot of that) distracts from the sausage in my opinion. And you want all the juice, all the fatty goodness, and in my case, the jalapeno-amped flavor of the grilled tube of meat to speak loudly and clearly.
Mine was nicely spicy even before I asked to get a drizzle of chipotle mayo squirted on top.
The bratwurst, seen here on the right, is a kinder, gentler dog. It cozies up to you with a sweet milkiness--a contrast to the rude and spicy bark of the Jalapeno Hot Link.
So yes, I walked to get a dog and it was a good one. On our next trip, I have my eye on a bacon-wrapped wiener they call the "L.A. Dog". I think I'll drive to get it, because nobody walks in L.A.
13786 Jamboree Rd
Irvine, CA 92602-1202
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