Sunday, May 02, 2010

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

The Dog House - Long Beach


At 10:17 AM, Blogger DanGarion said...

Mustard's has been around for years. I remember hearing about them well over 10 years ago as a great place to go for hot dogs. There used to be another place on Los Al Blvd, that was known for their dogs as well but it looks like they are long gone.

At 1:18 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Yes, it seems like Mustard's has been there for at least two decades. It's got a lived-in charm to it.

At 5:50 AM, Blogger Bill said...

MM have you ever had hot dog that doesn't have sodium nitrate in it?
What is you take on it?

At 9:54 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I'm not sure I have had a hot dog that was without some sort of nitrate. With these natural sausage places though, most are all natural. The hot dogs, however, are probably still mass produced.

On the flip side, I've also yet to try Filipino hot dogs, which are beet red in color and probably have more their fair share of preservatives.

At 10:38 AM, Blogger christoofat said...

Also check out Chicago's Best in the food court on Main in Irvine between Von Karmen & Jamboree. I thought their Chicago dogs were pretty killer & so were the fries.
Chicago style toppings are so weird, yet sooo good!!

At 7:50 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Chicago Best! Yes! Almost forgot about them. On some days they have specials on the hot dogs. Great deal. Great hot dogs!

At 8:47 PM, Blogger EatTravelEat said...

Travel Channel does way too much on the same foods over and over again! I'd rather see some more travel shows like they did before. I woke up to Anthony Bourdain during my spring trip. :)

It may be shocking to you but I've never had a Chicago dog before!

At 6:10 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Yes, while Travel Channel remains my most watched channel, ever since Scripps bought them, they're getting dangerously close to getting as dull as Food Network. I'll take me ten straight episodes of Bourdain instead of one episode of 100 Places To Pig Out...or whatever that show is called.

Actually this one is one of a few Chicago dogs I've had in a while...a pretty good one I thought! It's all in that flourescent relish!

At 7:43 PM, Blogger siphu522 said...

hi! i can't find the link to see the next page on your blog! am i having a brain fart or is it just hidden?

At 8:30 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Yeah, my blog's a little funny that way. What you can do to see my Previous Post (from last week and so on) is look at the right side beneath the big banner. You should see the ones I did the weeks prior. Or if you want to see 10 posts in one page, click on the Monster Munching title bar. That should get you there...I think.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger siphu522 said...

oh I've tried that already I was hoping there was a quicker way. I haven't been to your site in awhile and I wanted to catch up! I'm glad you're still blogging =) been a follower for years!

At 2:49 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Welcome back! Yes, I'm either stubborn or foolish or both for keeping this up. But it's worth it when I know people like you are reading.

And sorry again for the clunkiness of my blog. I've been meaning to steamline it, but then I've been saying that for years!

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Chicago transplant and Portillo's is actually a Chicago chain.

The hot dogs are great, but are just a little different from the ones back home.

If you haven't been there, what you really need to go eat is the Italian Beef sandwich. I like mine wet with hot peppers (giardiniera).

I live in Irvine, and regularly make the trip to Buena Park.

Additionally, the hamburger is probably my favorite hamburger anywhere.

At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to change the subject but the Italian Beef at Portillo's is incredible. I keep telling myself I'll try their Chicago style dogs the next time I go...


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