Surfin’ USA: Fast Food – Part Two

28 February 2011
by Phuoc

Picking up from where I last started as I felt that this fast food expedition would be too much for one post.

What visit to America would it be without having Mexican food, greasy hot dogs and outrageous food? Nothing really…

King Tacos

When it comes to the best tacos in LA, there is a debate amongst my cousins as to which joint they think is best. According to one of them, King Tacos serve up some pretty good tacos so we decided to check it out after a day of shopping. King Tacos started off as a taco van but today, 36 years on, they now have expanded to 20 different locations throughout LA. The one we visited was the first restaurant established and is open 24/7.

As soon as we got there, I saw a big sign up claiming that it is “The best in town”. Wow! That’s a big call, since there are many taco places in LA.  I haven’t had my fair share of burritos so I can’t really compare, I would just have to take my cousin’s word for it.

I ordered the carne asada burrito which included rice, beans, onions with cilantro and salsa. You have the option of two salsas (red or green) and to include the salsa in the burrito or have it on the side, as a warning from my cousin we decided to have it on the side. The meat is tender and falls apart easily with just the right amount of spice. This and the combination of rice and beans definitely makes it a filling meal. I’m glad I didn’t opt for the salsa being included in the burrito as it was quite hot (even for someone like me who can take chilli food).

My cousin had the chicken tacos which were loaded with onions. I didn’t get to try any of it as my burrito was so filling but it sure looked tasty and fresh.

King Taco on Urbanspoon

Pink’s Hot Dogs

One of the first things my cousins told me when I arrived at their place was that they HAD to take me to Pink’s. Pink’s is a fast food joint specialising in hot dogs (they also do burgers and burritos), it is a place where celebrities are seen getting their hot dog fix (the week before I went Michelle Obama and her girls paid a visit here). In fact, there is a whole wall inside the restaurant dedicated to the many signed celebrity photographs acquired over the years.

There are items on the menu that are named after the celebrities that have made special orders and some hot dogs are named after various pop culture references; for examples include “Lord of the RINGS” – 10 inch (25cm) hot dog with BBQ sauce topped with onion rings, “Three dog night” – 3 hot dogs wrapped in a giant tortilla, 3 slices of cheese, 3 slices of bacon, chilli (con carne) & onions and “Martha Stewart Dog” – 10 inch hot dog, relish, onions, bacon, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut & sour cream.

Usually there’s a long line of customers waiting in front (the wait could be for about an hour) so we decided to set off early to avoid the crowd as we feared waiting around hours for these hot dogs. We arrived at Pink’s at about 9am to find about a dozen or so people lining up. The wait was about 15 minutes, which was plenty of time to decide what to order and have a look at the ladies prepare our breakfast. Yes, I’m having fat greasy hot dogs for breakfast!

There’s 4 of us and we ordered 5 hot dogs and 2 servings of hot chips. In the above picture, we have (clockwise from left) the Mullholland Drive Dog, Bacon Chilli Dog, 2 Chilli Cheese Dogs and the Ozzy Spicy Dog. I really enjoyed the chips, they were like beer battered chips; crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. YUM!

I ordered the Mullholland Drive Dog which is a 10 inch hot dog in a 8 inch bun, topped with grilled onions (omitted), grilled mushrooms, nacho cheese and BACON! Let me remind you again that this was my breakfast. Talk about instant heart attack to start off the day right? The nacho cheese did make it feel heavy but besides that, it was ok to eat. I wouldn’t have this frequently though.

After finishing off my massive hot dog there was 1/3 of the Bacon Chilli Dog left over; a hot dog topped with cheese, chilli (con carne), 3 strips of bacon and chopped tomatoes. I was forced to finish it off so I did. I managed to fit it in but OMG, I felt like I didn’t need to eat anything else until dinner. I also manage to try a little of the Ozzy Spicy Dog; a spicy polish hot dog with nacho and American cheese, grilled onions, guacamole and chopped tomatoes. I didn’t find the sausage to be spicy at all, it was an interesting combination of flavours.

Looking back on this, I can’t believe I had what I had for breakfast! I had my serve of heart attack for that day..

Pink's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles

Another night goes by and my cousin, Richard and I are left wondering what to eat. On this particular night we were planning to go to his favourite fast food joint (some soup/salad bar which I forgot the name of) but it was closed so we decided to make our way over to Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. At Roscoe’s, their specialty is chicken and waffles. Together! I was browsing the website before we went and it was funny to see a video of Snoop Dog endorsing Roscoe’s by taking David Beckham and Larry King to this restaurant.

It took us a while to decide on what to order but we knew we just had to have their chicken and waffles. What is it with weird sweet and savoury food combinations that seems to draw people to it? So between the two of us, we ordered the Scoe’s; 1/4 of a chicken prepared southern-style with 2 waffles and because we thought that it might not be enough food (seriously!) we also got the Country Boy which has 3 wings with a choice of waffle, potato salad or french fries.

I was intrigued yet slightly confused when I saw “biscuit” on the menu and felt slightly silly asking my cousin what a biscuit was. He did look at me weirdly, like as if I was from outer space or something. We tried our best explaining what we both thought biscuits were, so in the end we settled it by ordering one.

In the above picture (clockwise from left), we have the Scoe’s, biscuit and the country boy. I looked at the biscuit weirdly and declared that it was a scone! As expected, my cousin defended my remark but it turns out that there are two definitions for biscuit. I still standby it by my remark as it was very similar to a scone but not as sweet, it was more like a soft bread roll. The wings were lightly coated and seasoned well, and the fries were slightly soggy.

The waffles were served with whipped butter and maple syrup and the chicken was crispy, well seasoned and wasn’t too dry. Possibly the only way to eat this was to smear some butter and syrup on the waffle, tear up shreds of chicken and encase the waffle around it. I thought this combination was a little odd but it worked strangely enough when eaten together.

We struggled finishing everything as there was just way too much chicken and carbs for us to have.

Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles on Urbanspoon

Senor Fish

Another thing that I had to do was try a fish taco as we hardly have them in Sydney. My cousins took me to a place they thought served the best and freshest fish tacos. As I walk into Senor Fish I couldn’t help but notice the vibrancy of the restaurant, there was an outdoor dining area which provided a very casual and relaxed vibe, so we settled to have lunch outside since it was a nice and warm day.

I ordered the lunch special; at US$6.95 you get 2 tacos served with rice, beans and a drink, which is pretty good value in my opinion (food has been so cheap here). There was at least 7 different fishes you can choose from but you could also have other meats in your taco. But what’s the point in going to a place specialising in fish tacos and have a chicken taco?

Inside the restaurant was an array of salsas and condiments for you to serve yourself. I grabbed most of them minus the jalapenos and found them to be mild and refreshingly tangy. The taco was keep simple with a helping of shredded cabbage and tomatoes for crunch, the  fish was slightly seasoned and succulent; I really enjoyed the freshness of the tacos along with the mild spicy and tangy hit from the salsa, which was balanced out with a small dollop of sour cream.

This would definitely be a nice place to chill out with good company, a few beers (they have a decent selection of Mexican beers) and fresh fish tacos.

Señor Fish on Urbanspoon

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  1. Simon @ the heart of food

    Man, I thought Harry’s hotdogs with the works was OTT. Pink’s is something else…

    The mexican food looks awesome! Wish we had more of this sort of thing here.

  2. joey@FoodiePop

    Fried chicken and waffles? Yikes. And look at the size of those hotdogs!

    Love a place called Senor Fish! 😀

  3. Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul

    Wow! I feel like having a cholesterol test after reading this…those hot dogs! Love the tacos though. “Chipotle’s” make some healthy, Mexican food to go.

  4. Minh

    LOL I can’t get over how big everything looks. Those hot dogs are insane, it’s like an entire meal squished between 2 buns!

  5. angie

    Oh my so much heart stopping food! Pancakes and bacon yes… chicken and waffles? Hmm interesting =D The tacos do look good though

  6. chocolatesuze

    i am dying in jealousy. hear that? that is my soul crying.

  7. john@heneedsfood

    I’m feeling tightening in my chest just looking at all of that!

  8. MelbaToast

    You must’ve starved yourself for a month when you got home for the USA. I’m full just reading your post!

    Man, I love the Mexican food in California…I wish we had that type of food in Sydney as it’s just so tasty.

  9. Richard Elliot

    Looks like you had a great time. Wierdly jealous, but at the same time glad my arteries don’t have all tha grease inside them!

  10. KayB

    oh glorious hot dogs. I’m booking my trip to Amercia right now!

  11. Demos

    So definitely wanting to go back to Roscoes again after reading this – one of the best places in LA hands down.

  12. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    Hey, you were in my neighborhood! Pink’s and Roscoe’s are such landmarks in LA, haven’t heard of the other two places, but then again I’m not really a taco eater.

  13. foodie and the chef

    No one does it like the Americans… reminds me of when I was living in the U.S. The hot dogs especially – my heart aches for those (in more than one way), they look so divine…

  14. Gianna@TheEmptyFridge

    yup i officially miss home!! we would always head to pink’s it was an LA institution and I took Demos to Roscoes last year and he loved it!

    (Oh my god – the little bugger beat me to commenting!)

    I really want to try making some ‘biscuit’ sometime, i think it would go just as well with el jannah haha!

  15. Cooking Gallery

    I haven’t had Mexican food for a while. The burrito and taco look so yummy…!!

  16. Susan

    Food in America is so much cheaper than here and you get heaps of food. Although last time I did my trip around america, I did more drinking than eating…

  17. mademoiselle délicieuse

    So much stuff piled onto those hotdogs! And so much orange cheeeeeeese… Heart attack for sure!

  18. Phuoc

    Simon: LOL American fast food is in a league of its own. Mexican food was indeed good, we need more places like them here!

    Joey: Hehe the name Senor Fish is quite funny/cute hey? The one I got was the biggest, so they weren’t all like that…

    Peter: I did actually go to Chipotle but unfortunately didn’t take pictures. I like their concept of using food sourced naturally and organically.

    Minh: LOL Don’t give them ideas (re meal squished in between two buns)… The food is indeed massive and sooooo cheap! No wonder they top to list for most obese country

    Angie: I think if I had to choose between pancakes and bacon (not that I’ve had it) or chicken and waffles, I’d go for the latter.

    Chocolatesuze: LOL You’ll have your time soon..

    John: Definitely the way my heart felt as I was eating all this… Especially that hot dog!

    MelbaToast: You and me both! We need more Mexican food here!

    Richard: All in the name of research… I’ll do it once and that would be enough. Although I do get odd cravings for these fattening foods once in a while, especially the hot dog and chilli cheese fries! That’s so bad!!

    KayB: Really? If so, I hope you get a chance to try these foods as well 😛

    Demos: Hey! *hi5* That’s awesome that you thought the same. Maybe for the next blogger event we should serve chicken and waffles! 😛

    Sylvie: Cool! If only we knew each other when I was over there.

    Foodie and the Chef: Hehehe.. Hot dogs were in Oz has NOTHING on the Americans.. They are insane. But it’s so good…

    Gianna: Oh so you’re a cali gal hey? You don’t look like you’ve stepped into Pink’s and Roscoe’s all the time though.. Do it!! We should have El jannah chicken, waffles, biscuits and garlic sauce for next blogger’s outing!! *drools*

    Cooking Gallery: There’s something about Mexican food over in America that makes them so much different to what we have here; we don’t stand a chanc against with them!

    Susan: Oh I hear you! Food portions are so much bigger and don’t cost that much, can’t blame the Americans for getting obese..

    Mademoiselle délicieuse: LOL orange cheese… It just doesn’t look right hey?

  19. Monica

    Outside Mexico, California has some of the best Mexican food in the world. In fact, most of us who are native-born were practically raised on it. You can hardly ever go wrong trying a soft taco carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, or fried fish … especially if you’re in the right neighborhood (translation ‘HOOD’). Even if you’re not out eating Mexican food you can usually be well assured there’s someone cooking, in any restaurant kitchen, who hails from Mexico … so I say “la comida mexicana es la comida de un alma feliz”! (hope I’m using that high-school Spanish correctly)

  20. Linda at Pink Elephants coffee,LLC

    Funny to think that the lowly hot dog tastes so bad, one has to smother it with food to eat it.Born and raised in southern California, I have been spoiled with the best Mexican food. Oh, how I miss LA County for its food! But I learned how to cook Mexican food from the Mexicans, and in my kitchen, it rules. It has to, because where I now live, way north, it seems that even the
    Mexicans can’t make decent Mexican food. Feta instead of cheddar? YUCK! Try that crap in your burrito and it will twad your bunnies in a sniggle.

  21. Phuoc

    Monica: I guess I was lucky to try out some of the best Mexican food in California! We don’t really have any good Mexican here in Sydney 🙁

    Linda: That’s the American way I guess :p Always coming up with new ways to eat the good ol’ hot dog etc

  22. Ramen Raff

    OMG!!! I will do everything just to be able visit Pink’s in 2 weeks time!
    So excited! Thanks for referring me to this post dude, very very much appreciated. My LA food list was awesome already, but now, it’s “amazesome!” coz of this post lol.

  23. Phuoc

    Ramen Raff: A visit to Pink’s is highly recommended, yes it’s heart-clogging but might as well experience it once in our lifetime right? Enjoy yourself!

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