Gourmet hot dogs, burgers in Los Angeles area


First stop, Dog Haus in Pasadena. It's only been open for about seven months, but it quickly established itself as the go-to place for exciting, sweet and savory hot dogs. The menu is fun and packed with popular favorites like the bacon wrapped "Downtown Dog" or the "Little Leaguer," which is covered in homemade chili and Fritos.

"The great thing about this place is it has over 30 different toppings including four kinds of mustard," said Andrew Vener, co-owner of Dog Haus.

Another superstar hot dog on the menu, the "Sooo Cali," piled high with fried tempura onions, avocado and mixed greens.

"It looks amazing. I can't wait to dive in," Mackenzie Miller of Monrovia said about the hot dog.

I tried multiple toppings, but my favorite of the day was a dog packed with smoked bacon, fresh crispy tater tots and topped with a fried egg. It's called the "Grand Slam."

"[Customers] freak out when they see it. They go, 'An egg?'" said Abe Injeain, general manager of Dog Haus. "Once they eat it, they go, 'Wow!'"

Another unique Dog Haus treat is that all their hot dogs are wrapped in soft, sweet, King's Hawaiian brand rolls.

"That sweet bun, it's just, I think it makes the best hot dog I've ever had. I keep coming back," loyal customer Ted Turner of Temple City.

In the heart of Inglewood, I visited Soul Burgers. Owner and founder Toni Malone has been serving up home-style burgers with comfort-food toppings - a plate of soul food in a bun.

Specialty toppings include sweet yams, warm stuffing, fresh greens, at least two kinds of pastrami and more.

"The combinations might sound a little weird, but keep an open mind and let your taste buds be the judge," said Malone. "When you taste it, it will tell you, 'Child you have tasted the best thing you ever had.'"

The most requested Soul Burger is the "Tasty Turkey Combo," drawing fans like Richard Garcia all the way from Santa Monica.

"It's got everything in it: yams, greens, egg. This is great. I've never had a burger like this," said Garcia.

Malone keeps the soul burgers restaurant very family-friendly, beginning with her team.

"This is what burgers want to be when they grow up. This is a graduation of burgers," said Malone's son, Jovan.

I said goodbye to plain mustard and ketchup, and graduated to the "Down Home Turkey-and-Dressing Soul Burger," with several toppings, including real cranberry sauce. It's like Thanksgiving dinner in a bun.

Customers also indulge in the "James Brown Soul Burger," which includes fried chicken topped with turkey bacon, greens, yams, egg, cheese and a special, spicy sauce.

Specialty sides and desserts also keep Soul Burgers packed. Items include sweet potato fries, macaroni and cheese, peach cobbler and sweet potato cheesecake.

"The secret is a little love, faith and good tasting food," said Malone.

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