3009 E. Chapman
Hot dogs are one of my favorite foods. They are one of the foods that I remember eating as a kid, and truly loving. I can clearly remember having hot dogs at home, eating them at Angel's games, having them at Carnation on Main Street at Disneyland, and also ordering them at Carl's Jr., (way back in the day when they used to serve them). I still love hot dogs, but as my tastes have changed from when I was a kid, it has been harder to find really good hot dogs around OC. That is until now, now that I have found Game Day.
I heard about Game Day from an article written by one of my favorite food writers, Dave Lieberman, from Stick a Fork In It. In the article, which you can read here, Dave lists ten great hot dog places in OC. He put Game Day as the number two spot on his list. His number one pick is Berkeley Dog, which I am not too fond of, (too much bun). Anyways back to Game Day, we had a party to attend in Orange, and not knowing the food situation at the party we decided that we wouldn't chance it, and try Game Day since it has been on our list of places to try for awhile.
Game Day is located on busy Chapman Avenue, right near another hot dog joint on the list, PCH Hot Dogs. That place is also on our list of places to try, just like it is on Dave's list as well. Two great hot dog places, right near each other? Hot dog war in Orange! Game Day, from the architecture, and confirmed from the guy behind the counter, used to be an old Taco Bell. The half moon windows and brick walls give that away. Gone are the bland taco sauce packets and plastic fast food furniture, replaced with enough sporting paraphernalia to make a lot of sporting goods stores jealous, and 4 large TVs, that any sports bar would love to have. This restaurant really has the sports bar theme down, without the annoying Raiders fan in the corner waiting to pick a fight with anyone in the joint.
We got to Game Day at 5pm on a Saturday night. The menu is seriously awe inspiring and a little intimidating. I really did not want to pick the wrong items to try, and there was so much to choose from. I really wanted one of everything, but I settled on their most popular items. We ordered at the counter, and waited about five minutes for the food to come out. This is what came out of the kitchen for us.
I had a bad night with garlic fries one 4th of July years ago, and have not had much success with them since. These Garlic Fries ($2.25) have changed that. The outside of the fries had a nice crunch, while the garlic was very evident here. By the end of our meal I was so stuffed, but I could not stop eating these fries. These are a must get when coming here.
I was a little taken aback when Katie ordered this Sonoran Hot Dog ($6.95). Not because it sounded like it would be bad, but it just seemed a little out of her comfort zone. This gourmet dog is made with a spicy polish sausage, topped with chorizo, bacon, refried beans, pico de gallo, grilled jalapenos, and chipotle mayo. With all of these items I thought this was going to be in your face spicy, but the heat was not overwhelming here. I got the most heat from the chipotle mayo, which was very good. The polish sausage kind of got lost here with all of these fresh toppings. The chorizo and bacon, as expected, took over the flavor of this, but the beans added a good texture here as well. This turned out to be a very well balanced sausage that I would not hesitate to get again. Katie managed to finish only half of this, so I had it for leftovers the next day. It was still good then too.
Game Day is not just all about hot dogs and sausages, they also have burgers as well. One of their most popular is the Poblano Bacon ($6.95). This hamburger is made with a blend of Angus chuck and brisket. The meat on its own was very juicy and full of flavor. The toppings on top of the patty were an added bonus of flavor. This burger was topped with bacon, poblano chili's, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, and the same chipotle mayo that was on the Sonoran Dog. This was a well crafted burger, that is reminiscent of a great backyard burger. Really solid, and the toppings take it to the next level.
I was pretty full after eating my burger and a few bites of Katie's sausage, but of course I had to get a sausage of my own. I asked the guy behind the counter for help with their massive menu, and he steered me towards the Split 44 ($6.95). This sausage sandwich gets its name from the owners father, who wore the number 44 at the Naval Academy, as a captain of the football team. He used to make different versions of this sandwich for his family. The version they serve at Game Day is a polish sausage, split down the middle, with pastrami, fried egg, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle mayo on top of it. Again I thought that this was going to be overpowering with all of these big time ingredients. but everything kind of had its place here. The egg was kind of soothing, the pastrami added the saltiness, and the pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayo added a flavor boost. Very good sausage!
After reading this review you can probably tell that I really enjoyed our visit to Game Day. They know what they are doing here. This restaurant really reminded me of another hot dog place that Dave put on his list, Pee Wee's in HB. The menus are both very large, with some very interesting sounding items. Some items that piqued my interest for next time here were the L.A. Street Dog, the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sausage and the Bahn Mi Burger. They even have a version of Slater's Peanut Butter and Jealousy, called the PB&J Burger. Too many items, and so far from where I live. Not fair, but this place is worth the drive. The guy behind the counter was very nice, and the restaurant was very well kept. This place will be the perfect hot dog paradise to meet up before hockey games next year.
Out of five seat cushions, (because you may need these on game days, sitting on those hard bleachers), five being best to zero being worst, Game Day gets 3.5 seat cushions.
Game Day only has their menu on their web site, you can check it out here: http://www.gamedaydogs.com/gamedaymenu.pdf