Pacific Coast Hot Dogs
3438 E. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92869
For the most part, my days at my day job are pretty much the same. I work five days a week, go in at seven and leave at four. With my five weeks of vacation, I am there about 47 weeks out of the year. Yes, I get five weeks vacation because I have been at the same job for going on 26 years now. Very rarely does my routine change, but recently I had to go to a training class. It broke up my typical week, so instead of dreading about sitting in a class for seven hours, I actually looked forward to it. It also helped that one of the places I have wanted to eat was right across the street from where I would be training. So, once we were released from the classroom, we headed out the door, walked across the street, and arrived at Pacific Coast Hot Dogs.
Not exactly an ocean view, but Pacific Coast has garnered lots of positive reviews for their hot dogs. They have been given some very glowing press on some of the blogs I have read, they were named one of the ten best hot dogs by OC Weekly in 2012, and I have had numerous readers recommend that I try these hot dogs.
PCH is really just a stand in the parking lot of a strip mall that features a Chipotle and a Jersey Mike's Sandwich Shop. No fancy dining room here, these are hot dogs after all. Five tables with umbrellas and a yellow awning keeping the elements away from you, which in Southern California means that these just provide shade for you to enjoy your meal. We got here at 11, and had to wait for the guy to open up, even though they had posted their opening time as 10:30.
We took a look at the menu while he was finishing his opening. PCH offers 9 different hot dogs on their menu, but of course you can customize your hot dog anyway you want. PCH does not have crazy, over the top toppings to choose from. They keep it pretty basic, with the usual condiments and toppers like chili, sauerkraut, and jalapenos. Other than hot dogs, they only serve fries, shakes, and ice cream. No burgers anywhere to be found, so if you're not a fan of hot dogs, this place will not be for you. The guy behind the counter finally opened up the window, and we got to ordering. This is what we came up with.
My good friend David accompanied me on this day of training, and he also considers himself to be a pretty good judge of hot dogs. He used to own a sausage focused restaurant, so I value his opinion here, (and not anywhere else, just kidding big guy). He ordered two hot dogs, the first of which was the Chicago Dog ($3.75). As with all Chicago dogs, I always think of these hot dogs as a salad bar on a bun. Chicago dogs are always topped with lots of veggies, and that was the case here at PCH. Mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickle, chili pepper, and celery salt came piled on top of the hot dog. David called this hot dog very average in taste, and the toppings were just okay as well. I missed seeing the neon green relish of a true Chicago dog. The bun was soft, but still held the contents together.
Both David and I tried a Chili Cheese Dog ($4.00) at PCH. This is the item that gets the most attention in on-line reviews here. Joining the chili and cheese in the bun is mustard and onions, which got lost here, or maybe the guy left them off, not so sure. The chili had a good consistency, but the flavor was rather bland. The cheese was plentiful, but it would have been nice to have had it melted, or placed underneath the chili, to allow for melting. The bun did a great job of staying together, but the major problem with this was the hot dog itself. It had a decent snap to it which is good, but it lacked a meatiness to it. Pretty disappointing after all the hype we have heard about these chili dogs.
The second of my three hot dogs, yes I was really excited to try a little bit of everything here, was this Tijuana Dog ($4.00). This came with bacon, mustard, onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos. It's hard for bacon not to leave an impression, but that was the case with this hot dog. The jalapenos were especially spicy on this day, so maybe they overwhelmed the bacon on this one. I was kind of let down by this hot dog. Much like the chili dog, this needed more flavor from the hot dog itself, which was kind of bland. So far we were 0 for 2 on this trip.
I have been craving a great corn dog for awhile, and was hoping to get one from PCH. This Corn Dog ($2.00) was encased in a sweeter than normal corn batter, which would have gone well with a meatier hot dog. Again the hot dog failed to deliver, as this one was pretty boring as well. The outer portion of the corn dog was fried nicely, with a decent crunch to it, but it could not make up for the lackluster hot dog here.
David and I were in agreement that we were not really big fans of Pacific Coast Hot Dogs. With all of the build up that I had for this hot dog stand, I was really let down. The main problem for me was that the hot dogs really did not taste like anything, and even with good toppings, you can not hide a hot dog that is devoid of flavor. Maybe we hit them way too early in the day, but neither one of us is in any hurry to rush back. Some might scoff at the prices here, and yes I did think they were a little on the high side, but if they were better, I would not have minded paying four dollars for a hot dog. I was really glad to get out of my normal routine at work, but would have had a better day if these hot dogs were as good as advertised.
Out of five convertibles, (because you can not think about PCH, and not dream about riding down that highway in a convertible), five being best to zero being worst, Pacific Coast Hot Dog gets 2 convertibles.
Pacific Coast Hot Dogs does not have a website, but you can find out more information about them on their Yelp page, http://www.yelp.com/biz/pacific-coast-hot-dogs-orange