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I was recently invited to a Dodgers food blogger event. It started with a tour of the Dodger offices, the press box, luxury suites, and members-only restaurants, plus a pre-game field walk on. We got to meet self-proclaimed rightfielder foodie Andre Ethier, and there were Nancy Bea and Fernando Valenzuela sightings to boot.
The whole experience came to a crescendo with an Extreme Loaded Dog tasting. If you don’t know, these are grilled Dodger Dogs “loaded” up with an “extreme” combination of components. Case in point: the Tailgate Dog (seen above), topped with beans, barbecue sauce, potato salad and cheese. Surprisingly, this potluck-in-a-bun works quite well and is easily the best of the bunch. In truth, there’s something to be said for many of these dogs—you just have to surrender your decency and commit.
If you’re ready to do that, then let me introduce you to the The Frito Pie Dog. It’s outrageous, but hey, my inner pig couldn’t deny a chili cheese dog covered in Fritos. By comparison, it was way more plausible than its sister, the Big Kid Dog, also sprinkled with chips but unsuccessful with its base of somewhat chalky mac and cheese.
Here’s what I know about poutine:
- Traditionally it’s a dish comprised of fries, gravy and cheese curds.
- It hails from rural Quebec, but can now be found Canada-wide—they even sell it at McDonald’s.
- It was invented in the 1957 by restaurateur Fernand Lachance. He shook up a bag of cheese curds and fries, and violà, poutine was born.
- In the 50s,“poutine” was slang for “a mess,” which is exactly what Fernand said when he saw what was in the bag.
- Up until a few years ago, poutine was considered pretty low-brow in Quebec, served mostly in greasy spoons, but like a lot of other comfort foods, it’s made its way onto some fancy restaurant menus. You can even get it with foie gras for $23 at at famed Au Pied Cochon in Montreal.
I should also add that it’s freaking delicious, which is why I was—and I never use this word—stoked when I got an invite to try out The Poutine Truck, Debbie Lee’s (also of the Ahn Joo truck) newest food project. Even better was that this gravy fries extravaganza was to take place at Echo Park’s City Sip, where Four Brix wine would be paired with each poutine course.
The Poutine Truck offers traditional and more laissez-faire varieties of the dish. The abbreviated menu gives you the choice 3 gravies (brown onion beef gravy and chicken or veggie veloute) and 3 locally-sourced, organic cheese curd varieties (plain, garlic herb and firehouse), which are generously laid upon freshly cut and made-to-order Kennebec potato fries. You can also take your poutine to the limit by adding bacon, chicken or flatiron steak.
Once Autumn hits, I begin to crave Ann Arbor, Michigan. My mind automatically drifts to its quiet, tree-lined streets, brick facades and wide-open spaces. I even start to yearn for the feel of its cold, sharp winds on my Los Angeles-bred skin.
My husband Josh grew up in the über-liberal college town (often referred to as the Berkeley of the Midwest), so I’ve spent almost of decade of Thanksgivings—and a few days most summers—there. I’ve been at least a dozen times, which is why I was pretty shocked when I learned about Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger on the Ann Arbor edition of Man vs. Food.
Of all places.
“Over 2,147,483,648 burger combinations? What! Why have you never taken me there?!” I gasped, turning to Josh with what most certainly was a fevered look of betrayal.
He’d been good enough to introduce me to Zingerman’s, the deli to end all delis; perfect falafel at Jerusalem Garden; and late nights at the townie/political radical hangout that is the Fleetwood Diner. But Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burgers? Never! Instead I have to find out about it on a food show…like some common tourist.
He just laughed and promised to oblige me this Thanksgiving.
I love the Dodgers, but I can’t say the same about the food at Dodger Stadium. I know it’s a travesty to utter this phrase, but: Dodger Dogs are gross. The texture is rubber and the taste is all salty pork water.
If you must eat a dog while you watch the game, I say brave the line at the grilled stand and get the Super Dodger Dog, which is all-beef and has more of a “real” taste.
But that’s not my top choice.
If there’s one guilty pleasure that I have no power to resist, it’s Camacho’s Nachos. They’re made with cheese sauce, which is almost always a bad sign, but when you add
the (seemingly) fresh guacamole, pico de gallo and a little sour cream, it’s use-a-fork-and-scrape-the-bottom good. The chips are Mexican restaurant quality and not the same as those gritty Tostito-esque ones they serve up with the regular nachos.
You also get your choice of chicken or carne asada. I usually go for neither, since stadium meat is a little scary, but when I feel like throwing caution to the wind and oinking it up, I opt for the carne asada, which is totally decent. I don’t ever go for the beans, though, because they create a too-mushy texture that I’m not into.
Camacho’s Nachos go for about $9. Pricey but somehow worth it. Don’t forget to ask for jalepenos.