Dogzilla: Definitely Not Your Typical Wiener

Categories: Mobile Meals
dogzilla1.jpg
Watching the rise and fall of the luxe-lonchera craze reminds me a lot of watching the ebb and flow of the housing market. When the housing market takes off, condominiums are the last thing to go up in value. When it tanks, condos are the first thing to lose value.

While LA is still reveling in dozens of new food trucks, we in these fair orange acres have seen a slowdown in the number of trucks opening. The result is that the list of trucks I haven't tried is shrinking and not being added to very quickly.

Dogzilla is not exactly new, but it is one of the few OC trucks that serves meals (as opposed to just ice cream, just cupcakes, etc.) I haven't tried. It was parked at Blackmarket Bakery for its open house this weekend alongside Piaggio On Wheels, and while I love Jose Piaggio's food, it was time to try Dogzilla.

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I'm conflicted. I loved what went into my mouth. The Dogzilla dog was an all-beef wiener topped with grilled onions, bacon, avocado, teriyaki sauce, mayonnaise and furikake (seasoned dried seaweed). It took a couple of bites before I fully grokked what was going on here. It started off cloyingly sweet due to the onions and teriyaki sauce, but then the bacon and furikake came through with a good umami counterpoint. The avocado and mayonnaise worked for that creaminess necessary to a good sandwich.

Two complaints, though: first, the triple slider rolls. Great if you're going to put three of something in a sandwich because then you can split it three ways; this is the perforated-paper theory of food sharing. When you've got a beef monolith inside, though, all it means is that a meaningful, manly bite causes the bread to perforate, so you end up with a mouthful of bread and an embarrassing, protruding sausage.

Second, notice the flavor profile above. See what's missing? Dogzilla could have accomplished that profile flavor without the hot dog, which sort of misses the point of having the tube steak in the first place. It's not that the hot dog wasn't good; it just wasn't necessary to the enjoyment of the sandwich. This became evident when the bread slide alluded to above happened; the sandwich was just as good without the sausage.

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Garlic and furikake fries were actually better than the offerings of some of the dedicated fry trucks. Furikake makes anything savory better, and the garlic was quite sensibly added so that the fries tasted principally of potato, not of garlic. The proffered cheese, a "Parmesan" lookalike, was totally unnecessary; orderers, be aware. For the $3 price, you could have a plain dog, so choose carefully.

Dogzilla's another one of these trucks with ill-thought-out Web presence. Sure, Facebook is still kind of cool (okay, that's stretching it), and Twitter is, of course, indispensable for letting people know where the truck is parked, but there's no website with central information, a menu or even pictures of the food. That last one would be especially helpful when faced with non-standard wiener toppings.

Service was slow. They were not exactly awash in customers, and the wait was long enough (17 minutes from order to food for me) that people headed into the bakery to grab samples from Rachel Klemek and company; this resulted in young people with Dogzilla T-shirts wandering the premises, rapidly cooling food in hand, calling, "Randy? Randy and Ted? Randy and Ted? RANDY AND TED!"

The verdict: I'd eat here if I happened to be in the area or at a clustertruck where Dogzilla was parked, but I wouldn't chase across the county for an opportunity to eat from it. Lest you think I'm damning with faint praise, there are maybe five luxe loncheras in all LA and OC for which I would go careening through traffic.

Find Dogzilla on Facebook or on Twitter at @dogzillahotdogs

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22 comments
Glo
Glo

Dogzilla lines are huge whenever they're at OC Din Din A Go Go hosted at Irvine Lanes. I've never tried Dogzilla, but I always read the menu and turn away. Nothing really appeals to me when I mean to try something. I can honestly say this is one truck I don't find myself chasing. I'd rather wait/chase The Greasy Wiener.

david
david

I agree that the Dogzilla toppings alone would make a good sandwich but why not top the toppings with a sausage. I usually get the hot link in the Dogzilla instead which gives a nice background heat to overcome all the sweetness. Using Kings Hawaiian rolls as a bun is awesome and I have no problem with it coming apart at all.

Mr. Rosewater
Mr. Rosewater

Fodder for another post: What are the five loncheras in L.A. and O.C. for which you'd face freeway hell, Dave?

As for this post: Was there anything other than the "Dogzilla Dog" that tempted you? I get that you ordered the signature item, but did anything else look/sound better?

Forgive my ignorance: I've never been to this food truck, and the hot dogs suck here in Taiwan unless they're from, sigh, Costco.

--Mr. R.

P.S. Speaking of ignorance, people should refrain from flaunting theirs by criticizing Dave's writing. Whether he evokes your agreement or its opposite, his contributions to this blog are invariably the most informative and utilitarian, an opinion not meant to diminish the (mostly) fine work of his fellow forkers. I'd kill to possess an ounce of the man's food knowledge, though the caloric investment necessary to acquire such wisdom would eighty-six me long before I had to off anyone else.

Clburns
Clburns

That was a positive review? Well, personally I love Dogzilla - specifically the yakisoba dog which wasn't even reviewed. Might I suggest bringing a friend next time and trying more items? I believe that's what most food critics do... In the meantime, I will continue to drive from Pasadena to Long Beach whenever they are in town.

Censored by OC Weekly
Censored by OC Weekly

You guys at the OC Weekly are such pussies and hypocrites. You allow Gustavo to run rampant, insulting many readers. You talk about people being too thin skinned and the freedom we have to be able to express yourself. You talk about how people should not insult people as you let your assclown of an Editor continually attack readers

Then you ban me from the comments.

Its awesome that Gustavo could not hold his own and rather than address the issues raised, OC Weekly had to censor the commentary.

What are you? Communists?

This is how you "win" Gustavo? What a pussy that can't hold his own

-Diamond Dog

Jon Kitna
Jon Kitna

"Dogzilla could have accomplished that profile flavor without the hot dog, which sort of misses the point of having the tube steak in the first place"

Dave, you are a tube steak!!

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Be nice if people actually read non-selectively. I liked it. I just think there's room for improvement. There's not been a restaurant or fancy food truck yet that hasn't had room for improvement.

Megan
Megan

What!!!!!!??? Dogzilla's are Delicious!!! If you haven't had a Dogzilla you are missing out! Don't listen to this ding dong! If you are that worried about your Bun you shouldn't be aloud to eat DogZILLA to begin with.

WillNourse
WillNourse

"Dogzilla could have accomplished that profile flavor without the hot dog"

It's a hot dog truck, what'd you expect? Would you go to Baby's Badass Burgers or Grill 'em All and ask for a burger without the beef? Dogzilla is by far the most unique and tasty of all the hot dog trucks.

Jcanarella
Jcanarella

I think dogzilla dogs are the best dogs around. You are a failure at being a food critic.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

The menu is pretty easy to read... three dogs (plus a plain dog), some sides. I really did like the fries (may need to carry furikake with me and surreptitiously season the fries at SideDoor).

Yes, there's a yakisoba dog, but the Dogzilla dog sounded so much better that I went with it. The sausage itself was actually not too bad, with a nice snap, but I could have had a sandwich out of just the toppings and been just as happy.

I'll mull the loncheras post... should be fairly easy to write. And thanks for the kind words. Sometimes I piss people off, and that's just the way of it.

pat
pat

how does one share a hot dog sold from a mobile vendor? take alternating bites? with a friend?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Dude, stop criticizing Dave and spend your off-season figuring out for which NFL team you're going to ride the bench.

Mel
Mel

Jcanarella, please don't be so crude with your comment. Being a food critic is this man's life. Saying such a thing means he's a failure in life.

Mr. Rosewater
Mr. Rosewater

Búkèqi. And xièxiè for making my one week back home as delicious as possible.

Clburns
Clburns

Um, sure? Or you could, I don't know, ask said mobile vendor to cut the dog in half/thirds/whatever?

Pratik Bhosale
Pratik Bhosale

Gustavo, please stop embarassing yourself. I think your job is pointless, armed with your antiquated cameras and little notebooks you would terrorize restaurants the world over. The funny thing, nowadays is… No body cares! These once influential voices have made themselves irrelevant. Use Yelp.....it is the voice of the real people that you once catered to. .

PS: "Ask a Mexican" is a worthless column.

Lancee Nuna
Lancee Nuna

"Only a fool would say that."

What a revoltin' development! Dave's not the failed food critic!

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Yelp is about as much the voice of the "real people" as Muppets. And glad you like ¡Ask a Mexican!

Lancee Nuna
Lancee Nuna

Note to Goose: Hanging around for ten years doesn't say much about quality. Taco Bell, Hosni Mubarak, Dan Rather, and City of Industry all beat that record. Your book chapter on Larry Cano shows you can do the job well. So do it, already, and stop being this thing and that thing and talking trash with the riff-raff (like me).

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