This is Elizabeth Palacios, the Mexico City native who is the primary voice in my last LA Weekly feature, published this week. That's several months after I completed the reporting and writing back in L.A., but I'm very glad it's out nonetheless. Thanks to my Weekly editors for seeing it through. Here's an excerpt:
Not quite Mexican and not quite American, the bacon-wrapped hot dog, like the city that so fervently embraces it, has a curious romance about it. You can smell one from blocks away. The grilled bacon, twisted around a wiener, is topped with grilled onions and a mountaintop of diced tomatoes, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. Then one whole grilled green poblano chile is plopped impossibly on top. You take a bite and think, This is so good, no wonder it's illegal!
Read the rest here. Palacios holds it down on Los Angeles Street in the Fashion District, where she sells, reluctantly, non-bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Resulting in her financial strain, mind you. The piece explains why. As mentioned, here's Deep End Dining, the L.A. food blog by Eddie Lin, and the KCRW "Good Food" piece where he's interviewed.
Elizabeth is just one of many countless hot dog vendors on the streets of L.A., but in reporting the piece I decided to concentrate on just one person, in order to bring into focus the Catch-22 dilemma these vendors face. Of the many licensed vendors I interviewed, some had similar if not worse experiences with the often mysterious L.A. health code-law enforcement apparatus. What worries me of course is that the authorities will now somehow retaliate against Elizabeth. I certainly hope not.
(P.S. The other night while Mark Hunter was here in Mexico City and I tried vainly to get him in to the legendary "high-energy" club Patrick Miller [no cameras allowed], I had a hot dog-adjacent hamburger on the street outside that was soooo goood. Here's the evidence. One question I never quite answered was, Where did the bacon-wrapped hot dog actually come from? Mexico? Back East? Planet Meat? ** No, friends, I'm hearing it's Sonora, from Mexpert Gustavo Arellano.)