The Unvegan

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Wien me a river.

Hot dogs: the edible version of man’s best friend. Genius in conception and pretty easy to do well. But to do a hot dog great takes some skill and some food trucks have taken this easily portable meal to the streets to some success. Up in North Hollywood, The Wien brought its truck over to my office one day and I thought I should give it a try and see if it could compete.

Quickly, I zeroed in on a dog built for an unvegan. Called The Gunslinger, this $6 dog was wrapped in bacon, then topped with onion rings, Smokin’ Willie’s BBQ Sauce (whatever that is) and cheddar cheese. Then I figured I could use a side of chili cheese fries to keep my dog company. I ordered up and then waited just a few minuted for my hot dog to be ready. This was certainly one of the most efficient food trucks I had ever been to.

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Deep inside, the cheese is still meltless.

But efficiency does not necessary translate into good food, as I soon learned. I unwrapped my food to find both the dog and fries were covered with pretty unmelted shredded cheddar cheese. I wasn’t too happy to see this, because while I like cheese in any form, melted is preferred as a topping. I bit in and found just what I expected. The bacon around the hot dog was done well and the hot dog had the slightest little snap. Not as much as I would like, but enough to be respectable. The onion rings attempted to make up for this by adding a crunch to the dog and, finally, the BBQ sauce added a nice bit of sweet to counter the otherwise savory dog. It was a good dog, to be sure, but nothing particularly special or groundbreaking.

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It would be better to have not had these at all.

The fries, though, took the meal to another level. And that level was not a good one. Like I mentioned before, the cheese was unmelted, which meant that it wasn’t mixed too well into the chili. Not that it would have mattered, because this was some of the most flavorless chili I had ever had in my life. I’m not sure if it was homemade or not, but if it was, The Wien needs to find itself a new recipe. You know, one that calls for flavor.

So, while The Wien provided an acceptable hot dog, the chili cheese fries were far from acceptable. And if you need a microwave in that truck to melt some cheese, by all means, please do it. It could mean the difference between a good hot dog and a hot dog worth returning for.