Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Joe and His Ripper

Slow down while heading through Reseda along Tampa Blvd, or you just might miss the new hot dog locale Fabs that has been burning up the boards with talk of some snappy dogs, and dare I say, a fried dog called "the ripper." No it has nothing to do with the serial killer who terrified London, but is actually a regional specialty of New Jersey that has made its way west.

A ripper simply explained is a hot dog deep fried in oil until the casing tears or “rips.” It is then either served in a steamed bun plain or with a slathering of mustard relish. This explosive frank was made famous by Rutt’s Hut in Clifton, NJ during the 1920s. Now thanks to owner Joe and Fab’s, you to can live like someone from Jersey without the cross-country trip.

The place is small with only two teeny tables and a couple of stools. When you walk in the owner himself will most likely be the one taking your order, and you’ll even get to watch him cook it up before your very eyes since you’re practically already standing in the kitchen.

The menu board on the wall has much more then just a single dog. Along with their specialty they have a list of other eye opening concoctions that are also notable in their own areas. There is the “Carolina Slaw Dog” and the “Kansas City Dog” that uses BBQ sauce. He has even found inspiration straight from LA itself with the “LA Street Dog” with bacon, and his version of the Oki-Dog called the “Fairfax Burrito Dog.” With these choices and more (he even has burgers) I decided to keep it simple. I ordered “the bald eagle,” a ripper with the relish mix, along with the tater tots. How can you pass up tots?

I took a seat and watched as Joe strolled about his kitchen cooking up what I wanted. I actually started to feel like I was sitting in someone’s house watching them make dinner. He picked up a hot dog and dropped it in the oil, then took a step over to coat the tots before dropping them in their own vat. There were even times when he would pause and we would start chatting. Mostly about how I’d never heard of a ripper before, and how I’d heard great things about this place prior to visiting.

Minutes passed and I was handed my order with a chilling bottle of ketchup. I had to take a moment and actually look at what I was about to eat. Not only to take a picture, but because it looked so nicely prepared. But I was ready to stop admiring and I readily took a bite.

In the pillowy soft steamed bun the dog had a crisp snap and the relish a delightful tang. It was surprisingly not as greasy as I thought it would be. This hot dog was like nothing I had ever had before, and I loved it. As for the tater tots? I made the right choice. They were a potato trip down memory lane.

I already have plans on going back. Not only to try something new I’m sure will be great, but to take a seat in my pal Joe’s kitchen and say “hello.”
6747 Tampa Ave
Reseda, CA 91335
(818) 344-4336


Unitas We Stand said...

L Opera in Long Beach has great calamari. Thanks for the link to my blog. But contact me when you did create the link, because I would have added a link to your blog, much sooner than today.

Anonymous said...

yummy tator tots!! cool blog

Mike said...

@unitas: Thanks for the add! I appreciate it.

@tasty: Thanks for the comment. They were in fact "yummy."