Digging Deep into Colombian-Style Dogs at Los Perros Locos
There’s something amiss in the hot dog-blogosphere in 2013. Not a lot has been been written by us or our meaty colleagues. And I’m not really sure why that is, but maybe there are a number of reasons. Perhaps everyone has high cholesterol and blood pressure, necessitating a change in diet. Maybe the economy is getting better, and we have been moving away from comfort food. Or maybe there just haven’t been any notable HDJ’s to write about. In NYC, it seems as though the artisanal and hip HDJ’s may be another food trend that has come and gone. There’s not much standing, except maybe Bark and Japadog. But now there’s a place on the lower east side that is trying to channel the spirit of Colombian hot dogs. Hopefully they will have what it takes to stick around in NYC’s volatile food scene.
Los Perros Locos opened up in NYC pretty recently in January 2013. Seeing as how I now have a new 6-month old roommate, I don’t get out for much exploration, even though she is usually up for it. Seeing as how I have some time off of work, the two of us decided to take a trip to see what Los Perros Locos was all about. I can refer you to the website to get an idea of how this place came into being. However, even without knowing anything about the place, you’d have to guess there was some connection to Miami or perhaps California. The two of us went on a random weekday afternoon, so there were not too many people there. However I can imagine the NYU and LES crowds mobbing the place at 2am. We walked inside to a neon wonderland, complete with a built in skate ramp leading down to a counter where patrons eat layered and loaded dogs. The small space (maybe 100 sq ft?) ended with 3 windows capped with the pink neon words comer-ordenar-beber (eat, order, drink).
I had some knowledge of Colombian hot dogs, and have been thinking for a long time that I need to get out to Elizabeth, NJ to find something authentic. (Also make sure to check out Hawk Krall’s post from a few years ago in Serious Eats about Colombian dogs in Queens NY) I’ve heard that the Colombian dog has potato chips and pineapple as toppings. It seems that the folks at Los Perros Locos took that idea and also expanded on it with a plethora of salsas and other toppings. I ordered up two dogs, a grilled corn called Mazzzzzorca, and a Colombian soda.
I called this post ‘Digging Deep’ because the dog itself is only part of the sandwich, and you have to get through the layers of toppings first. I had a similar experience with the Chilean vienesa which was loaded with avocado, tomato, and mayo. I should say that while I did enjoy these dogs, they are not meant to be eaten while a tiny human is strapped to your chest.
You can order each sandwich with a choice of all beef (skinless), veggie, or chorizo. I opted for all beef and began to tackle the [No] Tipico, which I think may be the closest to the actual typical Colombian dog. This dog is layered with crushed potato chips and 4 different kinds of salsas: pina (sweet pineapple), ajillo (roast garlic), rosada (pink sauce), and verde (creamy avocado), all on a beautifully grilled & buttered split top bun.
This next one is the Mexi-Max. Here we see the all beef dog topped with sriracha pico de gallo, chipotle kraut, ChipZana sauce (chipotle & manzana (apple)), salsa verde, grated queso cotija, and crushed fritos. I’m a big fan of people trying to create anything, and also a big fan of eating. These dogs definitely have pros and cons. I enjoyed the assault of flavors, and I love a challenge of eating a hefty dog. However, some of the flavors on these dogs were so much stronger than the others that it covered up the other good stuff. Plus you can’t take a bite without getting toppings all over your face, or all over the little one hooked on to you, which also meant that I had to eat the Mexi-Max with a fork and knife. The dog itself is grilled but it also sort of gets buried underneath everything. It also could have been a bit bigger. I’m sounding more like I did not enjoy myself and that’s not the case. Lately though, I really appreciate simplicity and distinct flavors. When you have 6 or 7 colors on top of each other, you can’t really see the individual colors anymore. Some of these toppings sound so interesting and it would be great to see what chipotle kraut or sriracha pico de gallo tastes like on a less busy dog. But since I’m not Colombian, it’s probably easy for me to find something wrong with such a different and distinct regional style. For me, the toppings that did stand out were the Fritos (awesome!) and the chipzana sauce, with the apple surprisingly shining through.
These guys opened up in January with a very adventurous and ambitious attitude. The dogs I got seem to have the most toppings on their menu, and perhaps I should try some of the others with only 3 toppings. Maybe the Mas Perfecto with apple chipotle slaw and quail eggs. Or the Spicy Spicy Mango with spicy mango mojo, melted mozzarella, and crushed hot Doritos. They also have a corn dog and three different kinds of salchipapas. I should also add that the Mazzzzzorca was very tasty, also messy, and topped with chipzana sauce, grated cotija cheese, and a squeeze of lime. The Soda Colombiana was also refreshing and tasted like cream soda with less sugar. I think these guys will do well with the lower east side crowds with this fun and crazy menu, and with people who can afford to get messy. The Kid is up for adventure, but I still have to look out for her!
Los Perros Locos 201 Allen Street NYC