Unexpected weekend activities can lead to the most unusual places to eat, like our weekly pilgrimage to Home Depot and in one special trip, Dog House Diner.
My first exposure to Dog House Diner was earlier this year with Erin Jackson, hamburger reviewer extraordinaire for Serious Eats. Erin and I had made previous visits to Rally’s in the South Bay and I had accompanied her to Encinitas to try a Wiener Burger from Dog House Diner. You gotta love food lovin’ friends!
Dog House Diner’s wiener burgers are cylindrical-shaped hamburger patties seated on a hot dog bun with all the accompaniments of a regular hamburger. Along with variations of their wiener burger are also hut dogs (their name for hot dogs), breakfast burritos and a huge selection of drinks with many in the coffee variety. This bit of information piqued Paul’s curiosity and was the driving force behind a return visit.
There’s one thing about home renovation and the necessity to eat. I just knew that one wiener burger wasn’t going to keep us satisfied. To compensate for the trip to Encinitas, shopping, followed by work on our home, we ordered one wiener burger, a specialty hut dog and order of onion rings.
The cheese wiener burger ($6.50) was just as I remembered it during my initial visit.
Slabs of melted cheese topped the beef cylinder accompanied with tomato and iceberg lettuce, a “special sauce” as well as a unwieldy pickle spear. While pickle slices are a better opinion, I see pickle spear as a trademark look similar to what some chefs do their garnishes — it’s unavoidable and memorable. You can either attempt to balance the spear while taking a bit of a burger or simply remove it and eat it at your leisure. The wiener burger is nicely seasoned and shouldn’t be overlooked when you have a sack of tool supplies in the other hand.
Not to pass up on anything spicy, we also ordered the Mexican hut dog ($4.95) with jalapenos on the side.
What I received was a dog loaded with raw onions and diced tomatoes. The abundance of onions was a shock; they could be easily edited to a desirable amount. Of importance was the wiener underneath. The wiener was cooked upon a flat grill which revealed a nice smoky flavor while also adding a bit of snap to the skin. Aficionados of boiled and steamed hot dogs should beware, this is the way hot dog should be cooked. If the jalapeños were not enough, there’s also a wide selection of hot sauces on each table. It was a good dog but why go for it when there’s a beefier alternative on the menu?
At $4.75 the onion rings they seemed a bit pricier than what I’m accustomed to but they filled up any remaining stomach crevices with a satisfying crunch and well-seasoned coating.
The wiener burger doesn’t break any boundaries with its flavor, but it does capture attention with its oblong shape. It’s something to keep in mind at home when faced with an overabundance of hot dog buns and ground beef with no hot dogs in sight.
Dog House Diner
119 El Camino Real #204
Encinitas, CA 90024