Budacki's Hot Dog
3782 S. Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA, USA

L.A. is a "blink and you'll miss it" kind of town, where big-time celebrities pass right by you before you can register who they are, and uber-trendy pop-up restaurants disappear before you even hear about them. Like, just five minutes ago, a man told me about a cool new hotspot to check out, but when I turned to ask him his name, he was gone. It was Robert Redford! And the place he told me to check out? LensCrafters!

It seems to me that Chicago-style food is even more elusive here than "The Golden Sundance Fox Face" or whatever they call him. I swear, with the exception of Taste Chicago in Burbank (which somehow remains stalwart), every time I discover a Chicago food joint in L.A., it's gone almost before I finish my first bite of beef.

Serves me right for wanting beef instead of bœuf here, I guess. Anyway, imagine my surprise and delight when I spotted a location of Budacki's, a legit Chicago joint, opening near the USC campus! Not just a Chicago-style place (no offense, Taste Chicago), but a bona fide Chicago joint opening an L.A. satellite! Needless to say, I was there before you could say "Da B…" … ah shit, was I really just about to say that?

This was arguably the most authentically Chicago of the Chicago joints I ever encountered in L.A. They even had genuine Iltaco Pizza Puffs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OK, granted, that probably excites me a little too much, but come on, a pizza puff in L.A. is like a smokin' hot model in Chicago. (Booooooo!)

I went with an Italian Beef with giardinara, a good ol' pizza puff, and a medium coke. All done exactly right and delicious. $12.30 total, and if I'm remembering correctly, the guy offered me a "Trojan Deal" that added a hot dog and fries for the same price? I only wish I could have eaten that much Chicago-style food in one sitting, BUT I'M NOT GEORGE FUCKING WENDT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

In any case, even more of a rarity that the prices were as authentically Chicago as the food … which is probably why, tragically, this Budacki's was gone before you could say "Robert Redford-style Italian Bœuf."

Review by Higgldy-Piggldy, February 2015