Best Hot Dog: A timeless joint with blue-collar cred
2551 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 510-530-2308
The pop of the wiener casings is just about as satisfying as the midcentury design aesthetic here. It's like a thrift-store relic of the 1960s, astonishingly well preserved: citrus-stripe wallpaper that's only slightly faded, mothball pendant lights, and slabs of Cocoa-Puffs-colored terrazzo on the floor. Give a Dwell magazine stylist free rein and it'd clean up dead cool except for the whole hot dog stand vibe, which preserves Kasper's blue-collar soul in a heady miasma of mustard fumes and steam. A favorite of cops, retirees, and, reportedly, Tupac, this is the flagship of Kasper Koojoolian's fractured wiener empire (after a family disagreement in the 1930s, it split into Kasper's, Caspers, and the terminally shuttered Original Kasper's in Temescal, which, despite the name, is not the original apologies to wiener-loving nostalgists who fervently believe otherwise). The dogs' crisp skins enclose beef, and they come on buns so angel-food-cake soft they seem downright creamy. The effect is timeless.