John Brandi 9 p.m., Sept. 17
The Lake Chapala Hotdog Blues
Carlos Negrete hands me the bacon-wrapped TJ hotdog.
I pile on the fixins. Mmm...just like the real thing. Except we’re not in TJ anymore. I’m standing at a little counter you hardly see if you’re zipping by on the #2 bus.
Sign kinda makes it look like the hot dog has just been murdered in cold blood, but they're delish
Yes, back in Golden Hill again. Every time I come by I find another lost corner with some hidden treasure. Right now I’ve discovered this little hotdog stand hidden behind an open fruit-and-snack tienda (Las Delicias, 1015 25th Street) in that giant coin-laundry’s parking lot, where 25th crosses Broadway and heads for the park.
Of course, nothing beats a midnight street dog on a warm night in TJ, but this is pretty good. And only $1.50.
Carlos is an interesting guy, too.
"I'm from Lake Chapala, not far from Guadalajara," he says. "But, Maria — my wife — and I have been running this for 23 years now."
Wow, and this is the first time I've noticed it? I rub my eyes. Must be sitting on the wrong side of the #2.
Carlos says I should get on down to Lake Chapala, Mexico's biggest freshwater lake.
“You can buy two acres of land for $20,000 down there,” he says. "If you build a house, you can hire a cook or a maid for maybe $12 a week."
He shows me a photo of an unfinished house on a hill overlooking the lake.
Uh-huh. Sounds great. That means I just need $19,500 more than I have, and I'm there. Sigh. Still, it’s nice, chewing the fat, chowing down on this tender hotdog and yakkin' away.
Just think, down the hill in the Gaslamp, you’d be paying two, three times as much, and you’d have to buy a beer.
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