Hot Dog Cart in Balboa Park

Not every sunny day at Balboa Park calls for lunch at the fancy restaurant with the patio. Sometimes, a girl wants to spend less and eat casually on a stone bench outside the Timken.

Yesterday was such a day.

It’s true that, at $3.50 each, the hot dogs sold on the cart outside the Casa Del Prado cost twice as much as they do at Target and the Lazy Lizard, but they’re also far plumper and come on fresher buns.


Vanessa manned the cart yesterday.


“Sorry,” she said. “Cash only.”

And then she maintained a patient smile while I dug in my change purse for the coins needed to complete the $8.50 S and I owed her for our two hot dogs and a bag of Fritos.

“You’d better not use ketchup,” S said. “It’s so un-Chicago.”

I skipped right over the ketchup and went for the mustard. Then I remembered I’m not from Chicago and we’re not in Chicago. I still didn’t want to use the ketchup because it was in the messy little packets, but I piled on the relish to spite my friend.


We ate our hotdogs on a bench in the wind. S got mustard on her pants.

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