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Chef Pablo Rios is putting a gourmet, San Diego twist on traditional hot dogs.
It’s no secret that San Diego has great Mexican food. Its location along the U.S.-Mexico border makes for a collaborative spirit and cross-cultural vibrancy that percolates throughout San Diego and can be experienced in everything from the food to the excellent craft beer scene, all the way up to the art and architecture. And Barrio Dogg is the next delicious thing to come out of that cross-border creativity.
Just a few blocks past the colorful murals of Chicano Park, in the heart of San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood, Barrio Dogg is the place where lowrider culture, street art, and gourmet hot dogs come together to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience. It’s a new twist on the Tijuana-style hot dog – bacon-wrapped bundles of joy sold on street carts throughout Baja California.
San Diego artist, custom lowrider designer, chef and owner of Barrio Dogg, Pablo Rios, describes it as, “the best parts of SoCal, Baja eating, and Barrio Logan culture.” And you can only find it right here in San Diego. Using inspiration from his grandmother’s cooking and Barrio Logan’s vibrant Chicano culture, he blends together bold flavors, and big taste, with a unique style he puts into each and every bite.
Chef Pablo calls it “Chicano comfort food.”
He custom-builds his culinary creations like he does his lowriders, and the result is as colorful, joyful and playful as the cars he designs. These are some seriously tricked out hot dogs. It all begins at the local farms, where he sources grass-fed black angus beef and a variety of bold toppings like spicy cactus fruit salsa, smoked poblanos and wasabi sesame seeds.
Barrio Dogg started with a hot dog cart made from the backend of an Impala lowrider. And it’s quickly become a local favorite. His untraditional food stand turned heads, but it was his exciting menu that kept them coming.
Now, Barrio Dogg has expanded into a full restaurant and bar that doubles as a lowrider art gallery with a collection that spans decades. But Pablo still makes time to rev up the Impala hot dog cart for special events.
At Barrio Dogg, you’ll find the perfect blend of cross-border culinary combos that even go so far as to include international tastes and flavors, bringing all the good things found in San Diego to the plate.
And one of chef Pablo’s personal favorites is El Xolito.
Pronounced “Cho-Lee-Toe,” but also known as “The TJ” because of its Tijuana roots, this hot dog is THE signature dog of Barrio Dogg. Pablo calls it his tribute to the Tijuana-style dog. With grilled onions, fresh cut red onions, cheddar cheese, juicy Roma tomatoes, sour cream, salsa verde and Sriracha aioli, it’s one of his best sellers and the first dog he ever sold off the back of his Impala.
And then there’s El Capone, a Chicago style twist with stone ground mustard, fresh-baked buns and hand-sprinkled poppy seeds. But Pablo’s menu really kicks into high gear with El Bombero, a local favorite designed after the District 7 firehouse in Barrio Logan – it’s made with seven distinct chile peppers, smoked poblanos, sautéed serrano peppers, habanero carrot salsa, and spicy cactus fruit. And lastly, there’s the wild, hot flavor of El Samurai, an Asian-inspired dog with Hoisin BBQ, pickled jicama, cucumber, carrot, fresh jalapeno, crunchy garlic and wasabi sesame seeds. Delicious!
Pablo’s Barrio Dogg proves what chefs have long believed about this great city – that culinary creators have and will continue to be drawn to San Diego for the lifestyle, freedom, and collaboration the community allows when innovating, experimenting and sharing the food they love.
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