Dog Parlor: CAPITOL DOG 1226 20th St., Sacramento
Breed Basics: Schwarz all-beef dogs, grilled or deep-fried*
How Much is that Doggy?: $1.99 (corn dawg)–$5.09 (double dawg on sesame-seed French roll)
Taste Test: Tesla Dawg ($3.99), lightly mustarded and topped with mildly spicy chili and onions
Paw Points: 4 Paws. Tasty dogs in a fun spot, with Sacramento-specific names (“Monarchs Dawg,” “Old Sac Dawg”) and a cheery, retro-diner vibe.
Dog Parlor: THE HOTDOGGER 129 E St., Davis
Breed Basics: Schwarz all-beef dogs, steamed and served on yummy Village Bakery rolls*
How Much is that Doggy?: $3.50 (regular or tofu dog)–$5 (chili cheese dog)
Taste Test: Ortega Dog ($4.25) with mayo, mustard, mild chilies and shredded pepper Jack cheese
Paw Points: 4 Paws. Fabulously fresh toasted bun and choice of six mustards (mine: Maui onion garlic) make this tiny spot a big winner.
Dog Parlor: TOP DAWG 2014 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento
Breed Basics: Miller’s and Nathan’s Famous all-beef dogs, steamed or grilled*
How Much is that Doggy?: $2.50 (corn dog)–$4.50 (¼ lb. dog, topped any way you like)
Taste Test: 8-inch Top Dawg Classic ($3.25) with ketchup, mustard, onions and relish
Paw Points: 2.5 Paws. Friendly spot with average dogs; my bun was oversaturated with relishws.
Dog Parlor: THE WIENERY 715 56th St., Sacramento
Breed Basics: Steamed beef/pork dogs on old-fashioned buns*
How Much is that Doggy?: $3.15 (regular dog)–$6.75 (“the double dipper”: two dogs with two scoops of chili, cheddar and nacho cheese)
Taste Test: Ranch Dog ($3.85) with ranch dressing, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and red onions
Paw Points: 2.5 Paws. Everything is old-fashioned about this Sacramento institution (even the photos on the wall are fading); dogs are just OK, but locals love it.
Dog Parlor: WIENER WORKS 5207 Madison Ave., Sacramento
Breed Basics: Beer-steamed, all-beef dogs loaded with toppings
How Much is that Doggy?: $1.75 (corn dog)–$8 (chili, cheese and onion)
Taste Test: Cole slaw and cheese ($5.55), smothered with creamy slaw and tons of shredded cheddar
Paw Points: 3 Paws. Crunchy casing and cold bun turned me off, but boyfriend gave thumbs up because “it’s a man-size meal.”
* Veggie dogs available
Best deals: “$2 Tuesdays” at Capitol Dawg ($2 hot dog, $2 Pabst or 2 scoops of ice cream for $2); “Wiener Wednesdays” at Wiener Works (7-inch plain dog for $3)
Best selection: Capitol Dawg, where creativity runs rampant; check out the Gold Rush Dawg with Swiss cheese, crushed pineapple and sesame teriyaki sauce
Best in show: For culinary kudos, The Hotdogger (those buns are the bomb); for ambiance, Capitol Dawg