Hot dogs are good. Korean food is good. Together, the two are great. Buldogis Gourmet Hot Dogs takes beloved American dogs and tops ’em with typically spendy Asian meats, such as beef bulgogi, spicy pork bulgogi, pork belly and teriyaki beef. The result is a beautiful, and beautifully affordable, thing. While a Korean meal for two typically runs $40-plus, two loaded dogs cost about $10. Like magic, the westside fusion eatery takes guilty-pleasure fast foods and morphs them into a meal even a gourmand can love. No longer are hot dogs questionable when decorated in marinated meat. French fries shed their dull reputation when dressed up in kimchi and crowned with a fried egg. Oh, and the mayo. This isn’t the milquetoast condiment we’re used to. There are seven custom blends, including garlic, avocado and the cult-favorite chili paste that is Sriracha. KRISTY TOTTEN
BULDOGI’S GOURMET HOT DOGS 2291 S. Fort Apache Road, Suite 102, 570-7560
My dad is no longer with us, my brother lives across town and I can’t grill worth a damn. So when I want summer barbecue — and I will, again and again — you’ll find me at Top Notch Barbeque, a hidden gem huddled inside a Doc Holiday’s on Eastern.
Good God, the ribs! For years I disdained ribs — too much gnawing, too much saucy schmutz on my face, too little meat. Not here, people. These bones are thickly sleeved in expertly grilled meat, and I mean thickly. Last time, I ordered six and was lucky to finish five. (I gave the last one to the friend who introduced me to this joint, a token of eternal gratitude.)
If pulled pork is your thing, the pulled pork is terrific.
If sweet potatoes aren’t your thing — me, I can’t stand the goddamn things — try the sweet potato casserole. The same friend really had to talk me into that, and I’m thankful he did, because whatever they do to it here is wonderful — but that doesn’t mean I’m giving the bastard any more of my food. SCOTT DICKENSHEETS
TOP NOTCH BARBEQUE 9310 S. Eastern Ave., 883-1555
There are few ways to beat the summer heat as delicious as a frozen dessert. But in a town that routinely sees triple digits, don’t we deserve something more original than plain old ice cream and shaved ice? Apparently Jet Tila thinks so. The former executive chef of Encore’s Wazuzu has returned to Las Vegas to launch Kuma Snow Cream.
Snow cream is a dairy-based frozen dessert that’s lighter than ice cream, with a fluffy texture. It comes in five Asian-inspired flavors, including taro, mango and green tea. Two dozen available toppings include M&Ms and Cap’n Crunch, two types of mochi and fresh fruit. Top it off with your choice of five sauces. (I recently sampled green tea snow cream topped with lychees, red beans, mochi and condensed milk — amazing.)
If Kuma (which means polar bear in Japanese) is a hit here, the Los Angeles-based chef plans to take it nationwide. And given the buzz it’s already getting, he seems well on his way. AL MANCINI
KUMA SNOW CREAM 3735 Spring Mountain Road, 816-5862