Notice - the following review is the opinion of the author. Food is an art and depending on the chef behind the wheel your experience may be different from ours.
Carnival Hot Dogs & Burgers
18855 Bear Valley Road
Apple Valley, CA 92308
Sometimes you just want a treat. Something to change things up. Something a bit different. When we heard about Carnival Hot Dogs and Burgers for the first time we were curious. Here was a restaurant that had been around two years and we were just hearing about it. Maybe it was boredom, perhaps it was the desire for something different, but we decided to take a break from the norm and try out some fancy hot dogs.
Besides the delicious dog you buy at Costco, I’ve never been one to buy a "fancy" restaurant hot dogs. Looking over the menu and seeing the creativity put into each dog, I felt that it was time to give them a chance. How can one say no to a bacon wrapped hot dog?
Apparently, one needs to. Our first warning should of been the sign displaying “UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT”. As if that is a good thing. Going against our better judgement we went inside. There were families at the tables who seemed to be enjoying their meal, and with the location between a gym and a movie theater, you would expect it to be pretty full inside on a weekend. Our second warning should have been the cashier pointing to a chicken wrap and cheesesteak sandwich when asked what was good. If you have the word HOT DOG in your name, then you would think hot dogs would be your signature products. Maybe she was trying to tell us something.
I wish we had listened.
We ordered the Famous “Ripper” hot dog and the LA Alley Dog with a side order of Jumbo Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers and out of curiosity we wanted to try the Deep fried Bacon on A Stick and Deep Fried PB & J.
It was like being kids again.
Then the meal arrived.
According to the menu the Famous "Ripper" hot dog is “Authentic New Jersey import all beef fryer dog, topped with our secret “under the big top” spicy relish”. What arrived on the plate however, was the saddest shriveled hot dog slathered in what appeared to be mustard. If hot dogs had Beauty Pageants this one would of been kicked out for being to old and anorexic.
The LA Alley dog was better disguised - "L.A. Alley Dog - Deep fryer all beef bacon-wrapped dog topped with ketchup, mustard, grilled onions, guacamole, grilled peppers, mayonnaise and sliced jalapenos." It definitly looked like something you could find in an L.A. alley. Let me start off by saying there was no taste of ketchup or mustard. The guacamole was unseasoned and tasted of the store bought processed variety. Being a fan of guacamole it’s always a let down when you find what you have with your meal is not up to par. The grilled onion were sad and limp. The sliced jalapenos lacked any flavor or kick.
I’m not sure if overcooking the bacon is a health issue pre-caution but the finish line for “cooked bacon” was past many times over. That could just be the results of being deep fried. The hot dog was drier than the High Desert heat outside and every ounce of moisture had been sapped from the poor thing.
The only decent bacon was on the Jalapeno Poppers. Three large jalapeno wrapped in bacon, stuffed with cream cheese and deep fried, there aren’t many things that can go wrong. Apparently there are. If the cream cheese has no flavor, you might as well be eating bacon and jalapenos. Some people enjoy jalapenos, but if your jalapenos aren’t fresh, then what's the point of it all? A lump of unappetizing food wrapped in bacon that makes you wish you had gone home for lunch. The jalapenos came with a “Very Berry” sauce, which was essentially jelly.
The cashier had forgotten our order of the chocolate covered bacon. This item was more of a curiosity. It’s not often we see bacon covered products so we had to try. I went up and reminded her of the order. For my own amusement, while I was up there, I ordered a deep fried PB & J sandwich. Why? As a child the only thing I ever wanted was a deep fried PB & J sandwich with some ice cream. Being an adult now, no one was gonna stop me from having one. So I ordered it. With gusto I might add.
"Applewood smoked bacon on a stick dipped in milk chocolate", is what the menu states. Fried meat on a stick dipped in chocolate. WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Oh, how little we learn. There’s really no purpose in describing the type of bacon used if you cook it past the point of having flavor. As the photo we have shows, this is not dipped, but drizzled. Drizzled in what taste, as well as looks, like dark chocolate. And starts with an H and ends with an S and might sound the same as Mershey’s Mockolate Syrup.
The only appetizing item for the meal was the deep fried PB & J. "A traditional PB & J dipped in a dessert tempura batter and deep fried golden brown. Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon." Sounds like a treat. Any child will tell you that the peanut butter to jelly ratio is firmly debated. That playground wars have been fought over the topic. Friendships have been made and ruined on the type of bread that should be used. Crust or no crust. Cut in halves or in triangles. With love notes from mom or without.
Personally for me the peanut butter was on the higher side, the jelly on the thin side, but no one could deny it was not a tasty treat. The ice cream was a nice touch (just I had imagined it would be as a child). The bread they used was nice, fluffy and warm. It was definitely the least disappointing item of our meal. If you are of the variety who prefers an equal or more amount of jelly on your PB & J, you may want to stay clear, as this dessert item hangs dangerously close on being a peanut butter only product.
If you are in the mood for a hot dog go to Costco. For a buck fifty they do 'em right. The carnival is just passing through town trying to make what money it can before it closes and moves on to the next town.