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Conscious Comfort Food Headlines Otis Jackson's Soul Dog

Posted By Karen Young On May 25, 2011 @ 8:51 pm In Breakfast,Burgers, Hot Dogs & Sandwiches,Cuisine,Dinner,Eat,Featured,Food,Lunch,My Daily Find,Restaurants,spotlight | 3 Comments

BY KAREN YOUNG

It started with a “snap.” Yeah, you know the sound. It’s that juicy snap which occurs when you bite into a perfectly cooked hot dog. That’s what happened when I bit into an Otis Jackson’s Soul Dog—and I’m hooked.

(L-R) Original Soul Dog with collard green cucumber relish, sweet potato puree and bacon crumbles; Carolina Slaw Dog with chili, cole slaw and mustard; Mac & Cheeseness; Fried Chicken. PHOTOS: KAREN YOUNG

It’s soul food meets the hot dog (and sausages and fried chicken too) in the form of “conscious comfort food.” This fast casual Noho eatery is the brainchild of Don and Rasheeda Scott who own and operate the joint.

Don is a well known screenwriter with a degree from Williams College and two “Barbershop” films to his credit (among others). Rasheeda has a masters in social work and worked extensively in South Los Angeles. Otis Jackson is a guy who loved hot dogs and soul food and is the inspiration for the Scott’s creations. Well, he and Don’s mom, who ran a soul food restaurant in Cleveland for 35 years, and as Don says, “passed down her recipes with love.”

Otis Jackson’s Soul Dog stands apart from other hot dog eateries for a number of reasons. The hot dogs are custom made and contain no gluten, antibiotics, nitrates, preservatives or artificial colors. The buns are also made specially by a local artisan bakery. And the toppings, well, they are different than the average hot dog joint —just because they’ve got soul—and Don and Rasheeda, of course, who’ve perfected and created new recipe twists.

Husband and wife team Don and Rasheeda Scott own and operate Otis Jackson's Soul Dog.

Although hot dogs are the main draw, the menu also includes some mighty fine fried free range chicken which is all natural and prepared in non-allergenic peanut oil. It has a thick outer crust, but it’s not oily and is surprisingly moist. There’s also a select choice of sausages — spicy chicken andouille, pork bratwurst, veggie apple sage and veggie spicy chipotle.

On my visit with my frequent dining companion, my teen daughter, we decided to share the Big Otis Special which comes with a choice of any dog, fries, one side, one piece of fried chicken and a fountain drink for $13.99. We choose the Original Soul Dog with collard green cucumber relish, sweet potato puree and bacon crumbles and the Mac & Cheeseness (yes, that is how it is spelled) for our side. We also ordered one of the five Neo Soul Dogs—the Carolina Slaw Dog with chili, cole slaw and mustard. Although we did have our eye on the Mac Daddy Dog with mac & cheese, fried onions and diced bell peppers. Next time.

As I said, the first bite of the dogs was a “snap.” The Original Soul Dog is a wonderful combination of sweet and savory with the sweet potato puree mixing with the earthiness of the collard greens and the saltiness of the bacon. The Carolina Dog is a chili dog with a twist because of the cole slaw and the chili combination.

Fast casual service—order at the counter and they'll bring your order.

The mac & cheese side is simple and rich with three different cheeses and a crispy, browned top. Don also brought us a side of candied yams which is really a dessert masquerading as a vegetable. All I wanted was to pour it over french vanilla ice cream. In fact, I mentioned that to Don and Rasheeda and we started having a dessert brainstorming session about those yams.

Other sides include braised cabbage, black eyes peas, cole slaw, sweet potato fries, corn bread, chili cheese fries, and the granddaddy — loaded fries covered with mac & cheese, chili and more cheese.

For those who want more basic dogs, you can get the classics — choose beef or turkey with a choice of two toppings, a chili dog, bacon dog or the chow-kraut dog. Hot Dogs and sausages are priced $3.99 to $5.79. Additional toppings run .29 to $1.29 each. A chicken dinner includes two pieces of chicken, two sides and hot water corn bread for $10.99.

Located on Lankershim, just north of Magnolia in Noho.

On my visit the Gentry’s Fried Peach Pie was not available yet, but that is something else I’m looking forward to tasting. Special drinks include house brewed sweet tea and lavender iced tea.

There is inside and outside seating at Otis Jackson’s Soul Dog. The vibe inside is fun. Music plays and you may see some people even start to dance a little. Perhaps it’s the fun energy reflecting off the hand-painted mural that Don and Rasheedah had commissioned. Painted by local artists Steve Engels and his wife Michaela Tomassini, the mural dubbed “Ode to Ernie” is 16 feet wide and 8 feet high and based on the painting “Sugar Shack” by famed artist Ernie Barnes.

Oh, snap…I’m hungry again.

The Scotts commissioned local artists Steve Engels and his wife Michaela Tomassini to paint this 16 foot by 8 foot mural dubbed “Ode to Ernie” based on the painting "Sugar Shack" by famed artist Ernie Barnes. It's on the interior wall of Otis Jackson's Soul Dog.

Otis Jackson’s Soul Dog. 5166 Lankershim Blvd. Noho 818-980-6847. Open Mon-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Parking on the street and behind building.

Karen Young is the Founder/Editor of MY DAILY FIND. Email: karen@mydailyfind.com

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