The Chili Cheese Hot Dog @ Sac’s Tasty Hot Dogs, Vallejo

The Chili Cheese Hot Dog @ Sac’s Tasty Hot Dogs, Vallejo. Yes, there is a hot dog underneath all of that chili.

In my tiny universe, I’ve long regarded Vallejo (and especially American Canyon) as the barrier between Napa and the East Bay. It’s that mundane stretch of Highway 29 that’s peppered with traffic lights and not much else — I believe I counted 13 lights in total on one of my trips back from Berkeley last year. If the drive from Napa to Berkeley was analogous to a cross-country road trip, Vallejo (and especially American Canyon) would be the worst part of the Midwest, the section of the United States that East Coasters and West Coasters tend to dismiss as “fly-over states.” Honestly, I wish this wasn’t the case, but I do have to acknowledge that Vallejo does offer a few gems: For one, who doesn’t love the addictive señorita bread from Starbread Bakery? And the pho at Pho #1 is the closest decent version that you’ll find near Napa, since Napa itself offers next to nothing on the Vietnamese front. And then there’s the beloved Sac’s Tasty Hot Dogs, a Vallejo institution since 1975, and a place where you’re likely to see a line at any time during the day. Sac’s Chili Cheese Hot Dog, pictured above, is the essence of honesty, an All-American knife-and-fork affair that doesn’t skimp. More importantly, the Schwarz all-beef franks snap.

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