Friday, February 22, 2008

Vendors Jailed in LA for Grilling Bacon Hot Dogs

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of Feb. 25, 2008

By LA Weekly\Daniel Hernandez
February 6, 2008

As she speaks, a customer approaches, peering at her meat bin. "No bacon?" "No bacon," sighs apologetically, in accented English. "They don't let me." She means police and L.A. health-department inspectors...

The grilled bacon, twisted around a wiener, is topped with grilled onions and a mountaintop of diced tomatoes, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. Then one whole grilled green poblano chile is plopped impossibly on top.

[Palacios] would love to sell bacon-wrapped hot dogs — trust her — but a trip last year to the women's county jail, a trip she says officials orchestrated to "make an example" of her, finally pushed her to give up the bacon and illegal grilling device she used for so long. Instead, she prepares dogs the only way the county Environmental Health Department currently allows, by boiling or steaming. Not grilling. And grilling is the only way to make a classic L.A. bacon-wrapped hot dog.

Last May, she was sentenced to 45 days in county jail for repeatedly violating food codes. Once out, Palacios and her companeros on the streets of the Fashion District formed an advocacy group to protest what they call harassment on the part of police and inspectors, fully aware that they are fighting an uphill battle.

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