El Manantial is a mobile restaurant and, like the more permanent places that sell Sonoran hot dogs, it is two separate kitchens: one where tacos, burros, caramelos, tortas and quesadillas are made, another dedicated strictly to hot dogs. The former is a truck, the latter a small trailer.
I consider El Manantial’s Sonoran hot dog to be among the city’s best: an all-beef frank swaddled in bacon, nestled in a fresh bun, and dressed with the full galaxy of condiments – tomatoes, beans, mustard, mayo and very hot jalapeno sauce. As is customary in the Old Pueblo, each hot dog is accompanied by a roasted guero pepper, especially wonderful here because it also is wrapped in smoky bacon. As happens on the wiener, the cooking process glues the bacon to the outside of the pepper, creating a lusty laminate of chewy pork and firm-walled vegetable. The bite of the pepper is offset by a droplet of creamy melted cheese stuffed inside the pod.
Because it has no foundation and is located in a vacant lot, El Manantial has no permanent address. It has been in its current spot for quite a while and it is extremely popular, so I strongly suggest you head for Park Avenue and 36th Street to check it out. If it’s gone, track it down.