Even if it may seem like a fad, Hot Cheetos as a topping isn't. Sure, that doesn't sound too different from how Orange County's new age dessert spots are sprinkling Fruity Pebbles or Frosted Flakes onto every kind of ice cream creation in sight, but here's the thing: no one would eat Fruity Pebbles or Frosted Flakes straight from the box just because. You'd eat them because they're there and you want to snack on something, not because your body and mind ever stop and go "DUDE, HOT CHEETOS!" (as sudden cravings tend to do).
But there's such a thing as Hot Cheeto addiction, where every time you walk through the chip aisle at Ralph's you have to say something like "Ooh, Hot Cheetos–I love those" to whoever's next to you (whether you know them or not).
Well, thank goodness for Pie Dog, huh? The Fullerton burger and hot dog joint excels in being cool (just look at their beer pong tables, arcade machine, and hard rock playlist), and they also make the craziest dishes that would be just at home at the OC Fair. Their Hot Cheeto burger is called Hotbox, and–besides Hot Cheetos–it includes a layer of soft mac n' cheese that lies on top of a thin, charcoaled patty. In pictures, the burger looks massive and likely to sentence you to life at the gym, but it's actually about the size of Umami Burger's truffle burger. In fact, I didn't feel uncomfortably full when I finished it, and that's a feat for someone who method-writes about gluttony.
The first bite is harmonious. The meat's richness marries well with the cheese and kick from the chips, though the chips in my burger were stale. But if you think about it, Hotbox is quite traditional: instead of jalapeño poppers or grilled peppers for spice and crunch, it has Hot Cheetos. In the place of a regular slice of cheese is the mac n' cheese, which functions in the same way but has a chewier texture.
While the Hot Cheetos and mac n' cheese are the burger's hook, however, the patty easily steals the show. Thin and moist, it has natural pockets that hold the cheese, balancing the meat and dairy with each bite–which, of course, have a smoky mist around them. When it's all done, you're left with pieces of mac n' cheese and Hot Cheetos that've fallen off during consumption, but that only indicates another excellent thing about this burger: you don't need to order side dishes.
Pie Dog is located at 229 E Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton.