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Stadium food: How to make the Staples Center Mac 'N' Cheese dog

This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's February 27 Entertainment Issue. Subscribe today!

Josiah Citrin's Mac 'N' Cheese hot dog

Staples Center
Cost: $9.50
Estimated calories: 468


DAVE'S DOGHOUSE HAS been a hit at LA's Staples Center, selling 600 to 800 hot dogs a game at its three stands around the arena. But these dogs come with a pedigree: They were created by a chef with two Michelin stars, Josiah Citrin of Mélisse, one of Zagat's top restaurants in LA since 2003. (He's also a cousin of the Doghouse's founder, Dave Cheren.) Here Citrin dishes on his amazingly simple recipe for a four-dog night:

Does a chef with two Michelin stars actually eat hot dogs?
Why not? Generally, people usually think fine-dining chefs eat that kind of food all the time. But hot dogs are great. We try to control how much mustard is on it, how much relish, create those bites that I find are the perfect balance. You taste the bun, the hot dog, the mustard, the relish. The chili dog is also really good.

What is your take on the direction stadium food has taken?
I think food culture in America has completely evolved. Everyone expects more from food, and the arenas want people to stay and eat there. But with everything going on outside of them, the competition is steep.

How does getting a hot dog stand in Staples Center rank among your accomplishments?
I was really stoked when it happened. I've been going to Lakers games since I was a youngster. It's fun to be able to feed lots of people instead of 80 people a night. I think it's a great product for 1,000 people.

You blend in Stouffer's to your mac and cheese mix. Why Stouffer's?
It's kind of shocking, right? It's just one of those things you grew up with. It gives me that balance where I can keep it consistently very strong [at three different stands]. I don't want to overcomplicate the recipe. I want it to be really good.


MAC 'N' CHEESE HOT DOG

Ingredients
1 lb. Stouffer's macaroni and cheese
8 cups water
1 tbsp. salt
½ lb. macaroni pasta
2 cups aged sharp cheddar sauce
½ lb. shredded Parmesan
½ lb. shredded sharp cheddar
4 all-beef hot dogs
4 Hawaiian hot dog buns
2 tbsp. butter
Yellow mustard
Bacon crumbles
Diced onions

Instructions
Warm Stouffer's macaroni and cheese by following instructions on package.
Pour 8 cups of water into a large saucepan, add salt and bring to a boil.
Once water is boiling, place macaroni in water and stir occasionally until tender.
Remove pasta from water and drain.
Place pasta back in the pan and add sharp cheddar sauce; stir until combined.
Add shredded sharp cheddar and shredded Parmesan cheese.
Add warm Stouffer's macaroni and cheese to pasta mixture.
Cook hot dogs on flattop/grill.
Melt butter in a skillet; once melted, place hot dog bun on skillet face up and toast both sides.
Place cooked hot dog in bun.
Top with mac and cheese mix, yellow mustard, bacon topping and diced onions.
Serves four.