Monday, January 18, 2010

The Chicago Dog

Peter sent me a link to a Chowhound reference to a little hot dog stand in Berkeley that features Chicago style hot dogs. The photo of the stand is very reminiscent of the stands where I scarfed down a dog or two-at-a-time in my youth. I look forward to trying it out on my next trip to the Bay Area, but not without some reservation.

As I replied to Peter, the Chicago dog I've encountered in California is essentially a rebuilt version of the one familiar to me. The only place outside of Chicago that I have found it's true incarnation is at an annual stand at the L.A. County Fair in Pomona every September. Other stands in the L.A. area that offer a Chicago style dog generally offer a polish sausage as their basic ingredient. I like Polish, Hungarian, German and many other sausages, but a Chicago dog is a wiener, and industrial standard wieners seldom have the right blend of spicy mystery meat in a tight tube that pops its juice when you first bite into it that is required in a good Chicago dog.

Today's dogs can be tasty, but I don't rate any as better than L.A.'s Original Tommy's Famous, which is similar to a Chicago dog but with added chili and cortidos. The original Chicago, like many other sinful sandwiches in the Midwest, includes French fries in the bun. As you know, taking the mixed flavors on the palate in each bite is a different experience than taking a bite of this then a bite of that, and it's amazing how big a bite a mouth can manage.

A hot dog is one thing, a chili dog is another, and a Chicago dog is something else, again. And I was never able to eat just one.


At January 20, 2010 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vienna all beef, on steamed buns,, I liked the poppyseed buns the best. My fav was with onions, mustard, tomatoes and sport peppers. Then som salt or celery saltsprinkiled on all, and a cold rootbeer to finish it off...
Back in the day, they were 25 cents with fries..


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