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-   -   Your best experience eating a hot dog (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=881141)

Czarcasm 08-28-2019 10:12 AM

Your best experience eating a hot dog
 
Not just what kind of dog, but where you had it, what you put on it etc.
Hot dogs, frankfurters, sausage dogs, even veggie dogs.

Mine was at this little stand outside the hotel I was staying at in Chicago for some sort of Dope gathering. I ordered my first Chicago dog, thinking it would tide me over until lunchtime. Holy crap-it came with everything! It was like a salad with a perfectly cooked humongous Vienna Beef hot dog in the middle. Onions, various greenery, long-sliced pickles, peppers and ghod knows what else. It was delicious. I have tried to find its equal here in Oregon, but no dice.

You?

Procrustus 08-28-2019 10:16 AM

At the Seattle Mariners' stadium two years ago I had a perfect jalapeno cheese brat. With some onions. Nothing else. I'd go to a game just for that.

ThelmaLou 08-28-2019 10:28 AM

When my parents and I first moved to San Antonio in 1964, we were really broke. We stayed at the $3 motel (anyone remember those?) for at least a month til we found a house. One day we went to a children's playground with rides called Kiddie Park that had been there since the 1920s. It had a snack stand. The hot dogs were probably $.25. I was 15 and had always been timid about food-- not exactly a picky eater, but not willing to try unfamiliar things.

There at Kiddie Park I encountered the Hot Dog with Chili, Cheese, Mustard & Onions. <Cue trumpet fanfare, harps, and choirs of angels> My taste buds sighed, curled up, then cried out in ecstasy. The onions, the cheese, the (canned) chili, the cheap hot dog, and even cheaper (toasted) bun. And finally the yellow ball Kiddie Park mustard... the theme that united it all.

I became a woman that day.

We went to that hot dog stand often during those weeks before we found a house. Kiddie Park recently went all Upscale and got moved from the hallowed, ancient location to an area with more parking. Another landmark gone...

Ukulele Ike 08-28-2019 10:53 AM

Downtown Cleveland had decent NYC-style hot dog carts back in the mid-70s. Then somebody brought in new carts with bright blue awnings that offered chili dogs. DAMN good chili dogs. That was my first eye-opening experience.

Living in NYC the cart franks have only been so-so....I generally opt for a split hot sausage (a Polish Boy knockoff) with kraut, brown mustard, and that goopy onion sauce. And the chili dogs at Nathan’s in Coney Island are a only a pale shadow of the old Cleveland dog.

For a TRANSCENDANT frank, Chicago is your town. I first had a fully-loaded at either Byron’s on Halsted or Ziggy’s on Clark (both long gone), and all over town since. Fatso’s on the West Side does an excellent version now, but they grill the franks instead of steaming them.

A joint in Brooklyn offered a “Chicago style dog” several years ago, but it disappointed. Better to try to make one yourself:

Steam (or grill) an plump all-beef frank, the closest you can find to a Vienna Beef.
Place it on a poppy-seed bun, if you can get one.
Spread with yellow mustard (Plochman’s is a Chicago brand), neon-green relish (I skip this; I hate relish), chopped raw onion, a slim dill pickle spear, thin wedges of ripe tomato; a few dashes of celery salt, and top with 3-4 hot sport peppers (buy a jar on your next Chicago trip, or online)
Serve with fresh thin fries and a can of Old Style.

terentii 08-28-2019 11:03 AM

Chicago-style dogs with the works, including hot peppers and pickle spears, at a place in the shadow of the Sears tower (I kept waiting to hear "Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger!"), and from a vendor on Bourbon Street in New Orleans on my 30th birthday.

The summer before I went back to college, I had a job as a temp clerk in a hospital, where I consumed mass quantities of coffee all day. After I got off work, I'd walk the two miles to the nearest Target, where I'd have a bacon cheeseburger, french fries, cole slaw, a bowl of chili with crackers, and a large cherry Coke. But every now and then, for the sake of variety, I'd have jumbo hot dogs instead of the burger. I got to know the guy behind the counter, and he'd butter and grill the buns for me.

Back in the '90s, Taco Bell opened stands that sold hot dogs and burritos in the Moscow metro. I bought a lot of those on my way to and from work. My hot dogs would always be loaded with ketchup and neon-green relish.

It's amazing such things could be so important to you that you remember them fondly decades later.

At home nowadays, I sometimes make chili cheese dogs: all-beef jumbos inside grilled buttered buns, topped with homemade Cincinnatti-style chili, chopped onions, grated Cheddar, and yellow mustard. Yum! :o

Chefguy 08-28-2019 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Czarcasm (Post 21829917)
Not just what kind of dog, but where you had it, what you put on it etc.
Hot dogs, frankfurters, sausage dogs, even veggie dogs.

Mine was at this little stand outside the hotel I was staying at in Chicago for some sort of Dope gathering. I ordered my first Chicago dog, thinking it would tide me over until lunchtime. Holy crap-it came with everything! It was like a salad with a perfectly cooked humongous Vienna Beef hot dog in the middle. Onions, various greenery, long-sliced pickles, peppers and ghod knows what else. It was delicious. I have tried to find its equal here in Oregon, but no dice.

You?

Yeah, Chicago dog, all the way (meaning 'with everything'), but it was in Anchorage, of all places.

Also, my own invention (maybe) of a grilled hot dog with chunky peanut butter and sriracha. Some good stuff, right there.

Ike Witt 08-28-2019 11:22 AM

Probably the first hotdogs I had at the Forum in Montreal. Those were so freaking good.

Rough Draft 08-28-2019 11:25 AM

I've been on numerous camping trips where a hot dog dinner was like manna from heaven. On a cold night, Hebrew National dogs roasted over a campfire and served on a bun with mustard is as good a dinner as I could ever hope for. Especially after a few beers have been consumed.

kayaker 08-28-2019 11:26 AM

My gf grew up near Munhall, PA and a regular family dinner excursion involved going to Jim's Drive In for their "famous" hotdogs they've served since 1927.

I recently obtained some of their sauce via mail-order and was able to duplicate a Jim's Special Hot Dog with sauce, onions, and cheese. They were delicious and brought a tear to my gf's eye (maybe it was the onions).

jz78817 08-28-2019 11:30 AM

nothing tops a Coney dog in Detroit, for me. Not picky on whether it's from National, Lafayette, or American.

not what you'd expect 08-28-2019 11:31 AM

This place called Umai has a yummy Bacon Cubano dog that I love.

https://umaihotdogs.com/menu/

Man, now I really want one today.

teela brown 08-28-2019 11:34 AM

I occasionally visit a German deli in Mountain View and always buy a couple of pounds of frankfurters (don't call them "hot dogs" - it pisses off the butchers).

These franks are delectable and subtle - made of pork and veal and spiced with mace and lightly smoked. But all that subtlety is lost if you put one on a bun and cover it with toppings.

I like to steam/grill them slightly, then cut them into chunks and serve them on a plate with a dollop of good quality mustard on the side for dipping.

Apart from that, I don't think I've ever visited any really stellar hot dog joints. Your descriptions of Chicago dogs are mouth-watering. I think I'd go to Chicago for their dogs alone.

silenus 08-28-2019 11:40 AM

My first grilled Dodger Dog, at my first Dodger game with my father. I must have been 10/11 at the time, so '65/'66. Mustard, relish and onion from one of those crank dispensers. Heaven on a bun, and I'm pretty sure the Dodgers won, too!

Crotalus 08-28-2019 11:40 AM

First of all, I have always preferred hot dogs with no toppings, just a dog and a bun. When I was growing up, the dogs were usually boiled, with an occasional charcoal grilled one at cookouts.

When I was about 10 years old, my family got stuck in a traffic jam on our way to Ocean City, Maryland. As we crept along, we came to a Howard Johnson's restaurant. We went in and had lunch, and I ordered a hot dog. It was cooked on a griddle, the bun was top-sliced, the sides of the bun had been buttered and the bun warmed on the griddle. It was heavenly. I still love them cooked just that way.

Ukulele Ike 08-28-2019 11:43 AM

Papaya King in uptown Manhattan offers a beef frank with cole slaw, which is surprisingly delicious. I can’t remember if this originated in Pittsburgh or Atlanta.

Crif Dogs on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village does dogs with sour cream and thin slices of ripe avocado.

There are both amaze balls. Not as good as a standard Chi-town dog, but still, worth seeking out.

Quimby 08-28-2019 01:24 PM

Would it be cheating if I said it was in Frankfurt? Technically outside of Frankfurt and technically it was Rindswurst.

Son of a Rich 08-28-2019 01:29 PM

I once bought a package of the cheapest hot dogs at the store, less than a dollar, and they were delicious. I searched through the trash for the wrapper in vain, and of course I've never been able to find them again.

That Don Guy 08-28-2019 01:36 PM

A couple of years ago, from a street vendor cart...at Cambridge University, which is pretty much the last place I expected to see hot dogs, much less hot dog carts

eenerms 08-28-2019 02:12 PM

When I lived in Detroit during high school, took the bus downtown to eat coney dogs with extra onions.

terentii 08-28-2019 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by That Don Guy (Post 21830375)
A couple of years ago, from a street vendor cart...at Cambridge University, which is pretty much the last place I expected to see hot dogs, much less hot dog carts

Cambridge, England, or Cambridge, Massachusetts? :dubious:

carrps 08-28-2019 02:28 PM

It probably wasn't the best I've ever eaten, but the most memorable and most fondly remembered -- the chili dog at the Orange Julius stand in Westwood Village. It was just a counter right on the street with about four stools. I think they just lowered a steel door when they were closed. It was between the Sweet Tree on the corner (which is now Stan's Donuts) and Tomnoddy Faire (which is my most regretfully no-longer-around shop ... with the Temple of Good Things and A Change of Hobbit).

People are probably going to throw up in their mouths a little, but it had parmesan cheese on top. And it was awesome.

pulykamell 08-28-2019 02:32 PM

I grew up with various types of all-beef Chicago dogs (not all are dragged through the garden, but even the usual one doesn’t have anything more exotic than onions, relish, tomato, and a pickle spear as the vegetation on it. Yes, optional hot sport peppers if you want. And I eat the pickle spear separately anyway.) So that’s always been the standard for me (no tomato at the hot dog stands of my youth.)

For me, it’s a char-grilled Sahlen’s natural casing pork-and-beef hot dog at Ted’s (Buffalo, with an outpost in Phoenix.) With the works, which there is mustard, relish, onion, their special hot sauce (which is really more like ketchup than anything) and a pickle spear. First time I had it back in 2006, I was smitten. Love those damned things.

carrps 08-28-2019 02:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by not what you'd expect (Post 21830080)
This place called Umai has a yummy Bacon Cubano dog that I love.

https://umaihotdogs.com/menu/

Man, now I really want one today.

Oh, I hope they open one on the westside...so I don't have to drive to Northridge or Topanga.

Aspenglow 08-28-2019 03:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Czarcasm (Post 21829917)
Not just what kind of dog, but where you had it, what you put on it etc.
Hot dogs, frankfurters, sausage dogs, even veggie dogs.

Mine was at this little stand outside the hotel I was staying at in Chicago for some sort of Dope gathering. I ordered my first Chicago dog, thinking it would tide me over until lunchtime. Holy crap-it came with everything! It was like a salad with a perfectly cooked humongous Vienna Beef hot dog in the middle. Onions, various greenery, long-sliced pickles, peppers and ghod knows what else. It was delicious. I have tried to find its equal here in Oregon, but no dice.

You?

I have nothing to contribute to the topic of this thread as hot dogs are not and have never been a food of transcendence for me. No judgment on anyone commenting in this thread! My hot dog tastes are plebeian, so I won't bore you with them.

However, as to your quest to find a good Chicago dog here in Oregon, I offer Junkyard Dogs, now known as Junkyard Extreme Burgers & Brats, just a little to the north of Junction City on Highway 99 West. I sampled one at the exhortations of a good friend who was from Chicago and who raved it was the best she'd had since she left there. It seemed right, but I had no frame of reference. Still, she raved.

It's a goofy place. Watching it elbow its way over the years into becoming a proper little joint from its humble beginnings has been fun. The turning point seemed to be when Guy Fieri featured them on his Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, but don't let that stop you. The food is still good.

Sir T-Cups 08-28-2019 03:38 PM

A genuine Carter's Hot Dog from the man himself after waiting in line outside Dill St. at 2:30 in the morning in the middle of winter.

His hot dogs were absolutely loaded with cheese, and topped with chili and onions. I would get at least two at a time and usually more.

His recent death really, honestly kind of hit me hard.

Royal Nonesutch 08-28-2019 04:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terentii (Post 21830029)
...and from a vendor on Bourbon Street in New Orleans on my 30th birthday.

Doubtless a savory from the esteemed and venerable "Lucky Dog" concern.
-----------------------------
"Hot dog vendors had an image problem alreadt without one of them passing out in the street in front of a whorehouse"

J.K. Toole

Wheelz 08-28-2019 04:18 PM

At Comiskey Park - not the old one, but back when the new one was still called Comiskey Park - there was a Best's Kosher cart out in the center field concourse. The quarter-pound jumbo dogs were delicious to begin with with. Then they'd leave them on the grill just a little bit past done so the casing would have the slightest bit of char on it. Nestled in a fresh Gonella roll and generously topped with sweet caramelized onions... God, those were good. Sliding down into to right-field bleachers to chow down on a warm Sunday afternoon, with an ice-cold beer to wash it down. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

pulykamell 08-28-2019 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terentii (Post 21830450)
Cambridge, England, or Cambridge, Massachusetts? :dubious:

I don't think there is a Cambridge University in Mass, so the UK, I would think.

terentii 08-28-2019 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulykamell (Post 21830671)
I don't think there is a Cambridge University in Mass, so the UK, I would think.

Quite right. The one in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is Harvard.

pulykamell 08-28-2019 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terentii (Post 21830683)
Quite right. The one in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is Harvard.

Speaking of, for whatever reason, I also fondly remember the $1 hot dogs (back in 1994) at Elsie's amidst Harvard's campus (it was somewhere just north of Winthrop House; looking at the map, would have been Mt. Auburn Street.) I took a summer class there and just loved those hot dogs. I don't know if it's just because they were cheap, or if it was the novelty of the New England-style hot dog split-top bun, which I have not experienced until then, but those hot dogs and Pinocchio's pizza are my two food memories of Cambridge, Mass.

Spud 08-28-2019 05:17 PM

I agree with Rough Draft that the best dogs are put on a stick and cooked on a campfire. It can actually be a hot dog, a brat, or basically any type of sausage. Let it kiss the flames and it is always wonderful no matter how it is dressed.

I'll admit a good part of it is probably the atmosphere and memories.

RealityChuck 08-28-2019 06:04 PM

I decided to try a Chicago hot dog when I was there, so I picked a place I spotted from the bus. It was great.

I later looked the place up (Portillo's) and discovered it was rated as one of the top ten restaurants in Chicago.

romansperson 08-28-2019 06:13 PM

The hot dogs sold at my college's hockey games, circa 1981-82. Cheap, simple, but somehow delicious. Good times.

Qadgop the Mercotan 08-28-2019 06:18 PM

At the old Prange's department store lunch counter in Sheboygan, WI back in the very early 1960's. OMG they were delicious. None better since!

Sadly, Prange's is no more. First, their old store collapsed due to chronic seepage, and their replacement store along with the rest of the chain got bought out in the 1980's or so.

seal_cleaner 08-28-2019 07:08 PM

Tasty Dog, Elk Grove Village Illinois. Chicago dog with everything.

jnglmassiv 08-28-2019 07:19 PM

In grade school, my brown bag lunches were usually peanut butter & jelly or American cheese or bologna. But a few times a year, Mom would simmer some cheap hot dogs and dress them with ketchup, mustard & sweet relish before rolling up in waxed paper. She isn't from Illinois and didn't know the Chicago hot dog orthodoxy and I didn't know any better at the time but those were great. At some point, I was old enough to get two for lunch, awesome. If I may recommend pairing with a half pint of 2% milk..?

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 21830813)
I decided to try a Chicago hot dog when I was there, so I picked a place I spotted from the bus. It was great.

I later looked the place up (Portillo's) and discovered it was rated as one of the top ten restaurants in Chicago.

Some people lime to rip on Portillo's and loudly complain that it's all gone to hell since Dick Portillo 'sold out,' but I haven't seen it. They have fine representations of a lot of Chicago fadt foods: hot dogs, Polish sausage, Italian beef, Chicago chopped salad. Maybe not the best at every one but at least better than average. And you can get a beer.

ThelmaLou 08-28-2019 07:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spud (Post 21830744)
I agree with Rough Draft that the best dogs are put on a stick and cooked on a campfire. It can actually be a hot dog, a brat, or basically any type of sausage. Let it kiss the flames and it is always wonderful no matter how it is dressed.

I'll admit a good part of it is probably the atmosphere and memories.

I have been known to spear a hot dog on a fork and cook it over the gas flame on the stove. Not much atmosphere, but no bugs either.

P-man 08-28-2019 07:39 PM

I used to look forward to the hot dogs at our county fair every year; the chili is still the best I've had. Alas, they stopped having the fair when I was 9 or 10. The ones we roasted over a fire at my grandparents house were excellent, as were the ones from the original Nathan's in Coney Island.

Wesley Clark 08-28-2019 07:39 PM

I don't think I"ve ever had a truly 'great' hot dog. Most of them all taste the same.

I guess the best was a chili dog I had with nacho cheese on it.

Mahaloth 08-28-2019 07:40 PM

At the Sam's Club by us, they make Nathan's Hot Dogs. You can get it with little packs of sauerkraut.

My kids and I get dogs when we go to Sam's Club(not that often). It's always a highlight and is probably my best hot dog memory.

Good dogs, too.

jz78817 08-28-2019 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mahaloth (Post 21830933)
At the Sam's Club by us, they make Nathan's Hot Dogs. You can get it with little packs of sauerkraut.

My kids and I get dogs when we go to Sam's Club(not that often). It's always a highlight and is probably my best hot dog memory.

Good dogs, too.

we used to have Alexander & Hornung beef hot dogs in the Detroit area, until they went bust. Nathan's and Hebrew National are the closest I've ever been able to find.

pulykamell 08-28-2019 08:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jnglmassiv (Post 21830905)
In grade school, my brown bag lunches were usually peanut butter & jelly or American cheese or bologna. But a few times a year, Mom would simmer some cheap hot dogs and dress them with ketchup, mustard & sweet relish before rolling up in waxed paper. She isn't from Illinois and didn't know the Chicago hot dog orthodoxy and I didn't know any better at the time but those were great. At some point, I was old enough to get two for lunch, awesome. If I may recommend pairing with a half pint of 2% milk..?

Some people lime to rip on Portillo's and loudly complain that it's all gone to hell since Dick Portillo 'sold out,' but I haven't seen it. They have fine representations of a lot of Chicago fadt foods: hot dogs, Polish sausage, Italian beef, Chicago chopped salad. Maybe not the best at every one but at least better than average. And you can get a beer.

Portillo's is a great place to get a baseline Chicago hot dog. Most importantly, they use a natural casing dog, which a most of the ma & pop places in my neighborhood don't use, which is very disappointing to me, as nothing has quite the snap of a natural casing dog (when prepared properly.) It's a delicious, dependable Chicago style hot dog, fully dressed to seven ingredient Vienna beef specifications. If you want a benchmark for that type of fully dressed dog, Portillo's is perfect. I personally prefer my hot dogs with normal relish (not the nuclear green stuff) and sans tomato, and I can live without the poppyseed bun (so, basically a Gene's and Jude's or Jimmy's Red Hot), but when I want to go all the way, Portillo's scratches that itch. (And then there's a few places that will even add fresh cukes, lettuce, and even green peppers to your dogs for a true "dragged through the garden" style.)

Jophiel 08-28-2019 08:38 PM

Not too far from my office is a regionally well-known butcher shop that makes its sausages on premises. They have, according to their website, a "National Grand Champion Beef Wiener" which they sell from a hotdog cart during the summer months and, if there's one thing better than a well-dressed Chicago dog, it's a well-dressed Chicago dog that was freshly created. The first time I had one I immediately knew that this was the best hotdog I'd had so far. Even packaged, the dogs from there have ruined me to the store brands.

Sternvogel 08-30-2019 10:33 PM

In 1972, my family (parents, three siblings, and I) took a vacation trip from Ohio to New England. On a rainy afternoon in Rhode Island, we were hungry, and pulled off the highway after seeing that food was available at the exit. What greeted us was a ramshackle stand run by some hippie types and emblazoned with a sign that consisted simply of the word EAT spray-painted on a wooden board.

As it was pouring too hard for my dad to try to drive, we decided to take a chance, and each of us ordered a hot dog and drink, as those were the only items on the menu. The wieners were cooked just right over an open fire, and we were satisfied as we got back into the car. By then, the skies had cleared enough to allow us to see the large restaurant atop the hill just above us!

digs 08-30-2019 10:57 PM

Just the other day, I had my first "Pronto Pup" at the Minnesota State Fair. I ate it uncondimented; it didn't need anything.

(Am I from Minnesota? No, but I try to make it to their fair... it's huge, educational, cultured... and tasty!)

Oh, but emotionally my best dog was at a Milwaukee Braves game with my dad. We yelled at a vendor, who pulled a paintbrush out of a bucket full of dark brown mustard and slathered our hot dogs before handing them over.

Now, I've never liked mustard, but being with my dad and a champion team and the good ol' hot dog guy made it wonderful.

terentii 08-30-2019 11:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by digs (Post 21834391)
Just the other day, I had my first "Pronto Pup" at the Minnesota State Fair. I ate it uncondimented; it didn't need anything.

For a really good Pronto Pup, you have to get there early in the morning, when the cooking oil is still fresh. They're superb then; later in the day, not so much.

The only thing I'd put on a Pronto Pup is mustard, yellow or brown.

Damn, now I want a Pronto Pup! :(

Ukulele Ike 08-30-2019 11:52 PM

The Yankee Doodle Coffee Shop on Broadway in New Haven offered “pigs in blankets:” split franks stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, on a roll. It was one of my favorite nosh stops during my college days, although I usually opted for a couple of (McDonald’s sized) fresh hamburgers. Closed in 2008.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yank...le_Coffee_Shop

MacCat 09-02-2019 08:11 AM

Thumann's natural casing pork & beef hotdog, on a buttered and grilled top split bun, with good sauerkraut and A. Bauer's horseradish mustard. Two...

puzzlegal 09-02-2019 08:26 AM

I can't say I've ever had a transcendent hot dog experience. Maybe not liking mustard, hot peppers, and sauerkraut has something to do with that. But
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike (Post 21830116)
Papaya King in uptown Manhattan offers a beef frank with cole slaw, which is surprisingly delicious. ...

I like the Papaya King Frank with pickle relish, and a side of a virgin Pina colada.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spud (Post 21830744)
I agree with Rough Draft that the best dogs are put on a stick and cooked on a campfire. It can actually be a hot dog, a brat, or basically any type of sausage. Let it kiss the flames and it is always wonderful no matter how it is dressed.

I'll admit a good part of it is probably the atmosphere and memories.

Being hungry helps, too. But I do like hot dogs made on a grill, and allowed to burn just a little.

QuickSilver 09-02-2019 09:08 AM

Lafleurs in Montreal. They were steamed, pale pink franks in a gummy hot dog roll. Tons of yellow mustard, relish and onions. Entirely delicious and unsatisfying at the same time. You could eat 4 of them and still barely feel like you've eaten. But yeah, when I think hot dogs to this day, I think Lafleurs in Ville St. Pierre, Montreal.


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