Sunday, July 23, 2017

From The Better-Late-Than-Never Department: Happy [Belated] National Hot Dog Day 2017

First, this post should have appeared in this blog midweek past on July 19, 2017. Somehow, this addled blogger was positive that he had read (somewhere) that Sunday, July 23, 2017 was National Hot Dog Day. Duh! Not even close. This blogger likes mustard on his dogs, but he is not a foodie making the distinction between yellow and brown mustard. In fact the blogger has been in Texas long enough to pursue chili (without beans — con carne) as a hot dog topping. Hold the mustard or (yuck) relish. This blogger had a choice of two hot-dog-only restaurants, but one (Man Bites Dog) has gone OOB (out of business) and the other (Frank!) is located downtown and if the traffic don't get you, the lack of parking will. Man Bites Dog offered a choice of hot dogs: the Buffalo Hottie, the Beer Brat, the Abe Froman (Chicago-style), the Greek dog (lamb sausage), the Cuban hot dog, the Reuben dog, yada yada yada. Frank! offers a more cosmopolitan menu: a Chicago dog, a Sonoran dog, yada yada yada. Or, closer to this blogger is one of the ubiquitous Sonic outlets: Chicago dog, New York dog, Chili Cheese Coney Dog (both footlong and regular), and a corn dog. Now, chew a handful of anti-acid tabs. If this is a (fair & balanced) tour of regional cooked sausage cuisine, so be it.

[x Esquire]
There Is Only One Way To Eat A Hot Dog
By Sarah Rense

TagCrowd cloud of the following piece of writing

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There is one acceptable way to eat a hot dog: with brown mustard.

You can get in the weeds with a lot of hot dog content. Is a hot dog a sandwich? (No.) What's the best way to prepare a hot dog? (Roasted over a bonfire, if you've got one.) Should you be okay with the amount of intestine in your hot dog? (Eh, your call.) But to do something as destructive as cover a perfectly cooked hot dog—toughened on the outside, streaked with char, oozying with juicy goodness—with yellow mustard or ketchup is to poop all over the sanctity of flame-kissed meat. Because a hot dog's savory, salty flavor shouldn't be sugar-coated, literally, with watery tomato sauce. It shouldn't be doused with yellow mustard, which is basically a pitcher of vinegar, a cup of Splenda, and a pinch of mustard seed mixed together. Relish is fine, but also looks like snot and again, is too sweet.

Just resist the ultra-American urge of: If it is available for me to eat, and especially if it comes from an easy-to-squeeze container, I'm gonna eat it, and keep it simple.

They do this thing in Chicago where they dump yellow mustard, relish, tomato, onion, pickles, and peppers onto a hot dog before shoving it into a bun, as if to hide the hot dog taste in a shameful array of acidic vegetables. I tried it. Not once, but twice, was I loaded into a car in the North Chicago suburbs and driven to a Portillo's, a family-friendly chain known for its dogs and chocolate cake milk shakes, fed a hot dog, and then forced to concede that yes, a Chicago-style hot dog with all the fixins is good, if you're in the mood for a salad. You know what I was in the mood for? A hot dog.

"It's definitely about the toppings. There's a saying here in Chicago that is: You run the hot dog through the garden," Portillo's marketing manager Marc Trevino says, successfully not marketing his product to me. Here's another saying: No.

So, mustard. Brown mustard (sometimes known as deli mustard) is a sinfully spiced pairing of tang and bite. It is the grown-ass condiment. It doesn't double as an ice cream topping.

David Dwoskin, president of Davis Food, makes Cleveland's Authentic Stadium Mustard (not to be confused with Bertman's Original Ball Park Mustard), also known as the best brown mustard that'll ever zig-zag across the top of your hot dog. (How good is Stadium Mustard? NASA took it on two different missions. IN SPACE.) For 48 years, Dwoskin has tasted every batch of mustard brewed up in his factory before it gets packed, ensuring each heavenly concoction tastes as it should, which is good. "Put my mustard on most anything and it will taste great," he says, and then offers two examples: a baked potato and an orange marmalade sauce over chicken, both of which I will have to take his word on. For now, I just want the hot dog, grilled, with brown mustard.

Anyway, happy [Belated] National Hot Dog Day. # # #

[Sarah Rense is Assistant Editor at Esquire magazine. She began as a digital journalist at Esquire in 2015 before assuming an editorial position in 2016. Rense received a BS (journalism) from Northwestern University.]

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