Hot Doggery

Jonathan’s Recommended Hot Dog Stands 

My son Aaron and I are on a quest to enjoy the all-around tastiest, most memorable hot dog eating experience.  This is no small challenge since hot dogs vary from the terrible to the transcendent, from the awful (offal?) to the awesome.

Our criteria include the quality of the hot dog meat, the bun, the fixings, presentation aesthetics and – importantly – the overall ambience of the vendor.  From kitchen to kitsch, we judge the total experience.  (Unashamedly, I am drawn to offbeat, plucky and wacky hot dog stagecraft.)

With veneration for the many wonderful and yet-be-visited neighborhood hot dog stands, here is my Registry of Recommended Hot Dog Purveyors:

Boston, MA:

  • Speed’s Hot Dog Wagon (barbecued, messy quarter pound hot dogs on grilled buns smothered in onions and a “secret” chutney sauce; hold the onions)

Chicago, IL:

  • SuperDawg (kitschy drive-in serves up the famed Chicago dog)

Clifton, NJ:

  • Rutt’s Hut (order “a ripper” — deep fat fried until the crispy skin splits — with the “secret recipe” sweet relish)

Denver, CO:

East Bay, CA:

  • XOLO Tacqueria, Oakland (cavernous rooms seat locals shoveling huge orders of tasty, innovative taqueria-style dishes, including the famed Danger Dog, a large bacon wrapped hot dog with mayonnaise, mustard, pinto beans, cheese, avocado on a bolillo roll plus optional jalapenos)
  • Doggy-Style HotDogs, Alameda (The Doggyzilla, the house specialty, is a bratwurst with an Asian slaw, teriyaki sauce and seaweed with or without wasabi mayo; order waffle corn dogs for dessert)

Las Vegas, NV:

  • Buldogis Café (awesome, tasty, wonderful fusion hot dogs with Korean toppings: Bulgogi = grilled marinated beef, Asian slaw, onions, sesame seeds; Gang-Nam = roasted pork belly, cucumber, sesame seeds, seaweed; Hawaiian = pork belly, pineapple slaw; onions, Dijon mustard)

Los Angeles, CA:

  • Wurstkuche (experiment with a rabbit or an alligator hot dog; great fries with delicious dipping sauces)
  • Pink’s (noted for its chili dog with mustard & onions)
  • The Stand (order the messy Downtown L.A. Dog on a steamed bun, slathered with onions, bacon, mustard, ketchup and sour cream)

New York, NY:

  • Nathan’s Famous (unlike the anemic supermarket version, a Nathan’s crispy grilled hot dog at the Coney Island mothership is worth the trip)
  • Bark Hot Dogs (order the Bark Hot Dog, a grilled Austrian-style hot dog on a soft, grilled bun with decorative and sublime relish)

Philadelphia, PA:

  • Miller’s Twist (sublime all-beef dog encased in white cheese and pretzel dough, drenched in butter and salt)

San Francisco, CA:

  • Rosamunde Sausage Grill (try the bacon-wrapped Mission hot dog, naturally, at the Mission Street location)
  • Show Dog (order the 49er All Beef Schwartz Dog or the Organic 4505)

Washington, DC:

  • Ben’s Chili Bowl (get Ben’s Original Half-Smoke with or without chili)
  • DC-3 (for something different plus great for vegetarians, try the California Left Winger which is actually a very tasty falafel hot dog on a great bun.
United Kingdom:
  • Big Bang, Oxford (called bangers here, but who is kidding whom? Huge variety of hot dog plates, including plenty for vegetarians. Try the Lamb and Apricot hot dogs.)
  • Bubbledogs, London (world-class: chic, delicious and terrific service; my favorite: The Breakie with a fried egg and black pudding)
Canada:
  • Japadog, Vancouver (my favorites:  Tonkatsu hot dog #5 and Kurobuta hot dog #8. Great fascinating flavors!!)
Important Facts for Hot Dog Lovers

Hot Dog Costume

  • 40% of Americans prefer hot dogs grilled, 21% boiled, 8% microwaved, 3% steamed and the rest are confused.
  • 48% of American children 18 and under will eat at least one hot dog in the next two weeks.
  • All American Hot Dog Carts in Miami, FL makes all the hot dog carts in America with 13 employees producing 20 carts per day.
  • Day in and day out, Chicago O’Hare airport sells more hot dogs annually than any other public building in America.
  • Longest hot dog ever?  A 197 feet long hot dog was prepared in 2006 in Toyko, Japan.
  • First words Mickey Mouse ever uttered in a cartoon?  “Hot dog”
  • Mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey as far back as the 9th Century B.C., sausage is one of the oldest forms of processed food.
  • New York City oyster carts were the forerunner of today’s street corner hot dog carts. At one point, oysters and hot dogs competed (ten cents bought a plate of oysters versus a single hot dog).
  • The hot dog was invented in Frankfurt, Germany in 1487, five years before Christopher Columbus set sail.  Vienna (Wien), Austria, counters noting that the term “wiener” proves hot dogs were born there.
  • In 2007, Consumer Reports rated Hebrew National as the best hot dog.

Hot dog lover Jonathan in disguise at his home in California.  

Mouth-Watering Wiener Websites

  1. The mustard d on your hot dog looks like a serpent ready to bite your throat!!!!
    😍Maggie

  2. If you have time while you’re in Vancouver at the SFU Colloquium on Entrepreneurship, check out Japadog near Burrard & Pender St. See japadog.com. Have a spicy cheese Terimayo or a Okonomi.

  3. Let me recommend you another hot dogerry in Chicago! I spent my last weekend in Chicago and experienced my Chicago hot dog at Portillo’s. All that is read about the snap of the dog is so real. The casing is durable more than enough to actually snap anytime you bite into it, without offering much resistance to make it difficult bite through. I also liked the hot peppers in addition to the pickle, fantastic heat that isn’t going to linger too long.

  4. Jonathan & Aaron – what a delightful passion to share as a father/son bonding experience. I stumbled upon this little gem of a hot dog “stand” some years back and have been plotting and scheming on a way to get them nationwide. Located in Hawaii, ambiance is casual, tropical and perfect. The ingredients are unique and delicious with a variety of breads, relish and sauces you won’t find anywhere else. Unique, fun and friendly to the taste buds, http://www.pukadog.com/. Aloha.

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