Of course you need to say this with a Bostonian accent to get the real flavor of what’s so great about the hot dog. Although we think of hot dogs as a summer food, even in the winter I enjoy a good hot dog. Although I associate beer, more so than wine, as the beverage of choice when consuming a hot dog I’m sure we can come up with a few wines that will suffice. But first let’s talk famous hot dogs, not just your ordinary run of the mill packaged hot dog, but by some of the more notable hot dog establishments. Let’s see how many of them you have been to. I’ve been to a few but wish I could get to ’em all someday.
First, let’s talk ballparks for the great hot dog experience. I’ve heard of three places where you need to go to enjoy a ball park frank. One is Dodger Stadium – I’ve been told these are some if not the best ball park franks. I couldn’t tell you as I have not been there but the results come from reliable people I know. Next is the hot dog at Wrigley Field. If it’s anything like the Chicago style hot dog we’re onto something. And lastly, the Fenway Frank. Now this I can attest that they are the best ballpark franks. I have tried hot dogs from Fenway, the old Jacobs Field in Cleveland and Yankee Stadium. So, my repertoire of ballpark franks is limited, many have commented that the Fenway Frank is the best. Though I am a Yankee fan my hats off to the Fenway Frank. What’s your best ballpark frank?
Now, famous hot dog eateries around the country.
First up is Pink’s in Hollywood. I’ve been by it but never stopped in. When my son lived there for eight years he did frequent it a couple of times. He said it was an okay hot dog but that they did have a plethora of ways to eat the hot dog. You can check out their menu at www.pinkshollywood.com and take a look see at their menu.
Next we take you to Atlanta. What’ll Ya Have? What’ll Ya Have? Those are the famous words spoken at the Varsity as you enter the eatery (I haven’t been here yet, but this is what I saw on the Food Channel). They also have the world’s largest drive-in. They have the naked dog, the chili dog, the heavy dog, the cheese dog, the slaw dog, the chili slaw dog, the chili cheese dog, and the chili cheese slaw dog. Now that’s a mouthful! And they serve a gazillion people a year. Some of their employees have worked there for over fifty years. Wow! Next time I’m in Atlanta I’ll have to stop by. Check them out at www.thevarsity.com
Next is Nathan’s Coney Island. Home of the hot dog eating contest. Their hot dogs come with toppings of chili, cheese, chili and cheese, sauerkraut, red onions, and salsa. I’ve never been here but must try this one as I am fairly close. They boast the best corn dog in the country. Go to www.nathansfamous.com
Next is a novel place to see. Although I have not eaten here I did drive by it coming back from New Mexico. It’s the Coney Island Hot Dog Stand in Bailey, Colorado. It’s shaped like a hot dog in a bun. You can view a picture of it at the following website. www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/1532
In Denver, Mustard’s Last Stand you can get a real good hot dog. Yes, I have been here and I can attest to the greatness of their hot dogs. They have a whole bunch (remember my definition of bunch?) like the Chicago style, the Mork, the Reuben, the Discovery, the Yankee dog, the Boston Dawg, the Spudtacular, the Meathead, and the Cowboy to name a few. What did I get – the Yankee dog of course along with the Chicago style hot dog. You can’t just have one. You can view their locations/menu at www.mustardsinc.com
Jimmy Buff’s in New Jersey is unique in that they serve Italian style sausages in an Italian style bread loaded with delectable looking food. This sounds like a road trip to me. Check out their website at www.jimmybuff.com
For a healthy style dog look at Franktitude in Miami. You can get a salmon, turkey or veggie hot dog with a multitude of toppings. I think I’d like to at least try this place. Another road trip perhaps? see their food choices at www.franktitude.com
Now Chicago, I have found, is the hot dog capital of the world. Three notable spots are Superdawgs, Hot Doug’s, and Portillos. I’ve been to the last two.
First Superdawgs. They don’t call it a hot dog but a Superdawg. They only show the Superdawg with all the trimmings but will make you the Superdawg any way you want it except they won’t put ketchup on it, they’ll give you a packet of ketchup but they won’t put it on the Superdawg. go to www.superdawg.com
Next is Portillos. I got the chili dog and the jumbo hot dog. They were scrumptious. And good for ya too! See them at www.portillos.com
My favorite hot dog place is Hot Doug’s, the Encased Meats Emporium and Sausage Superstore. You have to go to their website at www.hotdougs.com to view their fare. I had the Dog with all the trimmings and the Frankie “Five Angels” Pentangeli. I think I’m hot dogged out. Can’t wait to go back. What are your favorite hod dog eateries?
Okay, here are some wines that “might” go with a hot dog – you decide.
Campo de Borja 2008 Vina Borgia. Made from the grenache grapes and bottled by Bodegas Borsao S.A. Floral aromas preceded black raspberry and cassis flavors with a sweeter boysenberry finish, more like boysenberry jelly than boysenberry jam. Know what I mean? I’ve had this with a hot dog and it was pretty good. $5.99, 85 rating.
Ravenswood 2002 Lodi Old Vines Zinfandel. A few of us were around the supper table and opened this. We found tobacco, clove, and pepper on the nose. Others found it to be earthy with mineral undertones. Black cherry, spice, and pepper flavors followed the aromas and it portrayed a slight mocha finish. My wife says it “stinks” (I think she is referring to the earthy tones – like dirt) and it tastes like “cough drops” but I like it. Thank goodness for pure and simple wine critiques. $16.99, 89 rating.
Beringer 2001 Clear Lake Zinfandel. Bing cherry, clove, tobacco, and bacon aromas aroused the nose while black cherry and clove flavors danced on the palate. A fruity smooth finish rounded out this wine. $11.99, 85 rating.
What could be better than enjoying these wines with the great American hot dog?
Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…