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January 20th, 2002

A Hot Dog Program

Red hots! Come and get ’em!

What is it about hot dogs that appeals to most people? The taste is probably one thing (you can pretty much load anything onto a hot dog and maintain some flavor – like slaw dogs in the south) and I’d guess the easy eating is another. Hot dogs are pretty easy to make, easy to serve, and easy to eat. They’re good food for transportation, or ballgames.

I’m always fascinated by documentaries and programs about food (duh!) so I was pleased when TiVo caught A Hot Dog Program on PBS. It’s a few years old, but is still fascinating. The show’s author visited numerous stands and explored the culture of each place. Some, such as Varsity in Atlanta, are known for their employees and tradition as much as the food; Coney Island Hot Dogs in Aspen Park, Colorado, is known for its building shape – it looks like a giant hot dog.

That said, it was great to see Chicago represented – even if out-of-towners get the Chicago Hot Dog all wrong (it’s a pickle spear, not pickle slices; and no ketchup!) I question the show’s declaration that Portillo’s is Chicago’s hot dog “empire”, although they’re the most visible chain of hot dog places.

Do you have a favorite hot dog place? What do you like on your dog? -pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Elizabeth
DATE: Sunday January 20, 2002 -- 1:21:29 pm
I've found that tofu/soy dogs (or Not Dogs, as one cute brand name calls them) are generally bland and not worth eating. The non-vegan ones with cheese in them are supposedly a bit better. I think the reason that hot dogs are appealing is because the grease, fat, and chemicals taste so good. Seriously. They're one of those things that are so bad for you, yet people really like them BECAUSE of the bad things.

Me, on the other hand.. if I had to eat a real hot dog I would probably throw up. I can't even remember the last time I had one. It was at least five years ago.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday January 20, 2002 -- 4:36:35 pm
Agreed, Elizabeth... I have yet to have a good tofu hot dog.

I never had a favorite hot dog "place" (though Weinerschnitzel in Cali was pretty good), but actually preferred turkey dogs to beef hot dogs. I always felt so nasty after beef hot dogs...

FROM: Chris
DATE: Sunday January 20, 2002 -- 7:08:50 pm
The Varsity in Atlanta - the world's greatest chili dogs. Throw in an order of onion rings and you have guarenteed yourself gastrointestinal problems for at least 48 hours. Its worth it. Dockside Dogs in Chicago is good too.

FROM: fresh
DATE: Sunday January 20, 2002 -- 8:52:12 pm
ryan that place in cali did rock, i like hot peppers few pickles and some tomato

DATE: Monday January 21, 2002 -- 1:04:46 am
I used to get a good dog at a place in Burbank, Ca. I can't remember the actual name of the place, but I do remember that they had this painted in big letters on their sign:



FROM: Hot Dog Guy
DATE: Thursday June 30, 2005 -- 10:42:13 pm
City Lunch in Lincolnton NC. Best hot dogs in the world - and cheap, cheap, cheap.

FROM: Nuke
DATE: Friday March 31, 2006 -- 5:26:02 pm
I've been eating at the Varsity in Atlanta for over 50 years. (It's the world's largest drive-in. It's been around since 1928 and serves up to 30,000 customers a day)

I just finished off two chili cheese steaks with pimento cheese, one chili dog, an order of the world's best onion rings, a fried peach pie, and two PCs (Pure chocolate milk over shaved ice) and it was heaven. I'll be paying for it stomach-wise, but it's worth it.

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