Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fancy Hot Dogs and Duck Fat Fries

Oh yes...you read that right: strips of potato fried in duck fat.

**NOTE: I didn't take all the pictures in this post...I have labeled the pictures taken by other people and linked those pictures to each person's Flickr account.

People, I love food, I love food, I love food. I used to read Slash Food and Serious Eats religiously every day, multiple times a day. Since the list of blogs I read has gotten stupid huge something had to go, so now I use these blogs for reference purposes only, but still...I love food.

Which brings me to Hot Doug's. And the fact that I really love variety and new riffs on classics. Most of the time I would rather have 2 bites of 5 different things than one big serving of one thing, even if I like that one thing a while lot (mom's macaroni and cheese, Paula Deen's corn casserole (which we double by the way, except the butter...1 stick is plenty. AND I recently replaced the sour cream with fat free Greek yogurt to great success), etc).

I think I first read about Hot Doug's, the self-described "Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium", on the Chow message boards (GREAT resource for finding good food) while doing research for our 2008 Chicago vacation. I am absolutely driven to find the best unique food while in new places, and Hot Doug's sounded like it fit the bill.

So we went on our first day in Chicago, exhausted as we were (we tend to procrastinate on the packing until we are forced to stay up shoving things in bags the entire night before we leave). We figured out the bus map, rode the bus and walked the block with scratchy eyes and hurting feet, and we waited in the HOUR AND A HALF line. And people, it was WORTH it. We went back the day before we left town...we do NOT repeat places when in a new city because that means I miss an opportunity to try something new, so now you know Hot Doug's is truly special. Hot Doug's has great regular hotdogs that most would find pretty exotic. But then you come to Today's Specials.

For some reason one morning recently I found myself reminiscing about my time at Hot Doug's and thought I'd check out the day's specials. Oh, my heart aches (because I'm sad, not because its clogged with duck fat or anything), to read the list of "encased meats" I'm missing:


Today: February 6, 2009
The Game of the Week:
Spicy Smoked Alligator Sausage with Creole Mayonnaise and St. Pete's Blue Cheese

The Erick Lee Purkhiser (Today's Celebrity Sausage)
Gyros Sausage with Spinach Raita, Kalamata Olives and Haloumi Cheese

Other Specials

Saucisson Alsacienne: Bacon Sausage with Creme Fraiche, Caramelized Onions and Pepper Affinois Cheese

Smoked Applewurst Sausage with Lime-Ancho Mayonnaise and Cotija Cheese

Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Sauce Moutarde, Foie Gras Mousse and Sel Gris

The Atomic Bomb: Spicy Pork Sausage with Sweet & Spicy Curry Mustard and Jalapeno-Havarti Cheese

Smoked Mexican Chorizo with Tomatillo Mole and Habanero-Jack Cheese

Jack Daniels and Fennel Smoked Pork Sausage with Lemon-Pepper Dijonnaise and Marieke Fenugreek Cheese

The Teuben: Corned Beef Sausage with Russian Dressing, Sauerkraut and Swiss Cheese

Cherry Pork Sausage with Spicy Citrus-Apple Salsa and Chaubier Cheese

Smoked Cajun Pork Sausage with Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise and Smoked Gouda Cheese


Maybe to you these sound weird or gross...to me these sound exciting and compelling and like I MUST TRY SOME OF THESE!!!

My limit is 2 hot dogs at a time, and at first I thought the Game of the Week would definitely be one of them. Words like "Smoked alligator", "creole mayo" and "blue cheese" make my heart go pitter patter. I've never had alligator, and I LOVE trying things I've never had; creole mayo fits the bill as a "riff on a classic"; and blue cheese makes everything better.

(Alligator Dog Photo credit: dwfree1967)
(Mmm, look at that St. Pete's Blue Cheese...yes, I would like some of that)
But then I saw the Erick Lee Purkhiser (sadly found no picture of this one), the Saucisson Alsacienne...
(Saucisson Dog Photo credit: emyduck)

...the Foie Gras and Sauterne Duck Sausage (though the tree hugger in me is pretty opposed to the idea of foie gras...get ready for some gross video if you google that one)...

(Foie Gras Dog Photo credit: santheo)
(Are you kidding me...I am drooling right this very minute)

... the Jack Daniels and Fennel Smoked Pork Sausage...

(Jack Daniels Dog Photo credit: ehfisher)
...the Teuben...
(Teuben Photo credit: ::bianca::)

and the Cherry Pork Sausage (no pic of this one either)...what is that, 7 total?!?! Oh nooooo, what to do??
Hubs probably wouldn't be much help because he loves the Italian Sausage dog. Sometimes he'll accompany me into the food frontier and have me order 2 dishes I'm interested in so we can share them, but sometimes he's the guy who eats vanilla ice cream (as in by itself...nothing on it...*shaking head) and orders the Italian Sausage dog that you can get at any of a number of other places.
But that makes him happy which makes me happy, so I don't give him a hard time, I just silently curse the fact that 7 must be whittled down to 2.

So what'll it be? As hard as it is to leave any behind I think I'll go with the Foie Gras (if I'm gonna be party to torturing a duck just this once, I guess I'll make it part of a hot dog-nirvana experience) and the Teuben...or the Jack Daniels/Fennel Smoked Pork? Honestly I'd probably ask Doug or whoever was taking orders their favorite between those last two. Food people can largely be trusted to steer you in the right direction, so don't be afraid to ask the worker's opinion.

And speaking of, its Hot Doug himself!

(Hubs said he didn't think Doug was that hot :D ) Thanks, Doug, for taking the time to take this picture with me! There was a LINE of people at the counter, and yet he was so nice to smile for a picture. (I hadn't slept in approximately 24 hours by the time this picture was taken. And my contacts dry out when I fly so I stuck with the had-em-since-8th-grade glasses...nice.)

Care to see what we enjoyed during our two trips to Hot Doug's??

Brandy-Soaked Portuguese Chorizo with Saffron Rouille and Queso Arico Cheese

Smoked Shrimp and Pork Sausage with Cajun Tarter Sauce and Blue Cheese

Bacon-Infused Duck Sausage with Morello Cherry Mustard and Venison-Cognac Pate

Bell Pepper Wild Boar Sausage with anchovy goat's milk butter and Saint Rocco cheese

Oh, and don't forget the duck fat fries on Friday and Saturday...I don't need my usual Heinz 57 sauce for dipping, and I'll even eat the non-crispy ones. These things are WORTH EVERY CALORIE (I say that having no idea just how many of those are in these babies).


i cant sew said...

boy, you sure do take your hot dogs seriously in america!!

Jenny S said...

Holy Crap!! I think I just gained five lbs reading this!! I wanna try the bacon sausage. Bacon anything sounds great but bacon sausage??? Must go to bed now so I am away from the kitchen!!!

Donnamo said...

My husband just drooled a quart of saliva while reading your blog. The man LOVES HIM SOME HOT DOGS.
He eats one of his special all beef dogs with his own from scratch chilli and his special sauce (miracle whip and mustard) and of course ketchup and onions on top.

If we ever get back to Chicago, Hot Dougs in on our itinerary for sure.
and that machine Jenny S has in her picture,,,,my Mom had one and boy did my kids have fun with it :)

Kimberly said...

Oh Rosey/I cant sew, you have no idea...

Jenny: lol! There's a restaurant we go to called Grits and Groceries that serves Praline Bacon: bacon baked with a brown sugar/pecan mixture on top...oh ya, its ridiculous.

Donnamo: I think we will need to try PawPaw's chili sometime...really he just needs to fix us a couple of his hotdogs so we can check this situation out...hold the onions on mine, if you please :) I have never seen one of those machines in real life, but I bet I would have had fun with it, too.

Stacey said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog:) And the fries in duck fat are pretty scary. I think I just clogged an artery.
I love many of the same things you do when it comes to crafting and collecting- My favs are buttons,lace, and tiny little things (my latest is antique jewelry boxes - the kind that had rings, watches and necklaces in during the 19th early 20th centuries).
Just wondering- What part of SC are you in? I was born in Dillon, Sc and went to Univ of South Carolina.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Oh, my, hot dog heaven! Those look pretty good & the fries, I'm a sucker for homemade fries.

Thanks for stopping by my Mountain Brook post. I loved that creek crossing thing too, since I too was a tomboy & played in the creek a lot growing up.

Blayne said...

I just saw this place yesterday on the Travel Channel! I am super jealous of you and the fact that you experienced hot dog Nirvana. Thanks for your comment on my rooms :o)

Jules Someone said...

Come back any time, and I'll go with you. We only live in the Chicago burbs, but I don't go that often. I would be a gazillion pounds if I ate there whenever I wanted. YUM.

zsdavis said...

Kimberly!!! I found you on the Bake or Break blog, the Sweet and Salty Cake (oh my gosh!). I knew that the Kimberly Yates had to be you because you went back and corrected your post.

How are things? Enjoying Abbeville, still? I'm at Purdue, about two hours from Chicago, I might just have to go try this place... It sounds absolutely amazing!

Drop me a line sometime: zsdavis at purdue dot edu.

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