Contrary to popular belief, not all weird game meat tastes like chicken. Sometime it tastes like cow. Exhibit A: the reindeer sausage at Chicago’s wacky suburban sausage emporium Fredhots and Fries.
A couple of years ago, owner Fred Markoff introduced an Alaskan reindeer sausage topped with grilled onion and mustard, Maxwell polish-style (a polish sausage in lieu of the reindeer makes it a classic Maxwell). As with most extreme food related ideas, say Kobayashi throwing down 40 pounds of encased animal parts at the Nathan’s Famous dog contest, burning folks' tastebuds off with the hottest wings ever, or deep-frying Twinkies, the media stumbled over themselves to cover the moment. There was a whole spate of twisted fathers scarring their small children by lauding the fact that they just ate Rudolph.
But, as is usually the case (save the deep-fried Twinkie) the whole brouhaha was much ado about nothing. While the dog was good (I finally got around to trying the thing last week), it was relatively beefy and nondescript, and at $8.50 you’re wallet would be better off with a classic Windy City salad dog.
There are lots of other good things at Fredhots, but I think someone really should have covered the sweet potato fries: carrot-orange, crispy, thick stalks of yammy goodness dusted with sweet maple syrup and cinnamon spice. All other comers for me in Chicago have generally been overfried, limp, underseasoned, too crispy, and two thin. Weighing in at about half steak-cut thickness, with a crispy outside and pillowy inside, I've found a winner. Even the maple and cinnamon spice, which had the potential to be gritty and artificial tasted mellow, rich, and a blended part of the fry. And, more importantly, they decidedly tasted like neither cow, nor chicken.