The Year In Hot Dogs
New Jersey Italian Hot Dog
Jimmy Buff's in East Hanover is the original, and most well-known—but I also found a killer Italian Hot Dog further south at Joe-Joe's in Tom's River, New Jersey.
Jimmy Buff's: 354 New Jersey 10, East Hanover NJ 07936; jimmybuff.com
Joe Joe's Italian Hot Dogs: Coolidge Avenue & Route 37 East, Toms River NJ 08753; Joe Joe's website
Rutt's Hut: 417 River Road, Clifton NJ 07014
Blackie's Hot Dog Stand
For more Blackie's check out this clip from A Connecticut Hot Dog Tour, a 2009 documentary featuring 10 different Connecticut hot dog stands.
Blackies: 2200 Waterbury Road, Cheshire Connecticut 06410; blackieshotdogs.com; Closed Fridays
Four dogs and a soda is $3, the dogs slathered in mustard and Famous Lunch's signature "Zippy Sauce," a super spicy, thinly ground chili.
Famous Lunch 111 Congress Street, Troy NY 12180; famouslunch.org
Nicky & Pete's Famous Hot Dogs
A great place to try the infamous "Philly Combo," a hot dog and potato fish cake on the same roll, preferably garnished with sweet pepper hash and mustard.
Nicky & Pete's Famous Hot Dogs: 349 N. 64th Street, Philadelphia PA 19139
The dogs are natural casing, spicy Boston Smokehouse franks; grilled or steamed to your preference with any combination of toppings, all piled into those delicious New England split-top buns.
Located in Bellows Falls, Vermont, they also have great burgers, veggie versions of everything, and a terrific selection of microbrews and even Belgian beers.
Fat Franks: 92 Rockingham Street, Bellows Falls VT 05101; fat-franks.com
Dropped into lightly toasted top-split buns, Bark's dogs are delicately topped with all sorts of house-made toppings. I'm not usually a fan of beans on hot dogs, but Bark's bacon-braised (for 12 hours!) baked beans won me over.
Bark: 474 Bergen Street, Brooklyn NY 11217; barkhotdogs.com
Torta De Salchicha
Puebla Mini Mart: 3908 5th Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11232
Colombian Perro Caliente
My favorite was Perro Veloz, a tiny neon green storefront that didn't go overboard with the toppings and had some interesting combinations—finishing their dogs with a dusting of panko-like, finely crushed potato chips.
Perro Veloz: 80-26 Northern Blvd, Queens New York 11372
Toronto Street Meat
Part of this tradition is due to strange local health department laws—where anything that requires refrigeration is illegal—although some vendors supposedly keep mayonnaise and shredded cheese "under the counter."
Freddie's Rib House: 1431 Saint Clair Avenue NE, Cleveland OH 44114
Seti's Polish Boys: Dean Supply Parking Lot, 3500 Woodland Avenue, Cleveland OH 44115 setispolishboys.com
This tiny grilled frank with a spear of dill pickle, mayonnaise, and big mound of shredded cheese was surprisingly good, a nice crunch from the pickle that tasted great with mayo and cheese—sort of like a hot dog deli sandwich. Delicious.
Dixie Chili: 3716 Dixie Highway, Erlanger KY; dixiechili.com