Even though my hometown of Philadelphia is going through a serious hot dog renaissance, mostly of the gourmet kind, for years we were considered sort of a ho-hum hot dog town, outside of the semi-obscure legacy of Fish Cake Combos and Pepper Hash.
Every once in a while I would hear (or read) about these old German sausage shops off in the suburbs, but what exactly they made, and if they were any good, that was always vague.
Recently while preparing for an eight-course hot dog tasting at Audrey Claire's Cook in Philadelphia (that I'm working on with Keith Garabedian of Hot Diggity), I finally had an opportunity to check these places out, and while there were a couple of disappointments, overall I was amazed at the the amount of really good, traditional German and Polish natural casing dogs you can find if you venture to the outskirts of our supposedly non-hot-dog loving city.
Some of these are seriously up there with the best dogs in the country. This is why you should never, ever buy a pack of tasteless, mushy grocery store hot dogs in Philadelphia ever again.
Philadelphia: Eat These Frankfurters
Traditional German Wiener
Halteman Family Foods
Old World Polish Hot Dogs
Parowki Hot Dogs