On another site I came acroos a thread asking "how do you know when "hip" has ruined your food?" I thought it would be a good topic for discussion.
I've loved sampling hot dogs for a long time. I've been to hundreds of hot dog joints and sampled dozens of brands ranging from what you get at supermarkets to specialty brands, brands I can only get via mail order and what people send me, and those that are made at butcher shops and small European style pork stores. These are the equivalent of craft beers produced at small microbreweries.
Now all of a sudden it seems that hot dogs are hip or trendy. I don't mind this at all, but what bothers me is the new trend among places under 5 years old where the emphasis and focus is the crap piled on the hot dog rather than the frank itself. You are eating a frank on a bun. Any toppings should complement, rather than interefere with the flavor, texture, and temperature of the meat.
If you don't start with a quality dog, it doesn't matter what you do to it as far as I'm concerned. And if you do have a quality dog, it doesn't need crap like cream cheese, kimchee, tomatoes, potato chips, peanut butter, etc.
Franks made of tofu, poultry, and salmon are not hot dogs. Hot dogs should be made of a beef/pork, beef/pork/veal mix, or all beef. Bison is also acceptable. A hot dog is a simple, unpretentious food. Which is why old school places like Nathan's, Papaya King, And Gray's in New York, as well as Rutt's Hut, Galloping Hill Inn, and the Windmill will be around long after these trendy joints all go out of business.