illustrator, cartoonist, food blogger, ex-line cook
Also meant to say, I am definitely going to do the Italian Hot Dog soon. I need to get out to Jersey and hit a few of the better known spots, I feel it would be a shame to do it without some first person researh. As much as I'd like to spend every day researching hot dogs all over the country it's not always possible.
Philly is also apparently in the midst of a supposed "upscale hot dog" trend, at least according to a few articles, but it's mostly just a few places doing clever hot dogs. We could still use a decent middle of the road hot dog joint in a good location that's open LATE.
I'm not against fancying up a hot dog, It's just never done right, and almost never done with any respect for hot dog history. I cooked in a 4 star restaurant for years and saw plety of chefs with wacky ideas for hot dogs, but few of them really knew much about making hot dogs or sausages.. for them it was a gimmick of using a "low" concept in a "high" place, kind of like when fine artists enlarge a comic strip, transfer it a to a canvas and sell it for $3,000,000.
If a chef who really knew charcuterie and hot dog/sausage making (an apprenticeship in germany or some old style makers here) and spent some time reseaching some killer recipes for chili and various hot dog sauces, some based on regional traditions (flo's sauce, greek sauce, etc) you could really put together something amazing... I would want to eat there. And I would want to design the sign, and the menu.
While cream cheese on a hot dog might not be to everyone's taste, I would hardly call it "fancy" or "trendy" especially when we have chefs doing things like kobe beef vietnamese banh mi hot dogs. Which actually sounds pretty good, but it's not really a hot dog.
The Seattle dog might be unconventional but it evolved "naturally" the way many regional styles have - almost randomly, from a mix of regional tastes, habits and available ingredients. It's considered a rather "low brow" thing in Seattle, something dirty you do at 2am and feel bad about the next day.. I think Seattle is almost embarrased about it. I combed the Seattle "blogosphere" for 4 hours and found nothing but picture after picture of cutesy cupcakes and vegan gluten-free noodles with heirloom tomatoes.
Also some of the better Seattle carts do use real german style wieners from here: http://www.bavarianmeats.com/ that are probably terrific with a swear of cream cheese and some mustard. The fact that the cream cheese dog goes back to 2000 and maybe started outside the stadiums - popular with working class folks as well as the hipsters - means it will probably be around for a while, or at least longer than seaweed wrapped wasabi dogs, or vegan dogs topped with chutney and yogurt (that's what I call trendy).
I do agree that a salmon dog sounds disgusting. The only time fish belongs anywhere near a hot dog is the Philly Combo. And that fish cake is 90% potato.
You might be interested to learn that a lot of Seattleites think that the Cream Cheese dog actually originated in NEW JERSEY, because of a certain episode of the Sopranos that I can't believe nobody has mentioned yet... where Carmela makes a 'Lincoln Log Sandwich' of hot dogs and cream cheese, that some think may be a jersey/italian thing..
Really? That's still pretty new in terms of bona fide regional dog styles. The earliest reference I could find was a 2006 Seattle Times article, where the owner of Matt's Famous remarked about "some customers asking for cream cheese":
If any former or current Seattle folks have any insight into the history of the cream cheese dog, feel free to chime in!
cream cheese isn't so bad on a dog, Crif dog in NYC does a killer everything bagel style dog, and cabbage is what slaw and kraut are made out of anyway.
The BBQ sauce is a bit close to ketchup for my taste but I'd be all over the Sriracha.
Ok so I dug deep into the pantry.. came up with vermicelli noodles in salt pork/chicken innard broth with sausage, dumplings, pickled leeks and a panko crusted crispy poached egg. Here's the recipe...
4 cups water
2 oz salt pork
4 oz random chicken innards
1 small celery piece
1 thai chili
2 whole coriander seeds
2 oz soy sauce
random fresh herb scraps (parsley, cilantro, green onions)
*cook 1 hour, then strain.. return to a boil, add frozen dumplings that have been in your freezer for 6 months. cook 3 min. add rice noodles, turn off heat, let rest for 5 min.
1/2 lb turkey sausage
diced red pepper
*brown sausage, add pepper & onions, season. add to bowl after you put the noodles in.
1 tsp white vinegar
*poach egg in water on medium-low heat with vinegar. shock in ice bath and place on paper towel. season. lightly coat with flour, then egg wash, then panko. be careful or you'll break the yolk and make a big mess, and have to start all over again.
*throw it all in a bowl and top with chill sauce, pickled leeks, herbs, and enjoy...
see some pictures on
drawing for food
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