I’m a Chicagoan, but I didn’t grow up here. Where I grew up it was completely acceptable to boil hotdogs and serve them with mustard and ketchup on white bread buns. That’s a depressing-ass hotdog. You pull some shit like that in Chicago and you’re liable to lose a few toes. (We collect those toes and make new hotdogs with ’em. True story.) Perhaps we’re a bit misguided, and maybe we expend too much energy on hotdog boosterism, but fuck it, we take our dogs seriously. Don’t come at a mu’fucker with a ketchup hotdog and not expect to get sprayed.
So, in the interest of expanding my already vast hot link palate, I went to a Cubs game with my roommate last week. Usually I go for the vendor hot dogs. They give you a pale little frank that comes only with a packet of mustard and relish but is wrapped in a foil wrapper so that the bun gets all mushy and hot dog-flavored and delicious by the time you get to it. It’s a classic in the same way State Fair fries are. Plus, you get to stay seated and not miss any of the game. And you get to yell “Hotdog!” at the vendor. And how often to get to yell “hotdog” anywhere else. I say never.
This is in no way a gross hotdog.
We got to the game early this time, so I decided to try this place, which sits immediately to the right when you walk in Wrigley’s main entrance. I guess it’s called Chicago Dogs.
You know she’s stuffing that purse with hotdogs.
The whole concourse smelled like a giant wiener and onion scratch ‘n’ sniff, and I think it was this joint’s fault. There was no way I was walking past it. And look at this stack of sesame seed buns steaming away in the stand’s window. Anyone worth their celery salt (yeah, I said it) will tell you a steamed bun is the pinnacle of bun preparation methods. Toasting, or any other hack method, is for people from Wisconsin.
Buns are in the boxes, btw.
So, I got in line with a bunch of green-shirted Cubs fans who seemed embarrassed for me because I was taking pictures of condiments at a hotdog stand. Fine, douchebags, I’m embarrassed for you because you wear flip flips and hemp necklaces. The two 20-something frat dudes in front me were discussing the Dow with a reverence most people reserve for the Pope. They talked like they had million dollar bankrolls but I’d be willing to wager both my left and right nut that they know as much about financial markets as Larry Craig knows about heterosexual sex.
But onto the dogs. I ordered mine with sauteed onions. They give you a dickton of them. Look:
And, then, check this: how the hell do you find a a condiment bar like this at Wrigley Field? I mean, this looks better than most wedding food I’ve ever had. And a hundred feet away there are literally hundreds of men lining up to piss in a trough. Talk about classing up the joint.
I couldn’t quite build a true Chicago dog since there was no pickle or celery salt, but I’m not complaining about tomatoes and sport peppers. Add some relish and mustard and here’s the finished masterpiece.
Oh, no I didn’t!
I killed both of them in half an inning. The onions were sweet, tomatoes fresh, and relish neon. True to the category. The hotdog itself was the weakest part. Not enough snap, and they were the dark, all-beef variety, which sounds good on paper but doesn’t hold up to the other lip- and anus-filled varieties when it comes to taste. Unless it’s Vienna Beef, give me the seven-animal tube steak. Overall, though, a solid hotdog. Not quite as good as a true Chicago-style from, say, Budacki’s, or Hot Doug’s, but a treat nonetheless.