Hot Diggity Dogs

947 W Wellington Ave. Chicago, IL 60657 • (773) 472-5446

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Being strapped with the dubious moniker of “Second City,” there has always been an unhealthy degree of competitiveness between Chicago and New York, at least from Chicago’s perspective. Not sure anyone in New York sees it as much of a contest.

But to be fair, Chicago does win its battles here and there. For example in terms of professional basketball teams I would say The Bulls have the Knicks beat quite badly in historical terms.

The other arena in which Chicago trounces New York would be the hot dog. For all the reasons that New York pizza bests Chicago, it is almost the complete inverse of logic when it comes to dogs. On the pizza front, less is actually more. When you pile too much crap on top you lose two of three greatest components of a pie- the sauce and the crust. I mean sure the cheese is the headliner, but when you pile on five cubic tons of it, you no longer taste anything else and it becomes too much of one note. And therein lies the genius of the Chicago dog, complexity.

Go to Papaya King or any other lauded New York hot dog icon and you will quickly see that once again, New York tries to keep it simple. But the thing is, hot dogs aren’t exactly what one would call complex or interesting (this is excluding bratwurst, Italian sausages, etc.). They are nothing more than blended up animal parts in log form. And I’m sorry, but French’s, Heinz and a little kraut aren’t about to turn the gourmet tides.

Enter the Chicago style dog. Like at Hot Diggity, a little stand that used to be a stone’s throw off of the Magnificent mile serving something equally magnificent. A dog piled high with hot peppers and onions and pickles and squash and zucchini. I mean just one look at this bun of gloriousness and it will change you on the spot. Making New York dogs look more like a severed finger in a bun by comparison. And just wait until you taste it. Your mouth has no idea what it’s about to learn about itself.

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The Ultimate Ketchup

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In all fairness it’s hard to beat Heinz. I mean, I can’t even begin to count how many restaurants have tired to make their own “homemade” ketchup and failed miserably in the process. And Hunt’s? Please. I’d rather put hair on my burger. But as indomitable as Heinz is, after it’s glorious 113 year reign at the top, the king has finally been pushed off it’s thrown… by a queen.

Annie’s Ketchup not only tastes more like it’s made from real tomatoes, it also manages not to taste too healthy either. I know that sounds like a backhanded compliment but I mean it in the best way possible. After all, it’s not like Heinz is the bastion of wholesome ingredients. It taste the way it does because of vinegar and judicious amounts of sugar. Well, I’m not sure how Annie’s goes about it, but whatever they do, they make my heart sing. Because they give you the best of both worlds.