The Hot Dog: That delicious encased beacon of mystery meat that graces grills from coast to coast in the summer, satisfying our need for nitrates. As a New Yorker, I was basically raised on the hot dog. From my grandma cutting up a Hebrew National into slices for me to eat as a toddler, to dirty water dogs on a Manhattan street corner, to the world famous Nathan’s franks, hot dogs have always been a staple in my diet.
One of my favorite hot dog joints is back in the area where I grew up. What appears to be a roadside Chinese pagoda is in fact home to some of the best hot dogs I’ve ever had. Walter’s, in Mamaroneck, NY creates their own special blend of pork, beef and veal for their dogs, which they then split and grill in a buttery sauce that leaves them crisp and delicious.
I have intentionally gone out of my way while driving and taken long lunches just to wait on the sometimes atrociously long line for Walter’s. (We were nearly late to my friend’s wedding ceremony once because we were picking up a bag of puppies and curly fries to eat on the way.) Many people tend to throw shade at those willing to wait 45 minutes for “some hot dogs”, or proclaim the food to be “not that great”, but to those people I say “Keep sipping that haterade!”
The dogs come in 3 varieties: Double, which is 2 dogs on one bun, Single, one dog on a bun, and Puppy, which is a half dog on a baby bun. (I’m partial to getting a bunch of puppies because, since the first bite is always the best, this way you can get an extra first bite.) They also make their own mustard/relish blend, which you can get topped on your dog. I am apparently a heathen in the eyes of some fellow hot dog lovers because I put ketchup on my hot dogs, but I don’t call that evil; I just call that being normal.
However, there’s a place in Philadelphia that is changing my mind about what kinds of condiments should top a dog. Hot Diggity, on South Street, is creating their own “haute” dogs based on a variety of regional favorites. From the cream cheese topped Seattle Grunge to the Chili and Cheese Cincinnati Skyline, plus a variety of specialty dogs (this month’s includes a dog made from Alaskan Reindeer meat!), they’ve quickly grown a following in the food community.
So far I’ve tried 3 of their hot dogs. (They use Sabrett’s hot dogs and traditional style hot dog rolls, as opposed to those awkward top-split ones.)
The coleslaw topped “Southern Comfort” is one of my favorites because I am a coleslaw fiend during the summer.
The Tex-Mex style “Desert Dog” is tasty, but the pinto bean spread was a little heavy for me.
They also had a Mexican-inspired dog as a special over the summer topped with corn salsa, queso blanco & tortilla strips.
I’m definitely making it my goal to try every dog on the menu, even though the Southern Comfort is my favorite. They also serve Belgian style fries with a variety of dipping sauces, as well as house made sodas; the perfect companions to your stomach’s best friend!