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Hot Diggity!

Growing up in New York, hot dogs were pretty much a required part of my food pyramid along with cheesecake, bagels, knishes and pizza. Nothing beats that first bite into a Sabrett’s hot dog. So I was especially excited when I moved to Philadelphia and discovered Hot Diggity – a “haute” dog eatery on South Street that showcases the various awesome regional hot dogs the U.S. has to offer – uses Sabrett’s dogs! That excitement was maximized this summer when Hot Diggity decided to add burgers to their menu! And while I haven’t been enough of a glutton to put a hot dog on top of a burger yet, I did recently check out their Mexi-cali burger, which is kind of like the meat patty version of my fav Hot Diggity dog, the Fiesta Dog. It comes topped with chipotle mayo (also my fav dipping sauce for their Belgian-style fries), lettuce, tomato, onions, jalapeno (which I ordered without because I’m a wimp), guacamole, and tortilla strips on the same delicious Liscio’s rolls they serve their hot dogs on. It was messy and delicious. Now the hardest part of my trips here will be deciding whether I want a hot dog or a burger!

Oh, did I also forget to mention that this summer I entered Hot Diggity’s annual “Dog Days of Summer Amateur Cook-Off” in Headhouse Square? Check out the creation below that won me “Best Homage”: The South Street Schmitter!

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Perfecting the Kraft

A friend of mine had been hyping up the burger at Kraftwork for a while now, so I decided it was finally time to check it out (lest I get nagged continuously). It’s not like I’ve never been to Kraftwork before. It’s the starting point for the twice yearly Craft Beer Express and they’ve always got a pretty solid draft list; I’ve just never had a chance to eat here until now. The burger is touted as being a special dry aged blend and comes customizable with an assortment of toppings for 50 cents a pop (lettuce, pickles and one topping are included). I opted to top mine with sharp cheddar and bacon red onion marmalade. You also get a choice of either garlic herbed fries or a mixed green salad as your side. I was planning on partaking in Hot Diggity‘s Fourth of July corn dog special later that day and was saving my deep fried food intake for that, so I went with the salad (who am I?!).

The burger came out with a nice presentation: patty situated on top of the pickles and lettuce, fairly proportional to the bun. However, when I picked it up, that’s when things fell apart – literally. A lot of grease came dripping off the back of the burger and the meat started to separate slightly after my first bite. It was also cooked more on the medium-well side then my usual requested medium. Thankfully the grease didn’t make the bun too soggy (probably thanks to the lettuce/pickle “diaper”), but I did have to compensate for the patty coming apart and leaving behind excess bun by eating around the burger instead of head-on. The pickles gave the burger a little bit of crunch and sweetness, as did the bacon-onion marmalade, but there wasn’t a lot of flavor otherwise.

After I’d finished, I overheard some people at the table next to me debating who had the best burger in the area; one guy said it used to be this one but now he was leaning towards Interstate Draft House. Maybe I just waited too long to try this burger? I guess next time I’ll listen to my friends and check things out sooner!

Burger rating: “C+”

What up, Dawg?

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.

Photo Credit: Roadfood.com

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!”

Photo Credit: Seriouseats.com

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.

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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!

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