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Category Archives: hot dog

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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Ommegang Presents: Hop Chef

Last night was the Second Annual Hop Chef competition in Philadelphia, hosted by Ommegang, where six local chefs go head to head creating dishes that incorporate and pair with various beers from the brewery. Competitions are held in various cities, with the winners from each city being granted the opportunity to compete at the brewery’s annual Belgium Comes to Cooperstown beerfest. (Last year, Philly’s own George Sabatino took home the crown!) This year’s competitors were Mike Deganis of Alla Spina, Lucio Palazzo from La Calaca Feliz, Nick Macri of Southwark, Pat Szoke from The Industry, Eli Kulp of Fork and Yun Fuentes from JG Domestic.

Look at all those handsome dudes!

So let’s take a look at the dishes:

The first one I tried was Yun Fuentes’ dish: A duck arepa with duck confit, jamon, a cherry-fig marmalade and a glaze incorporating the beer, Rare Vos – which was pairing for the dish. I thought the duck was succulent, and the marmalade gave it just the right amount of sweetness. The Rare Vos glaze definitely brought everything together as well; it was definitely the most balanced dish I had all night. (I liked this dish so much, I snuck seconds!)

Next up, Mike from Alla Spina’s BPA braised lamb neck with fava bean, mint fregola (a tiny round Italian pasta similar to couscous), topped with a BPA vinaigrette. While I did enjoy the lamb, the fava beans and pasta didn’t really add anything special to the dish (but it sure looked nice on the plate!)

Third was a Foie Gras hot dog, topped with kimchee relish & Abbey Ale mustard on an Abbey Ale potato roll, paired with an Abbey Ale pretzel topped with Cracker Jack & mustard powder and a potato wedge seasoned with Old Bay – “Crab Fries” style – from Eli Kulp of Fork. Having just been to Fork on Saturday, I thought this dish was quite a contrast to the upscale items on the restaurant’s menu (but that’s part of the challenge when having to incorporate beer and have it pair well with the beer as well, right?). I really enjoyed the Foie dog, but the solo potato wedge just seemed like it was just thrown in and didn’t complement anything else on the plate.  I got that it was supposed to be a ballpark tribute since Cooperstown is where the Baseball Hall of Fame is, but maybe sometimes less is more.

Nick “Meat Man” Macri of Southwark cooked up a dish of Hennepin cured coppa, pickled chilies, “Ballpark” nuts with grains of Paradise bread crumbs and an orange & coriander sauce. Because you can’t win friends with salad, but you can win friends with a meat salad!

Pat Szoke of The Industry created a “slider” of Three Philosophers braised beef short ribs with pickled long hots and a Three Philosophers cheddar sauce. I thought this was the worst dish at the event. I think the cheddar sauce completely drowned out the flavor of the short ribs ( it was just kind of slathered on top). It just seemed very sloppy and I thought that a better job could have been done given the quality of the food at the restaurant itself (I mean, they have buffalo sweetbreads on their menu, for crying out loud!)

Lastly was a lamb barbacoa taco on a hominy tortilla topped with watercress, radishes and a Witte consommé, made by Lucio Palazzo of La Calaca Feliz. Again, this is another one of those dishes where I felt there was a lot of reaching going on. I wasn’t sure how the consommé was supposed to work with the taco (because honestly, who is eating consommé with a taco?) And I get that tacos are pretty easy to make and for people to eat when they have to walk around a giant room sampling a bunch of other finger foods, but seeing as the taco was the main part of the dish and it didn’t even incorporate the beer, that was kind of disappointing. (I was also disappointed because this was the only dish that I had to wait on line for a long time for and I wish I hadn’t.)

So, drumroll please…. The People’s Choice winner was Yun Fuentes of JG Domestic and the Judges’ pick was Nick Macri of Southwark! Overall, I had a great time at the event and can’t wait to check it out again next year!

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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