On my second day in Chicago, my cousin John who grew up in Chi-town and knew of my love of food and my food blog, rang me up. He rang me up, not to tell me to have a great time at Lollapalooza or to ask if I needed help in navigating my way around his old ‘hood. He called to say that I needed to try the Chicago-style hotdog and that he better see some pics and a blog about it. It sounded like I was given a threat. I plan on visiting him in Texas again very soon, so I better do as he requested. I think it’s a good decision on my part.
So what is the deal with the Chicago style hotdog? Is it the ultimate Chicago dish?
After my cousin’s threat, eerrrm request, I immediately saw a hotdog stand with the sign, “Chicago-style Hotdog”. I thought, it’s some sort of a "sign" or divine intervention, but after I walked a few blocks from Grant Park to our hotel at East Monroe Street, I realized that I saw more hotdog restaurants and stands than McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger Kings combined. How much hotdog can this city eat?
I must have been talking about this hotdog business quite a lot because my friend Amanda volunteered to try this dish with me, to shut me up, I think. But she volunteered, that’s all that mattered to me. And I didn’t need to threaten her. We both agreed that the best place to try this hotdog is at Wrigley Field, while watching the Cubs. And that we did.
We purchased our hotdogs at the Wrigley concession stand, “Chicago Dogs…Wrigley Ballpark Favorite”. If its Wrigley’s favorite, then it’s a no-brainer, it’s the one that we both needed to try. The price per hotdog is $6.00. The servers were cooking some onions while I paid in cash.
The hotdog was steamed and was placed on a lightly toasted bun, then topped with the onions. All the other fixings/condiments were placed on a side table – which meant that I can go insane on adding the toppings! And that I did. I topped the hotdog with yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish that looks like its neon green (I found out that this is sometimes called piccalilli), tomatoes, pickled sport pepper, some salt, chopped white onions and ketchup. Yes, ketchup. My apologies to the people of Chicago, I know that your canonical recipe does not include ketchup and many of you Chicagoans think that this is unacceptable. But I heart ketchup! And to my defense, you left the ketchup on the toppings table!!
This was our first meal of the day (not counting the very cold beer, because that is beverage), so we inhaled this dish in minutes. If it wasn’t so thick with the toppings that I added in, Amanda and I would have devoured it in seconds. It was the perfect dish to have at the ballpark. Is it something that I’d crave for brunch or even lunch? I’m not sure… But what I’m pretty sure of was that, I was burping the rest of the afternoon or probably the rest of the day.
I know, it’s TMI.. Too much information, you’ll say? No.. More like, Too Much Indigestion!!!!!
I am dedicating this blog to Kuya John and my Lolla girls (esp Amanda who sacrificed her tummy for me for a day).