|after one hour of hell|
Here's why: they are a Chicago foodie destination that modestly refers to themselves as a "Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium." They put weird stuff in their sausage (like rattlesnake, cherries and cocaine*). They put weird stuff on their sausage (mostly in the form of unique mustards and exotic cheeses)**. They are concurrently gourmet and cheap, exclusive and laid back.
|so irish, so good|
-Spicy Beef Hot Link (with Coca-Cola BBQ sauce, and Mantoro Cheese). In case you were wondering what Mantoro cheese is, it's Michigan's version of Manchego (check my review of The Cellar to get my take on this Spanish jewel). If you're wondering what Coca-Cola barbecue sauce is, it's barbecue sauce made with Coca-Cola. Combine both of these mystical ingredients with a housemade hot link and what you get is a spicy, sweet, rich, and tart phenomenon. Seemingly simple but polished in execution, this was my second favorite "hot dog" of the day.
-Saucisse de Toulouse (with Sweet Garlic Mustard and Yellow Buck Camembert Cheese)
This saucy French sausage, usually used in fancy-dancy cassoulets, was dressed up with a velvety garlic mustard and creamy-dreamy camembert. It tasted pretty much like you'd expect it to taste; sweet and winey with lingering garlic and pepper notes. This taste-tour-de-force walked the line between sweet snack and savory meat-treat, and walked it well. Over all, my fourth favorite "hot dog" of the day.
|decadence in hot dog|
-Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage (with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse, Fleur de Sel).
If you thought the last hot dog sounded good to your inner francophile, then you're going to downright LOVE this one. France's best known liver, mushroom, salt, and mallard join forces here to make this a very delicious, if rich, marriage of meat, bun and condiment. This one was a show stopper but it ended up tied for third on my favorite "hot dog" of the contest.
|Nobel Prize worthy|
A revelation. That's the only word for a chocolate topped, syrupy sweet mustard drenched, cherry and apple imbued meat wonder. Like so many other strange sounding coalitions (pineapple and pizza, Harold and Maude, shorts and blazers, Splinter and the Ninja Turtles), this works. It's everything you could want in food; sausage, chocolate, bread, and sauce, then throw in some bacon flavor and...what's left to say. It's perfection. It's a must order. And it was my favorite "hot dog."
-Duck Fat Fries. Only available on Fridays and Saturdays, these fries are one of the big reasons why Doug's is Doug's. They are the same hand-cut fries Doug's normally uses but fried in rendered duck fat instead of the usual canola/peanut oil. Truth be told I don't think I'm enough of a fry connoisseur to fully appreciate the fineries of these les frites au gras de canard. They were good but if you gave me the regular fries instead, I don't think I'd miss the duck.
Now these, THESE are fries. Appropriate amounts of chili (tons) and gooey yellow cheese (some) made this calorie laden number a hit amongst the still defrosting members of my posse.
Yes, ordering a bounty like this (I left off three hot dogs, oops) would subdue even the most stout midwesterner but when you wait outside for an hour in pelting snow and subfreezing temperatures, you order a fucking bounty, because you've earned it and because you're a bit delirious. In case you hadn't heard by now, there is always a wait at Hot Doug's and the wait is worth it (even if I still can't feel my face).
No, Hot Doug's is not your quintessential Chicago hot dog place (it's so much more) but it is where you should take your friend/future father-in-law when they come to town.
*no cocaine was present in any of the food, that would be illegal. But some of their creations are as addictive as cocaine.
**this sentence, taken out of context, is hilarious.
***none of the food reviewed was, technically speaking, a hot dog (hence the quotation marks). That's because I can get a really good chicago dog lots of places and this place makes their own sausage and puts crazy wild condiments on them. Can you blame me?