♫ My kind of town hot dog Chicago is ♪

Appropriately, I had my very first Chicago-Style Hot Dog in the Windy City. I had met up with my roommates from college for a fun girly weekend there and on our last day, we decided to try something typical of the city: the hot dog. We headed to Gold Coast Dogs and I have loved Chicago-style hot dogs ever since. I think one of the reasons I like it so much compared to other dogs is that it is loaded with veggies. A typical one includes a steemed kosher-syle all-beef frankfurter on a poppy seed bun topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, sweet pickle relish, a pickle spear, tomato wedges and pickles sport peppers with a dash of celery salt, earning it the nickname of hot dog that was “dragged through a garden.”
Chicago-Style Hot Dog from Gold Coast Dogs in Chicago
Until recently it was virtually impossible to find a decent Chicago-dog in the district. Over the summer, I actually made my own version at home, though I had to skip the sport peppers since I just couldn’t find any anywhere! Chicago-style hot dogs are loaded with veggies and so I like to keep them meat-less, with a steamed tofu-dog in lieu of the kosher-syle all-beef frankfurter. The rest of the ingredients (pickle spears, tomato wedges, celery salt, yellow mustard, sweet relish and white onions) are easy to find at any local supermarket and you can even pair it with some Goose Island brew which is sold at Whole Foods. But now there’s an even more convenient to get Chicago-dog fix as not one but two restaurants serving the local specialty are opening in Washington this month.
The first one, DC3 is a small and casual place that opened in Barrack’s Row last week. Named after the famed Douglas DC-3 fixed wing, propeller driven airplane and owned by the same team as Matchbox and Ted’s Bulletin, DC3 takes diners on a journey around the United States through its regional specialty dogs. You can take a bite out of the Big Apple with the NYC Street Vendor Dog which at $3.99 is one of the cheapest on the menu. Or you can get more of a West Coast taste with the California Left Winger, a veggie-falafel dog with Tzatziki sauda and avocado or the Seattle Pike Place Ultimate Fish Dog which is basically fish and chips, minus the chips, plus a bun. You can even venture out internationally all the way to Korea with Q’s Seoul Bulgogi and Kimchi hot dog. I took a trip to a semi-familiar destination and ordered a Chicago 7, which featured all 7 traditional ingredients required by purists. While I didn’t care mush for the frickles I ordered as a side, not for the chili-fries my friend had, I loved the old school pops and felt like a little kid again walking out with freshly spun cotton candy in my hands. I found myself wishing I could have a beer with my dog though 😦

Come Monday, November 22nd, there will be another spot to get a decent Chicago-dog. Bob H., an ex-Chicagoan who was tired of not finding a good version of his hometown specialty in the district, decided to open ChiDogO’s on 14th street, right below U-street. He will be taking the concept to a whole level, serving among other items, a foot-long Chicago dog as well as a pickle dog and fried pickle spears. Yum… pickle dog with a side of fried pickle spears… I love this place already! Bonus point, ChiDogO’s will also be serving beer, specifically Goose Island beer whose brewery my roommates and I visited during our Chicago weekend. In French we have an expression that basically says “never two without three” (jamais deux sans trois). With foodies around town already calling the hot dog the new burger, do you think there’s room for a third “gourmet” hot dog joint in town? Perhaps even more? Are you excited about this new trend?

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