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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Looking for some hot dogs, eh?

No, I don't mean these two festively-garbed grill jockeys. I mean the things they're cooking, those deliriously unhealthy yet delicious hot dogs. Much like our pizza, people in Chicago and its suburbs take hot dogs very, very seriously. We have our own hot dog "style," so to speak. According to our friends at Wikipedia,

"A Chicago-style hot dog - as served in the U.S. city of Chicago, Illinois and its surrounding suburbs - is a steamed or boiled all-beef, natural-casing hot dog on a poppy seed bun. The hot dog is topped with mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt; but never ketchup."

Amen. I'll never forget an episode of PBS's "The Frugal Gourmet," back at the height of his popularity, when Jeff Smith practically drooled while describing the "salad on a bun" that accompanies a Chicago dog. Truthfully, I tend to lean more toward just mustard on mine, but stand in line at a hot dog spot and listen to the detailed orders being placed - Chicagoans order hot dogs like Seattleites order their cappuccino.

And lest you think the current fast-food smorgasboard of chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers, fresh fruit cups and Tex-Mex Ranch BBQ Thai Cilantro Kiwi-flavored Whatsit is cutting into Mr. H. Dog's popularity, here's the hard truth: According to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America (2004), more than 1.25 billion pounds of all types of hot dogs are sold every year in retail stores alone. That's a lotta dogs.

How about here in Des Plaines? Where's the best spot for the perfect dog? And while we're at it, who's got the best fries, since enjoying a hot dog without fries is tantamount to treason in these parts? A PlainTalk reader specifically requested that we take a local survey of the best hot dogs, so please send us your favorites! All you need to do is click on "Comments" and start typing. And hurry up - I'm getting hungry!


8 comments:

  1. Wrong Question! Des Plaines may have had good hot dog places once upon a time, but now you have to go somewhere else. The right question for Des Plaines is “Where can you get a good taco?” Hot dogs have left Des Plaines; tacos are the hot new arrival. ~ Toozer

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  2. There has to be a good place to get hot dogs in the area. Please let us hot dog lovers know.
    A Friend

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  3. THERE IS A GOOD PLACE TO GET HOT DOGS!!!!!!Try Paradise Pup on River near Oakton, but give yourself enough time because it's always busy. And while you're there, try the cheese fries and malts--you won't be disappointed.
    Mr. Pup on Lee near Algonquin is pretty good and there's a place on Touhy West of River on the North side of the street (by Angeltown Daycare)that I used to like though I haven't been there in a while. Regarding Tacos....I've never been disappointed with any of the food at El Mexico right on Lee South of Ellinwood. HAPPY EATING!!!

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  4. The best place for authentic tacos is Las Asadas (2) one Lee and River across from Motorcycle dealer, and the second "new" location on Oakton just east of Elmhurst. As far as good Hot Dogs, I usually see them jumping over ramps and skateboard around parks and rails in DP.

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  5. Hey, I wanted to save Mexican food for an entirely different PlainTalk column - it certainly deserves one, being my favorite type of cuisine. I'm so grateful that we have the Mexico Restaurant just a few steps away from the Library, their burritos are delicious. But thank you for the recommendation of Las Asadas as well - one can never have too many tacos, burritos, taquitos, etc. etc...

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  6. Mr. Pup on Lee is okay, but I miss Frankie's on Oakton. They had the best fries in the world (I'm not kidding) and good dogs, and they fried the Pizza Puffs. RIP.

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  7. Ah - the Pizza Puff. There was a time in my younger days when a Pizza Puff and a pile of cheese fries were all I needed. Now, I'd need them with a side of Prevacid, but still...yum.

    I wonder if it is a Midwestern/Chicago thing to name fast food restaurants "Mr." Something. Mr. Pup. Mr. Beef. Mr. Beef and Pizza. Perhaps it could be the next "Real Men of Genius" commercial: "Mr. Inventor of Naming Fast Food Restaurants 'Mr. Something?'"

    Or perhaps I just need some sleep. :)

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