Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Chicago Dogs at AT&T Park

A few months ago, a case of sport peppers arrived at my co-worker's desk.  Why? Because he loves Chicago-style hot dogs, and the peppers are an essential component.  He couldn't find them anywhere, so he had to get an entire case online.  Like ya do.

Now, I may be a bit of a food snob, but from time to time, I really can enjoy a good hot dog. But I'd never heard of a Chicago-style dog before.  I'm not really sure how, I guess perhaps because I've never been to Chicago? Or perhaps because, although I do enjoy a hot dog from time to time, it isn't something I would order out, more just something I'd get at a BBQ?

Anyway, we were recently at AT&T Park, and all of us arrived with slightly different agendas, although amusingly, none of us were there to see the game (this was a team offsite event).  I was there to try the crab sandwiches that I'd read so much about.  Emil was there to drink and be social.  And my sports pepper buying co-worker was certainly there to get a Chicago dog.  His enthusiasm for these dogs spread, so somehow, even though the rest of us were stuffed with crab and garlic fries, Chicago-style dogs were had.

I think only one stand in the entire park sells them, although you can get a regular hotdog or brat at pretty much every stand.  He got a bit worried when the first few places we stopped at did not have Chicago-style, and when I said I hadn't seen them anywhere (I had of course already scooped out all of the options, but admittedly, I wasn't looking for hot dogs in particular), but we searched until we found them.
Chicago Dog, extra peppers.  $7.
Since this was the first Chicago-style hot dog I'd ever seen, I had no idea if this was authentic or not.  My co-worker seemed to think it was a decent representation.

A pretty standard hot dog, but it was the toppings that make it something different.  Alongside the dog was a full pickle spear.  Ok, now that is strange.  A pickle on the side I'm used to, but inside the bun? And wedges of tomato.  On a hot dog?  It was topped with mustard and chopped onion, which are pretty normal, but also some crazy florescent green relish.  My co-worker assured me that the insane color of the relish was part of the experience.  It was also sprinkled with salt and pepper.  I was instructed not to add ketchup.  We ordered them his way, which included extra peppers.  Not sure how many come on normally, but ours each came with 5.  He clearly loves the peppers.

This thing was a crazy mess to eat.  The bun broke apart within the first bite or so, due to being absolutely stuffed full of toppings.  It was a regular bun, designed to hold just a dog and perhaps some ketchup, and totally couldn't handle the ridiculous amount of stuff in it.  I wonder if they normally use bigger buns?

None of the components were particularly good quality.  Very plain bun, although it did have poppy seeds on it.  Standard hot dog.  Generic pickle.  Barely ripe tomato.  Basic onion, mustard, relish. Slimy but spicy peppers.  All together they created some interesting flavors, but this isn't how I'd choose to eat a hot dog.

For $7, this was by far the best value we saw all day.  Even the basket of garlic fries cost more.  But, not something I'd get again.  The others seemed to enjoy theirs though.