The Encased Meat Emporium

August 21, 2011

It was about a year or two ago when I caught the Chicago episode of Anthony Bourdian's No Reservations on one of my favorite channels, the Travel Channel.  I was shocked and confused he didn't go to one of my Chicago favorites, Portillo's, for hot dogs but instead Hot Doug's.  I initially thought, "Really?  What is this place?  It can't be better than Portillo's."  
located at: 3324 N. California Ave, Avondale, Chicago
But since watching that episode, I have heard so much hype around Hot Doug's, I knew I would have to check it out for myself.  I was more than prepared to wait in a super long line since I was warned that the line could be about two blocks long, since the restaurant is only opened for a limited amount of time each day (10:30am-4pm).  To my surprise, the line was just a lil bit out the door...PHEW!  

the line was much shorter than above when we got to Hot Doug's
Hot Doug's offers two menus: Specials & the Regulars.  The regular menu has simple dogs or sausages (some named after the Elvis) while the daily specials menu has more gourmet/exotic items such as Yak Sausage.  I, along with friend, shared the classic Chicago Dog and then ordered a gourmet dog for ourselves.  I opted for the Rib Eye Steak Sausage with chimichurri, fried onions, & wine cheese (as soon as I saw chimichurri, I knew it was meant to be), while friend ordered Fois Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with truffle aioli, fois gras mousse, & fleur de sel (which Anthony Bourdain ordered too).  
the Classic Dog
Hot Doug's does not mess around.  These hot dogs were unbelievably good!  The Classic Dog was a great Chicago dog even though it was missing those yummy sport peppers that are usually part of a Chicago dog.  There's something about celery salt that I truly love on a hot dog...mmm.  

the Rib Eye Steak Sausage
My rib eye steak dog was tasty too, I mean, you can't really go wrong when chimichurri is involved.  I was a lil taken aback with the very vibrantly colored cheese topped on the hot dog, but it didn't overpower the dog and added a nice sweet, tanginess.   
the Fois Gras & Sauternes Duck Sausage
The fois gras and duck sausage was my first experience with fois gras.  The bite that I took of it was super creamy, rich, decadent and delicious.  The only thing missing from our adventure to Hot Doug's was their Duck Fat Fries, which are sadly only served on Fridays and Saturdays.  Their regular fresh-cut fries were a great addition to the meal, however.  

Repeat Visit? When I'm in the neighborhood, YES!  Hopefully I can brave the long lines on Friday or Saturday so I can try those Duck Fat Fries.  

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