Many times on this board have we discussed chili dog nirvana. I'd like to add one more possibility:
Imagine my surprise while walking through Union Station one day to see a Nathan's Famous Hot Dog sign inside Union Bagel. I soon found myself at the counter saying "One chili dog with mustard and onions and no cheese, please."
After a few moments, the chili dog arrives. It takes me off guard--the dog itself extends past the bun, the raw red onions are finely chopped and the chili smells like, REAL chili! My heart starts to race. I don't have the courage to pick the thing up, so I use the fork. I wedge off a bit that contains all the flavors and quickly shorten the distance between the counter and my mouth.
Houston, we have a problem.
This is a damn good chili dog! My mind races. Can I resist the urge to eat one every day? The meaty, even slightly gamey, taste of the Nathan's Famous is a memory blast from my childhood when real butchers, who made their own frankfurters, would give me a free sample. It was amazing. Plus, the chili had both substance and flavor. Chunks of ground meat in a savory cumin-tomato bath was a delight. The minced red onion and mustard rounded out the program...the onion was small enough to deliver flavor by not unwieldy enough to roll off the fork and onto my shirt (joining the stains of lunches past). Despite the fact that I was having dinner in 45 minutes, I scarfed the thing down. I felt regret that I only had a phone camera to capture the moment.
Photos are here: