Passing through O'Hare last month I grabbed a quick bite at a slightly dismal airport concession. We were in a hurry, but I needed to avoid as much of the in-flight meal as possible.
I'd heard of Chicago style hot dogs, and had tried one locally at Chicago on a Bun with reasonable results. Reasonable meaning it interested me beyond the usual- it had the bright green relish from Mars. It had been "dragged through the garden" with tomatoes, onions, dill pickle spear and had the signature celery salt. It was ok- I figured anything hot in a place that has something called the "lake effect" freezing one's spittle prior to leaving one's lips would be welcome, but the culinary heavens did not part or anything.
This was truly a dawg of a different species. Just as four legs and a waggely tail does not define a dog, the components contained in the Chicago on a Bun version was, when compared to the O'Hare dog, like Toto vs. Rin Tin Tin.
I was in a hurry so I didn't take my typical copious notes nor whisk the specimen off to the lab (haha-lab), and it was not until I finished it that it's awesomeness truly hit me. I had just had an amazing culinary experience! Around I whirled, headed to the counter for another lap around my new gustatory racetrack- and they called our flight. So I have few details with which to describe the canine.
I noticed the outside casing had been scored on both sides. If I remember correctly, it may have been grilled, and meat had a definitive "oh, snap!" when I attacked it. But the flavor profile (see I type foodie and use terms like that) was a unique cadenza with which I'm now obsessed.
We returned to O'Hare two weeks later, salivating. I'd spent the fortnight's interlude in the world's finest restaurants- Italy and France. But couldn't shake the monkey firmly on my back that is the "Chicago Hot Dog".
We were in a different terminal this time, and despite running up and down the hallways like a soccer dad seeking a lost four year old, there was no sign of my portal to heaven; the slightly dismal airport concession. I settled into a bar and ordered their version.
Four legs and a waggley tail it certainly had. Relish from Mars, celery salt, tomato, onion dill pickle spear. But the heavens did not part, there was no cadenza. It was just another mutt. I dragged myself onto the plane and headed home.
So. Anything in San Diego I should try for that Rin Tin TIn of dawgs? I've tried Wolffys around the corner (4 legs, waggley tail) already.
Help me, please?
PS: I don't do the sport peppers. More heartburn I don't need, thanks.