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Hot Dogs: Portillo's & Bobak's

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Hot Dogs: Portillo's & Bobak's

gordon_k | Aug 8, 2005 04:27 PM

On my way home last Thursday afternoon, I stopped at Portillo's Ogden Ave location in Naperville, lusting for a Chicago-style dog. This was a choice based on convienience, as I had no desire to drive to any of the Chowish Dog-places. My order was promptly taken, but I stood at the pickup window for what seemed like 5 minutes, being completely ignored by two personell behind the counter who seemed more interested in the french fryer than in customer service. I finally called out "Is this my order?", pointing to a sack on the other side of the divider. The number on the side of the sack facing away from me matched the one on my receipt, so I was finally handed the order.
I then went to the beer/wine counter, and nobody came to serve me. Finally, noticing a bell on the counter, I rang for service. My small schooner of Michelob was then promptly poured. It was in a well-chilled frosted mug.. "Well done", I thought... "maybe it'll make up for the slow service at the pickup window."
I found the dog to be a tasty rendition of the Chicago style tube-steak, although without an exceptional degree of 'snap' to the tooth. However, I committed a fatal error in opening the wrapping to add just a smidgen of catsup (Yeah, yeah... I know)... by proceeded to eat the sandwich with my fingers, and out of the wapper. When half eaten, the bun began to sag appreciably, and by the time I was finishing the dog it had disintegrated into a dough-ey mess. Obviously, I should have kept it wrapped up to keep everything together. I'm just a fast-food klutz, I guess, 'cause I eat the stuff so infrequently. On the whole, I'd say I'll probably go back because there are 3 or 4 Portillo's locations near my home base, in Woodridge...
the dog tasted pretty OK... and next time I'll utilize the wapper.
Next day, I picked up 2 Bobak's natural casing dogs at the deli counter in the Lisle Jewel. Finding a matching bun in the fresh bakery section was a bit of a problem, but I eventually found 2 that were a close match for the huge tube-steaks. I *did not* want to buy packaged buns... I wanted something fresh. As soon as I got home, I gently simmered one dog, and heated the bun a bit in the oven. I applied Grey Poupon brown mustard, diced raw onion, Vienna neon-green pickle relish, fresh tomato wedges, a dab of catsup (Yeah, yeah... I know) and a long wedge of fresh cucumber,as big as the dog itself. I then gently slipped a strip of sliced pepperoncini into the end of the bun.
Talk about SNAP!!!... and not just on the first bite. I'm obviously no expert, but I thought there was an extreme degree of 'tooth' to the Bobak's product. I'll definitely be buying some more soon. Now, If I can only find some fresh-baked poppyseed buns of the correct size, without having to drive 20 miles...

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