Perhaps even stranger than walking by the Red Corner for years and not discovering that it's a falafel-pasta-hot dog stand is the fact that all this time I've been living by Hot Doug's, and practically making it my secondary place of business (I take anybody there once and it's immediately the place they suggest we meet next time-- I went there three times in one week last month, which is not doctor-advised)...
.despite all that, I'd never had one of the main attractions, the fries cooked in duck fat. This further despite the fact that I've certainly eaten my share of frites in Europe and did, at least once, invest in a tub of goose lard from Paulina in order to recreate the flavor of potatoes cooked in France or Belgium. But they were only made at odd hours, and when you have a 4-year-old, well, if you're going to have a hot dog you're ready for it at noon sharp, and there's no waiting until 1:30 for the duck fries.
But then Doug started making them all day Friday and Saturday. So, in between dinners of duck curry from Malabar, I had lunch at Hot Doug's. No, I didn't have the duck sausage with foie gras and Sauternes. (I had it a few weeks ago, anyway.) Instead I had the elk, which was quite fine. As for the duck fat fries... I guess I can see the appeal. Contrary to my expectation, it's an incredibly light fat (maybe everyone but me knew that already and that's the reason for them) and it seemed to glisten on top of them very differently from the way your usual heavy fat seems to be sinking in. The thin cut fries were nicely crispy. But... I don't know. Unlike with the time I bought the goose lard, I didn't have an immediate Proustian rush of Paris-ness. In fact, I didn't get a specific flavor at all. So what's the big deal? Since I think Hot Doug's regular fries are some of the best in town (and I at least think they're cooked just right these days), I don't see a lot of reason to wait an extra 7 minutes and pay double for these, except to say you did. And now I did.
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