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Nadya Johnson

Joined January 2009

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The Ultimate Chicago Dog ~ not in Chicago
Dixon, Illinois (USA)
Best Viewed Large/ Click on Image


OK… ya gotta be from Chicago to get this! LOL. Every region in the USA has it’s own style hot dogs. Want some controversy? Ask a New Yorker his opinion of a Chicago Dog! Or vice versa. Just like people are loyal to the hometown baseball team, they are equally loyal to their hometown hot dog.

Hot dogs slathered with a sweet, finely chopped, mayo-based slaw are popular in the South, where variations can include the chili-slaw (cole slaw, mustard, raw onion, minced all-meat chili no beans) and BBQ slaw.

Order up a dog in Kansas City and you’ll get it served with sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese on a sesame seed bun.

In Rochester New York, hot dogs are known as “hots” and come in either red or white. The red are called “red snappers,” a reference to their bright neon color. They’re served griddled for the best “snap”, and usually served on toasted buttered rolls.

Places in and around Newark, New Jersey, like to serve their dogs Italian-style: skinny all-beef hot dogs are deep fried then stuffed into a half- round of Italian bread along with fried onion, peppers, and potato rounds.

From Detroit to Tulsa, Coneys are a big favorite: small-sized, all-beef dogs served in steamed buns and topped with minced meat chili, mustard, and chopped onions (order the “loaded” and you’ll get shredded cheddar, too).

In Hawaii, “puka” dogs are popular. It’s a grilled Polish sausage served in a large bun that’s had a hole (or “puka”) pushed into it by a contraption that also toasts the inside. You can choose from a variety of “garlic lemon secret sauces” that range from “mild original” to “habenero hot hot,” tropical relishes, and lilikoi or guava mustards.

Then there’s the Southwest favorite the “Sonoran” dog; a grilled, bacon-wrapped hot dog on a sturdy bun, pinto beans, grilled onions, grilled green peppers, chopped fresh tomatoes, relish, tomatillo, jalapeno salsa, mayonnaise, mustard and shredded cheese.

Trouble is.. if you’re from Chicago, none of those are really “hot dogs!” A Chicago Dog, first and foremost, is ~ must be ~ always ~ no exceptions! ~ Vienna Beef. The dogs are steamed, never (ever) grilled (!!!) and ditto for the bun. If may or may not have poppy-seeds, contrary to popular belief; but if it isn’t softer than a warm, sweet, tasty little cloud ~ for’git abboudit! Ain’t right! Chicago dogs are layered with yellow mustard, dark green relish, chopped raw onion, a dill pickle spear, sport peppers (hot! The small ones, NOT jalapenos ~ ever), tomato slices, cucumbers, then sprinkled with a dash of celery salt. Sounds simple. Isn’t! If even ONE factor in the recipe is off… so is the entire dog. A lot of places CLAIM to serve Chicago-style dogs, but in the Opinion of an Expert (me) they miss the boat. Some Chicago hot-dog stands feature signs that read, “Ask for ketchup and we call the cops!” or some such warning… ketchup is for Infidels. Or, maybe Californians.

It is not unusual for a Chicagoan who’s moved away, say to San Francisco or Europe or even other parts of Illinois, to jump off the plane first thing and RUN to get a good Chicago dog! I did that a lot when I lived in California. LOL! Now, we live in northwest Illinois ~ and “I kid you not,” we’ve been searching for the Perfect Dog out here since 2005. It’s practically a 4-hour drive to Chi-Town, after all. We did find a place several years ago that had it Perfect: Tucci’s in the small town of Elizabeth. Alas, he closed in 2009! But the Search is over now. We found one in Dixon. That’s Right ~ Dixon, Illinois ~ Famous for very little other than the childhood home of Ronald Reagan!

This is it. The Blue Moo. No, they didn’t pay me to advertise the joint. They don’t know I’m doing this at all. (It’s owned and run by a man and wife who love Chicago hot dogs!) I think they figured out we liked the hot dogs though… since we first had some for “breakfast” on a recent trip to Dixon ~ then after our appointment, came back for “lunch” and had some more!

Not only is the food right ~ so is the stand. This is just like the hot dog stand that used to sit outside the Field Museum in Chicago when I was a kid. We used to hit it nearly every weekend! Not to give away my age, but the dogs were fifty cents and that included fries. There is still a hot dog stand in front of the musuem (happily), but now the dogs are $5, give or take ~ no fries ~ and the stand is a “real building.” In the Good Ol’ Days, these silver, trailer-types were everywhere in town; but they were banned some years ago. A crying shame! :-(

Dixon’s 30 miles give or take from where we live… but I think we’ll be visiting Ronald Reagan’s Birthplace pretty often in the future!
Panasonic Lumix

Artwork Comments

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