It’s hard to imagine any hand at a picnic that hasn’t met a nice hot dog. An American comfort food. What makes a baseball game a baseball game. Sitting on the itchy grass with an ice cold lemonade in the backyard, a fluffy bun filled to the brim with all your favorite fixins. Conversations with your dad, mustard on your face, belly laughs and booze. A day at the beach, a lunch that can’t avoid the sand. They remind you of sweltering heat and family vacations, everyone around the grill in the backyard. Hot dogs are more than we give them credit for. So where did they come from?
In 1880 a German peddler by the name of Antonoine Feuchtwanger made a living by selling “hot sausages” on the streets of good ol’ St.Louis, Missouri. History writes that he would supply dainty white gloves to each customer (to avoid sizzling hands) while eating his sausages. The profits of his business soon dwindled because people left with his gloves, hence, his wife suggested they be served in a split bun to solve this problem! His brother (the baker) created long, soft rolls to marry the meat and yes, the hot dog was born.
Two weeks ago we wrapped up our beloved Hot Dog Week at Bull & Bear. After seven days of cozying up with spicy pickles and poppy seed buns, we bid farewell to these little Chicago-inspired wonders (all except for one!). For loyal devotees that couldn’t decide which dog to destruct for lunch we offered the #FRANKPLANK. A board of sizzling sausages, perfectly orchestrated to reflect a miniature version of each specialty dog. Drool.
When putting together our menu each year we, at Bull & Bear, never neglect the appetite for the hungriest among us. *slides back curtain* The Homewrecker! A 22 inch Chicago-style kosher dog, two hands required. 54 of these bad boys were sent out and FINISHED leaving just remnants of celery salt and tomato. A job well done.
Now on to the menu, it all started with the “Pilsen Dog.” Picture al pastor sausage, freshly grilled pineapple and cactus relish, cilantro creme, fresh jalapeno, and salsa habanero all snuggled in between a bolillo role. The Pilsen is tangy and hot in a never-ending summer kind of way. Tuesday we shoveled out the “Little Italy Dog.” Salami pepperoncini sausage meets arugula pesto and the rest is history. Topped with pickled forest mushrooms and aged provolone for a powerful taste, this is the kind of hot dog you eat and dream about.
Wednesday we got saucy with tzatziki, adding a “pita bun” to the mix for our “Greek Town Dog.” Using traditional Greek flavors and tossing around fresh tomatoes and feta, this was a lunch fit for Alexander the Great himself.
Come Thursday (oh glorious Thursday!) the “Pulaski Dog” brought tears of joy to hot dog lovers all around Chicago. A sizzling polish sausage, smoke to perfection. How could it get better might you ask? With brown mustard and spicy pickles atop a poppy seed bun. Last, but not least, a little charred onion to sweetly remind you what these American classics are all about. A perfectly balanced delight. Due to popular demand, this lunch-pleaser is available throughout August on our menu!
To finish strong and full of flavor, we brought the attitude with Friday’s “Uptown Dog” on a jalapeño baguette. Composed of spicy beef sausage, dehydrated cilantro, pickled carrots & daikon accompanied by our pride and joy…the thai chili mayo! Yum, on the kick drum.
All in all, Hot Dog Week was a nostalgic rush of flavor. We didn’t eat them on the lawn or in the presence of our man Antonoine Feuchtwanger, but for the fourth consecutive year we had a blast.