Friday, August 8, 2008

Chicago Redux: Sausage Fest

Mural on the bathroom wall of Hot Doug's

Last week I ventured back to my great Midwestern homeland, Chicago. I was there at the insistence of my father, who bribed me with the promise of a trip to Hot Doug's Encased Meat Emporium and Sausage Superstore.

Eager encased meat fans line up

I have previously pledged my allegiance to the Chicago-style hotdog on this blog, and Hot Doug's is further proof that Chicago is the most sausage-centric city ever known to man. Although the recent James Beard Foundation White Paper concludes that the hamburger is the iconic American dish, to paraphrase Mr. Hot Doug Sohn himself, "There are no two finer words in the English language than 'encased meat.'" Sohn has built a massive Chicago following (we waited outside for 1 hour and 15 minutes) dedicated to his unwieldy sausages, made of the likes of buffalo meat and jerk pork, to name a few. Hot Doug's is also (in)famous in Chicago for being the first restaurant ticketed for running afoul of the (now defunct) foie gras ban, which Sohn served atop the "Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Black Truffle Sauce Moutare, Foie Gras Mousse and Sel Gris." This is not your corner hotdog shop. Still, Hot Doug's offers perfectly serviceable "normal" options, like bratwursts and corndogs and (obviously) the grilled Chicago dog. But if you're going to stand in line for upwards of an hour, it really doesn't make sense to walk out without having tried something a bit more…exotic.

Our table, groaning under the weight of much meat

Below, I present a visual smorgasboard of my encased meat fiesta: 8 dogs for 3 people, 1 order of regular-fried French fries, 1 order of weekends-only duck fat-fried French fries, 4 cans of Dr. Brown's Cherry Soda, 1 bottle Jones Orange Cream Soda, appx. 67 napkins, and (not pictured) a large handful of Tums. This meal was easily one of the most disgusting and awesome things I have ever taken part in. God bless America.

Char-Grilled Beer Brat with Caramelized Onions and Spicy Mustard.

Brown Ale and Chipotle Buffalo Sausage with Bacon-Garlic Mayonnaise and Smoked Cheddar Cheese

Jamaican Jerk Pork Sausage with Roasted Pepper-Avocado Sauce and Crispy Fried Onions

BACON SAUSAGE with Creme Fraiche, Caramelized Onions and Comte Cheese

Tomato-Basil Chicken Sausage with Pesto Genovese, Roma Tomatoes and Burrata Cheese

Irish Banger with Guinness Stout Mustard and Red Leicester Cheese

Not pictured: Chicago style-dog, the second bacon sausage we ordered, multiple bags of French fries.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Moon & Me

So here's this thing that I didn't write for my blog, but is still about food and worth reading.
Trawling the Urban Food Wastelands--Tumbleweed Slim's Bushwick Bodega Rice & Beans, which I was asked to write for The New York Moon, a smart, subversive online magazine matched to the lunar cycle. I highly encourage you to take a look at other articles in past issues, because I think The Moon is pretty damn neat.