Monday, January 31, 2011
Photo by Robyn Lee
My sister has a unique talent for sniffing out quirky little places in Chicago, where she lives, and on a recent visit she took us to Hot Doug's. As the name implies, Hot Doug's is a hot dog place, but not just any hot dogs, no. These are delicious concoctions created with sausages, frankfurters, sauces and various toppings. Just phenomenal.
Hot Doug's is in a northern Chicago neighborhood, nowhere near the bustle and dash of the loop or the magnificent mile. As we walked up we took our place on a line snaking out the door and around the side of the building, and my sister said she couldn't recall not waiting on line at Hot Doug's. Fortunately, the line moved quickly.
Now, Hot Doug's made the news a few years ago when Chicago banned the sale of foie gras within city limits, to the dismay of foodies and chefs all over the city, who struck the item from their menus. But not Hot Doug. He sells a foie gras topped hot dog, and refused to stop selling it during the ban, gaining the dubious honor of being the first Chicago restaurateur fined for disobeying the law. The ban was eventually overturned, and the foie gras went back on the menu.
So of course, I had to try the infamous foie gras dish. It was a Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel. My sister had Saucisse de Toulouse with Sweet Garlic Mustard and Yellow Buck Camembert Cheese. Let me tell you... heaven on a bun. The kids had the more pedestrian mini bagel dogs and tater tots - what can I say? I've tried to develop their palates, but they still prefer the Kraft mac & cheese above all else.
So next time you're in Chicago - try out Hot Doug's. Don't be scared away by the line, it moves fast, and somehow you can usually find a place to sit.
3324 North California, Chicago, IL 60618
Phone: (773) 279-9550
Fax: (773) 279-9553