Monday, July 19, 2010
Doug of Hot Doug's has the dream job - producing a product universally loved by followers, creating new flavors of 'encased meats', taking orders from customers who are willing to line up for 2 hours, and meeting people from all over the world while serving up sausages at his modest size restaurant on California street in Chicago, IL.
My first experience was two summers ago, driving in the sweltering heat from Northwestern University and circling for parking. I was sticky, tired, hungry and there was a short line. Oh yea.
There was a child ahead of me holding a crumpled $5 bill so he could pay for his ice cream. Doug looked at him, smiled and waved him to keep walking. The child gleefully opened his ice cream.
I associate this scene with Hot Doug's and of course, his flavorful and unique sausages. Arriving at 10:15am (Hot Doug's opens at 10:30am) on a Monday, there was only 2 people ahead of us. A few minutes before the gates open there was a good 15 people in line.
We were slightly gluttonous and ordered a total of 6 sausages (2 were the foie gras sausage.)
First up, the infamous $9 Mousse and Fleur Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Grasde Sel.
Affordable Luxury. Heaven on a Bun. [Silence]
Last time I had a memorable Thai version sausage but alas, the ever rotating menu did not have it. The closest was the Teriyaki and Mandarin Orange Chicken Sausage with Spicy Peanut Sauce, Caraway Havarti Cheese and Toasted Coconut. This was my 2nd favorite after the Foie Gras. The toasted coconut really made it fragrant and so enjoyable.
The words ‘Atomic Bomb’ from the menu bounced off the wall to me. I wanted something that would make me sweat. A little. My spice tolerance is getting higher and higher. The $7.50 Damn Spicy Pork Sausage with Chipotle Dijonnaise and Habanero-Jack Cheese had good spice.
As I’m eating my way through each dog, I realized how much thought is put into the flavor profiles. Each ingredient complements each other very well, a little like “The Honeymooners” they may bicker at first but it works out perfectly in the end.
The $7.50 Bacon and Jalapeno Duck Sausage with Bacon Garlic Mayo and Smoked Gouda. The charred sausage lifted the smoked Gouda and then sedated with the cool sauce.
I thought the roasted plantains with the goat sausage was genius. The sweetness played down the gaminess of the goat and also added texture. The $8 Caribbean Goat Sausage with Spicy Prickly Pear Creme Fraiche, Roasted Plantains and Delice du Jura Cheese was also lean.
Hot Doug's is a must stop every time I am in Chicago. Sending you off with a quote from Ralph from "The Honeymooners"
3324 North California
Chicago, IL 60618
Read a summary about my visit to Chicago here.