Of late, I’ve missed my Chicago hot dog. So last week, I made a pilgrimage to Hot Doug’s, Chicago’s most beloved encased-meat emporium. Well, sort of. I, along with dozens of other New York City devotees, attended “The Hot Doug’s Experience,” a tasting at Astor Center’s newest downtown venue, The Lounge. In a nod to the infamously long lines at Hot Doug’s, the evening’s attendees formed a queue (albeit while sipping lager and eating andouille pigs in a blanket). Owner Doug Sohn’s perfectly executed Chicago-style hot dog (mustard, neon-green relish, onion, tomato, pickle spear, hot peppers, celery salt and absolutely no ketchup) justified the wait. So did his departure from Second City tradition: a duck-and-Sauternes sausage topped with foie gras mousse and flaky gray salt. Served in a tender ciabatta-like roll with truffle aioli, it was one of the most pleasingly unctuous things I have ever tasted. Sadly, Sohn confirmed that he is not planning to open a Hot Doug's in NYC and, in fact, one Hot Doug’s is all the world can expect to see. Oh well, some things taste better when you have to wait for them.
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