Monday, October 23, 2006

Hot Doug's

Hot Doug's (the Encased Meats Emporium and Sausage Superstore) is a Chicago institution of sorts. Not as traditional as other Chicago hot dog joints like Superdawg et al, it nonetheless has a cult-like following among foodies and those in the know. There's almost always a line stretching to (or out) the door. The standard menu has a wide variety of dogs and sausages, all with celebrity names (like "The Madonna" described as "Andouille Sausage - mighty, mighty, mighty hot!"), but the specials menu is always worth checking out. Every week there's a different "Game of the Week" - This week that was a kangaroo sausage with gin-juniper mustard and rosemary marinated goat cheese (pictured above). And a "Celebrity Sausage" - the Frank Lucchesi (he's been running through names of former Cub's managers lately), a corned beef sausage with horseradish mustard and chicken liver mousse, is pictured below.

The owner and proprietor, Doug Sohn, is nearing celebrity status on his own. Maybe it's the Buddy Holly glasses. Maybe it's the way he spends a couple minutes chatting with every customer as they order. Maybe it's the way he's openly defying the recent foie gras ban in Chicago (there was no foie gras sausage on the menu the day we were there, but we did get to see his citation letter, proudly displayed at the counter).

Hot Doug's is a bit off the beaten track for visitors to Chicago - our taxi from downtown to the restaurant cost more than lunch, but I expect there's some relatively easy public transit way to get there. And it's definitely worth the effort, especially on Friday or Saturday, when they serve french fries cooked in duck fat! (Although as you can see from the picture below, the regular fries are might fine too.)

Hot Doug's
3324 North California
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 279-9550


4 comments:

Mazenbloo said...

OMgosh this place sounds SOOOO good! And the food looks so good too! LOL Yummy! I have dog envy here in Chelsea! :D

Tammy said...

Yeah, I have dog envy here in Ann Arbor - it's not like I get to Chicago often enough to go there as much as I'd like to!

Mazenbloo said...

The only 'dog' place I assume would be Le Dog and I can't say that I've eaten there yet. Have you?

Tammy said...

Oh, you really must go to Le Dog! It's actually very reminiscent (although totally different) to Hot Doug's. Like Doug, Jules at Le Dog is a CIA-trained chef who has chosen to do something different with that training. The dogs at Le Dog are pretty basic - what makes it special are the soups. There are at least 3 or 4 every day, and they're all amazing. On Thursdays and Fridays there's Lobster Bisque! And like Doug, Jules is always up for a little chat with an interested soul. Sadly, Le Dog shares something else with Hot Doug's, and that's the whole only being open for lunch thing (and at Le Dog, it's only *weekday* luches!). I'm rarely downtown on weekdays, or I'd be there a lot more often.

But if dogs are what you're lookign for, Red Hot Lovers on South University has some pretty good ones.