The Chicago Style Hot Dog, or The Best Thing I’ve Ever Eaten

The hot dog was always something I’d taken for granted. Boiled, grilled, or (disgusting, I know) straight out of the bag cold, the hot dog, for me, has always been one simple thing: a chicken and pork frank, whose origins I have no desire to investigate further, a plain white bun, ketchup, mustard, relish. Occasionally, this combination is jazzed up with warm chili, shredded cheese, and sliced onions. This has always been the extent of the hot dog’s versatility for me, and I never questioned it.

In fact, I didn’t even realize that Chicago was just as famous for hot dogs as they are for deep dish pizza. That is, until this past weekend when, put shortly, my world was rocked on the steps of Shedd Aquarium. After convincing my boyfriend that we couldn’t take any of the toppings off (because these sorts of things need to be tasted as they were intended first), we forked over almost $5 and, because it was only about 10 am, received our all-beef hot dog dressed with mustard, relish, tomato slices, onions, a whole (WHOLE!) pickle spear, sport peppers, topped with celery salt inside a poppy seed bun in about 5 minutes. 

 

After one bite, my life was changed. I wanted to know who on earth thought to combine these, to me, bizarre ingredients. More than that, I wanted to know why no one told me about it sooner. The crunch of the pickle, the bite of the pepper, the warm, soft bun, and complete lack of ketchup combined into the warmest, tightest food hug I’ve ever experienced. Perhaps the most interesting part of all of this was the fact that the hot dog itself wasn’t a huge monstrosity of a sausage. It couldn’t have been more than half an inch in diameter. This came as no disappointment to me, as it allowed the toppings to shine without requiring that you open your mouth too wide. Whoever came up with this hot dog put a lot of thought and love into it, and that love comes across in each bite. As far as I’m concerned, this hot dog earns 5 out of 5 stars in every possible category.

 

So good, in fact, that selfies were taken. Many, many selfies with the hot dog. Could we look more like tourists? Follow-up question: who cares? It was so good!

 

 

This hot dog was a testament to the fact that good things are sometimes weird. As I grow older, I’m learning that some of the best things in life happen to be the weirdest. The Chicago style hot dog is no exception to this rule. Chicago is a big, bright city, full of many wonders, and now, for me, many memories, but this hot dog, I swear, will stand in history for me as a reason to come back again someday.