This weekend I grabbed a plane from LaGuardia to O'Hare to see my boisterous gal pal Gourmet Rambler and experience Chicago from her singular point-of-view.
No sooner did I land when the tour began. Straight off the plane I was ushered into a Chi-Town cult favorite -- Hot Doug's, a one-stop shop for all things involving encased, tubular meat. There was no way I wasn't paying call on this visit. The hot dog holds a special place in Chicagoans' hearts and Hot Doug's is the ultimate top "dog" when it comes to their wiener and sausage obsession.
With only a couple of patrons ahead of us on the lunchtime line, we quickly settled on three specimens from the extensive menu: a bayou-inspired Smoked Shrimp and Pork Sausage with Creole Mustard, Hominy Grits and Goat Cheese; the infamous Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel; and the traditional Chicago-Style Hot Dog.
No contest. Pictured above, the Chicago-Style, topped with yellow mustard, chopped onions, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices and a dash of celery salt was the winner. There's a reason it's a classic. Absolutely delicious!
Sated, we rolled my suitcase down the block and onto the bus towards Roscoe Village, where Gourmet Rambler's apartment waited with a fridge full of bubbly and a list of "must-do" spots for the rest of the weekend.
Curious if she led me to one of the city's celebrated deep-dish pizza joints for dinner? No. Not her thing and not mine either. But, do stay tuned for more on my tasty Chicago adventures, because the Windy City offers a lot more than hot dogs and deep-dish...