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A Chicago Hot Dog in Paris

A Chicago Hot Dog in Paris
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  • A Chicago Hot Dog in Paris

    Post #1 - December 1st, 2019, 9:15 am
    Post #1 - December 1st, 2019, 9:15 am Post #1 - December 1st, 2019, 9:15 am
    Chicago Hot Dog in Paris photo.jpg



    Early November, I’d just landed in Paris after a night of sleep that was, at best, fitful (what else?). I strolled around the Right Bank, went to a museum, fell asleep while walking (it’s happened before), ate a ham/cheese baguette sandwich I picked up at a random boulangerie, and was wandering back to my hotel in a daze through Le Marais. It was starting to drizzle when I spotted a street vendor selling what was advertised as Chicago hot dogs. It was one of those places of business built into another building, with a sidewalk-facing counter, no seating, kind of like some of the old-style Papaya King places in Manhattan. Though I’d just eaten, I had to stop and see what a Chicago hot dog in Paris was like.

    Years ago, Carolyn and I were rushing to catch a ferry to take us across Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong when I spotted a vendor offering Chicago hot dogs. I made a mental note to stop at that vendor on the return trip, but by the time we got back across the bay, the vendor had shut down for the day. I vowed to never again pass up the opportunity to have a “foreign” version of a Chicago hot dog…and I will never again.

    Overall, I was very impressed with this Parisian Chicago hot dog. I watched the nice man make my sandwich and was somewhat surprised to see him add details like celery salt and especially sport peppers. The latter was surprising because the French are quite heat-averse; there may be some heat in the food of the South, but overall, French food is not what anyone would call “spicy.” Perhaps predictably, these sport peppers were not very hot; the overriding taste sensation was vinegary-acidity, and that was cool: I can usually tolerate only a few nibbles of sport peppers on Stateside dogs, but I always get them on my dogs.

    The relish was not the radioactive blue-green glow-in-the-dark kind we expect on hot dogs in Chicago; the flavors were more muted, the pickle flavor subtle.

    The sausage itself was much longer, thicker and meatier than what I’d expect from a Chicago dog. It was fine though a little less warm than, say, yer standard Gene and Jude’s. Understandable: the wieners were rotating on those made-especially-for-hot-dog grills, and it was wet and chilly (Paris in November, no big surprise), so the sausage was a touch cooler than I would have liked, but no big deal.

    What really set this hot dog apart was the bun; it was no poppy-seed-flecked envelope of white smoosh bread, so maybe points off for that on the authenticity scale, but it was by far the densest, best-tasting hot dog bun in memory. It was almost “too good.” One of my many unsubstantiated beliefs is that some foods (macaroni n’ cheese, gyros, tater tots) must hit the right level of crappiness to satisfy on all the expected levels. I was less interested, however, in authenticity and more interested in seeing how the French, the most awesome food people on the planet, handled this traditional Chicago favorite. And the French, they know bread, and I am so happy they didn’t put the wiener into a croissant, as I’ve heard some have done, in our city, with the Italian beef, which is, pardon my French, fucked up.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - December 1st, 2019, 9:35 am
    Post #2 - December 1st, 2019, 9:35 am Post #2 - December 1st, 2019, 9:35 am
    Wonderful, David. Whenever I'm in a foreign city for more than a couple of days, I seek out other ethnic cuisines to see how they measure up. Vietnamese in Paris, Turkish in Florence, Greek and then Japanese in Salerno, and this may not count but Sicilian and Pugliese in Rome. The latter two were incredible.
  • Post #3 - December 1st, 2019, 11:20 am
    Post #3 - December 1st, 2019, 11:20 am Post #3 - December 1st, 2019, 11:20 am
    Damn. That does look like one tasty dog, especially the bun.

    A few weeks ago I came across a Hungarian video with instructions on how to make a Chicago style hot dog. I have to give the person credit for baking his own poppy seed buns, but the final result could have used a little more research. (No relish, onions cut into rings, wrong order of ingredients, etc. I mean, I appreciate local spin on foods, but this just seems more like sloppy research than anything else.)

    Still, I'd eat it, of course. :)
  • Post #4 - December 2nd, 2019, 10:05 am
    Post #4 - December 2nd, 2019, 10:05 am Post #4 - December 2nd, 2019, 10:05 am
    jnm123 wrote:Wonderful, David. Whenever I'm in a foreign city for more than a couple of days, I seek out other ethnic cuisines to see how they measure up. Vietnamese in Paris, Turkish in Florence, Greek and then Japanese in Salerno, and this may not count but Sicilian and Pugliese in Rome. The latter two were incredible.


    Yes, perverse as it may be, I've sought out Mexican food in Florence (seemed to be mostly Tex Mex style) and London. In London, at a place called Wahaca (locations all over England), I was suspicious of the name of the place, but we found ourselves enjoying quite a few of the dishes. One favorite was an admittedly strange Minty Pea Empanada, which we though worked especially well.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #5 - December 2nd, 2019, 2:22 pm
    Post #5 - December 2nd, 2019, 2:22 pm Post #5 - December 2nd, 2019, 2:22 pm
    jnm123 wrote:Wonderful, David. Whenever I'm in a foreign city for more than a couple of days, I seek out other ethnic cuisines to see how they measure up. Vietnamese in Paris, Turkish in Florence, Greek and then Japanese in Salerno, and this may not count but Sicilian and Pugliese in Rome. The latter two were incredible.


    Similarly, my wife (who is Korean) and I seem to seek and find Korean restaurants in the various countries that we have visited. I also usually check out McDonalds in other countries to see what the differences or regional menu items are.
  • Post #6 - December 2nd, 2019, 2:36 pm
    Post #6 - December 2nd, 2019, 2:36 pm Post #6 - December 2nd, 2019, 2:36 pm
    thetrob wrote: I also usually check out McDonalds in other countries to see what the differences or regional menu items are.


    Heh, I do that as well. India always has some fun McD's items, like the McSpicy Paneer and the McAloo Tikki. One of the more interesting ones I came across recently is the (and I'm going to bring it back around to Hungary again) Goosey Gustav, a McDonald's burger with two patties, goose liver, lamb's lettuce, spicy green pepper, grilled onion, and black pepper sauce. Yes, they had a foie gras topped burger out there.
  • Post #7 - December 2nd, 2019, 3:19 pm
    Post #7 - December 2nd, 2019, 3:19 pm Post #7 - December 2nd, 2019, 3:19 pm
    Moderators move this if it is not on topic enough. Turkish in Mainz, the best tortas "cum" gyros ever at a popular stand near an even more popular mens' public restroom, just around the corner from a whorehouse and the porn vendor at the train station. We were at the Hotel Hammer, my partner wore his feet out walking uphill past the nazi skin flags in the windows of apartments, hoping to see the Chagalls at the hilltop church. No such luck. As he soothed his feet, I went out and practiced my German studies of six years until it all fell apart and I would beg, "auf Englisch, bitte? I loved this people-watching Fassbinderish configuration of illicit sex and the best Turkish street food I have ever had.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #8 - December 2nd, 2019, 4:35 pm
    Post #8 - December 2nd, 2019, 4:35 pm Post #8 - December 2nd, 2019, 4:35 pm
    If you haven't already visited, make room for Miznon, one of my favorite places in the Marais. Hard to miss, you have a nice view of people queuing up for the far inferior L'As du Falafel.
  • Post #9 - December 2nd, 2019, 9:36 pm
    Post #9 - December 2nd, 2019, 9:36 pm Post #9 - December 2nd, 2019, 9:36 pm
    In terms of out-of-place dining while on vacation, the thing we're most likely to try is Indian. Goan in Lisbon is almost a no-brainer, but it's also a good choice when you're vegetable-deprived in mittel-Europe.

    I've also got a funny story about Italian in Tokyo, but it's really only funny out loud with hand gestures. (Remind me Thursday)
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang

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