During our long weekend in Chicago – a brief trip to interfere in our children’s lives and spoil our granddaughter - there was a lot of bad weather, including big storms and record rainfall. Friday around noon found us out in the middle of it – literally - standing in line at Hot Doug’s, ticking off one of the restaurants on Anthony Bourdain’s list of 13 Places To Eat Before You Die.
45 Minutes of waiting in the pouring rain just built up the anticipation. This is where the famed Chicago-style dog lives, but we weren’t here for anything as pedestrian as that. Nope, today was Friday, and on Friday, Hot Doug’s fries are cooked in DUCKFAT!! And they have FOIE GRAS DOGS!! Can you imagine it? I had been waiting for this day for a long time – ever since I read this:
“12) Hot Doug's (Chicago) This place convinced me the Chicago red hot is, in fact, superior to the New York hot dog. And it's home to two great innovations in American gastronomy: the "foie gras dog" and the weekends-only practice of cooking French fries in duck fat. It's proof that food doesn't have to be expensive to be great.” – Anthony Bourdain, 13 Places To Eat Before You Die
And here we were.
Of course I had the Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel, as well as the Cognac-Infused Lamb and Pork Sausage with Spinach Raita and Goat Cheese. Mary, tradionalist that she is, had a Classic; and our son David had a BLT - Bacon Sausage with Avocado Mayonnaise, Iceberg Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes and Hickory-Smoked Sweet Swiss Cheese, and a Philly Cheesesteak Sausage with Cream Cheese Mustard, Caramelized Onions and Smoked Provolone Cheese. And, naturally, we had a couple of orders of the fries. We shared bites – something I did not want to do at all, I agonized terribly over the missing two bites of my Foie Gras dog - and it is my firm opinion that I won, hands down. The fries were insanely good – the best I’ve ever had. And my Foie Gras Dog? – absolutely delicious and totally worth waiting in the rain for. We might have gone back on Saturday, but Hot Doug's had to close due to flooding from the storms.
I wish I were writing this as a localism post – I’d love to live down the street from Hot Doug’s, for as long as my arteries held out, anyhow.
Mary & Dick Greenberg