Monday, August 22, 2011

New Stuff at Hot Diggity

Just stopped by Hot Diggity to check out some new dogs including Keith's awesome version of the Philly Combo that Holly Moore called the "best he's ever had" and yeah it's amazing.

A Sabrett's natural casing dog is wrapped in a homemade salt cod / potato mixture, breaded with panko and deep fried. Topped with pepper hash and brown mustard. Not fishy at all and much better than the questionable frozen fish cake you would be eating if you ordered this from some scary lunch stand under Market East station.

Hot Diggity is really coming through with making stuff from scratch and taking hot dog technique to the next level. Especially with their latest "Buffalo Dog" which will be on the menu (or as a special?) real soon.

Diggity's Buffalo dogs are made from actual Buffalo meat at D'Angelos on 9th street (Philly's #1 source of exotic meat) and are actual hot dogs - fine ground meat in hot dog size rather than coarse ground sausage being called "hot dog" for a gimmick. Topped with honey buffalo wing sauce, diced celery, chunks of good blue cheese and topped with deep fried crispy chicken skin.

I've seen a lot of "Buffalo" style hot dogs and honestly they usually turn me off (dog dipped in hot sauce and drowned in blue cheese dressing = no thanks) but this one is GREAT. Other news from Hot Diggity is that they are now BYOB and will soon be carrying Levis Champ Cherry Soda which you should definitely order with your Philly Combo.

Hot Diggity
630 South Street

Monday, August 15, 2011

Western PA Pepperoni Rolls, Mint Ginger Ale and Fallingwater

After trying Pepperoni Rolls most people's reaction is something like "We really drove 6 hours for this? its a dinner roll with some pepperoni in it... I know this place in Manayunk that makes REAL pepperoni bla bla bla...."

But we're not talking about that. We're talking about the greasy gas station snack that started with Italian coal miners back in the day, and is pretty much only found in West Virginia and Southwestern PA and parts of Maryland, that for some reason I find myself fascinated with, and for which I dragged my friends (who would rather be fishing and/or drinking beer) along to every gas station and grocery store in a 5 mile radius of our campsite.

Most Pepperoni Rolls are pre-packaged, so It was awesome to find this gas station / bakery / grocery that makes their own. They were pretty good, sort of sweet and filled with slices of Pepperoni (some have sticks and/or cheese) soaked in orange grease (this is a good thing) and 50 cents each.

The next place I asked if they had any pepperoni rolls and they lady behind the deli counter said "my sister makes them when she's here but she only works on saturdays" so I guess home-made pepperoni rolls are pretty common in southwestern PA. Awesome.

Some other good stuff from this area was Tom Tucker Mint Ginger Ale (add whiskey for an almost mint julep) and Stoney's, a super delicious cheap local lager made in the old Rolling Rock brewery in Latrobe... 20 times better than Iron City or Old German.

Other stops included Fallingwater (AMAZING) and LOTS of hot dogs including this "Hot Chee Dog" from Hamilton Restaurant that you can read about on Serious Eats.

read more
Hot Dog Of The Week - Hot Chee Dog
Drawingforfood - West VA Pepperoni Rolls - Pepperoni Roll Variations
Fallingwater Cookbook Excerpt

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Philadelphia Jewish Deli Dogs and Casino Deli

If you've been following my hot dog articles for the past couple years, you might be familiar with my fascination with Jewish Deli hot dogs, specifically the so-called, maybe-doesn't really exist "Kosher Tommy" - an all beef hot dog wrapped in beef salami (or beef bologna, at one place in Philly and a few in Baltimore -and sometimes cheese, yes I know it's not kosher ) that was/is supposedly a kosher/sort of kosher alternative to the "Texas Tommy" (bacon wrapped cheese filled dog).

The fascination goes back to the bizarre story of my Jewish / not Jewish family, especially my grandfather who was raised in Jewish family but abandoned religion in favor of art, yet whose eating habits were still very Northeast Philly Jewish style - whitefish salad, bagels, salami and eggs, and of course these mysterious hot dogs wrapped in salami.

I actually served my version of the "Kosher Tommy" at the Wienermobile event a couple weeks ago (baloney wrapped, and covered with cheese whiz for that philly twist) and most people loved it, although there was a guy who took offense and accused me of "making fun" of people who keep kosher, which was never my intent, and part of the reason for this article was to document the existence of this thing. My only guess to the popularity of cheese on a "kosher" style hot dog is that many Delis in the Philadelphia area also cater to a large non-Jewish or non-Kosher clientele.

Anyway I finally made the trek around the city and the burbs in search of this "Kosher Tommy" thing, and they were all really different, although EVERY jewish deli in the Philadelphia area seems to have some incarnation of a kosher hot dog topped with salami or pastrami or baloney and maybe cheese. My favorite was actually from Zeke's (pictured above), a small deli/diner in the city that I'd never noticed before - called the "Sizzle", a split & grilled dog wrapped in baloney and a pickle that I also jammed into the bun.

Check out my post on Serious Eats for all the dogs-
Hot Dog of the Week: A Tour of Philadelphia Deli Dogs

Another great find on this trip was the Casino Deli in Northeast Philadelphia. This place is like something from another world, a cross between a Jewish Deli and a takeout beer / lottery /grocery / cheesesteak joint.

The entire interior is covered in a massive Atlantic City mural complete with scenes of people rolling dice and various showbiz celebrities. The eccentric staff was awesome and the deli sandwiches terrific.

Pastrami dog was OK, too much bread with the giant roll but the pastrami was good. Great pickles and cheap cold beer. I'd love to come back here on a non-hot dog adventure.

Zeke's 5th Street Deli Bakery
318-20 South 5th Street; Philadelphia, PA 19106

Casino Deli
2425 Welsh Road; Philadelphia, PA 19114-2219