Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hot Diggity Corn Dog Special

Hot Diggity's special for the month of September. Three corn dogs -each half of a Sabrett natural casing dog - topped with a Korean chili / condensed milk thing, honey dust, and a jalapeno / sour cream sauce.

I love all of Hot Diggity's specials, some of them are really inventive and next-level, but this might be my favorite in terms of less thinking and more eating.

One cool thing about corn dogs is that for whatever reason you don't have the same regional authenticity fanaticism that comes with standard hot dogs - nobody's going to come in and yell at you for making corn dogs wrong, or that you're destroying America by putting Korean sauce on something traditional. Maybe because corn dogs were (probably) invented / popularized at State Fairs, where crazier is better anyway.

Anyway, these things are DELICIOUS, go eat them now, and wash it down with some corn soda or new victorian lemonade, or bring a six pack and make shandies.. 

630 South Street 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hot Diggity / COOK Hot Dog Class Recaps

Chicago Depression-style made w/ Vienna Beef natural casing, also served w/ fries

Detroit Coney w/ Winter's Sausage L-901 wiener and Keith's beef heart chili
Don't miss Drew Lazor's terrific recap of the recent hot dog class and tasting menu I did with Keith Garabedian of Hot Diggity. There's also some great action shots on Holly Moore's facebook page.

Pretty intimidating (and awesome) serving dogs to Rick Nichols Holly Moore and Scott Schroeder, probably the only people in Philadelphia who think about hot dogs as much as Keith & I do, and from whom I've definitely absorbed/lifted many bits of hot dog and Philadelphia food knowledge.

Keith (left) and myself (right)
At one point one of the fancy Rittenhouse ladies (who loved the dogs) said to her dining partner "It's like a cult, a hot dog cult!". Amazing.

May the Forcemeats Be With You : Hot Diggity and Hawk Krall Go Wiener-Crazy at Cook - Drew Lazor

Hot Dog Evening At Cook - Holly Moore

all photos - Drew Lazor / Holly Moore

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cook Philly / Hot Diggity Hot Dog Class

It's hot dog season again, which means non-stop hot dog related events here in Philadelphia, half of which I think I'm involved with (I can't keep track of it either) including several hot dog art shows, the Wienermobile, a hot dog topping contest, hot dog specials at restaurants all over the city (Brauhaus Schmitz is serving Rieker's dogs for a limited time).

But the one event we've really been busting our asses for the last few weeks is this Hot Dog Class and 8-course hot dog tasting menu at Audrey Claire's Cook.

It's a bit steep at $135 a ticket, but along with discussing the history of hot dogs, we're serving a 1-time only epic regional hot dog menu - a collaboration between Keith Garebedian of Hot Diggity and myself -where we've gone to great lengths to recreate 8 different regional dogs with as much authenticity as humanly possible.

Rather than simply topping any old dogs with regionally inspired toppings, we're having the appropriate frankfurter brands shipped in from all over the country, many of which you would never find at a Philadelphia hot dog stand, and may never see in Philadelphia again.

For a handful of the courses we're also using local dogs - Levis brand for a Philly pepper hash dog, and even driving up to Newark next week to pick up dogs from Best Provisions (brand served at Memphis Taproom, and the standard for deep-fried NJ Italian hot dogs) and fresh Pizza Bread from a North Jersey bakery to make real deal New Jersey Italian Hot Dogs.

Last week we embarked on a mission to source old-fashioned German wieners for the 1st course, to be served with Keith's house made sauerkraut, scouring Philadelphia sausage shops and European markets for the best.

We brought everything back to Hot Diggity for a 20+ dog taste test, finally settling on Rieker's house-made and smoked 100% Veal Wieners, probably now in my top 5 hot dogs in the country. We also found a great Polish garlic dog for one of the other courses, and more terrific natural casing hot dogs than I thought existed in Philly, but you'll have to wait for the Serious Eats article for all the details.

Another course I'm excited about is the Detroit Coney. We're having L-901 Coneys shipped in from Winter's Sausage in Michigan -  the secret brand that was served at the legendary Lafayette Coney Island (pictured above) until just recently - and topped with Keith's awesome beef heart chili.

We're also doing a Minimalist / Depression style Chicago Dog with natural casing Vienna Beef dogs coming in from Chicago, a Pulliams-style (above) southern "toasted" slaw dog with house-dyed neon red dogs from the Hot Diggity test kitchen; a bacon-wrapped Sonoran dog paired with Diggity's new house made Lime-Jalapeno-Cilantro soda - and a handful of others. And beer. 

$135 (only 6 tickets left!)
Audrey Claire's COOK, 7/28 at 7pm

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Psychedelic Broad & Snyder Chicago Dog from "Tony Cheesesteak"

Walking around Broad & Snyder the other day at 9 in the morning I was surprised to see a food truck parked right down the street from the Walgreens. And then even more surprised to see a crazy menu of super weird supposedly regional hot dog concoctions that looked like either a joke or the best thing on the planet.

I almost dropped my camera trying to take a million photos knowing this truck might only last a couple of days like the gray-hot-dog-food-poisoning nightmare cart that opened up on Broad & Morris last summer for a week or so.

Ahh yes, the old time Philly classic topped with sweet roasted peppers, pickles and American cheese. I couldn't bring myself to order this. I dunno, if it was tomatoes and banana peppers and called the "Pizzaz Dog" i'd probably write about it for the next 25 years.

Next up is the Chicago Dog. Note the authentic Chicago Dog photo, likely printed from the internet at Kinko's, confused by a description that includes "sweet peppers" (not sport peppers), lettuce, cheddar cheese (??) and celery (not celery salt).

Here goes the actual dog. A beef frank on a soft hoagie roll, topped with pickles, thick onion slices, sketchy tomatoes, processed American cheese, giant chunks of celery, ketchup and mayonnaise. 

Quite possibly the most bizarre interpretation of "Chicago Dog" I've ever seen or even heard of. So ridiculous it's sort of amazing, not to eat but maybe as some sort of postmodern "found hot dog art object??"

The ring of grey around the outside of the dog definitely worried me a little bit. I took maybe two bites, it wasn't as bad as I expected but definitely not a Chicago Dog. The American cheese / mayo / ketchup  /  pickles thing really just makes it taste like Mcdonalds, plus celery.

Next up, the Cajun Dog.

This was a spicy all beef sausage, wrapped in turkey ham (no pork on this truck) topped with more American cheese, pickles, onions, ketchup and mayonnaise on a toasted roll. 

The good thing about this one was that the sausage was decent, probably an all beef commercial Italian sausage. And it was actually sort of good, in a kind of drunken-bratwurst meets messy 7-11 nightmare sort of way. Hot dogs are just the beginning here - there's also breakfast sandwiches, burgers, coconut shrimp, egg rolls, and "Asian Coffee" which I'm pretty sure is just Vietnamese Coffee. 

I thought it might be fun to write about these on Hot Dog Of The Week and get the hot dog purists all riled up, but didn't exactly want to recommend these as something good to eat, and at the same time would have felt really bad writing a bad review - it's a great location, they seem like nice people,  and if they could work out the kinks, a hot dog truck on Snyder that serves coconut shrimp and vietnamese coffee called "Tony Cheesesteak" is pretty much the coolest thing in the world.

Tony Cheesesteak
Broad & Snyder

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lombardi's Specialty Hoagies

One of those famed South Philly hoagie shops that was written up way back when in the Inquirer but is far enough South of the "hipster barrier" that nobody writes about it, at least in the same way that Cosmi's and Chickie's have lines out the door. Closed the first two or three times I tried to go there, it was finally open the other day and this place is worth the wait. Definitely in my top 10 if not top 5.

Tribune and Centurion
Longhots on the side
Tribune with Salamincini
So their claim to fame is the "Salamincini" which is like a pepper shooter but instead of a cherry pepper, they stuff pepperoncini with salami wrapped provolone. Available by the pound or on a few of their hoagies including the Tribune which you can read some more about on my Serious Eats post.

Also delicious was the "Centurion" loaded with Dry Capacola, Sopressata and Coteghino.

With Longhots
Another shot of the Tribune showing Salamancini cross section
Hoagie upskirt: real dry cured capicola

The menu also lists "hot frigadelles" which is just another term for italian frying peppers, aka cubanelles aka frigatello peppers, wider and milder than a longhot (or the "sweet" version which isn't hot at all). The only other place I've ever seen this wording on a menu is Little Nick's a few blocks away. 

Another place that uses real italian cured meats, but well balanced with juicier stuff like coteghino or "ham capacola" so you have a nice variety instead of a the chewy beef jerkey-esque salt bomb that happens when you have too many dry meats sliced too thick.

Lombardi's Specialty Hoagies
hours - Mon-Sat 8:30 - 4:00 (spotty hours, call first)
1226 Ritner St Philadelphia 
215 389 2220

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hot Dog at Charlie's Hamburgers in Folsom

I just wrote about the awesome hamburgers at Charlie's on A Hamburger Today - a roadside shack just outside of Philly that serves up super cheap delicious quasi-sliders - maybe 3 or 3.5 ounce fresh ground beef patties. They also make an awesome hot dog. 

The dogs are split & grilled Dietz & Watson, dressed with the same microsopic shaved-ice onions that come on the burgers, and served on a toasted burger bun. Delicious. 

 I'm sort of into this whole "split  dog on burger bun" style. Check out more of these at Dyer's In Memphis and Nick's Charcoal Pit in Philly.

Charlie's Hamburgers
336 Kedron Avenue, Folsom PA 19033
610-461-4228 ‎

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jerk Chicken from Gigi & Big R

All weekend I'd been working on this soul food cover for Philadelphia Weekly, drawing and looking at pictures of fried shrimp, wings, catfish, macaroni and cheese and various forms of chicken, and thinking a lot about Carribean food and fish hoagies, and realizing that there's a TON of soul food spots way out west and north that nobody ever writes about in all those "best fried chicken" articles.

So the other day I was in West Philly and thought I'd check out some food trucks, but it was late and everything was closed.. except for Gigi and Big R off on a dark side street near 30th street station. Super awesome jerk chicken, insanely flavorful but not crazy spicy.. dirty pile of rice & beans soaked through with jerk juice. Delicious.

There's a reason they beat out all the hipster trucks at the Vendy Awards and also these guys are open 7 days a week and LATE I think until 9 or maybe even 11?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Chef Volas

James-Beard award winning, "secret" Atlantic City Italian-American restaurant in someone's basement. This and Mr Joe's Cafe are so far my favorite "red gravy" spots in the Philadelphia area. 

great bread
romaine, pepperoni, croutons, pepperoncini
penne, bolognese
spaghetti, blush sauce 

The pasta is awesome here, super super simple like shucked & chopped to order clams with butter and parsley. Love it.

broccoli rabe

Giant pounded and breaded veal and chicken parm. This is a half order. Whole fish Puttanesca style specials sounded good too. Everything is huge here so you can share and it's 10 times more affordable than you thought. BYOB and maybe the best service of all time.

frank's banana cream pie
Don't miss the limoncello cream pie or the banana cream that supposedly Frank Sinatra had delivered to his dressing room after every show in AC.


Why anyone would go to an Asian-fusion slider restaurant full of people wearing designer ultimate fighting clothes, or pay thirty dollars for food poisoning at a buffet (the other dining options in Atlantic City) instead of coming here boggles my mind.