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