I’m Pretty Sure My Dog Was the Happiest Dog
So. Even though I didn’t get to tell you about the most wonderfully delicious hot dog ever on Tuesday because I was distracted with 2 flat tires (no, not Fat Tires — flat tires. big difference.) and ended up turning hot dogs into a philosophical discussion on life, the post still spurred some interesting and impassioned hot dog comments.
I hope you didn’t lose steam, because this is the actual hot dog post. I kind of love it when you comment, because it validates my existence or something. And I look forward to reading every single one of them.
I love me a good hot dog.
Don’t get me wrong — it’s a rare occasion that you’d ever find one of those pink, plasticy, compressed impersonators that squeak when you bite into them sitting inside of my fridge. I’ll eat those, yes, but that’s not a proper hot dog. I’m talking about big, brown, juicy beef franks with real meat grease and manly grill marks.
See what I mean?
The best dog I ever ate purely for the meat taste factor was actually at a Five Guys restaurant. Yep, a fast food joint. Once I moved mentally past the oddity of a hot dog split lengthwise down the middle, the thing was gone in 3 bites flat. It was insanely good, to the point where it probably didn’t need a single topping.
The great thing about hot dogs is that your options are really limitless when it comes to dressing it up. It just never occurred to me how limitless until my brother took us to Happy Dog in Cleveland.
When he parked outside of the dark, corner bar, I was thinking, Great! Pre-dinner drinks!
I definitely wasn’t thinking, Great! Dinner!
Until, that is, I saw the menu.
I’m sorry once again for the blur. It was pretty dark in there, and all I had was my cell phone camera.
For someone who’s terrified of making decisions, this menu was daunting, to say the least. The first part was easy — I just had to choose between a veggie dog and a real dog. Um… do they even know me? (No, but they probably should.)
I checked the circle for the real dog and moved on.
So many things to try!
What’s Brazilian chimichurri? And would it taste good with Oaxacan red chile and chocolate mole, topped with Polish ‘cwikla?
And is it socially acceptable to order a hot dog chopped with Korean kim chee, Greek feta cheese, and Marcella’s grape jelly and chile sauce?
Are we allowed to mix ethnicities, or is this a segregated hot dog joint?
Is this going to end up with me mixing a bunch of things I like but they don’t actually taste good together?
What’s more, if I don’t know what these things taste like alone, how am I going to know if they’re good together?!
Then, just when I started to break into a cold sweat, the server told me they had a suggestion menu.
Among the suggested options were:
“Childhood Favorite”: ketchup, traditional yellow mustard, chopped onions, Spaghetti O’s, and nacho cheese.
“(no title)”: Bertman’s Original Ballpark mustard, killer steak sauce, bourbon baked beans, habanero pickled red onions, and Frito corn chips.
Justin ended up choosing the “Happy Dog Favorite” with Cajun mayonnaise – Remoulade, bacon spiked southern style beans, smoked Gouda cheese, and a sunny-side-up fried egg. Or maybe it was the one with chipotle hollandaise, cheddar cheese, Nueske bacon, and a sunny-side-up-fried egg? I can’t remember. But it definitely had an egg. And I’m pretty sure he ordered Gouda.
I ended up getting a bit fancy, choosing a title-less suggested combination of bacon-balsamic marmalade, pineapple-ginger chutney, caramelized onions, and French brie cheese.
And then I died.
And then I came back to life so I could finish the dog and name it “Sweet ‘n Savory a la Bacon with a ‘Stache.” I’m not sure why. It just works.
And then I died again.
I still have dreams about it.
My only complaint is that the bun wasn’t fantastic. In fact, I had to finish the dog with a fork and knife, which is like… hot dog defamation, but what’s a girl to do when her brie is jumping ship?
Happy Dog really should invest in some sturdier buns, or even toast them to ensure they can handle the smorgasbord of deliciousness that gets piled on top, making even happier dogs.
After all, you can’t build a skyscraper on a soggy wetland. Otherwise you get… I don’t know… The Leaning Tower of Pisa?
On the back of the menu is a simple choice of sides: tater tots or french fries, followed by a not-so-simple choice of dipping sauces and toppings. I especially enjoyed the saffron aioli and the raspberry crunch mustard.
Just not together.
Pair your custom dog and tots with a Stella Artois (for me) or your beverage of choice, and the result is one happy dog.
Thanks, brother. You know me so well.