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Archive for the ‘Good Eats’ Category

swedishchef.jpgI am convinced Illinois is stuck in some kind of Twilight Zone portal. There is no way Illinois politicians can be so stupid, but it seems like every other day they go do something to prove me right. The beauty of Illinois politics is that the stupidity is pretty constant from the state level right down to the City Council. It must be the water.

The Chicago city council made national headlines last year when they outlawed foie gras from being served in Chicago restaurants. I told you Chicago is the perfect city. In fact, Chicago is such a perfect city that our Aldermen have nothing better to do like fighting crime and ensuring the kids can read or write, so they pass laws banning restaurants from serving foie gras. For those of you that don’t eat out much in the big city, foie gras is duck liver. More specifically, it is an enlarged duck liver. Foie gras has become the cause du jour of animal rights activist. Apparently, a sick and twisted chef figured out that if you force fed ducks, you could give them abnormally large livers that happen to be mighty tasty and foie gras has become a staple at fancy restaurants around the world.

The reason I bring all of this up is because one of my favorite restaurants has the dubious honor of being the first restaurant to actually be charged with serving foie gras and breaking the law. Surprisingly, the restaurant wasn’t any of the high dollar foo-foo black turtle neck joints with celebrity chefs. It was none other than Hot Doug’s.

Hot Doug’s is to hot dogs as the Waffle House is to waffles. Or maybe Krispy Kreme is to donuts. However, Hot Doug’s is not your ordinary Chicago hot dog stand. Hot Doug’s serves gourmet haute dogs. Located at 3324 North California (just north of Belmont), this place is always packed to the gills, especially during lunch. Unfortunately for me, when I was working out of our Belmont office last summer, I got to know Hot Doug’s really well. In fact, I am sure I paid for his kid’s college tuition.

So what is a gourmet hot dog? Hot Doug’s serves all kinds of “encased meats” as they like to proudly proclaim. The menu is as varied from plain jane corndogs to their daily and weekly specials. The game specials are extremely interesting. How does Antelope sausage with cumberland sauce and oka cheese sound? All of the meats are named after celebrities. My personal favorite is the Madonna which is andouille sausage. They cook it just right, getting the ends slightly burnt. Besides specialty hot dogs, the place is also known for its duck fat french fries which are only served on Fridays and Saturdays. These fries are so good that it ought to be a crime and I am sure they aren’t healthy which makes them even better!

What makes Hot Doug’s so special is the combination of factors. First, the quirky interior is very low key and looks like any other hole in the wall joint. The walls are bright red and there are all kinds of throwback pictures and posters with hot dog themes. Second, Doug can be found at the register chatting it up with the customers and he has a way of making you feel special when you walk in. Third, the prices are phenomenal. I rarely ever spend more than $5 or $6 bucks there for a dog, fries, and a drink. This place is perfect for a cheap date.

The next time you are on the west side of town, definitely stop by Hot Doug’s. Trust me, you won’t regret and the food will make you think vegetarians are mentally ill. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get a bite of the hot dog with the foie gras, but maybe you can help Doug pay his $250 fine.

PS: I know this post has nothing to do with mortgages, but mortgages can get a little old so I decided to spice things up a bit. Anyone who has spent more than five minutes with me knows that I am a serious foodie. Other than real estate, nothing gets me going like finding a new spot to dine. My annual restaurant bill is enough to make me cry. Nevertheless, I thought I would start sharing some of my favorite spots. I hope you enjoy.

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