Various bits of flotsam that washed up on our computers, before we moved to a better blog system in November 2004. Now a repository for YouTube videos and testing new tools. Go to for more recent content.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I'm hungry, dog

Personally, when I grill dogs, I like a Chianti (probably because of that time I ate grilled sausages in a small olive grove in Tuscany after helping the owners harvest the years produce: damn that was a gorgeous meal!)

A dogged effort

Bill Daley, Tribune food and wine reporter, writes:
When it comes to putting on the dog, Chicagoans tend to shrug their big shoulders and go about their business. Still, I suspect even the most egalitarian resident would pause a bit, bedazzled at the prospect of pouring wine with hot dogs.

Weenies and wine: Sounds delectably over-the-top, doesn't it?

Implausible, too. Chicago-style hot dogs are intimidating enough on their own. You've got a beef frank painted with mustard, buried under minced onion, relish, tomato, sport peppers, celery salt and a pickle spear, and then nestled in a bun dotted with sweet poppy seeds. It is hard enough to get all these flavors working together. Imagine adding wine to the mix.

Yet the pairing can work, important news in the city ranked fourth among the top hot dog-eating American cities for 2003 by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, an industry trade group. Offering wine with hot dogs can be an interesting alternative to the usual brews and soda. The key is which wines to open.

Asked for her pairing ideas, Everest restaurant sommelier Alpana Singh described herself as "a mustard kind of gal." Yet she quickly offered a match to Chi-cago's overloaded dogs: "a good zinfandel that's got a lot of fruit to it."

Her reasoning was simple.

"It's an American wine and you should serve an American wine with an American icon like a hot dog," said Singh, who also hosts "Check, Please!" on WTTW-Ch. 11.

Todd Hess, wine director of Sam's Wines & Spirits, also pointed to a red, suggesting a "high acid" wine like an Italian Chianti, barbera or sangiovese. Go with wines that have "a bright, cheerful fruit, not a heavy fruit, to cut through the grease," Hess said.

Doug Sohn would choose a pinot noir to go with what he calls the "ba-sic dog." He is owner of Hot Doug's, a BYOB Chicago gourmet wienerie that was shuttered by fire three months ago and is slated to reopen Labor Day. Sohn prefers the style and price of pi-not noir from the Pacific Northwest.

What type of hot dog/sausage and, perhaps more important, the type of toppings, determines what sort of wine Sohn will pour. He likes a gewurztraminer with a savory chick-en or turkey link and would serve a zinfandel with a sausage made from venison or other game.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council suggests serving red wines, such as shiraz or syrah, with spicier hot dogs. Milder franks can go with dry white wine, said Janet Riley, the Arlington, Va.-based council's senior vice president of public affairs.

link courtesy of Too Many Chefs


Blogger Barrett said...

That was my favorite story this week. I can't imagine a better representation of the two faces of Chicago. On one hand we have the blue collar, hard scrabble Chicago of Nelson Algren represented by the encased meat product. On the other, the new Chicago of yuppies, cast iron fences, and flowers up and down Michigan Avenue represented by the wine.

Great story. Bill Daley's been doing a very good job since he got the food gig at the Trib.

11:02 AM, August 20, 2004


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