There’s a fairly awful festival in Chicago each summer called “Taste of Chicago.” It’s not good for a number of reasons (crowds, port-o-potties… need I go on?). The truth is: you’ve got to loosen your belt to get to know this city. There’s no wading, tasting, nibbling, or pussy-footing around. You’ve got to eat your way through.
First, a confession. I hate hot dogs. They don’t taste good most ways. And that is the beginning of the beauty of the Chicago Hot Dog.
Properly served, here’s what it is: a hot dog topped with mustard (duh–can you eat them without it?), raw onions (diced), cucumbers (sliced, halved), pickle spear, pickle relish, tomatoes (sliced, halved), optional sport peppers, and celery salt. All of this comes cuddled up in a poppy seed bun. It is glorious.
And yes: clearly one of the appeals for me is that it is very difficult to taste the actual hot dog.