Monday, September 20, 2010

Thoughts on Hot Doug's

If you couldn't tell by the line wrapped around the building, even on days when the weather may not be cooperating, Doug is on fire...not just hot. What took us about two years to finally try out turned out to be well worth the wait. We stood outside for an hour or so, listening to the others around us talk about their favorites and look at a website printout to study the specials of the week. When we finally made our way to Doug, we had a laugh with him about waiting in line and then promptly began to order our feast (see pictures in post below).

Marsala and Roasted Garlic Wild Boar Sausage with Anchovy-Parsley Goat Butter and Black Pepper Affinois Cheese

Veal and Pork Weisswurst with Chili-Garlic Mustard and Goat Cheese

Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel

Chardonnay and Jalapeno Rattlesnake Sausage with Sweet Curry Mustard and Hickory-Smoked Sweet Swiss Cheese

The Dog
Chicago-Style Hot Dog with all the trimmings: 'nuff said.

Duck Fat Fries

Ok, so we can all agree that you aren't coming to this place for health reasons. Hell, I hope that Doug himself doesn't eat too much of his own food. Would hate to see Hot Doug become cold cardiac arrested Doug. Anyway, it is hard to really think about all the different things going on here. We sat and went around bite by bite trying something new until we worked our way back and each bite was followed by a "oh man...or mmmm". It got to the point that his plain dog, which was our last item to try, couldn't compete with the blast of flavors we just put our taste buds through. We had to concede that his regular hot dog (which we had grilled and fried for good measure), is probably quite good by itself. I finished it off later that day to prove that point.

Because we had so much, in a short period of time, it is difficult for me to remember particulars about each. Here is what I recall:

The fois gras with a duck sausage was delicious, if you enjoy fois gras. This being my second time having it and generally being a fan of liver, I enjoyed its rich, earthy, and livery sort of flavors.

The Rattlesnake dog was quite nice. The cheese and sweetness of the curry mustard helped to balance the flavors of the rattlesnake sausage. A person in line in front of us thought that it was too sweet, but I found it to be just right (and I'm usually not a fan of mixing sweet/savory)

The veal/pork with chili-garlic mustard and goat cheese was my least favorite, for no other reason than the chili-garlic mustard was quite strong, spicy and overpowering. I really didn't get a mustard flavor. To me, it tasted like the spicy nacho cheese that you microwave and dip chips into. With globs of goat cheese on top, I think the meat got a little lost in the background, and that is a shame when you have a tasty veal and pork sausage.

Lastly, the wild boar was great. The flavor of the sausage was fantastic, juicy, and the butter/cheese complemented it well. For people who want to try something new and don't want to get too crazy, this is a solid upgrade from a regular hot dog/brat/sausage.

Oh, and those duck fat fries? You get a slight hint of a flavor difference versus regular fries, but not as much as I would have hoped for. Given the choice, I'd go with the duck fat, but wouldn't be upset if I came midweek when they don't have them available.

Verdict? Well, I told Doug himself that I "was pickin' up what he was puttin down' ". He got a laugh out of that and thanked us. While delicious, an hour or so wait outside is tough for a mostly impatient individual like myself. However, when you do get inside and order, the food comes quickly and they bring it out to your table for you. Despite the crowd outside, they've worked out a system such that everyone can get a table to eat at. I did have a smile and odd sense of accomplishment when we finally made it to our table and the food came. And with all that said, I would love to go back, probably midweek though to avoid the weekend rush.

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