Chicago street food: hot dogs

Chicago style char beef dog

Since I was stuck at Chicago airport on my way to Toronto after a series of unfortunate events too long to tell (American Airlines’ usual self plus weather in Dallas and Chicago), I wanted to eat something that was typical of the city. Keeping this post about Chicago street food in mind, I narrowed the list down to two choices: deep dish pizza and hot dogs.

The pizza pies at Pizza UNO looked old and tired and totally unappetizing. Hot dog it was. I headed to Gold Coast Dogs and ordered a Chicago style hot dog. I must admit I was somewhat hesitant when the guy asked me “Do you want everything on it?” since I wasn’t sure what “everything” entailed, so my answer came out “Yeeeeeees?”

I was handed a rather messy but enjoyable char beef dog on a poppy seed bun with chopped onions, mustard (I have it on good authority that using ketchup is sacrilegious), sliced tomato, a rather suspicious-looking emerald green relish, pickle, celery salt and sports peppers (which I removed because they were too hot for me. I’m a wuss like that.)

This is going to sound nerdy but eating a hot dog in Chicago (albeit at the airport) made me feel closer to VI Warshawski (only those who read Sarah Paretsky know what the heck I’m talking about.)

I have one question that is open to discussion: should street food still be called street food if it’s prepared and eaten elsewhere (like an airport)? Or is it  a set category?

Toronto’s iconic street food: hot dogs

I thought I’d join the lunchtime crowd at Nathan Phillips Square (in front of  the City Hall) on a busy weekday. Well, busy for them, not for me, so this gave me the illusion I was in a hurry to go somewhere. I pretended I had an important meeting and  had just enough time to grab a quick bite: a grilled beef hot dog loaded with mustard, green relish, onions and pickles.

I heard that hot dogs were a Toronto institution. At Nathan Phillips Square there are quite a few carts selling beef or chicken hot dogs, Polish, Italian and German sausages, fries and poutine (fries with gravy and cheese curd.)

This is what Can$ 4.50 gets you for lunch:

Food carts in Downtown Toronto

The square was heaving with people