As the expression goes, “as American as baseball, Mom, hot dogs and apple pie”, tomorrow, Wednesday July 23 is National Hot Dog Day. In Orange County, there are many places to get a great hot dog to celebrate the holiday. There are very few things people are as passionate about as hot dogs and in each region of the country there are favorite ways to make them.
Jeff Fenton, Manager at Sonic Drive-In on Jeronimo Road in Mission Viejo, told the Examiner today his thoughts on the National Hot Dog Day holiday and on hot dogs. “I think it's a very neat holiday”, Jeff began. “It's not the normal holiday; it helps sales a lot. It brings the hot dog back into focus as a decent meal. A lot of people think, 'hot dogs, don't want to eat it', but National Hot Dog Day brings it back down to picnics and barbecues, it brings back the old family picnic feel”.
Many hot dog emporiums have specials for National Hot Dog Day. At Sonic Drive-in, All-American and Chili-Cheese hot dogs are only $1.00 on July 23. Jeff continued about the holiday, “I'm probably going to have a couple of hot dogs tomorrow”. When asked about his favorites, Jeff said, “I really like an old-fashioned basic chili and cheese hot dog, but here at the restaurant we make a Chicago Dog and I really like that one too”.
The passion over regional hot dogs runs deep. Many insist the only good hot dog is a New York “dirty water hot dog”, pulled out of a water bath from the multitude of hot dog carts on most corners of the city. Chicago, of course is famous for their Chicago style hot dog, with the regular mustard topping augmented by celery salt, a pickle spear, tomato wedge, chopped onions, a sport pepper and neon-green relish. And to be authentic, it has to be served on a poppy seed bun.
Clint Eastwood, playing San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry movie 'Sudden Impact', added his feelings about the way a hot dog should not be made:
CALLAHAN: You know what makes me really sick to my stomach?
CALLAHAN: It's watching you stuff your face with those hot dogs. Nobody... I mean NOBODY puts ketchup on a hot dog.
Of course, from our neighbor to the east, Arizona, comes the Sonora hot dog. A hot dog is wrapped in bacon, grilled on a flattop and then topped with grilled onions, fresh onions, jalapenos, mayonnaise, salsa, Mexican crema and often beans. Served with a fire-roasted chile on the side, it is truly a taste of the Southwest. And who hasn't gone to a Los Angeles Dodgers game and not had at least one 'Dodger Dog'?
In New England, hot dogs may be split and grilled on a flattop. In New Jersey and Connecticut, “ripper dogs” are the specialty, deep fried until they blister and even split. In Detroit, and parts of Michigan and Indiana, a Coney Dog is a dog topped with a beanless chili. The Coney sauce is made of either ground beef or ground beef heart, seasoned with spices that tend to go towards a Greek sauce rather than a spicy chili.
So on National Hot Dog Day tomorrow, take a ride to your favorite hot dog joint to celebrate the holiday. Or invite some friends and family over, grill up some dogs and celebrate the delicious hot dog. The hot dog is as American as baseball, Mom and apple pie!
25502 Jeronimo Road
Mission Viejo, CA