Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hot Diggity Dogs

There are quite a few things I miss about living in Toronto, one of them being the food! Street meat to be exact! I am one happy girl when I see the street meat vendors out, signaling that spring has come, which I guess means that hot dogs should be consumed. Chicago also boasts having great hot dogs, so which city does it better? Let's discuss...

Street meat vendors are everywhere in Toronto. Some vendors stay out year round but most pack up for winter and come back in full force as soon as the nicer weather hits. The vendors typically sell hot dogs and sausages, ranging from $2-4. The toppings are in plastic containers on the side of the carts so you're free to add whatever suits your fancy.
In my opinion, the absolutely best topping available is sauerkraut. This MAKES the dog. Street meat is not street meat without the sauerkraut. What else do I put on my hot dog or sausage? Well let's refer to the picture below, which I took this past weekend, while I was in Polish sausage heaven. Since I haven't had street meat in a loooong time, I decided to go big with the toppings. Sauerkraut, pickles, olives, ketchup, spicy mustard, bacon bits, corn relish, and regular green relish.

Chicago: There are no hot dog stands in Chicago but there are tons of hot dog restaurants with pick up windows and small seating areas. The typical "Chicago style hot dog" is made very specifically, which you can read about here. The toppings are as follows:
You will notice no ketchup. Ketchup is a big no-no in Chicago. I can't remember the prices exactly but I'd say they're similar to Toronto. The Chicago dog is the basic hot dog but the restaurants have many options if you like to add cheese or other toppings.

The Verdict: Who Does it Best?
Well, in my humble opinion, there is no contest. Toronto is the clear wiener! Why?
1) The Chicago dog is too difficult to eat with big spears of pickle and tomato. I have to take these off and eat them separately because they won't fit in my mouth otherwise.
2) Why is the relish on a Chicago dog neon green? Scary.
3) The self-serve method and variety of toppings in Toronto makes everyone happy. And you can eat ketchup without getting heckled :)

That settles that! If you've tried both styles of hot dog, which is your fave?


  1. Toronto sausages for the win! Bacon bits are the make or break topping for sure.

  2. Imitation bacon bits might be as bad as neon relish, but I do enjoy the added crunch. I always skipped over bacon bits until you raved about them last year and now I am a convert :)

  3. Pig on pig! Or I suppose it could be pig on cow, depending on a pork or beef sausage! Either way, you can't go wrong with meat on meat. Toronto may win on taste, but you can't beat Weiner Circle for the experience!!!

  4. hmm- I dont think I had a hot dog in Chicago so I guess I cant compare. But by default, for me, nothing beats street meat!

  5. I'm jealous. You know how much I love street meat. The best street meat that I remember is from the one across the street from your condo in Toronto. The woman that ran it was very nice. I actually had a hot dog from the vendor at Home Depot in Chicago when your dad was picking up a few things. It had celery salt on it and I really liked the taste of that. I'd love to try out Weiner Circle. Maybe in August??

  6. I don't think Toronto can rival the Chocolate Shake at the Weiner circle...

    I think the sausages and hot dogs are usually all beef but I could be mistaken.

  7. According to Wikipedia, "If a manufacturer produces two types of hot dogs, "wieners" tend to contain pork and are blander, while "franks" tend to be all beef and more strongly seasoned."

    However...I have a feeling I should just enjoy the dog...delving into the ingredients could ruin my appetite.

  8. Yes, I'm sure whatever part of the pig or cow is used isn't exactly top notch!

  9. I've never had Chicago hotdogs, but I've tried ones in NYC and the japadog in Vancity, and Toronto's street meat is still, by far, my favourite!

    Your hotdog toppings are so similar to mine with the exception of the corn relish! And I like mine to be a italian sausage. Yum!