Posts Tagged ‘Portland Hot dogs’
(THIS BUSINESS IS NOW CLOSED).
I love story tellers. I like to tell stories, too. I’m not so good at it. but I know someone who is.
At the opposite end of the spectrum of my likes and dislikes are words used in cuisine reviews these days – like “fusion”, or “mash-up”. and this prejudice probably comes (as I date myself) from the days when I first started experiencing “nouveau” or “California cuisine,” which were code words for “little tiny portions that we are gonna make you really pay through the nose for.”
But when I raise the topic of words I don’t like to use in my writing, Mrs. BurgerDogBoy gently prods me and sez “But, BurgerDogBoy,” those are words and phrases that people have come to expect when you are talking about something new!” And I reply (grumble, grumble), and continue to look for new ways to describe food innovation.
But proper, descriptive words and phrases escape me when it comes to trying to define one of the newer efforts in Portland’s food cart scene – the tale of Budd and Grae Lewis with their “Domo Dogs.” I first encountered them, but didn’t have a chance to try their product, when they started selling their innovative ‘tubular nutritional delivery vehicles” (that’s what franks are called in the trades these days), in front of the Asian hypermart, “H-Mart” (Open 365 day! their banner proclaims!) on 99w, in Tigard.
The Domo Dog people have since journeyed to a number of other locations, seeking out their own slice of food-cart nirvana. That having eluded them for now, you’ll catch them at various special events and neighborhood festivals. Mrs. BurgerDogBoy and I caught up with them last nite at “Last Thursday” in the Alberta Street neighborhood.
What does this have to do with me loving story-tellers? Simple. Budd Lewis is one story-teller extraordinaire. As you are waiting for your order, one can easily nudge Budd into a tale from his most extraordinary life – whether that yarn is one from his days of working for film icons Roger Corman or James Cameron, shooting beloved national television commericals, or weaving a tale of of audio suspense, like this one, his recent saga of a Halloween night in his home town of New Orleans, .
Budd, with a gravely, passionate, accented voice, straight out of the heart of Acadiana, weaves a story with the same panache and finesse he puts into creating his very special treats, Domo Dogs, which he has named “Japanese Fusion Hot Dogs.”
What exactly does that mean? In all cases, it means he starts with a quality, hefty, sake-steamed sausage, finished off on a grill, before placing it in a high-quality toasted bun.
In the case of the “Major Domo”, the sausage is topped with teriyakai marinaded onions, ponzu-mayo, sweet chili sauce, and flaked seaweed and sesame seeds. You know the joy of biting into a great hot dog on the 4th of July, with all your favorite toppings, crisp and fresh? Compared to that, the Major Domo is like biting into Cirque du Soleil, and having astonishing performers dance around your taste “budds” such as you couldn’t even having imagined before your first bite! In the case of the Domo Yaki, starting with the same steamed sausage and bun, but topped with daikon sprouts, coconut cream peanut sauce, and teri-mayo, it’s like sitting in same said performance, experiencing all the joys and wonders in front of your eyes, and having a parade of concessionaires selling sweet desserts, dump their trays accidentally onto your face; you, slowly, deliberately, licking their wares of your face until you just can’t eat any more. Order your dog “half and half” and experience “dinner” at the Major end, turn it around, and get your “dessert” with the Yaki end, at least that’s how Grae Lewis first described it to me, and I can’t take exception to her own description. In the European tradition, these opposites would come from the ‘sweet or savory’ selections of edibles.
As interested as the Lewis’ were in my reaction, Mrs. BurgerDogBoy was watching me intently as I took my first tentative bites. She knows I’m not much for food innovation, and she would describe me as a food purist and/or snob. (OK, yes, you’re right, she thinks I am a snob about a lot of things!) (But loves me in spite of that, so pfffffffffffffffffffffft). (Further update – actually along the way, we discovered she never loved me!).
loves me the most when I flash a smile that goes from ear -to-ear, and that’s what she saw on me last night, with each bite of my dog.
So what’s with the title of my post? Domo Dogs are worth beating a path to Budd and Grae’s door, wherever they set up (and you can find out where they will be on their FB page), but while you are waiting for the circus in your mouth to launch, get Budd to weave you a tale of wonder and awe from his most astonishing life; or a story that starts with you asking a traditional Southern Louisiana question, “how’s your mama and them?”
You’ll be spellbound, literally, as your ears feast on his wonderful stories, and your mouth screams with excitement as you bite into a Domo Dog.
These fine people deserve all the accolades and success that Portlandians bestow on the real winners of our creative food cart culture. And when their success, dogs, and special sauces are everywhere across our great land, you’ll be able to tell your children that you stood in line for a Domo Dog, ‘back in the day’, and when Budd himself was weaving tales, and tending the grill. And you heard it here first: hot dogs will be the next national ‘craze’, pushing “gourmet burgers’ to an also-ran category. Trust me on this.
(Postscript) Occasionally, Mrs. BDB reads one of these and points out things I miss. That’s her job. She reminded me last night that ‘less adventurous’ diners should note that Domo Dogs also serves some “American Style” dogs as well! They have a bona-fide chili dog, for example, and also offer an all beef dog with your choice of condiments! My apologies to all for not remembering to include these important facts – the Domo Dogs has something for everyone!
Portland Food Carts
The “Bird Dog” name doesn’t come from any of the conventional or urban slang definitions of that phrase, but rather, one would imagine, as an homage to the cafe’s signature dish moniker, a hot dog prepared in the way occasionally people are used to hearing a different cut of meat prepared in some parts of the country.
The “Bird Dog”, is a “chicken-fried” hot dog, smothered in a rich, creamy sausage-laden gravy. It’s hard (for me) to imagine a more creative mash-up of some of my favorite foods.
The joint offers a wide variety of hot dog, burger, and sausage preparations, which increases in size with the addition of unique one-offs as daily specials.
The quality and care in prep shows throughout.
I’d been meaning to get to Bird Dog for some time, and had the opportunity when I was in their part of town around lunch time the other day.
I wanted to try a variety of things, including the signature dish, a side of chili cheese fries, and, having relocated to Portland from New Orleans, I was intrigued that they had a “muffaletta” dog, a tribute to the signature classic sandwich of New Orleans.
As I was already deep into committing to one hot dog with the Bird Dog selection, I asked that they prepare a plain burger patty with the olive tapenade from a muffaletta and a slice of provolone; they happily agreed to my non-menu request.
The Bird Dog is an ample pork hot dog, immersed in a corn-meal and other flour batter, and deep fried, to produce a crispy coating; placed on an oversized, ample bun, with a generous topping of pork sausage gravy, all on its own, it’s a very satisfying and filling meal. The ‘tubular nutritional delivery vehicle’ is a tasty frank, mild in seasoning, and the sausage gravy is some of the best I’ve had in Portland, creamy, no hint of a floury taste, with nice chunks of sausage throughout.
The burger patty was massive, hovering between 1/3 and 1/2 pound, I would imagine, obviously hand-formed, and the olive salad I asked for, spot on reminiscent of the New Orleans recipe. A bakery-soft, but sturdy, toasted bun cradled the patty.
My side of chili cheese fries was notable, also one of my clear favorites in Portland. A “hot dog” style chili, very meaty, good flavor, no beans, burying a mound of crispy shoe strings.
Dining in, you have access to a wide selection of toppings you can add yourself, from a pickled vegetable bar to a host of mustards and sauces. Bird Dog’s website says all of the side dishes are made in house, and I imagine the toppings are as well.
This is a place, that if it was closer to my work, I’d hit all to frequently. I’d like to try a number of their house made sausages, and might opt for the sausage sampler plate in the future.
Or a chicken fried burger? Mac n Cheese dog? Cuban? They also offer their take on the Sonoran Dog, a regional favorite from the Southwest.
Too many choices of too many good things.
Perfect for Burgerdogboy, and you.
Bird Dog is snuggled amidst a couple of long time hot dog competitors on East Hawthorne, so now you have a choice of the old timey guys that wrest on their laurels and rep, or some bright, innovative, quality cuisine that dazzles.
I say the choice is obvious.
Been here before, but then, what Portlandian hasn’t? Waiting on a biz meeting in downtown, ambled through Pioneer Courthouse Square and grabbed a polish sausage to soothe the savage b(r)east prior to the meet.
“It is what it is” people are fond of saying these days, and Jean’s certainly fits in that category.
Value pricing, suitable product, the only exception I noted to Jean’s on this day, was her offer of the “traditional Chicago hot dog.”
Something has gone amiss in Jean’s education of said animal. Any hot dog aficionado knows the intimate details of constructing a Chicago style dog. If you don’t, check out the blueprints on Vienna Beef’s website.
Jean’s version includes ketchup (!!!) mustard, mayo (!!!), onion, kraut, sour cream and applesauce. Judging by the two last condiments, maybe Jean knows of a Chicago in Germany?
Anyway, of no matter. My polish with yellow mustard was just fine.
Not a review, per se, just a note that if you’ve been running all over the Portland metro area looking for a genuine Vienna Beef hot dog from Chicago, look no further than Jamie’s Chicago Dogs cart at 2nd and Main in downtown Hillsboro.
As far as I know, Jamie is the only guy peddling Vienna dogs in all of Oregon! Jamie is on site from 10-3 M-F, weather permitting. He’s got the real deal poppy seed buns, too, and if you’re not in the mood for a regular dog, try one of Vienna’s polish sausages. Jamie’s whole story is here.
We were in the neighborhood, biding our time waiting on Portland’s extraordinary garden consultant, Sara Pool, to plan the annual Burgerdogboy condiment garden. We planned to meet for snacks or dinner, but I was feeling a might peckish, and Mrs. BDB suggested she buy me a dog to tide me over.
Who was I to argue?
Offering a myriad of my favorite types of dogs and toppings, I opted for P&S (my initials, but also “plain and simple”) and went with the big beef dog with a schmear of yellow mustard, and nothing else.
It was absolutely delish! Thanks a lot, Franks a lot. I’ll be back! Often. Might even consider moving to your ‘hood!
Superdog, I love these guys, and don’t get into one of their shops nearly often enough. I was wandering around downtown today looking for a corned beef sandwich, and came up bupkis, so I threw in the towel (used to soak up the mega gallons of rain that fell today), and popped into Superdog, the one next to McDonald’s “homeless headquarters.”
Wasn’t in the mood for a combo, so doubled up my order to two dogs, asked for the double smoke (a beef and pork sausage, slight spice), and a Zweigle’s White Hot (which aren’t ‘hot’, btw). Zweigle’s has been selling these pups out of HQ in Rochester, NY, since the beginning of time.
I first learned of them when my strict vegetarian girlfriend (I know) and I stayed with her ma in upstate New York, and as a surprise for me, she got some Zweigle’s and even ate one with me.
Haven’t seen them (or her) since, glad that Superdog has them. They are slightly more flavorful than a brat, but resemble them in appearance.
The ‘double smoke’ is an east coast favorite, you’ll find them on many street corners in the large urban areas. You’ll also find “half-smokes” on nearly every corner of DC.
It will come as a suprise to you (or not) that I over ordered. The upside? I got me some big sausages waiting in the icebox for another time.
I am cluttered with cliches today. Adrift with adages. Swimming with saws. Proffering proverbs. Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs! (Yes, that makes no sense, I know). Renner’s Grill, in the Multnomah Village neighborhood of Portland, is a place “where everybody knows your name,” and “chief cook and bottle washer” Marshall, proprietor, makes sure of that, introducing himself, his posse of co-workers, to you, and in turn, you to all his regular old-timers.
What makes a place like Renners feel like “home?” When you know it’s a place of refuge, where you can relax, enjoy friendly banter, the beverage of your choice and here’s the important part – you get to do this among people you will quickly come to regard as “family”no matter who you are, where you come from, your lifestyle choice, your size, your shape, your skin color, religion, political beliefs, or any other category that makes you feel either invisible at one place, or makes you wish you were sometimes; at Renner’s, you’re just “one of the gang”, and you’re welcome.
Renner’s has recently opened for the lunch rush, and has daily food (and beverage) specials, inexpensive, “mean cuisine on the scene”, quality food.
Altho Mrs. BDB and I have popped in before, I waddled in yesterday because Marshall put up a new sign outside that he is now serving genuine Vienna Beef “Chicago style” hot dogs. Do you know how rare that is in Portland? I know you do. Renner’s got ’em, the dogs that made Chicago famous. Vienna Beef uses the finest cuts and secrets seasonings to make a plump, juicy, skinless dog, served on a poppy seed bun (do you know how hard THOSE are to find here?), and if you take it loaded up “Chicago style“, you’ll enjoy it with the customary toppings of mustard, chopped onion, the ‘real deal’ neon green relish, pickle spear, tomato wedges, and celery salt!
Or any of a tumult of toppings, your choice. Me? I went for that bountiful beef biggie w/ only raw onion, and yellow mustard. I wanted to “relish” the purity of the beef dog, and the oh so deliciouso softness of the poppy seed bun on its own. Man, I’m drooling for one right now, what time do they open?
I added a side of fries, only a buck, and got a pile o hot, salty crisp shoestrings, far beyond my expectation for bar fries. Amidst bar flies. (ok, groan).
My foto doesn’t do justice to this bad boy banger; I shot quick and sloppy so I could GET quick and sloppy with my dawg!
Renner’s is at 7819 SW Capitol in Portland, open 7 days.
Saturday was a “way too much” food day for the Burgerdogboy family, due to relatives being in town. I wasn’t able to document it all, a general ‘walking food coma’ overtook me at some point. Problem with eating so much yesterday, is I have to still deal with what’s on the plate for us today! WHOA! Gonna have to take a couple days off from eating. (OK, I’ll start tomorrow).
In no particular order yesterday, it started at the Saturday market, launched in to happy
hour at Kincaid’s, on to Sushiland, moved over to PGE stadium, before ending at Serrato on 21st.
Kincaid’s has three beef sliders for $9 (happy hour price $4), and at the happy hour price they’d be a better deal. They are tiny burgers on oversized buns, with a olive mayo that is ver nice, and a sweet hot mustard that is not so nice. We wandered in there because Mrs. BDB’s unquenchable thirst was hollering out for a couple of lemon drops ($9 per), and Portland’s unseasonably hot weather streak made the AC a welcome relief.
At Sushi Land we set the record for the number of stacked empty plates, I believe, with
Mrs. BDB and my daughter leading the charge.
Burgerdogboy’s daughter, the vegetarian (harumph!) had the boyfriend du jour in tow this trip,who partook of a Zenner’s hotdog at the baseball game, and pronounced it so amazing, his eyes popped out.
We ended the evening on the sidewalk at Serrato, nobody was feeling very hungry but me, they had a antipasti platter ($18) on the menu, which had my name on it, and it included some salami, olives, and possibly the best cheese I have ever had, a high fat soft concoction called Humboldt Fog, from Cypress Grove Cheeses, Arcata, CA. Absolutely marvelous.
A typically wonderful diverse Portland food day!
I was in the mood for hot dogs today, actually this thing started at about 3AM this morning, but I couldn’t motivate myself to get out of bed to pan up some weenies. So I went ahead and did it for breakfast at 730A, two Oscar Meyer all beef franks, buns, yellow mustard only.
This feat reminded me it has been some time since I went in search of dogs, so I headed downtown to sample a few. I didn’t want any repeats, so I skipped Bro Dogs, Beez Neez, Superdogs, and a couple of other also rans, like “Hot Dogs on the Square.“
My second dog of the day was at Theo’s, which was apparently something else previously, but recently underwent a name change and a spiffing up of decor. Theo’s offers a “Naked Dog”, a kosher 1/4 pounder with your choice of condiments, or a Chicago Style, which ordinarily would come (in Chicago) with mustard, neon green relish, chopped onion, sport peppers, pickle spear, tomato, a dash of celery salt on a poppy seed bun. Theo’s (below) comes with pickled onions, sweet relish, cucumber slices, tomato, mustard on a toasted roll. It was a meaty sucker, all beef, of that I am sure, and weighing in at a full quarter pound at least. The grind was very fine, and it was skinless. A lot of hubbub has been made online about Theo’s potato salad, which was my side choice, I guess it was pretty OK. It’s a big serving, but I don’t get why fries (which have less components and take less labor) require an additional fee? Service is P-O-K-E-Y at best, even when there are few customers. Many online comments echo that. Will I be back? Why sure, I gotta try the burgers, don’t I?
Here’s the Theo’s dog:
Then it was on to NW Burger at the corner of 2nd and Couch, kitty korner from my attorney’s new office, but he was nowhere to be seen, probably hobnobbing with the rich and famous an the Benson or Ringside. I was the only customer at NW, and interrupted the counterman’s own lunch of a dog and fries. I went with the “plain hot dog”, another hefty weenie, weightwise, for $3.50. He fried the dog on a griddle, and toasted the bun nearby. NW offers a very short menu, just the basic dogs, burgers, and fries. Interior signage by Pepsi Cola, White Plains, NY. Since I had asked for my dog to go, the dude handed it to me, and pointed me at the condiment tray, said after I finished, he’d wrap it to go. Condiment selection was brief. I took a little kraut and yellow mustard, and departed the shop, to notice a plaque on the side of the building that proved to be far more interesting than my hot dog crawl. On this site, was our little “Japan town” prior to WW2, and it was from these very buildings the local Japanese were herded up and taken to the camps. A dark day in our history, if you ask me.
Interior, NW Burger:
NW ‘s Dog w/ kraut and ‘stard, pictured here.
Fortunately, the gods of smaller waistlines were funnin’ with me today, I couldn’t find Big Fat Wiener (and this is the second time I have looked, are you invisible as well as fat?). Taste of Poland folks either slept in, or sold out in the first ten minutes they opened today, as the cart was closed up tight. And Smokin’ Pig didn’t have a dog listed on his menu board. If you’re selling it, announce it, buster!
So total consumption was a mere four, when i was aiming for seven. Fortunately, or hopefully, I will live to see another day and try again!
Now dog tired, I packed it in, and got on to the more pressing elements of the day….like buying some new underwear for my next burger and dog road trip.
Can a New Yawker successfully peddle a Chicago hot dog to Portlanders? One stop at the Fried Onion will make you coo an utter “oh, yes!”
The Fried Onion is another newcomer on the scene, and in a slightly unlikely location,
NW Raleigh between 22nd and 23rd. (Actually midway in the block on Raleigh). Update: SE Third and Alder.
Affable folks, the Onion proprietors are experts in their field and experts on hot dogs. The Chicago “Red Hot” is not “hot”, but rather a brand name, and, interestingly, the founder of Red Hots is the grandson of the founder of Vienna Beef, arguably, THE Chicago hot dog.
At least in my mind. At least until today.
A nicely charred dog, skinless, ample in size, lovingly checked by the cook for the required doneness temperature (nice touch), and placed in a also slightly charred locally baked roll. A dab or kraut at my request, and a squirt of yellow mustard, a dash of celery salt (homage to Chicago), and man oh man, that’s a great dog. Great flavor, great taste, no overbearing smoke or seasoning flavor. And a damned good size, as well.
So why did I order a burger as well? How could I not? I ordered it undressed, with a slice of cheddar, and you see that crispy protrusion off to the right? Nope, it’s not bacon, but crispy melted cheddar goodness. An ample sized hand-formed patty, lean, nice beefy flavor, I ate it “as is”, and didn’t clutter it up with condiments, wanted to enjoy the taste and texture of the patty itself.
I couldn’t finish both the dog and the burger, oh, I could have in my salad days (did I ever really have “salad days?”)
Well, actually, I couldn’t finish the buns. I ate the meat out of both the dog and burger, and didn’t leave a morsel behind. Caution: Red Sox fans pay extra, the sign sez. Menu is here.
Go the the Fried Onion. Order. Purchase. Partake. Enjoy. Smile.
If you can’t get enough on site, it appears you can order Chicago style hot dogs delivered to your home. I’m gonna.
Fried Onion Portland