Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hot Doug's

3324 North California Avenue
Chicago, IL

Last I checked, Hot Doug's shared the highest score for Food in Chicago (with Alinea) on Zagat. Yet a large meal and a drink will probably run you about $15 total, if you're really going for gluttony. Depending on when you go, you might have to wait in a rather long line (especially Friday and Saturdays, when they do their duck fat fries), but it moves pretty fast, and it's totally worth the wait. It does, however, close at 4pm (and is closed Sundays), so keep that in mind. Also, it's Cash Only.

As has been pointed out, the sausages at Hot Doug's aren't made in-house, and can be purchased elsewhere. So while they're pretty effin' delicious, they're not really the main reason to go. No, the main reason is the toppings. While they do all the standards, each week they also feature some far more exciting options - a fancy sausage with a fancy topping. Check out today's menu for an example - Chardonnay and Jalapeno Rattlesnake Sausage with Spicy Guava Mayonnaise and Moody Blue Cheese, Calvados Smoked Duck Sausage with Morello Cherry Mustard and Camembert, etc. It's pretty exciting stuff.

For some reason, every time I've gone I've ended up ordering a sausage with saffron remoulade and aged machego as a topping, but you know what? That's because they've always been delicious. Still though, I chide myself for not being a little more adventurous.

The fries are good, though not amazing - warm, soft and chewy. You can get cheese fries, but the cheese is just Cheese Sauce, and it's not that exciting. I wish they did cheese fries with some of their more adventurous cheeses melted on top, but that probably takes too much time.

The drink are the usual soda fountain offerings or a variety of bottled sodas in the fridge, which are kind of fun. They do vitamin water, but also things like cel-ray soda.

Is it the most mind-blowingly delicious thing you've ever eaten, as the hype implies? No. But it's pretty damn good. And for the quality of food you get, it's also an unbelievable bargain.

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