It was Friday afternoon in downtown Chicago, well past lunch time, and Tom and I had decided that what we wanted was a real Chicago-style hot dog.
But now we were downtown.
So we turned off Michigan Avenue and started walking, searching for a hot dog spot.
We walked up one street and down another,
Which led us to conclude that Chicagoans love their coffee more than their hot dogs.
When we’d zig-zagged our way almost to Union Station - which is about a mile from Michigan Avenue if you walk a straight line - I came up with the idea of looking inside Union Station for a hot dog stand. After all, I reasoned, the train station would be perennially full of tourists who’d want to try a real Chicago hot dog, right?
So we continued on to Union Station,
Or, we figured, as close as you could get at a train station food court.
No matter, at that point whatever they had was close enough for us, we were famished.
So we both ordered a Chicago-style hot dog combo for $7.59 and were each given a jumbo-sized dog topped with tomato, onions, a dill pickle spear, spicy green peppers, mustard, celery seed, and some amazingly bright green relish,
Was it a good dog?
Well, you know when you’ve got a hankering for something and when you finally get it it hits the spot so sublimely that you are saturated in satisfaction afterwards?
That’s how Tom and I felt after our Chicago-style hot-dog and French fry luncheon in Union Station.
accompanied by a drink and a pile of hot fries.
When we told Miguel how we'd finally found a Chicago dog at Gold Coast Dogs in Union Station he was skeptical as to whether a dog sold at a stand in Union Station could be the real Chicago deal. He asked us what was on our dogs and I listed the ingredients: tomato, onion, peppers, a pickle slice, mustard, relish, and celery seed with a celery seed bun.
Miguel conceded that those were indeed the proper ingredients, but he asked me to describe the relish.
I told him that the relish was, as a matter of fact, this strange shade of bright Kelly green, a color I’d never before seen on relish nor too often anywhere else in nature. But Miguel said that the bright green relish is, in fact, a hallmark of a real Chicago dog. I asked him why the relish was bright green. He didn’t know why. He, like all Chicagoans, just knew it had to be.
Finally he asked me about the peppers, which I described as sort of light olive drab green in color and bullet shaped. This was also the correct pepper, called the sport pepper by Chicagoans, as in (according to Miguel using the authentic Chicago patois), “Yeah. Lemme get a coupla two tree sport peppers on dat der, guy."
(Sigh). Those were sure some good dogs.