July 23 is National Hot Dog Day. It’s also Woody Harrelson, Slash, and Daniel Radcliffe’s birthday, so of course we celebrated with the most unique hot dogs we could find in the Bay Area (apart from making our own). Doggy Style Hot Dogs in Alameda serves Asian fusion hot dogs, drawing from the cuisines of many cultures. They say on their website that they “are second to none in [their] innovative style” and after trying six styles of doctored kosher beef frankfurter hot dogs, we agree.
All dogs come on the same seeded French roll, soft and grilled. There are many links to choose from, like linguica, calabrese, and veggie, but being National Hot Dog Day, we had to stick strictly to classic frankfurters. Doggy Style uses links made by a local company with decades of experience, and we tasted a finely tuned recipe for quality meat. Large, smoky, slightly spiced, and flavor packed, the dogs were delicious and the different assortments of toppings just made them enchanting. We started with the All American, with toppings of cole slaw, cheese, bacon, and barbecue sauce. The crunchy cole slaw with a vinegar base was super crispy and fresh, offering an excellent texture contrast. The shredded cheddar cheese and bacon were both abundant, piled almost to the tipping point! The bacon was crispy in its own way and even lean, and its smokiness was highlighted by the sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.
The next dog took us to Japan, and it was very umai – August looked it up, it means “delicious,” a very fitting name. The umai dog has seaweed, pickled radish, teriyaki sauce, and Japanese mayonnaise. It tasted like hot dog sushi, and as weird as that sounds, it tasted fresh and flavorful. The teriyaki added a bit of tang to the sea and earth essences of the seaweed and radish, respectively. It’s the standard teriyaki sauce you’d have with sushi, and you’d never think it works with a hot dog, but it does.
Continuing on our globally inspired hot dog tour, our palates visited Vietnam for an interesting twist on the traditional sandwich. Pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeño, cilantro, and mayonnaise adorned this dog, with a dash of sriracha on the side. This is kind of like everything you’d want in a bánh mì sandwich – soft but crunchy French roll, exceptionally fresh vegetables, and a bit of kick. We’ve seen some bánh mì with interesting meats (liverwurst, anyone?), so in all honesty, hot dogs aren’t so big of a stretch.
There were a few specials today in honor of National Hot Dog Day, so we couldn’t pass them up. Probably our favorite savory dog of the evening was the ka-re dog (sounds like curry). With homemade Japanese curry and pickled radishes, this was a beautiful combination of Japanese, Indian, and American flavors. The curry is slow-cooked with potatoes, carrots, and onions, resulting in a sauce that is mildly sweet with all the spices of curry but zero heat. The pickled radishes, also Japanese (Takuwan and Fujin Zuke, as per the menu description), were an amazing pairing with the curry, not just for flavor but also for contrasting crunchy mouthfeel. It was a flavor symphony of sweet, tangy, and spices.
The other special threw us for a loop – a dessert dog! The Nut-n-Jelly “Crunch” has Chex cereal, peanut butter sauce, strawberry jelly, and a granola mix with almonds. The peanut butter sauce was special with the addition of just a touch of honey, making it very rich and decadent. The house-made strawberry jelly was naturally sweet and tangy. All the crunchiness of the cereal, granola, and nuts made this quite a mouthful, like eating a crazy version of Chex Mix.
Even after trying five dogs, we had to do one more because, well, it’s a waffle dog! Doggy Style’s take on the corn dog is dipped in waffle batter and griddled in a waffle iron shaped specially for a hot dog. If you like fun food and/or waffles, you’ve got to try this. It’s highly recommended that you use the maple syrup; think of this as bacon or sausage in maple syrup, something that more Americans do with their breakfast than would admit.
We had the luck of meeting Mike, one of the owners, who made all of our special hot dogs this evening. He’s a very talented guy with a creative mind, and we cannot wait to go back to try more dogs (once we recover from this binge for National Hot Dog Day). Eight varieties are standard on the menu but with various specials, we’re sure there will always be something to surprise and delight us.
A classic cobb salad has an easy acronym to remember its key ingredients: EAT COBB (eggs, avocado, tomato, chicken, onion, bacon, blue cheese). Classic is excellent, but Chef Zach had some other ideas. He swapped out chicken for shrimp and onion for carrot, and every part of this salad is homemade, down to the dressing.
• For the dressing:
1 cup of buttermilk
1 cup of mayonnaise
2 tbs. of finely minced red onion
1 extremely smashed garlic clove (no garlic powder)
1 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
Thoroughly mix all ingredients except the blue cheese, then gently fold in the blue cheese so that you don’t break up the chunks too much. Making this the day before using is best in order for the flavors to marry.
• For the shrimp:
1/2 lb. of large raw shrimp
2 tbs. of Old Bay seasoning
1 tbs. of lemon juice
In a medium saucepan, bring about 6 cups of water, seasoning, and lemon juice to a boil. Add the shrimp, turn off the heat, and let sit for 3 minutes. Drain and let cool (in the refrigerator) before peeling.
• For the bacon:
3 strips of pepper bacon
Cut the strips in half lengthwise, then dice in 1/2″ pieces. Cook in a small saute pan over medium-low heat for about 12 minutes until the fat is rendered out and the pieces are crispy. Drain on a paper towel and allow to cool.
• For the eggs:
Put 2 eggs in a small saucepan and fill with water so that there’s about 2″ of water above the eggs. Bring to a boil on a stove top over medium-high heat. After reaching a boil, remove from heat and let sit for 12 minutes. Cool completely before peeling and slicing.
• For the salad itself:
1 large head of romaine lettuce, cleaned and cut
Peeled shrimp prepared earlier
1 small julienned carrot
1 medium-sized tomato in thick slices
1 avocado thinly sliced and fanned
2 hard-boiled eggs cut in wedges
2 very thinly sliced radishes
Bacon pieces made earlier
Blue cheese dressing made earlier
Starting with a bed of lettuce, place your ingredients however artfully you’d like. If you’re trying to impress someone or save some calories (so that you can dip and monitor your salad bites), put the dressing in a small bowl; otherwise, just stir it all together. Serve with focaccia.