leave your inhibitions at the door
During our recent jaunt to Chicago for Christmas, Boom Boom got sick which put the kibosh on a bunch of activities. On the plus side, one of those activities included taking The Pieholes ice skating. I’ve only been ice skating once in my entire life, decades of which were spent in regions where ice is plentiful in winter and seemingly everybody LOVES hockey. To me the sport’s about as exciting and understandable as cricket. As for figure skating, I’m one of those barbarians that only gets interested in it for the wipeouts. That all said, I must say that one time I did go I was pulling some major Brian Boitano stuff out there.
Anyway, Boom Boom’s sick and she’s giving me a look that was saying something like, “Take YOUR kids out of this house and far away from me before I pummel with you a tire iron.” So I decided to take The Pieholes out on some errands with two of my nephews – Bugnutz and Flawless Victory. Flawless Victory lives out in Los Angeles area, so he immediately nixed the idea of getting a burrito. Since our errands put us in the area, we ended up checking out Franks ‘n’ Dawgs.
I’ve had their food at Lollapalooza but never had a chance to go to the actual diner. They’ve only been around for two years, but in that short time they’ve already been featured on Travel Channel and Food Network. When you walk up to the place, it pretty much looks like your standard hot dog joint but, pretty quickly, you realize you’re in for something completely different. The only “traditional” hot dog you’ll find is on the kids menu. All of the other items imaginative, over-the-top, delicious sandwiches that have sausages made from all kinds of eclectic meats and “accoutrements” (not toppings) that are made in-house. All of them are served on a locally-made lobster roll-type bun.
We placed our orders and were given a card to display on our table so that the server knew which was ours. However, instead of the standard number, these were faces of famous Chicagoans. I was praying that we would not be given one featuring that jerkweed Mike Ditka, because that would really have gotten the meal off to a bad start. Luckily, we got Dennis Rodman.
What we ate…
Flawless Victory got the Pork of July - a pork loin and caramelized onion sausage topped with pulled pork, cherry bourbon BBQ, and house slaw:
Bugnutz got the Dutch Bomber – a bratwurst topped with caramelized onions, pork belly, Gouda cheese , and crispy pig ears:
One of the Pieholes had the Reuben Pulaski – Polish sausage, sauerkraut, whole seed mustard, 1000 island dressing, potato cake, & chives:
I had the Double Ducker – Duck sausage, duck confit, pickled shiitake mushrooms, foie gras, and maple mustard:
Not pictured – We also had Triple Truffle fries (with truffle oil, butter, and salt) and fried pickles (served with giardiniera aioli). The non-adventurous Pieholes got corn dogs.
All of these were only in the $8-12 range, but that’s $8-12 more than any of them had at that the time. So since I ended up paying for everyone, I took the liberty of sampling everyone’s sandwiches. All of them were excellent. With these wild themes and unusual toppings, it seems like it would be pretty easy to get gimmicky. But they were really well thought out with their combinations of flavors, textures, and temperatures. Everything fit well together and cooked perfectly.
What I want to go back for…
I would definitely go back there. There were so many different things on the menu I wanted to try:
- Krazy Kimchi: Spicy beef sausage, braised short rib & turnips, kimchi, wild rice & basil
- Urbanbelly chix: Vietnamese chicken sausage, pickled green papaya, curry mayo, crispy shallots, Thai basil & lime
- Epic Pork-gasm: Bacon sausage, bacon jam, whiskey glazed pork belly, baconaise, chicharrons, and ham dust
- Great White: Bay scallop sausage, Great White shark bacon, pineapple-pepper relish, fresh cilantro
Ok, that last one sounds vile with the scallop sausage. But c’mon, how can you NOT order something with Great White Shark bacon?????
The restaurant itself is right the North & Clybourn shopping district. If you’re visiting Chicago, I highly recommend going to that area – it’s nowhere near as touristy or crowded as Michigan Ave.
Have you had anything like this? Which one would you choose? Any ideas what “Flawless Victory” could mean?
Franks ‘n’ Dawgs
1863 N. Clybourn Ave
Chicago, IL 60615