Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CHICAGO DOG vs. KETCHUP


Every city, town, region, country, has it “own” version of a hot dog that people get attached to.  I am hooked on Chicago style identified by a boatload of condiments smothering a beefy dog nestled in a poppy seed bun:  yellow mustard, insanely green relish, chopped raw onion, tomato, crisp dill pickle, hot sport peppers and a dash of celery but never ever ketchup! As widespread as it is used on dogs, ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago is considered a cardinal sin.  How this all came to be is probably a story in itself and I'll direct you to the wonderful new book by Bob Schwartz, Never put Ketchup on a Hot Dog, to perhaps somewhat unveil the origins of this regional taboo.  I've just taken it as gospel, no questions asked.

How do these things start anyway?  Hell, I hated mustard as a kid and probably eschewed ketchup on dogs for fear of the ketchup police.  I've always loved ketchup, particularly on fries, it's almost mandatory for me,  and yet can't even seem to stomach the thought of putting it on a hot dog...very peculiar, brainwashing works.  I find it interesting how taste preferences develop so I think I'll visit some of my pondering on that next time.  In the meantime maybe I should try a little ketchup on a dog for the sake of food science...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

DUCK FAT FRIES ARE HERE!

Come and get them boyz and girlz, debuting today, available Saturdays and Sundays at Coral St. shop only.  They're thicker, richer and just simply, decadent.  What better side for a Duck and Foie Gras Sausage?  (see 10/20 post)

Friday, October 24, 2008

WHAT IS HANK DOING IN HAWAII?


Well, it kinda goes like this...

Long, long ago, in beautiful Honolulu, I almost was born. Missing the boat, I popped out a few months later in Los Angeles just after my family moved to the mainland. Nine years later we moved to Chicago, a damn cold city and after a few winters it confirmed the notion that anyone leaving Hawaii made a big mistake. Not only did I get chumped on the chance of being raised in tropical paradise, but the kicker was that my parents had owned a concession stand called The Beach Grill just off Waikiki Beach. Growing up I heard all the tall stories about tons of hot dogs, coca cola shave ice and life on the beach, damn, a young boy's fantasy! I'd been trying to get back here to Hawaii ever since.  Two years ago I finally made it.

Photo: Adaniya Family farewell from Honolulu Airport 2.25.54. Hank is hiding in Mom's belly

Monday, October 20, 2008

WHAT? DUCK FAT FRENCH FRIES!!!

Well find out for yourself when we debut them at Coral St. on Saturday October 25th.  Fries are my favorite food of course,   I like them any shape any size, frozen to gourmet, with catsup to mayonnaise, I’ll eat them cold, old and nasty if they laying around,  it's an obsession.   Always looking for the Holy Grail of fries, these are pretty decadent.  Idaho Castle Rock potatoes are soaked, blanched then cooked in rendered Magret Duck Fat pomme frite style yielding a unique rich flavor.  Lightly seasoned with Hawaiian Alea salt, we'll serve them on Saturdays and Sundays at our Coral St. location only.  

My good friend Doug Sohn at Hot Dougs introduced this innovation several years back, just before his first location burned to the ground, save the duck fat.  Although my first inspiration for hank’s came from Top Dog in Berkley, California, Hot Dougs was the impetus to pursue my own hot dog fantasy.  If you ever get to Chicago, it is on my “must do” list but be prepared to stand in line for quite a while, he has quite a following.  I must also credit him for our Saturday special,  Foie Gras Dog, which is the perfect accompaniment for these fries.  Go ahead, indulge in a little ecstasy!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

FOR THE LOVE OF HOT DOGS!


So why did I open Hank's?

Although I have a reputation for haute cuisine in the past rather than haute dogs, I am a junk food junkie at heart! Hot dogs, pizza, french fries, hamburgers, beef sandwiches, grilled cheese, Spam musubi, anything fried and any food served on a tray. Crazy, but I miss airplane food.

I have always been drawn to comfort food, foods that evoke a certain emotional connection to something in the past. Hot dogs bring me back to the simpler days of childhood, pure indulgence, the joy of being a kid when just having fun was a top priority. Other things like pot roast reminds me of mom and the family dining table, french fries are of watching them being fresh cut at the first McDonalds back in Chicago, hamburgers strangely remind me of California (long story) and foie gras takes me to my introduction to fine cuisine.

It's like in the movie Ratatouille, for Anotono Ego it was ratatouille, it made him feel love all over again! I am a big believer in the e-factor of foods and Hank's Haute Dogs is an indulgence in that.

Alooooha!