A link to a Daily News article on the current "haute dog" trend which I despise. Below is what I posted on Hot Dog Nation:
I don't really care for this current "haute dog" trend as well as chefs getting involved with hot dogs. I just posted about this on Roessler's facebook page in response to a link posted there on the same subject. A lot of what I posted is from some of my previous posts and comments. I'll cut and paste it below. One reason places do this is to drive up the price. Let me quote Holly Moore from the book Man Bites Dog. Holly, like myself prefers the minimal sausage because he doesn't think that "mixtures of flavors ought to be forced on a beautiful hot dog." The true hot dog is the product itself; the fancy ones are inauthentic. Hot dog establishments do this for several reasons. "One is that toppings can drive up the check so that you can sell a three dollar hot dog for five with junk on top of it. Second, the owner is not confident in just the hot dog and thinks that they have to do more to get any sales."
What follows are my opinions on the haute dog trend. Warning: it's a pretty long rant you may want to skip.
Not a fan of the trendy new "haute dogs". A hot dog is a simple unpretentious food. The focus should be on the meat and spices, not on esoteric junk that bored faux chefs use to amuse themselves and try to convince others how creative they are. These fancy pants ingredients detract from the frankfurter, which should be the focus of the experience. I can see them laughing at old school Jersey hot dog joints like Rutts Hut and Charlies Pool Room and questioning the manliness of these designer haute dogs. Or as a friend calls them, alternative lifestyle hot dogs. You don't buy a hot dog called a haute dog and you don't get it from a fancy chef. You get it from a guy in a tank top with hairy arms who is probably named Nick or Vinnie. Guys like this have sense enough not to use white truffle butter and duck foie gras.
The hot dog is an icon and an important part of American culture. People don't want it messed with. Two unfortunate souls in New Jersey (the hot dog capital of the world) learned this lesson the hard way. They tried to bring the "haute dog" concept here with predictable results. After much hype and fanfare plus glorious reviews by the biased liberal media, the place was struck by lightning! A sure sign from above and a warning to cease their foolishness. They did not listen, and as a result their business died a slow miserable death. The guys were never heard from again.
It was so bad that the rats and pigeons wouldn't even eat the left over scraps from the "haute dogs" that were in the dumpsters. Even rats and pigeons have standards!
Contrast this to Rutt's Hut, an old school Jersey hot dog legend. You can't even get across the parking lot without encountering pigeons who are so bold that they try to take bites of hot dogs from people who are walking to their cars. These pigeons are so brazen that they routinely shake down rats for lunch money.
Any faux "chef" would be appalled upon enetering this stronghold of American hot dogs. The decor hasn't changed since 1928. The only toppings you can get on your dogs would be mustard and Rutt's special relish. No kraut, no chili, no foie gras. If you ask, they not so politely tell you to go somewhere else. They stick to what made them a legend. Their loyal customers wouldn't stand for any frivolous changes. By the way, their relish is like no other and goes perfectly with their deep fried dogs. Created by an old German gentleman rather than some fancy pants "haute" chef. None other than the bambino himself, Babe Ruth, used to eat at Rutt's Hut.
While todays "haute" ballplayers perform on steroids and amphetamines, the Babe, a true American hero, did it on hot dogs and beer from Rutt's Hut.
I find articles like these amusing. And I realize there are people who like these things. I just enjoy poking fun at what I consider a pretentious trend. For me the frankfurter is what I'm looking to enjoy. When you have all these other things masking the flavor of the actual frank, you might as well use a cheap dog. I call these creations witness protection dogs because it's hard to determine their true identity. When I enjoyed a Roesller's dog at Rawley's some 11 years ago, I had it with mustard only. I focused on the taste, spicing, preparation, and how hot the dog was. Everything else is secondary. Today when you see a hot dog establishment reviewed, you rarely hear what brand is served, if it has a casing, if it's all beef or a beef/pork blend, how it's prepared, whether grilled, fried, heated in water, or some combination. Instead the focus is on the toppings and other secondary things such as cute nicknames for the different dogs. By and large, they have it backwards. If you don't start with a quality frank, it doesn't much matter what you do to it. If you do have a quality frank, it doesn't need more than a bare minimum of toppings that enhance rather than take away from the flavor of the hot dog. Not everything needs to be gussied up. I don't want a chef anywhere near my hot dog. With regards to hot dogs, less is definitely more.