A Proper Chicago Dog

A proper Chicago Dog from Portillos.

There are a few things that we Chicagoans and in my case: Ex-Chicagoan are picky about: Our Cubs, and Bears, music (blues), beer, women, and food. In particular Chicago Dogs and Pizza. Gyros also has a place as a true staple of the Chicago area by simple virtue of the number of Greek restaurants in the area.

For full disclosure, I was raised in the suburbs of Chicago but it does not matter when it comes to the Chicago Trinity of beer, women and food. Even a suburban kid can tell a real Chicago Dog from a phony one being passed off as “Chicago Style”. There is NO SUCH THING. It is or it isn’t a Chicago Dog. No middle ground.

That’s why I was so excited, but 10 minutes later, so disappointed in my favorite Minnesota hangout coming out with a new menu and featuring a Chicago Dog. Except it wasn’t.

I was told by the manager that “the cook” assured her that he was from Chicago and this is how they are made! The list of ingredients included Ketchup!! “NO!” I almost screamed. “You DON’T PUT KETCHUP ON A Chicago dog!” What the hell is wrong with the cook? Is he really from the Chicago area? Or is from some far flung place like DeKalb or worse yet Peoria? Maybe he’s from Wisconsin and sees this as his chance for revenge on Bear and Viking fans!

And the featured hot dog uses regular relish! ICK! You need to put the NEON Green sweet relish on the dog and it has to be assembled in a specific order.

It is so sad to see an abomination of the Chicago culinary culture being murdered so close to home and at my favorite hangout.

It must be a Minnesota thing because when I initially complained on Facebook about the ketchup on the dog, I was told in no uncertain terms that is how Minnesotans dress a dog. “WTF” I thought. They must be kidding. Where is the culinary class I have come to expect from those connoisseurs of Chicago Dogs? I guess it’s absent in Minnesota.

Portillos Italian Beef and Fries. Photo courtesy Portillos used under fair use.

Lucky for me there is now a Portillos restaurant open in Woodbury MN. But the really great news is that my city of Apple Valley is considering welcoming a Portillos restaurant here! YES!

Portillos is a chain of restaurants operated in Chicago and the suburbs. A place I frequented when I was working in Niles Il. and Elk Grove. Not only do they make a true Chicago Dog, but they have one of the best Italian beef sandwiches anywhere on this planet and their Italian Sausage sandwich is sure to make you smile.

So we’re waiting for you in Apple Valley MN Portillos… PLEASE come to town!

In case you are wondering, here is how you make a proper Chicago dog.
Chicago Dog Recipe:
Prep 10 min
Cook 7 min
Ready17 min

** Bring a pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, place hot dog in water, and cook for 5 minutes or until done. Remove hot dog and set aside. Carefully place a steamer basket into the pot and steam the hot dog bun for 2 minutes or until warm.

** Place hot dog in the steamed bun. Pile on the toppings in this order: yellow mustard, sweet neon green pickle relish, onion, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers, and celery salt. The tomatoes should be nestled between the hot dog and the top of the bun. Place the pickle between the hot dog and the bottom of the bun.


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