I’m in Austin, Texas this week, which means that—while there’s no end to my barbecue and burger options—I’m missing out on the Week 9 hot dog at the Blue Rooster Food Co. Fortunately, fellow Portland food blogger Kate McCarty has all of the details on Mike Wiley’s (of Hugo’s fame) contribution here. It looks amazing.

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Alas, with nary a hot dog in sight—ok, well that’s not exactly true… I did brave the traffic and near 100-degree heat to indulge in some goodies from T-Loc’s Sonora Hot Dogs)—I’ve been thinking about that which is to come. For instance, what might we see from Joe Ricchio, Andrew Taylor, Cheryl Lewis and Rob Evans in the final four weeks of the Chef Series?

But the mind games did not end there. With the Blue Rooster Chef Series an undeniable culinary success—and perhaps preoccupied with the notion of building many a fantasy football roster in the weeks to come—I found myself wondering, “What if they do this again next year? Who should participate?”

With that said, here are five (completely fictional, non-existent) hot dogs that I’d like to see the next time around:

  1. The Salvage BBQ Dog: As I spend a good chunk of my time in a town known for (or at least cleverly marketed as) the world’s best BBQ, I like to think that my smoked meat standards are pretty high. And so, it pleases me to say that the offerings at Salvage are remarkably good. Not just remarkably good for Maine, mind you. Salvage’s fare holds-up to some of the better ‘cue I’ve eaten in barbecue meccas like Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee. (Which is a good thing, because their prices are on par with those of Austin’s esteemed Franklin Barbecue.) So, what toppings would I like to see on the “Salvage Dog?” How about raw red onions, cole slaw, a heap of finely chopped brisket and pork, and a drizzle of their smoky barbecue sauce? I’ll take mine with a side of Zantac.
  2. The Bresca Dog: Bresca and the Honey Bee owner Krista Kern Desjarlais and her husband Erik (whose Choucroute Dog I wrote about here) are two of my favorite people on the planet. Though I’ve only met each of them once, they’ve both been incredibly kind to me and this blog with their supportive words and their time. Back in 2011, Krista spoke with me for the better part of an afternoon about the (at the time) soon-to-launch lunch service, called Bresca Day. (Desjarlais closed Bresca in 2013 to focus on new’ish venture Bresca and the Honey Bee.) It certainly doesn’t hurt that—in addition to being a genuinely nice human being—Krista is a remarkable chef. I’ve literally had dreams about the red wine braised beef cheeks she once served at Bresca. So, what would a hot dog designed by Krista look like, you ask? We don’t even have to imagine. I recently stumbled across this PPH review of Bresca and the Honey Bee, which features an image of an incredible-looking “Hot Dog Indochine,” topped with pickled carrot, radish, cilantro, basil, fresno chili, cucumber, citrus chili, mayo and hoisin. Wow. Just… wow. Rather than lift the image, I’ll let you see it for yourself by clicking here.

  3. The PFM/Blueberry Files Dog: Next week, we’ll get to sample blogger/bartender/local celebrity Joe Ricchio’s contribution to the Blue Rooster Chef Series. If, like me, you’re a fan of the quirky ode-to-excess that is his “Food Coma” blog, you’re probably anticipating a foot-long blood sausage topped with absinthe-infused M&M’s, a line of uncut Colombian cocaine and the tears of an 8 year-old Malaysian boy. But what if the Blue Rooster extended the opportunity to some other Portland food bloggers? My vote would be for a hot dog designed by Anestes Fotiades—the man behind Portland Food Map, which is pretty much the go-to blog for anything involving the Portland food scene—and the Blueberry Files’ Kate McCarty, whose book, “Portland Food: The Culinary Capital of Maine,” is now on sale. What would their joint-venture hot dog look like? I’m imagining a hot dog served with pork belly, Kate’s peach salsa and topped with a fried egg.
  4. The Chicago Dogs Portland Dog: Let’s extend our purview beyond Portland, shall we? As a former Midwesterner who visited Chicago countless times over a dozen years, one of my favorite non-Portland haunts is Scarborough-based Chicago Dogs. Owner Joe Palmieri (who also hosts a morning sports radio show on WJAB) offers more than a dozen different hot dogs on his menu (as well as various burgers, sausages and sides), but the only thing I ever order there is the namesake Chicago Dog. Although Scarborough is more than a thousand miles removed from Chicago, these things are about as authentic as they come, from the poppy seed bun to the bright green relish. But let’s pretend for a second that Chicago-style hot dogs aren’t the best thing on the planet and we were willing to accept some Portland-centric variation on the recipe. What could we anticipate? I would insist on keeping the Vienna frank, but maybe we can swap out the poppy-seed bun for a New England style bun, buttered and grilled. Let’s also nix the regular ol’ dill pickle in favor of a Morse’s Sour Garlic pickle spear, and replace the celery salt, raw onions, relish and tomato slices with caramelized onions and a cherry tomato relish. Lastly, let’s 86 the sport pepper and yellow mustard and opt instead for Raye’s Spicy Horseradish Mustard. Yum.
  5. The Rosemont Dog: Rosemont Market’s Brighton location is just a little over a mile away from my house, so I find myself there 2-3 times a week (at least when I’m in town). Sometimes it is just for a cup of coffee, a loaf of fresh-baked bread, a quick sandwich or a pint of homemade soup. Other times, I’ll plan an entire meal around a shopping excursion, seeking out something tasty at the meat/seafood counter and then supplementing it with whatever fresh veggies they have available (the days I find blue potatoes there are like hitting the lottery). The folks at Rosemont Market do so many things well, its hard to pin down just one approach for a hot dog, but lets start with their house-made rabbit hot dogs, topped with an apple, tomato and cucumber chutney. For a little extra kick, maybe smear the bun with a little bit of Rosemont’s “Secret Weapon” sauce (which I think is basically just mayo mixed with a bunch of other condiments).

So there you have it. Five “fantasy” dogs that I’d love to see if the Blue Rooster folks ever do a Version 2.0 of this thing. I hope you got a kick out of this. To my readers, I’d love to know what your Blue Rooster dream dog would look like, and who would build it?

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Jason Loring’s Apocalypse Nosh Dog—a take-off on the Apocalypse Now burger featured at Nosh Kitchen Bar—is the eighth hot dog in the Blue Rooster Summer Chef Series. It features a bacon-wrapped hot dog, topped with pork belly, foie gras mayo, cherry jam and cheese sauce.

At $9, the Apocalypse Nosh dog is the most expensive of the hot dogs offered to date, but also the most generously topped one. (Not surprising, since its namesake burger has been described by Loring as an ode to excess.)

apocalypse-nosh-dog-2For instance, there’s a trifecta of pork in the hot dog/bacon/pork belly combo, and an ample hit of cheese sauce. I tend to think of cheese sauce as that gooey, impossibly salty, neon-yellow colored stuff you see being poured on to mountains of pasta and burgers in commercials for boxed dinners and fast food chains. This version had a thicker consistency, and a milder, more pleasant taste.

I’m usually wary of fruit—in any of its forms—as a condiment, but I found that I really liked the contrast the sweet cherry jam against the hot dog’s more savory ingredients, so much so that I’ll consider trying the Apocalypse Now burger the next time I’m at Nosh. And what a neat visual: that smear of very-dark purple jam almost resembles caviar. (Less aware was I of the foie gras mayo but, on this edible ode-to-excess, I can’t tell you that I missed it for a second.)

The Apocalypse Nosh Dog will be available through Thursday, July 24.

I will be traveling for the next two weeks (maybe one of my fellow Portland food bloggers will report on Mike Wiley’s contribution?), so my next bit of Blue Rooster coverage will be the hotly-anticipated Week 10 entry from Joe Ricchio.

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Erik Desjarlais’ Choucroute Dog (Blue Rooster Food Co. Summer Chef Series)

July 12, 2014

The week 7 entry in the Blue Rooster Food Co. Summer Chef Series is Erik Desjarlais’ (of Weft & Warp) Choucroute Dog. A play on a popular dish in Alsatian cuisine (choucroute garnie), it is easily one of the most satisfying hot dogs offered as part of the series to date. It is also one […]

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The Vinland Dog (Blue Rooster Food Co. Summer Chef Series)

July 6, 2014

Like many of you, I’m making the Sunday night transition back to full work weeks, sadly devoid of holidays and drunken, midday World Cup work stoppages*, so I’ll keep this week’s Blue Rooster update brief. The Week 6 hot dog—can you believe we’re almost at the halfway point already?— is David Levi’s Vinland Dog. Comprised of a […]

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Matt Brown’s Shepherd Dog (Blue Rooster Food Co. Summer Chef Series)

June 29, 2014

I’m a bit late with this week’s Blue Rooster update. Some friends from the Midwest came in for a visit, so I’ve been in tour guide/host mode for the last couple of days, dragging them to lighthouses, scavenging for bagels, noshing on the (always fantastic) lobster rolls from Bite Into Maine and jumping aboard the Lucky Catch Lobster […]

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Thurston’s Wicked Goood Burgers (Portland, ME)

June 22, 2014

Quick Note: In my original posting, I misidentified Thurston’s as sitting near Nason’s Corner rather than Woodford’s Corner. (As I live not far from either, I’m prone to confuse them). Thanks to reader Rachael for catching this error, which has now been corrected. In the eight years that I’ve lived in Portland, I don’t think […]

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Steve Corry’s Truffle Mac Dog (Blue Rooster Food Co. Summer Chef Series)

June 21, 2014

Though we are a mere quarter of the way through the Blue Rooster Summer Chef Series, I find myself impressed with how unique each of the entries has been. All of the hot dogs have been decidedly different from the rest, with virtually no overlap in theme or ingredients (save for the bun and the hot dog itself, […]

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Fred Eliot’s French Connection (Blue Rooster Food Co. Summer Chef Series)

June 15, 2014

I’ve been pretty jazzed about the Week 3 hot dog at the Blue Rooster Food Co. It comes to us from Chef Fred Eliot of Petite Jacqueline. Despite my all-too-infrequent visits to PJ, I’m absolutely in love with this place. Whether you’re there for a weekend brunch, a mid-week lunch, a nighttime dinner or one […]

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The Sloppy Penatzer (Blue Rooster Food Co. Summer Chef Series)

June 10, 2014

The Week 2 hot dog in the Blue Rooster Food Co’s Summer Chef series is called the Sloppy Penatzer. It comes to us from Ricky Penatzer of the new’ish Portland Hunt and Alpine Club, an establishment that I’ve yet to visit due to my frenetic work travel schedule. Our week 2 hot dog embodies one […]

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Tao Yaun Dog (Blue Rooster Food Co. Summer Chef Series)

May 30, 2014

Having indulged in perhaps too many hot dogs during a recent trip to Chicago (Portillo’s, Hot Doug’s and Byron’s), I wasn’t sure whether I’d be up for more encased-meat goodness heading into this weekend. Nevertheless, I found myself parked within 30 yards of the Blue Rooster Food Co. a mere 40 minutes before the official […]

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