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 hot dog wrapped in a hand-made corn tortilla, it is topped with sauerkraut and a cranberry, chipotle and whey mayo. As noted on the menu board at Blue Rooster, all of the ingredients are locally sourced, making the hot dog consistent with the “sourced in Maine” philosophy that Levi employs at his restaurant.
The surprisingly substantive corn tortilla—the first departure from a standard hot dog bun in the Summer Chef Series—gets points not only for being locally sourced, but also for originality. Bun substitutes can sometimes turn out to be gimmicky failures, but not here. As a vessel for transporting meat and toppings, it was more than up to the task, staying intact right up until the last bite. And while I love my hot dog buns, I’d argue that the tortilla functions better than the regular bun in that it lets the meat itself play a larger role in the sandwich, which is great when you’re using a premium-quality hot dog.
Speaking of classic flavors, the sauerkraut was a home run. Waxing poetic about fermented cabbage probably places me firmly in the stratosphere of food blog douchery, but this stuff was really something special. The perfect mix of sweet and sour, it offered just the right amount of crunchiness to the hot dog. Seriously, it is one of those ingredients that is so well done you almost take it for granted. Like the lamb chili on the Sloppy Penatzer, I’d eat this stuff by the bowl, if I could.
But I’ll bet you’re wondering about that whey mayo, right? I know I was. Most certainly due to my own ignorance (and evidently, too many commercials for protein powder), the mention of “whey” summons mental imagery of a globular substance that is simultaneously sour and chalky. Rest assured that this was an altogether different beast. Nothing chalky. Nothing sour. No unpleasant “globs” of anything. Frankly, I wouldn’t have known that the mayo was comprised of anything other than mayo if the menu board hadn’t said so. The texture was perfect, and the slightly smoky-yet-tangy flavor was a nice contrast to the sauerkraut.
The Vinland Dog sells for $6 and will be available through Thursday, July 10.
* Actually, I kind of adopted the colorful Netherlands squad as my non-USA-team-to-cheer-for back in 2010, so I’ll likely sneak away for a few beers when they play this week.