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Photograph: Martha WilliamsHot dog at the Four Seasons


Our 31st hot dog is from Allium.


Allium It's the tail-end of Hot Dog Month, and most of my coworkers are (understandably) dog-tired. They approached our month-long ode to encased meats with relish and all the excitement they could mustard [sic], in the process tasting everything from a classic dog from the Vienna Beef Factory Store to a ridic egg-topped breakfast sausage from Frank 'N' Dawgs. Frankly, I didn't feel so strong a link to the dogstravaganza, having spent the better part of my twenties as a vegetarian followed by an abundance of bad hot dog experiences after returning to omnivorousness. Still, I didn't want to be a bad sport (pepper—OK, these puns are getting abstract), so I volunteered to taste and review arguably the least sketchy hot dog on our list: Allium's $14 Chicago-style dog, executive chef Kevin Hickey's gourmet ode to the ballpark staple. Everything is housemade—from the poppy seed bun to the beer mustard and relish (served in adorably tiny bottles) to the sausage itself. The latter is house-ground, boiled and lightly charred, producing layers of flavor and a near-perfect texture—that much sought-after snap giving way to a juicy interior. The sausage was my favorite component of the hot dog but, to be frank, was the thing that made it seem least like a true Chicago-style dog. Still, I'm no stickler and thus didn't have a big beef with it. For my one and only Hot Dog Month experience, the Four Seasons' much-hyped take on the Chicago original, with a side of fries, did not disappoint (and is infinitely better than all those Smart Dogs I used to consume.)—Laura Pearson 

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