It's National Hot Dog Month! Today's dog hails from Evanston.
Wiener and Still ChampionPolenta is a pretty froufrou word to throw around when talking about a food most often served at carnivals, state fairs and elementary school cafeterias of the 1970s. But, dammit, polenta is the best description of the texture and sweet corn flavor of the soft batter of grits coating the corn dogs served at this Evanston hole-in-the-wall. Well, Wiener dubs them Dippin' Dogs ($2.50, three for $6.50), and the sauces for dog dunking can get rather baroque for such a greasy dive—curry ketchup, jalapeño aioli, Tuscan, bacon mustard, etc. (You can also have them smothered in chili and cheese.) The plump beef franks come out of the fryer generously corn swaddled and bursting with juice. Call it a Pronto Pup, a Hot Dog on a Stick, a Dippin' Dog or what you will, but this is my new criterion for a legit corn dog, the new standard set by Wiener and Still Champion—does the wooden stick bend under the weight?—Brent DiCrescenzo