I’ve fallen in love with seafood since moving from Chicagoland to New England in 2003, but as much as I love a good lobster roll (my vote goes to Tony’s on Wollaston Beach), sometimes I just want a hot dog. A good, inexpensive hot dog. However, there just aren’t that many places around Quincy that sell them, or at least promote them with enough gusto to be noticed.
In contrast, as anyone who watches the Travel Channel or Food Network or (gasp!) taken a trip to Chicago knows, the city is serious about its hot dogs. There are even debates on the radio about why ketchup is a no-no. It’s a hot dog, you might be thinking, shaking your head — just throw it together at home. For starters, however, try looking for a poppy seed bun in New England. It doesn’t exist. Think of a lobster roll in plain white sandwich bread — it’ll work, but it’s not really right unless it’s on a toasted bun.
The recent opening of Windy City Eats in Weymouth, however, brings the taste of a Chicago classic to the South Shore. From the choice of Vienna Beef as the hot dog supplier to the steamed poppy seed bun and neon green relish, it’s a true Chicago hot dog. Whether New Englanders will appreciate this, I don’t know, but I hope they’ll give it a shot.
We stopped at Windy City Eats this weekend, inspired by the lovely if windy conditions to have an inexpensive taste of summer. A dietitian’s nightmare, our order consisted of a Chicago hot dog (mustard, relish, onions, tomato, celery salt, sport peppers and a slice of pickle — hold the sport peppers for me); a Maxwell Street Polish (with grilled onions and mustard); a South Side Polish (steamed, with all the ingredients of the traditional Chicago dog plus spicy mustard); a chili cheese dog; and chili cheese fries, plus drinks (water for me, a huge Arizona orange iced tea for him).
Just one hot dog probably would have sufficed, but we were on a fact-finding mission so we ordered more than we might have otherwise. The Chicago dog was what I came for, and it satisfied with its steamed bun and load of toppings that somehow managed by some miracle not to fall off as I ate. However, I’m glad I ignored the fries, which without the chili cheese topping didn’t offer much flavor, as this ensured that there was a little bit of room left in my stomach for the Maxwell. I figured I would take a few bites to try it and then share it with the dog (sans onion), but that didn’t happen. Poor dog; if it hadn’t been so incredibly good I would have shared more. The sausage — a Polish has a bit more spice and is larger than a hot dog — had a nicely grilled exterior that offered a bit of a snap, and paired with the grilled onions and spicy mustard this made for a satisfying meal that I just might have to say was even better than my beloved Chicago dog. That said, the South Side Polish might be the answer for those who want a slightly larger meal that has basically the traditional Chicago toppings.
The menu includes another Chicago standard as well in Italian beef, but we decided to save that for another day. The menu does, however, have some New England adaptations: the Bruin dog (dog topped with baked beans) is certainly one of them, and I can’t say I’ve ever seen a Brazilian dog (mayo, corn and shoestring potatoes), so someone will have to enlighten me if they try it.
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