Frankly speaking

I’ve eaten a Fenway Frank, a Phillies Frank and last Friday night in L.A., a Dodger Dog. But nothing compares to a Chicago Dog, the wieners they serve at Wrigley Field.
I confess I am a hot dog fan. Which doesn’t make sense when I tell you I never, and I mean never, eat a steak. Can’t remember the last time I ordered a steak in a restaurant. But give me a hot dog, especially at a ballpark, and I’m in heaven.
The Dodger Dog was okay. But like the ones in Boston or Philadelphia, basically just a hot dog.
Not so at Wrigley.
The Chicago Dog is all about the toppings, and according to Chicagoans, how the toppings are placed. Also, it’s important that the hot dog is steamed, not boiled.
Here are the toppings, and the order in which they must be applied:
1. Yellow mustard
2. Bright (“neon,” they say) green relish
3. Chopped raw onions
4. Two tomato wedges
5. A pickle spear (lying alongside the frank, on the opposite side of the tomatoes)
6. Two sport peppers (or three)
&. A dash of celery salt
Note: sport peppers are not familiar to everyone. I never heard of them before visiting Chicago. Basically, they are these little, medium hot, pickled peppers. They’re tiny (an inch, or an inch-and-a-half long), and always placed on the dog whole.
Finally, and this is more important that even Chicagoans realize, there’s the bun.
My friend Bernie Foglia, owner and chef of the Villa Foglia restaurant in Exeter, and a superb pizza and sandwich shop before that, stresses a hoagie or footlong hot dog (and Bernie makes a darned good footlong) is all about the bun. I agree.
The Chicago Dog is served on a fresh, plump, poppy seed roll. You need a hearty roll to stand up to the above concoction, and this one is perfect.

Ed Ackerman