I don't care what anyone says - America's national food has got to be the hot dog. The Tribune recently reported that between Memorial Day and Labor Day alone (the American summer), 300 million Americans consume 7 billion hot dogs. 7 BILLION! While hot dogs for Australians mean those awful, pallid things encased in violent pink skin that is wont to split unappetisingly, American hot dogs are actually more like sausages, albeit heavily processed ones. Many brands are available that do not have any fillers or byproducts. Kosher brands are particularly well regarded.
Byron's in Wrigleyville, Chicago, serve dogs by the Vienna Beef company, favourite of many Chicago hole-in-the-wall dog joints, and they are famous for their own take on Chicago-style toppings.
A Chicago-style hot dog is topped with mustard, relish, raw onion, pickle spear, tomato, celery salt (ground celery seeds mixed with salt), and "sport peppers" (small, hot chillis). Byron's adds cucumber and capsicum and uses pickle rounds instead of long spears. To add tomato sauce (ketchup) is sacrilege.
Spot the hot dog under all of that! It really is the best way to eat a hot dog. The processed, salty meat is tempered by all the fresh vegies and tangy pickle, relish, and mustard.
Byron's recently served their famous hot dogs at the White House's annual congressional picnic. Good choice - the Obamas are Chicagoans, after all!
Chicago, IL 60613