Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Case for Encased Meats at Hot Doug's: Chicago, IL

I had a free Southwest trip to use up before expiration and EHK accumulates quite a few SW free trips due to work travels so we decided on kind of a whim to visit Chicago a few weeks ago. We booked a lovely room overlooking the Magnificent Mile, at the Intercontinental Chicago which proved to be a very central location via Priceline for well below market value. I would definitely recommend using the "name your own price" function on Priceline for amazing travel deals. You just got to know what the market value is for your inquiry and be prepared to pony up as the bidding process will automatically charge you if you win the bid.

Turns out EHK has a coworker that lives out in the Windy City and he invited us to lunch with him at Hot Doug's on our first day at 10 AM. Who regularly eats lunch at 10? Well he said its kind of the magic time to go if we didn't want to wait in line for 1-2 hours? Ok... I won't argue with the man since he apparently eats here enough to know the dining pattern. I was pretty excited to hit up this place since it's one of the stops Anthony Bourdain made on his foodie tour in Chicago for No Reservations.

So Hal picks us up from the hotel and we arrive at the joint to find that a line had already started. I'm looking at this line and still thinking who eats this kinda stuff this early in the day? It's about a 20 minute wait so I suppose its not too bad.

Standing in line we were in awe at all of the sausage choices. EHK and I ended up going with 4 sausage dogs and an order of duck fat fries. Hal warned us that regulars come for the sausages and ditch the fries but we are newbies from out of town so we couldn't leave without trying some.

Duck fat fries. Fries fried in rendered duck fat. How could we resist? I'd never heard of such a thing so I just had to get an order. To be honest after trying them... not really something to write home about. They were good but for some reason I was expecting them to exude duck essence or something. Oh well. at least we can say that we tried these. Hal was right... ditch the fries next time. 

Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fluer de Sel. Yum! Once I saw this on the menu, I knew it was a must order. The flavors of foie gras, truffle and fluer del sel were simply magical on the tongue. Definitely too rich for daily consumption but perfect for an indulgence every now and then. 

Atomic Bomb... Damn Spicy Pork Sausage with spicy Mango Mayonnaise and Coolea Cheese. This was perhaps my least favorite sausage. I'm not a wuss when it comes to spice but I'm not  fan of spiciness to the point that all I taste is the heat and nothing else... eww.

Cranberry and Shiraz Wild Boar Sausage with Sweet Curry Mustard and Smoked Gouda Cheese. This was another lovely combination that I enjoyed. I think I was a sucker for the sweet mildly spicy mustard atop the sausage. I think I'd like the cheese slightly melted or shredded next time.

White Wine and Dijon Rabbit Sausage with Dijon Mustard and Goat Cheese. Not a bad sausage but I'm not the biggest fan of goat cheese. I just don't like that mustiness. I'd try it again with a different cheese next time.

Hot Doug's sure puts up a pretty good argument for encased meats. I never thought such goodness could come from meats in tube form but I still think of that amazing Foie Gras sausage since we left. Till we meet again...

Intercontinental Chicago
505 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

Hot Doug's
3324 N. California Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618


  1. I love priceline! I'd have to try the fries too... Those dogs sound interesting, the duck with foie mousse and truffle aioli sounds unbelievably delicious.

  2. Foodhoe,

    Yes that dog was very delicious. I smile every time I look at that photo and wonder when I'll come back to Chicago to enjoy it again.

  3. I love priceline! I'd have to try the fries too... Those dogs sound interesting, the duck with foie mousse and truffle aioli sounds unbelievably delicious.


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