When I started out on this project, I believe I did mention the fact that even though I’m calling it the Food Truck project, I’m not going to necessarily limit myself to food trucks. In addition to the usual trucks, there are also a handful of hot dog carts that appear in the neighborhood. Having either already reviewed the available selections or just not being all that thrilled about the selection a couple of days ago, I decided to make a little detour to one of the more established ones.
- Food Cart: Hot Dog King
- Cuisine: Hot Dogs
- Website: None
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thehotdogking
- Twitter: None
- Yelp: 4.5 stars, 3 reviews
- Location: Corner of Westlake and Harrison, next to Firestone (Also found in front of the Triangle Pub on 1st Ave. near the stadiums for sporting events)
- Days: Daily
- Payment Methods: Cash, cards
- Sales Tax included in menu prices: Yes
- Louisiana Hotlink, topped with grilled onions and sweet relish and served with chips and drink: $6.00
- Total (with tip): $7.00
- Time to order and pay: About 1 minute
- Time to receive food after ordering: 4 minutes
One thing I’ve found about hot dogs over the years is that practically everyone has different ideas of how they like theirs. Some people prefer to stick to the basics, others will settle for nothing less than a “dragged through the garden” Chicago dog, with most people falling somewhere in between. It also seems like just about everywhere you go there’s some regional variation on the standard hot dog,. and Seattle is no exception. Around here, the local variation is the Seattle-style dog, which is sold mostly by the various hot dog stands that set up shop around the stadiums for Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders games, and makes the somewhat odd-sounding addition of cream cheese to the standard litany of hot dog toppings. Usually I tend to lean more toward the basics when it comes to hot dog toppings (although I do also enjoy a good chili dog every now and then as well,) but if there’s any place that might convince you to branch out it’s this one. As you can see from the photo above, the selection of condiments on offer here is extensive, with over 30 different kinds of mustard alone. Admittedly, I’ve never been a big fan of mustard (the fact that my sisters would often eat it in suspiciously large quantities with just about anything while I was growing up probably contributed to that,) but I have found that I do use it a lot more than I used to. Even so, I’ve never been all that adventurous about trying different varieties, and rarely venture much beyond the standard yellow stuff.
And the customization options don’t end there. In addition to all the sauces, they also provide a lengthy list of other toppings that can be added to any of the several hot dog options shown above. In addition to the usual standbys and the local favorites, you’ve just about got the makings of what should be a reasonably respectable Chicago dog (although I don’t think they have the suspiciously green relish or the celery salt,) or you can just go wild if you would like. In addition to these, there are also a number of specials that vary from day to day. To top it all off, every sausage on the menu also comes with chips and a drink to make a complete meal out of it.
These days, I kind of suspect that Costco has kind of spoiled the whole hot dog experience for a lot of people. Sure, selling $1.50 hot dogs with a drink probably isn’t making them much money, but I suspect it’s used more as a marketing ploy than anything these days. At the same time, I think it’s led people to consider $5 or $6 for a hot dog to be rather expensive. If it was just a hot dog we were talking about then they’d have a point on that, but they use premium hotdogs here, and I seriously doubt Costco will be matching them in the topping department anytime soon. This particular one was a grilled Louisiana Hotlink with added grilled onions and relish, plus a bit of plain yellow mustard (hey, I already said I’m not particularly adventurous in the condiment department.) The sausage appears to be stuffed in a natural casing to give it that nice little snap when you bite into it (best not to think about these things too much really) and had a nice spicy flavor to it, just what you would expect from something like this. Although the hotdogs here aren’t ridiculously huge, when combined with the chips and drink you’ve got a respectable lunch here, and most likely won’t be hungry again by 2pm.
All things considered, this seems to be a pretty good lunch option, at least assuming you’re in the mood for a good hotdog (which, admittedly doesn’t happen all that often for me.) If there’s one thing that’s missing from the menu here it would be a chili dog, and I hear that shows up as a special every once in a while. Even so, it doesn’t matter how picky you are about your hot dogs, chances are that Hot Dog King will have something that will fit your needs. And then some.