Lunch date: Hotshots Hotdoggery

Joe and I had been itching to try Hotshots, the new “craft hotdog” joint downtown, so his second-to-last day of paternity leave, we decided to squeeze in a lunch date and let Emmett tag along.

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Overall, I really like the concept (maybe I’m just a sucker for menus with clever naming?) and the look of the place, but I think there’s room for improvement in the dog-finishing department.

I ordered the Valentino Rossi ($6.95), an Italian link with Scala Sunday gravy, provolone, Romano, caramelized peppers & onions and tater tots on the side. It sounded like it had all of the components of a delicious grinder like the ones I love to get at the State Fair. Unfortunately, the bun couldn’t handle all that goodness, and got soggy and completely fell apart. (Toasting the bun may have helped?) I’d also kind of expected the cheese to have a broiled, melty and browned effect, but it was drizzled on cold. I ended up eating mine with a fork. The tater tots were nicely spiced, but nothing addictingly special.

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Joe was more pleased with his dog (he snarfed half of it before I could snap a photo), the Marlon Brando – $7.50 (kielbasa, spicy mayo, bologna, cilantro, jalapeno, pickled carrots, onion & radish), which he got with a side of pasta salad. We ate outside and the pasta had a nice summer picnic feel to it.

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Both of us agreed that we expected the dogs to come grilled; I think that touch of char marks and burnt crunch could be the missing link to a great dog.

To celebrate the countdown to the State Fair and satisfy my lingering craving for a good grinder, I got all of the components to make them at home this weekend as a special treat! I’ll let you in on the recipe, too. Joe entered a lemon basil beer into the State Fair contest this year, which sounds like the perfect sip to pair with it – don’t you think?

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