Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Doug's - Visit #1, 4/29/15

"Do you want New Doug's, or do you want the truth?"

So what's it been, almost 7 months since Hot Doug's closed? 

Still, the memory of Doug's lingers...Just the other day, I saw a woman wearing the Iron Maiden/Hot Doug's shirt at the grocery store.  I've also gone to the restaurant that replaced Hot Doug's in their physical location (which is all right) and went to that place on Fullerton that "got Doug's permission" to make the foie gras dog (that place sucked.) Doug himself is keeping busy, giving back to the community (after he shortened all of our lives by feeding us sausage, noted a fellow Doug's fan.)  The dude even made a pizza with Piece that I ate several times (that was good) and proceeds from that went to charity.  But still, WHAT ABOUT ME AND MY THURINGER BECAUSE COME ON GUYS I'M NOT GOING TO GO ALL THE WAY TO MILWAUKEE TO EAT A DAMN SAUSAGE.

So imagine my surprise when I heard what I always assumed would happen - two of Doug's top cooks branched out and started their own venture, Hot "G" Dogs in the Uptown neighborhood.  I somehow missed their opening, but a few days ago, the internet BLEW UP and before I knew it, everyone was talking about "New Doug's" or "Doug's 2."  I initially thought that I'd hold off on going until the "hype" died down, but I had Wednesday afternoon off, so we went up anyways.  Here's what happened...

The food is close to the same stuff.  The thuringer IS the thuringer.  The andouille is either the same, or at least close enough.  Chris, yes, it's the same corn dog.  I'm not sure if it's the same veggie dog, but it was enjoyed by someone that isn't me. Heck, even the prices are the same!

Where is it different?

1. Fries - similar, but not quite the same.  If anything, "Not Doug's" has fries that are closer to what HD's had than this new joint.

2. The toppings - the caramelized onions are close, SO CLOSE, but not quite there.  Also, it seems that the sausage to toppings ratio is still being worked on.  Beth's sausage was a little "sauce heavy" and it certainly looked like it.

3. The wait - At Doug's, you usually waited outside, but got your food pretty quickly.  Here, there's no wait to get in, but we probably waited a good 20 minutes or so for our food after we ordered.


Unlike some of the experiences of my other buds, mine was generally pleasant.  It didn't smell like garbage inside like someone said, so hopefully they took care of that.  Is it the same as Hot Doug's?  No, of course not.  Is it close to it, though? Sure is!  Then again, it's also a complete pain in the ass to get there from where I live, so I doubt I'll be going all that often (unless you want to give me a ride - and if you do, I'll buy the corn dogs.)

Who got what:

Neal (myself) - Thuringer, andouille, corn dog, fries.
Beth (not myself, other half of Korean Jeans) - elk sausage, corn dog, fries.
Michelle (not in Korean Jeans, but a dancer, educator and vegetarian) - veggie dog, fries.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Visit #11 - October 3rd, 2014

Well, today's the day. 

Ever since that Tuesday in May when Doug made his announcement, this is the day that we've all be anticipating, or dreading - the day where Doug would say "Yeah, right where the lemonade is" for the last time - the day that Hot Doug's closed its doors for good. 

Naturally, we had a whole plan of attack to be there overnight, but given the weather conditions and our lack of preparations (people had brought tents - those people were smart!), we held off on making the trek until the weather died down a bit.  We got to Doug's a little after 7:00am, only to start hearing people saying, "Yeah, he closed the line at 6:30."  Sure enough, we walked to the back and saw the sign. 

Of course, I could use this space to talk about I never got to say "Thanks" to the main guy and all of the other employees, but screw that!  I joked often about this being a "sad" blog, but it wasn't.  It was a celebration!  Every damn meal that I ate at Doug's was amazing, and each trip reaffirmed that Doug was going out on top.  Every line was absolutely worth it and I don't regret it one bit. 

To the staff of Hot Doug's - you folks really made that restaurant run as smoothly as it did.  You kicked ass in every possible regard.  I hope that your tip jar is overflowing by the end of the day today because you guys and gals deserve it. 

Doug - you did everything right.  Kudos to you.  Thanks for never having salad on the menu.

In lieu of a usual sausage picture, here's one I dug up today from mine and Beth's first visit to Doug's a few years ago.  Garret was also there. 

I had the thuringer, fries, and the Atomic Bomb.  I remember Beth had some other one (buffalo, maybe?) that I accidentally ate half of because I thought it was the Atomic Bomb.  I'm still apologizing for doing that to this day...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Visit #10 - September 19th, 2014

Close to the Edge...or End...

We're almost there.  We're now less than two weeks away until the closing of Hot Doug's.  

After deciding on Wednesday to go again, I was checking emails and saw this pop up on my Facebook feed -

"While we totally understand there are only a few days left to enjoy a Hot Doug's sausage and be "entertained" by the Scotch-fueled cashier, we have an obligation to respect the neighbors and neighborhood. Therefore, Hot Doug's may have to stop customers from entering the line before 4:00pm. We're going to play this one by ear. We thank you for your understanding."

Damn, now it's getting serious.  And sure enough, by the time we got there just after 9, the line was already past the alley.  DAMN.

I also noticed that there were some camera folks walking around and sure enough, we saw pieces of paper that said, "NOTICE:  HOT DOUG'S THE MOVIE IS BEING FILMED" or something.  So there's apparently a movie tape in the works about Hot Doug's.

Surprisingly, none of these corndogs became "pocket corndogs."

This week had that new Butcher & Larder sausage that people were going crazy about.  For some reason, I didn't get it.  Maybe because of something?  Who knows.  All I know is that Friday's meal was delicious, and it was the second-to-last time that I'll eat there.

Due to awesome things beyond my control next week, I doubt I'll be able to make it then.  I will be there the last day though.  With bells on.  And with donuts or something.  Seriously, come find me and I'll have the donuts for you.  You see the guy with the donuts? That's me.  Got it?

Here's the tally:
Me - Andouille, uber garlic, corndog, fries.
Beth - Thai chicken, thuringer.
C/Dr. J - Corndogs, Butcher & Larder guy, Chicago dog, buffalo chicken, others?  Probably.

Visit #9 - September 12th, 2014

Where we get pelted with rain and then get dumplings afterwards.

Well, if last Friday's weather was any indication, summer is over.

Beth and I stood in the cold, wind and rain for a while.  I think we got in line at...9:15 and weren't inside for maybe 2 hours or so. Usually I wouldn't mind that wait but standing in the rain made it slightly more difficult, but also made the sausages ultimately more rewarding (even though Beth forgot Doug's opened at 10:30am and not 10:00am, which made me the chooch who crushed her dreams for a brief moment there.)

At some point we got a text from Andrew that said something like, "Dougin'?", so we told him to hurry on over and that he did.  We all ate together and were warm, filled with sausage, and generally happy to be alive. 

Double photo as I couldn't get the whole table in one shot for some reason.  Action Doug's.

Afterwards, Andrew drove us to Joong Boo where we bought groceries and these giant $2 dumplings that were insanely good.  We did not need to eat all of that food.

Here's the tally:
Me - thuringer, bacon cheeseburger sausage, corn dog, cheese fries.
Beth - veal sausage, bison sausage.
Andrew - Hot dog (steamed), veal sausage, duck fat fries.

Visit #8 - August 23rd, 2014

Watching someone take their first bite of a Thuringer is a beautiful thing...

I have been waiting for that moment for years.  YEARS.  John finally goes with me to Hot Doug's.

You see, John's got a wicked pissah dairy allergy that makes him a nuisance to take restaurants to.  Every time we go somewhere, it's "So there's no dairy in that, right?" and "Can you please use clean gloves and knives in preparation of my food so I don't die?" and it's been like this ever since I've known John (jeez, 7 years? 8 years?), and probably like this John's whole life.  Ever since I started going to Doug's a few years ago, I've tried to get John to go.  However, given his allergy, he was always (rightfully) skeptical about waiting in a two-hour line and then not being able to eat anything.  Now, months ago, I asked Doug about the dairy thing and I told John what Doug told me - "Buns are fine, hot dogs are fine, and any sausage that doesn't have cheese in it is totally fine, but there is butter in the caramelized onions."  So I told John this and apparently all he heard was "Hot dogs are fine," and then got all pissy at me when he emailed Doug directly and Doug told him what I had told him months ago.

So yeah, I get in line, Lee shows up and John's a chooch and saunters up to us at 10:10 or something because he "slept in" or whatever.  OH! And other buds Esme and Zoe show up.  So BAM!  Look at that.  People standing in a line.  I think that might've also been the day I finished Pink Noises (end of an era!)  I'm having trouble remembering more details as this was almost a month ago...

Also, man, that linguiƧa is a damn JAM, son.  

Oh, but so the five of us are sitting and starting to eat and out of the corner of my eye I see John take a bite of his thuringer and immediately, his eyes light up and all he can say is, "Damn." 

Here's the tally:
Me - thuringer,
linguiƧa, fries, corn dog.
John - italian, thuringer, duck fat fries.
Lee - Don't remember, duck fat fries.
Zoe and Esme - BLT sausage, 3 or 4 corn dogs, Chicago dog, one or two others, chili-cheese fries.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Visit #7 - July 19th, 2014

The Sounds...of Sausage...

As I had mentioned in a previous post, when I was looking for apartments to live in when I moved here, one serious consideration was the walking distance from Hot Doug's.  What I neglected to mention was that I moved back to Chicago for graduate school and over the course of the year, I kept meaning to get all of us first-year grads together for some encased meat funtimes.  Unfortunately, due to other commitments (like graduate school), it was difficult to get the four of us together at the same time.  However, with one of them moving back to fuggin' Brookylns at the end of July, we had to act quickly!

So us sound grads trekked out to Doug's on a warm, Saturday morning.  Coming from various corners of the city (Edgewater, Pilsen, Logan and Ukranian Village-ish), we were all there bright and early.  I got only minimal reading of Pink Noises done as Ned showed up pretty soon after, but it was actually a topic of a brief conversation during the lunch.  Other conversation topics included graduate school (stock), John Cage (even more stock?) and JESUS CHRIST THIS FOOD IS SO DAMN GOOD (stock when you eat at Hot Doug's.) 

Look at that! Pink Noises makes its pictorial debut on here!

If I remember correctly, Mike said he'd been there a long time ago, like, 6 years ago (like me, he's from around here.)   Austen and Ned had never been, but I feel like everyone was satisfied.  I think Austen had some comment that was like, "Yeah, you really can't get that anywhere else."  I think he said that.  I don't remember.

Here's the tally:
Thuringer, uber-garlic pork sausage, corn dog, fries.  Mike had a hot dog, corn dog and fries.  I can't remember what Austen and Ned had, but they enjoyed it!

Visit #6 - July 7th, 2014

Shellac and summer sausage, what two things go better together than that?

When Beth announced that she'd be visiting in July, I knew we'd have to hit up Hot Doug's at some point because, well, that's what you do.  Coincidentally, Shellac had announced a show on July 6th in Chicago after their July 7th show sold out, so bam! It was settled! Beth would come here and her main motives for the trip were to go to Hot Doug's and see Shellac.  Fine by me!

After a few days of other Chicago culinary delights (Johnnie's italian beef, lots of hamburgers, bbq, etc.) and a fantastic Shellac show, Beth and I met with friends Bob (who got there a little earlier than we did) and Andrew (who got there at the last possible second) to partake in the meats.

What do I remember about that day over three weeks ago?  It was warm.  It was a Monday, so the line wasn't bad.  The sausages were great.  The company was great.  I learned that Doug will swap out a veggie dog for any sausage but still put all the toppings on it (pro tip from Bob), so that's cool!

I didn't take a picture, unfortunately, nor do I remember what any of us had.  I was pretty hungry that day and we didn't walk there because I had access to a car.  This post is merely here to remember the good times we had in our lives and to not point out my shortcomings as I attempt to remember what I ate three weeks ago without a pictorial aid.

Here's the tally:
I bet there was a thuringer in there?  Maybe some corn dog action.  There were absolutely a ton of fries.  Maybe a chicken sausage?