Monday, November 29, 2010

How To Eat A Sonoran Hot Dog.

A Sonoran Hot Dog is an American southwestern regional hot mess of a deep-fried bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with so many other things that you forget there is a deep-fried bacon-wrapped hot dog in the bun. So, of course, when in Tucson, Arizona, we had no choice but to do as Tucsonans do and go find one. One particular purveyor of this wonder of street food, Mr. Antojo's, is a food cart parked six days a week on the corner of Pantano and 22nd.  Don't bother calling to find it.  Just cruise that intersection any day but Sunday.  (I did find an interesting tidbit on his rolls while trying to find out the cart's location and schedule here.)

Here's how a Sonoran Hot Dog happens.

1. Order.  Convince yourself this food purchase is in the name of sampling some regional flavor.  A Sonoran Hot Dog comes with everything. Everything is roughly; pinto beans, jalepeno sauce, nacho cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and onion.  If you leave anything off, you no longer have a true Sonoran Hot Dog.  If you add the extra fried, crumbled chorizo and a double helping of any standard item, you are a local, or someone comfortable making fun of the laws of nature. Receive your dog.

2. Garnish. You are in possession of a naked Sonoran Hot Dog.  You must add more layers, like hot sauce, guacamole, more sour cream and some homemade cilantro lime sauce, or risk being reminded that you were one of the last kids called onto teams in Phys Ed, too. Note to Mr. Antojo's; you should bottle and sell the cilantro sauce ay-sap.

It is comical what you are about to do to your stomach.

3. Prepare. Pack up the hot dogs and rest of the family into car and travel to a safe, warm home, with a medicine cabinet stocked with over-the-counter remedies for bodily functions gone awry and with plenty of nearby lounging areas off the dining space where you will be eating.

4. Eat. This step is both the easiest and most difficult part of the process. You may find you need to train up to a Sonoran Hot Dog.  You can be physically prepared, but the act is 90% mental.  Suspend internal questions of "why" and concepts of "should", "should not", and "diet".  Just eat it and enjoy. As an aside, beware the grilled yellow pepper garnish.  It's a smart little thing that speaks softly but is set to stun with its cute little Scoville units.

5. Reflect. I cannot say the Sonoran Hot Dog was bad.  I also cannot say it was good [See mental preparedness note at #4].  It was most certainly an indulgent, gluttonous, winning smoky bacon and tart cilantro-lime crown on top of an evening spent giggling with family packed into the car and spontaneously seeking an anti-holiday, local-flavor food run at a roadside food cart.  For that, I set aside my percolating job-induced food snobbery and remind myself that food experiences take many shapes; this one a late-night fried and stuffed field trip, making it no less potent a food memory. 

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