Having grown up in 1970s suburbia, we both have fond childhood memories involving hot dogs. Philadelphia’s dog haven, Hot Diggity, transported us deep into our memory banks, taking us to curious new (old?) hot dog territory.
Surrounded by Hawk Krall‘s art, Chef Keith Garabedian welcomed us and explained that most of the recipes were inspired by The New Hot Dog Cookbook, a sort of relic of a bygone age where ingredients were twisted into concoctions both fortunate and – well – let’s just say interesting.
Keith’s passion for hot dogs brings new meaning to the term “frankophile”, and the retro recipes were presented with such authenticity that we had to wonder:
“Did people really eat this stuff???”
The dinner started with four appetizers all served family style. Our favorite appetizer was the hot diggities. The crunchy corn flakes provided a nice counterbalance to the soft dog inside. Okay, let’s be honest, we love almost any food served on a stick.
We’re big olive fans, so we were curious to try the hog dog olives. These appetizers turned out to be green olives stuffed with a cream cheese and hot dog mix. It’s an interesting concept, though probably not something that we’ll eat again.
The glazed hot dogs appetizer is proof that not everything served on a stick is delicious. This colorful appetizer featured little hot dogs glazed with french dressing, ranch dressing and honey mustard dressing.
The appetizer course concluded with canapés topped with cucumber slices and a hot dog spread. We popped a few of these tasty morsels as we prepared ourselves for the salad course up next.
In most meals, the salad course is the healthiest course. This was not the case at the retro dog dinner.
The salad course started with a duo of mayonnaise laden salads. The Pink Potato Salad glowed with beet juice coloring, and the Apple & Hot Dog Salad was topped with red bell pepper diamonds.
Apparently, the perfection salad was invented in the early 1900s for a Knox gelatin contest and was popular throughout much of the 20th century. We can now say that we’ve tasted the classic dish.
However, we probably won’t taste the gelatinous, bundt cake shaped concoction again. At least we hope not!
With the salad course behind us, we were ready for the main course. First up was the Oriental Hot Dog Casserole. We love both cheese and Asian food, but the two don’t usually go together except in this politically incorrect casserole. This dish was a guilty pleasure, all the better with the hot dog chunks hiding beneath the cheese.
The second entree was called Hot Dogs in Fruited Brandy Sauce. At first glance, the dish looked like good old franks and beans. Looks were deceiving in this fruity yet savory dish.
No dinner would be complete without dessert. For this retro dinner, the sweet ending was a Berry & Lime Jell-O Mold. Served atop lettuce and flanked by lime slices, the old-school dessert was both refreshing and jiggly.
Final Thoughts on Time Travel with Hot Dogs
The dinner was a fun anthropological experience. We got to travel through time for just $20 each. Next time, though, we’ll have our hot dog on a bun with mustard.
Hot Diggity was located at 630 South Street, Philadelphia, PA. It is now permanently closed.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.