Retro Dog Dinner at Hot Diggity in Philadelphia

Time Travel with Hot Dogs

In Restaurants, USA by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch4 Comments

Having grown up in 1970s suburbia, we both have fond childhood memories involving hot dogs. Philadelphia’s dog haven, Hot Diggity, recently transported us deep into our memory banks, taking us to curious new (old?) hot dog territory.

Keith Garabedian provides a welcoming explanation of the retro dog dinner. time travel with hot dogs

Keith Garabedian provides a welcoming explanation of the retro dog dinner.

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.

Hot Diggities

Hot Diggities

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.

Hot Dog Olives

Hot Dog Olives

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.

View through the Glazed Hot Dogs

View through the Glazed Hot Dogs

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.

Canapés with Cucumbers and Hot Dog Spread

Canapés with Cucumbers and Hot Dog Spread

Salad Course

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.

Salads: Apple and Hot Dog Salad next to In the Pink Potato Salad

Salads: Apple and Hot Dog Salad next to In the Pink Potato Salad

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.

Perfection Salad - 2014 Version of a 1904 Classic

Perfection Salad – 2014 Version of a 1904 Classic

Main Course

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.

Oriental Hot Dog Casserole

Oriental Hot Dog Casserole

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.

Hot Dogs in Fruited Brandy Sauce

Hot Dogs in Fruited Brandy Sauce

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.

Berry and Lime Jell-O Mold

Berry and Lime Jell-O Mold

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.

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About the Author

Saveur Magazine's BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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  1. That is certainly an interesting concept for a restaurant! It all makes me feel a bit ill though! I think I would rather just stick to the bun and sausage variety too 🙂

    1. It was fun, but we get a little bit ill thinking about the dinner too. We still like hot dogs, but we’re sticking to the standard version with mustard going forward.

  2. Interesting in a horrifying sort of way. Looks like a lot of effort to serve up dishes which probably won’t go down well with people nowadays.

    Worth a try, I guess – how far wrong can you go with hot dogs?

    1. Author

      We’re glad we did this once. It was fun but not a culinary experience that we need to repeat.

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