Spring is roaring onto the scene in style right now, and each night for the past few evenings, our neighbors fired up their lawnmowers by day and their grills by night. It is that time of year again when BBQ gatherings with friends and family are prevalent many weekends and even some weeknights, too.
For some reason, hot dogs are the first barbecue specialty that we consider when preparing a quick meal on the grill. There’s something about that smell of a dog, dropping it onto a bun and loading it with all the condiments you can find in the fridge, that makes this little tasty nugget so very appealing.
Our love of hot dogs even extends to the longing for one of these treats when passing a hot dog cart in a parking lot while running Saturday errands. These little “tube steaks,” as some are fond of calling them, are not available on any hot dog cart we have ever seen for veggie dog-only eaters like Sherry and I. My hope is that one day, someone will find a way to carry them side by side (not touching) so veggie dog fans and meaty dog fans alike can dine on them with the same reckless abandon.
Not long ago, Sherry and I discovered a very close runner-up to the hot dog cart experience offered veggie style in a local neighborhood dining spot, What’s Up Dawg? Deli. As it happens, these hot dog cart owners, Linda and Gino Maisano, opened a take-out location on Carlysle Street near Outer Drive and Pelham and offer veggie dogs on their menu.
The list of specialty dogs is lengthy and only one features the veggie dog, but they will prepare any variation you want using the veggie counterpart.
“Sleepless in Seattle” is the itemized veggie dog, but we chose to have the “Windy City” made veggie for our dinner experience. They have this flavor profile perfected, right down to the oddly vibrant green relish topping and served on poppy seed buns. We were daring and had it with the jalapenos, even though I had to dismiss a few of mine as the heat was braver than my taste buds on this occasion.
Honestly, it felt decadent to stride into a local hot dog and sandwich shop and be able to order such a hearty dog from their menu. This is a rarity and we are delighted that this veggie-friendly place is walking distance from our house.
I enjoyed our Chicago style dogs, but I am a purist when it boils down to it, and my favorite way to have a hot dog is straight up with mustard. From time to time, I have a little relish too, but a dog with mustard is positively top on my list.
Thankfully, it is available for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy in “nearly” street cart fashion, at What’s Up Dawg? Deli. They offer quite a few other vegetarian options on the menu as well, and two additional vegan choices besides the various hot dog entrees. The other vegan items are a veggie burger (not listed on their online menu, but it is there in the store–just ask if you call in to order) and a PB&J with your choice of jam and a banana, served grilled.
The warmer weather brings a few tables and chairs out front of the carry-out restaurant for diners to use, which makes this an even more realistic outdoor hot dog experience for us. Here’s a 2 Edgy Veggies thumbs up to our friends at What’s Up Dawg? Deli.
What’s Up Dawg? Deli is located at 19327 Carlysle and is open Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. The phone number is 313-406-6224, and you can also fax your orders in ahead of time.