Robert recently returned to Tony's and had a Chicago dog. He sent me the following picture that he took with his phone while there.
This reminded me of the first Chicago dog I tried at Tony's many months ago. I pulled back up my blog entry and pictures from that visit just to have a look. Link This all kept rattling around in my head for a couple of days resulting in my own revisit to Tony's to have another. Below I have put a picture of the dog I was served back in August:
And here's the dog I got during this visit.
I can't help but notice some differences between these three hot dogs. They all came across the same counter. The third one, my dog on this recent visit, has larger pieces of tomatoes than either of the other two. I know this one was prepared by the owner and that my first one was not. It was prepared by a cook who was manning the grill that day. I don't know who prepared Robert's. This together with other experiences have convinced me that the best food comes when the owner is involved in it's preparation. There is no substitute for the passion and care that the owner will have for the food he serves.
Now some comments about Tony's Chicago dog. It might very well be the closest thing to the real Chicago dog I have found. It is good and has almost all of the ingredients called for. I especially liked the more generous application of fresh tomatoes. The thing it seems to lack are the poppy seed bun and the "sport peppers".
Regarding peppers: I still don't know for sure what a sport pepper is so I might be wrong on that. I plan to order a jar from Chicago to lay that question to rest once and for all.
Regarding poppy seed buns: The poppy seed bun is just not available locally. Only one server, Max's, has gone to the trouble and expense to import these from Chicago. Nice touch!