July is ‘National Hot Dog Month’ and nothing is probably more American than a Hot Dog except for perhaps a Hamburger. These two popular foods though made thoroughly American have their roots in Europe and mainly Germany. It’s just that we have so thoroughly Americanized these products that if this were a hundred years or so ago, they wouldn’t even be recognized in Europe. Thanks to vastly improved communication, Hot Dogs and Burgers are seen not only in Europe but all over the world.
We all have our favorite Hot Dogs and will probably remember at least one Hot Dog Stand as ideal. Since as a child I never had Hot Dogs outside of our home (except once) I cannot remember one single Hot Dog Stand. However, my sons have a whole repertoire that they can recite to you – many of which are of course my adult favorites too. The most recent addition to our locale is Dayne’s Chicago Dogs. Dayne’s is located on Thousand Oaks Blvd. in the city of Thousand Oaks and their specialty is the Chicago Dog. What makes a Chicago Dog different from other dogs? The points are listed below.
1. A Chicago Dog has to be in a natural casing – it just isn’t a Chicago Dog unless it has that crunch to it.
2. It also must come with Tomatoes, Green Relish and Peperoncini in the bun along with the Dog. And of course don’t forget the mustard.
Also pictured with Dayne’s Dog is Garlic French Fries. If you are a Garlic Lover these are ‘Heavenly’.
One of the oldest Hot Dog Stands in the city of Los Angeles is Pink’s which is on La Brea and ironically is practically right next door to where I went to school. Oddly enough, I never heard of Pink’s until maybe a dozen years ago. However, I’m sure I did have a Pink’s Dog unknowingly which was given to me by the Aunt of a girl who I was playing with at the time. This was the first time I had ever had a Chili Dog and quite honestly at 9 years old, I did not like it. More recently though, I did a class that featured the most popular Hot Dogs in and around the Los Angeles area. While I do not like Hoffy Dogs (which Pink’s uses) the toppings at Pinks were outstanding but oddly enough the item I liked best at Pink’s was their Coconut Cake.
Probably my favorite San Fernando Valley Hot Dog was Cupid’s. I first noticed the Cupid’s stand when I was about 11 years old and we had just moved to the Valley. By the time I got around to eating at Cupid’s their main stand was at Victory and Tyrone and it is still there today. The other stand that they have that I have frequented is across the street from Cal State Northridge. For years, Cupid’s only sold their Dogs one way and that was in a bun with mustard and Chili and Onions. As I recall the last time I was there they have added a few things to their dogs such as cheese.
My favorite Dog to cook at home has to be a Kosher Dog with a crunchy skin. I usually buy Vienna as they fit the bill. Boar’s head is second best for at home purchase. Today for lunch I had a Coleslaw Dog made with Boar’s Head Hot Dogs, Homemade Coleslaw and home-grown Yellow Roma tomatoes.
Last year when we were on Kauai, I had a Pineapple Dog – certainly something you would expect to get in Hawaii if nowhere else. It was delicious – just the right amount of sweet/tangy compliment to the Hot Dog.
If you have a favorite dog and pictures of such please feel free to comment and share your photos.
On an ending note, Hot Dogs can be boiled, grilled, barbecued, baked with beans broiled and/or wrapped in pastry. Take advantage of ‘National Hot Dog Month’ and frequent your favorite local Hot Dog Stand.
On Day Six which was a Monday set out on our Road Trip to Mammoth. On the way there it seemed that we stopped at numerous ‘Starbucks’ to get Lattés and for Monti and Kratae to use their ‘Birthday’ Coffees from Starbucks. Starbucks has a new ruling where you cannot use an American issued card in foreign countries so they had to use up the dollars and gifts on their cards while they were here. When we got to Bishop, I had a stop I wanted to make which was at Schatt’s Bakery which makes delicious Sheep Herder’s Bread. Along with the Sheep Herder’s we also bought Cheese Bread and Croissants.
Next stop was Mammoth and our Condo in the Village. We had a two bedroom condo with a kitchen and two baths. The kitchen meant that we could make breakfast there instead of purchasing an expensive breakfast in the restaurants. Dinner that evening was at the ‘Smoke House’ where we all had ‘Pulled Pork’ Sandwiches and soft drinks. Breakfast the next day was Scrambled Eggs and Bacon and ‘Grandma’s Buns’ along with Coffee that the guys had purchased at the market. Grandma’s Buns are Cinnamon Rolls made like Croissants but in a small size. My Mother used to make these for the kids and now I do.
Ski School was on the Agenda that day for Kratae; David went along to help her and Monti was there to record the event on Camera. (Kratae had never been in snow before) After a brief time of observing the action, Quinn and I went back to the Village and visited the different shops and had lunch with the gang at the Side Door Restaurant.
For dinner that evening we did ‘Happy Hour’ at the Westin Hotel. Kratae had the Mini-Taco Trio and I had steamed Mussels. Various other small dishes were eaten by the rest of the crew. The next day was more skiing for David & Kratae and Monti decided to join the ski party. Quinn and I took the bus to town and walked around, did some shopping at the Bass Outlet and then took the bus back to the Village. We ended up for lunch at the Mexican Restaurant where Quinn had Chili Rellenos and I had the Appetizer Trio which consisted of Chicken Tenders, Mini-Corn Fritters and grilled jumbo Shrimp. That night it was dinner at the Side Bar where I had Minestrone (the strangest Minestrone I have ever had) and David and Quinn had Sandwiches. For Dessert I ordered the Crepes with Chocolate and shared them with Quinn and David.
While my brother and I were growing up, my Mother did a lot of baking and cooking. One of the favorite things that everyone remembers about my Mother were her buns. My sons, grandchildren, nephews and niece remember Grandma’s buns. That was one of the favorite things about visiting my parent’s home or when the grandparents visited ours. What the younger generation doesn’t know is how those buns came into being.
Every weekend as far back as I can remember, my Mother made what she called coffee cake. Her coffee cake was nothing like the coffee cake that is normally called coffee cake. Most coffee cakes are made with baking powder and are crumbly. My Mother’s ‘coffee cake’ was more like everybody’s favorite – Cinnamon Rolls, made with a yeast dough.
My Mother usually made it in a ring style. The dough was rolled out like Cinnamon Rolls, buttered and dressed with Cinnamon Sugar and sometimes with raisins or candied fruit. Then the dressed dough was rolled into a tube. This is where the difference came in – my Mother’s roll wasn’t cut into individual pieces. The tube was fastened into a circle and pinched together at the ends. Then the tube was partially cut about every 2-3 inches. It was placed on a greased baking sheet and then each partially cut section of dough was turned so that the layers of cinnamon could be seen.
Essentially the rolls were shaped into a flower-like pastry. During the winter holidays my Mother made these and topped them with a Vanilla Glaze and put Cherries on top. My Mother would wrap these cakes up in cellophane wrap and my Father brought every one of his co-workers one of my Mother’s creations for their holiday gift.
My Mother Naomi made these rolls every Friday and they were our Saturday breakfast. We usually ate them spread with butter, not frosting. I cannot remember a Saturday morning that we did not have these rolls. The year that I was nine my Mother had surgery for a hernia and could not make the dough. I convinced my Mother to let me do it and while she instructed and supervised, I made the dough for our weekend rolls. I don’t remember how they turned out, I only remember making the dough, but I do remember that my Mother talked about it to her friends and family members for a long time afterwards so they must have turned out pretty well.
As the years went by and the grandchildren were born, my Mother’s ‘coffee cake’ somehow evolved into little twisted buns that were always available for the grandchildren to eat when they visited or were brought to the children’s homes when my Mother visited them. In my home, we always had to watch out for my second eldest son Joel, who would have eaten the whole batch if allowed.
The dough is a rich butter dough and melts in your mouth. My children always had fond memories of these buns and all of the sudden one year it dawned on me, why don’t I make them. I knew exactly how my Mother made them and I had been making Cinnamon Rolls for years so now when there is a family event, I make ‘Grandma’s Buns for the grandchildren (my children and niece and nephew) and of course my grandchildren.
Several years ago I flew to Ohio with my son Joel, my granddaughter and grandson to attend the graduation of my eldest grandson who was attending school there. I made a batch of buns to take on the trip and to bring to my grandson in Ohio. The buns never made it all the way to Ohio. Between my son and grandchildren, they disappeared while we were on the plane. Since we were staying at my Grandson’s home in Ohio, I was put to work right away making another batch. Fortunately I know the recipe by heart. For my version of Grandma’s Buns check our recipe section. The recipe will be under Baked Items and then under Bread. http://sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/baked-goods/breads/baked-productsbread/ So, this is the story of ‘Grandma’s Buns’. Anybody else out there have stories like this. It would be fun to hear them.