What is it about the hot dog that lures both young and old to its juicy, salty, encased goodness? I guess I just answered my own question. With all of the research highlighting the health risks of indulging in this typically nitrate-laden, all-American food, I have made a concerted effort to find healthy (okay, healthier…going out to eat is a treat ya know) and similarly delicious alternatives for My Little Foodies. While many options may be found in health food stores, selections are more limited when dining out.
At HD1: Haute Doggery + Bar, Richard Blais (of Top Chef fame) puts his signature spin on the venerable hotdog with some healthier ingredients. Molecular gastronomy is kept to a minimum with no smoking, liquid nitrogen fueled milkshakes like those found at Flip Burger Boutiques. There are no soon to be famous faux, frozen “pearls” such as those found in the oysters at The Spence. Blais has, however, injected the HD1 menu with twists on hotdog classics, demonstrating the creative playfulness for which he has become known.
Many of HD1’s dogs represent different regions of the country, along with some international interpretations. For example, my favorite, the Kenturkey, is a spin on the famous Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich: a turkey sausage topped with tomato-pimento marmalade, mornay, bacon, and parmesan, which is a hit with Little A as well. My Little Foodies love The Whiz, which is topped with a more natural version of the beloved sauced usually covering Philly cheese-steaks. Other favorites include Merguez (a touch spicy house stuffed lamb sausage, currants, minted cucumber, and yogurt) and the Cubanita (Cuban ketchup, cilantro garlic fries). Whatever the preparation—and you cannot go wrong—my favorite feature is the ability to substitute any beef dog (still nitrite free) with turkey sausage, a Fieldroast veggie frankfurter, or an HD1 carrot dog. The latter is a creatively sculpted, sous-vide carrot that looks exactly like a hot dog! The options are therefore vast in a place that is truly vegetarian-friendly.
You can also opt for healthier sides like the Georgia Peaches (with cherry tomatoes, shaved onion, radicchio, and a ginger-garlic dressing), a refreshing favorite, or the Spinach Salad (with pickled raspberries, blue cheese, and black pepper croutons) or splurge on the sweet and spicy, HD Waffle Fries (topped with maple-oy sauce). The Waffle Fries were just a bit too spicy for My Little Foodies, so I was happy that they enjoyed the two salads previously mentioned.
I love trying new desserts, particularly when dining with friends, because we end up sharing one or two things so that everyone gets a good taste, without the guilt of going overboard. Our waiter recommended the Snickerdoodle Bread Pudding topped with caramel sauce, which was spectacular. We also enjoyed a cup of Chai Latte Soft Serve, which was spot-on without any artificial, cloying sweetness. We also loved the blueberry muffin we devoured on a previous visit.
While interesting toppings and the unique spin on classics are a strong draw, the “meat” of the HD1 story for us is the healthier dog options for My Little Foodies that will keep us coming back!
The Whiz (w/Veggie Frank)-$4.50