AK Deli – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“You’ll never be one of us,” my brother-in-law Chuck quipped in his best Baron von Trapp voice. He wasn’t talking about me being part of the family. He was talking about me being a Chicagoan. Chuck wasn’t being mean-spirited or condescending in any way. The only person not born in the Windy City whom he considers a true Chicagoan is da coach Mike Ditka. “He’s the embodiment of Chicago. It’s in his soul. It’s his attitude.” he explained. Michael Jordan?…

Urban Hotdog Company – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks Tough kids, sissy kids, even kids with chicken pox love hot dogs. Armour Hot Dog Commercial, 1960s Advertising standards in the 1960s were quite a bit more lax than they are today. In today’s culture of American political correctness, there’s no way an earworm-inspiring jingle such as the Armour Hotdog commercial would ever see the light of day, but back then it helped sell a lot of hot dogs. Even in…

Chumlys Southwestern – Albuquerque, New Mexico

The old Jewish proverb “worries go down better with soup than without” may just be the most understated aphorism about soup ever uttered. When soup is discussed, it’s usually with a sense of warm nostalgia, perhaps even reverence. We ascribe such adjectives as comforting, restorative, soothing, nourishing, hearty, warming and fulfilling to that nostalgic elixir in a bowl. The number of adjectives would probably quadruple if we attempted to describe soup’s qualities of deliciousness in addition to its satisfying properties.…

Kaktus Brewery Tap @ Nob Hill – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Most of us have known a wine snob or two. You know the type. They refer to themselves as oenophiles, a fancy way of saying “connoisseur or lover of wines.” They believe themselves to possess refined palates and won’t drink a wine that isn’t as cultured as they are. Even then, they first have to check the color and opacity of the wine. Then they twirl their glass for ten minutes or so before sticking their nose into the glass…

Ice Cream Palace and Hot Dog World – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Nay-sayers, those nattering nabobs of negativism, have always had it in for hot dogs. First they plied us with horror stories and urban myths about what hot dogs are made of. Essentially, they decried, hot dogs are made of everything from pigs snouts and chicken feet to snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails. Then they ratcheted up our shock and awe by telling us how hot dogs are loaded with artery-clogging, cancer-causing saturated fats, not to mention those nasty…

Kaktus Brewing Company – Bernalillo & Albuquerque, New Mexico

Most of us have known a wine snob or two. You know the type. They refer to themselves as oenophiles, a fancy way of saying “connoisseur or lover of wines.” They believe themselves to possess refined palates and won’t drink a wine that isn’t as cultured as they are. Even then, they first have to check the color and opacity of the wine. Then they twirl their glass for ten minutes or so before sticking their nose into the glass…

Two Sonoran Hot Dogs, one with beans and one without.

El Guero Canelo – Tucson, Arizona

If asked to participate in a word association exercise, any well-traveled foodie undergoing psychoanalysis would find it easy to name the first food that comes to mind when a city is mentioned: Philadelphia – the Philly cheesesteak sandwich; Boston – baked beans; Chicago – Italian beef sandwiches; San Francisco – sourdough bread; Milwaukee – butter burgers; San Antonio, New Mexico – green chile cheeseburgers.  You get the point.  Some foodies might not know that Philadelphia is the birthplace of liberty,…

Dog House Drive In – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Culinary history is in dispute as to the origin of the term “hot dog” to describe frankfurters, a cooked sausage named for the city of Frankfurt, Germany.  Some historians mistakenly credit a newspaper cartoonist for coining the term “hot dog” when, according to a popular urban myth, he used it in the caption of a 1906 cartoon depicting barking dachshund sausages nestled warmly in rolls. Not sure how to spell “dachshund” he simply wrote “hot dog!” My good friend Becky…

Piggy’s Hot Dogs & Hamburgers – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare Certainly as a lexicologist, the Bard of Avon should know darned well that what something is named does matter…or maybe not so much.  In Waco, Texas, a burger joint has eschewed politically correctness by calling itself “Fat Ho Burgers.”  Diners line up for as long as an hour for burgers with such culturally sensitive sobriquets as the Supa Fly…

Señor Dog – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

H. K. Duff VIII:  Why not break your fast with our brand-new Isotope Dog Supreme? [Homer sniffs the hot dog.] Homer Simpson:  Oh, so hard to resist. Mesquite-grilled onions. Jalapeño relish. … Wait a minute, those are Southwestern ingredients. … Mango-lime salsa? That’s the kind of bold flavor they enjoy in … Albuquerque! Lenny: He’s right. Moe:  Yeah … and the wrapper says “Albuquerque Isotopes”! Within three months after the Duke City’s Triple-A baseball team, the Albuquerque Isotopes, co-opted its…

The BK Mascot carved from wood

BK Carne Asada & Hot Dogs – Tucson, Arizona

Every region across the fruited plain seems to have its iconic foods–incomparable dishes that define the area because they’re prepared better in that region than anywhere else.  Though there may be many capable practitioners in the preparation of these beloved and celebrated regional favorites, invariably there are restaurants with legitimate claims to superiority–stand-outs which, by virtue of consistent excellence over time, have earned acclaim from savvy locals and pundits. When these paragons of mastery in the iconic cuisine are in…

Hot Diggity – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Oh, hot diggity, dog ziggity, boom what you do to me How my future will shine Hot diggity, dog ziggity, boom what you do to me From the moment you’re mine HOT DOG!! In an age of auditory bombardment, we all occasionally experience a phenomenon known as an “earworm.” Earworm is a literal translation of a German term for a song (particularly an annoying one) stuck in someone’s head. For some it’s the Gilligan’s Island theme song. For others, it…

Superdawg Drive-In – Chicago, Illinois

Some of today’s Marvel comic book heroes such as Captain America and the Submariner had their genesis in the 1940s where they crusaded against oppressive regimes fighting to subjugate America’s freedoms. Maurie Berman (himself a recently returned G.I. from World War II) and his wife Flaurie looked no further than the superhero genre when naming their unique roadside hot dog stand, on the roof of which stand statues of well defined male and female anthropomorphic hot dogs attired in leopard…