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
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 might be “It’s a Small World” or the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”
You can guess what earworm infested me the first time I drove by Hot Diggity, a 60s style diner in Albuquerque’s industrial north valley. I hadn’t thought of Hot Diggity (the number one song in 1956 by crooner Perry Como) in a long time but couldn’t get it out of my head after driving by the Edith Boulevard diner of that name. (Hopefully reading this doesn’t introduce the Hot Diggity earworm into your life, but if it means introducing you to Hot Diggity, the restaurant, it might be worth it.)
Brothers Steve and Vince Drouillard launched Hot Diggity in October, 2006 and have been winning over hungry patrons since day one. The brothers fill a niche market; good hot dogs are nearly as hard to find in Albuquerque as good seafood.
Hot Diggity is a roadside restaurant reminiscent very much of 60s-style restaurants. Thematically, the 60s are celebrated throughout the restaurant. The flooring is of black and white tile, the vinyl chairs and tables are teal and white and the walls are painted a light mustardy yellow. 60s accoutrements festoon the walls while a soundtrack takes you back to the heyday of Elvis, Bobby Darin and the Righteous Brothers.
The restaurant’s signage includes a sneaker wearing, anthropomorphic hot dog flexing his muscles superhero style. If you’ve ever had a hot dog at Chicago’s world-famous Superdawg, you’ll know what I’m talking about as there is some similarity between the Superdawg mascot and Hot Diggity’s. The Brothers Drouillard do, in fact, have a Chicago connection. Their parents currently live in a Windy City suburb though the brothers never have.
Hot dogs and burgers along with a few sides are all you’ll find in the menu, but better to do a few things well than feature an encyclopedic menu of bad food. The Brothers Drouillard do hot dogs and burgers very well!
Seven “Hot Diggity Dogs” adorn the menu: Chicago Dog, Chili Cheese Dog, Chili dog, Hot Diggity Dog, Polish Sausage, Johnsonville Braut and a Corn Dog. Great lengths are taken to ensure authenticity.
The Chicago Dog, for example, is made just as it would be at Chicago’s Maxwell Street: a natural-casing hot dog on a poppy seed bun and topped with sweet green relish, onions, tomato, kosher dill slice, mustard, Serrano pepper and a dash of celery salt, but definitely no ketchup. Most dogs are available in quarter- and half-pound sizes and they’re not inexpensive.
There’s no Maxwell Street mimicry with Hot Diggity’s Polish Sausage which is served with sauerkraut, onions and mustard on a bun. The tart tanginess of the sauerkraut, onions and mustard may overwhelm the spiciness of the grilled Polish sausage, but you can always remove some of the sauerkraut and onions for a better taste appreciation of the sausage.
The way “chili cheese dog” is spelled on the menu may tell you something about that entree. For one thing, it’s definitely not “chile” as it’s prepared New Mexico style
The “chili” is almost the color of a candied apple or maybe dark ketchup. It’s loaded with cumin, a pungent spice which New Mexican cooking can do without. There’s no ground hamburger as in Texas style chili. The cheese (if you can call it that) comes out of a can. The wiener itself is quite good, easily the best part of that particular hot dog order.
The burgers are old-fashioned with no special sauces or gourmet ameliorants. Burgers are served on a lightly toasted bun and are topped with two kosher dill slices, a fresh tomato slice, sliced onion and crisp lettuce. The ingredients are fresh and the burger delicious. The green chili cheeseburger would be excellent if the cumin was extricated from the chile.
If you’ve ever lived in England and pine for fish and chips, you’ll appreciate that Hot Diggity makes malt vinegar available as well as ketchup. The fries are coated and thick, not flaccid like those you’ll find in England which makes it a bit more difficult for the vinegar to penetrate. These are American fries, but with persistence and a heavy dosage of malt vinegar, you can still get a bit of an English experience.
Hot Diggity serves old-fashioned milk shakes (in a steely vessel) and even ice cream cones. It is definitely a throwback to a bygone era in which diners were fun and music was upbeat and catchy. Now if I can only get that song out of my head.
6004 Edith Blvd
LATEST VISIT: 18 June 2007
# OF VISITS: 2
BEST BET: Polish Sausage, Hot Diggity Cheese Burger, French Fries