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#541
Posted September 22nd 2011, 7:27pm
My last food affair involved pork fries and coconut cream pie at the Northdown Tavern, but Doug's is a good spot for it, too.
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As a mattra-fact, Pie Face, you are beginning to look almost human. - Barbara Bennett
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#542
Posted September 22nd 2011, 8:28pm
I have to admit, I think this is my first food affair ever. Usually, my husband knows what I eat because we either cook a delicious meal or go out and eat a delicious (or underwhelming, take your pick) meal. Since his family has been here we have spent a lot of time at Portillo’s (because that’s what they like) and I think of Portillo’s as a take it or leave it option but not a deliciously great one. Although, I must say for some odd reason something about their cheese fries has my name calling when I’m in the area of North Lake.

That said, I did get to go to Hot Doug’s today. I got there at 10:20 and had it not been for the street cleaning signs, I would have found a much closer parking spot. I was outside standing in line at the door at 10:23 and there were already six people ahead of me. Nevertheless as soon as the OPEN sign flashed on things ran smoothly from there. I had looked at their website prior to going and I had considered the Cheesy Atomic, well, because I am a cheese fanatic (IF you Google kajmak with the proper spelling you will see what the ingredients primarily consist of, must be my Balkan roots). Alas, I shunned the Cheesy Atomic for something that sounded slightly more appealing to me and that was the Cherry-Infused Venison Sausage with Fig Mustard Cream and Smoked Provolone Cheese. It was the fig mustard cream that got me. Figs being another fascination that also comes from my Balkan roots. Just where does one find fig mustard cream? Because it was simply divine! The sausage had a nice sweet balance that worked well with the cheese and not overly saccharine at all, just perfect. i took a picture of it but I am unsure as to how posting pictures work on this forum. I did have the fresh cut fries which were good but not crazy about them all that much (For me, almost nothing lives up to Beef and Burger’s fries on Montrose near Pulaski). Suffice it to say, I’ll be trying some other options in the near future when I get the chance and Mr. Kajmac Johnson won’t be having a clue despite my Foursquare check-ins. Of course after I had eaten the sausage and was getting ready to get dressed for work, my husband calls asking me if I want to go with him and his parents to have a quick lunch at West River Cafe on the corner of Montrose and Kedzie. So there I was about an hour after eating the Cherry Venison, I was eating some toast and overeasy eggs and acting like I was not already full. :roll:

Oh and IndependentGeorge, maybe I will consider legally changing my name to Kajmac Johnson. The name has been an inside joke between of friend mine and I for years. We actually have other Balkan food/generic name combos that keep my husband rolling in stiches and us in fits of laughter.
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#543
Posted September 23rd 2011, 10:23am
'Food affairs' -- totally deserves its own thread!

It's kind of a relief to hear others' stories; I felt so silly glancing furtively around as I waited alone in the Hot Doug's line one particular, unspecified day.
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pizza fun
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#544
Posted October 4th 2011, 5:54pm
i<3pizza wrote:'Food affairs' -- totally deserves its own thread!

Thanks to hoppy2468, we now have one. :D

Food Affairs

=R=
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"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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#545
Posted April 8th 2012, 10:53pm
Finally made it here for the first time. I hoped that 11:20 on a Saturday of a holiday weekend would yield a somewhat shorter than average line . . . but no. Very proud of my 9-year-old for waiting 80 minutes with me with minimal complaints. Didn't even yell at Dad for not bringing the iPod.
Junior pronounced the duck fat fries the best fries that he had ever had. I too would rank them high. I had to see what Doug could do with a bratwurst, since my college days in Madison had set the bar high. I was impressed; it was a very good brat that had been grilled perfectly. Carmelized onions gilded the lily. I ordered a Mountain Man for the kid, since I thought he would be interested in the blend of elk, venison, buffalo, and antelope meat. He was most interested in the cheese on top, so I finished the sausage and thought it was pretty tasty.

But I have to agree with the standard rec here to go during off hours. I would wait 30 minutes tops; there are too many other places almost as good that have minimal waits.
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#546
Posted April 9th 2012, 8:39am
Ironically, I couldn't imagine a longer line than at 11:20 Saturday on a holiday weekend. Nice trifecta!
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#547
Posted April 9th 2012, 12:06pm
Vitesse98 wrote:Ironically, I couldn't imagine a longer line than at 11:20 Saturday on a holiday weekend. Nice trifecta!


I was just going to say, that sounds like a recipe for sore feet.
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As a mattra-fact, Pie Face, you are beginning to look almost human. - Barbara Bennett
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#548
Posted April 13th 2012, 11:39am
Brought our visiting friends from Canada here last Friday, I was told by one of them that it was their favorite activity of their Chicago vacation. I had the mountain man, the teuben, and the lamb sausage plus 1.5 orders of duck fat fries (gf couldn't finish hers). Doug is a sausage artist.
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#549
Posted May 3rd 2012, 3:59pm
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#550
Posted May 6th 2014, 9:33am
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#551
Posted May 6th 2014, 9:47am
We should do a pilgrimage before they close and order everything. I'd be glad to organize if folks could help with best timing (I haven't been there in a while).
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I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love
There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach
Bacon is the duct tape of the kitchen. ~ Chef Bruce

Late-Nite Eats Database
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#552
Posted May 6th 2014, 9:54am
From Facebook (hehehehehe, gotta love him!)

"My friends, we will be serving our last encased meats on October 3, 2014. We thank you for your support and suggest that you don’t get a Hot Doug’s tattoo any time soon."
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"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
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#553
Posted May 6th 2014, 10:29am
Well that sucks it.
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"This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn." Bernard DeVoto, The Hour.
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#554
Posted May 6th 2014, 10:39am
Banner quote.
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I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love
There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach
Bacon is the duct tape of the kitchen. ~ Chef Bruce

Late-Nite Eats Database
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#555
Posted May 6th 2014, 10:41am
I have only been once many years ago, but the news of its closure has given me the urge to head out there one more time. I would join a group if only to meet some LTHers, but in case I can't make it, what are the must haves for one final blaze of encased meat glory?
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#556
Posted May 6th 2014, 11:34am
My favorite is the Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel.
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#557
Posted May 6th 2014, 12:02pm
TCK wrote:http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140506/avondale/hot-dougs-closing-permanently-october-3-its-time-do-something-else

Permanently closing October 3.

What the fuck. You take it back. NOW!
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#558
Posted May 6th 2014, 12:13pm
Doug Sohn, thank you.

Ultimately for me, Hot Doug's was more than just a place to eat a sausage. It was a window into the world of food. If it weren't for Hot Doug's, I may have never started paying attention to other food joints around town, and eventually around the country and world. It was the first place I ever had foie gras, first place I ever had bizarre meats like rattlesnake, alligator, or game meat...first place that I ever really had a strong desire to go to over and over again. Doug kept it innovative and classic at the same time. To say that Doug was the owner of an Avondale sausage restaurant open for lunch sells him short. Doug tapped into multigenerational crowds and offered something that whether 8 or 80, anyone can enjoy. Loyalists of the Chicago dog to the likes of explorative eaters wanting rabbit white wine sausage, to vegetarians all found something to eat here.

Doug created a fun, happy, delicious, inexpensive and ultimately visceral lunch spot that pulled seemingly endless people from the furthest corners of the earth. Truly a restaurant worth a special journey, from near or far.

Thank You, Doug.
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"If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork." -James Beard
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#559
Posted May 6th 2014, 12:19pm
botd wrote:I have only been once many years ago, but the news of its closure has given me the urge to head out there one more time. I would join a group if only to meet some LTHers, but in case I can't make it, what are the must haves for one final blaze of encased meat glory?


For the complete, crash-course Hot Doug's experience, please enjoy the following:

-Chicago Dog, grilled w/ sport peppers
-Mountain Man (mixed game meats sausage, legendary in a way and second to only below)
-Duck Sausage w/ Sauternes, topped with foie gras, sea salt, and black truffle aioli
-Duck Fat Fries

If you ask nicely, he may allow you to enjoy a nice bottle of Sauternes (an occasion like this calls for Chateau d'Yquem)...

Enjoy.
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"If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork." -James Beard
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#560
Posted May 6th 2014, 2:38pm
Just a quick anecdote that shows the type of guy Doug is...

My wife and I were in the shop for the first time many years ago. We ordered our encased meats and then each ask for a fountain drink. Doug replies by handing us 1 cup and says, it's free refills, no need to order 2. Whether or not we really wanted to share, I thought this was awesome and it gave me the impression that Doug was in it for the love of creating unique meats, not the business side of things. It's sad to see that passion go away, but hopefully he'll move on to bigger and better.
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#561
Posted May 6th 2014, 2:44pm
Kesey wrote:Just a quick anecdote that shows the type of guy Doug is...

My wife and I were in the shop for the first time many years ago. We ordered our encased meats and then each ask for a fountain drink. Doug replies by handing us 1 cup and says, it's free refills, no need to order 2. Whether or not we really wanted to share, I thought this was awesome and it gave me the impression that Doug was in it for the love of creating unique meats, not the business side of things. It's sad to see that passion go away, but hopefully he'll move on to bigger and better.

Taking good care of customers is also good business . . . as long as you're not a short-sighted schmuck. Doug has always gotten it. His passion and respect for his customers govern how he runs his shop. It's shame that he's packing it up and also a shame that there aren't more business owners who comport themselves in a similar manner.

This is going to leave a big, immeasurable void in the Chicago food scene.

=R=
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"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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#562
Posted May 6th 2014, 2:47pm
Wow,

Most of all, I enjoyed talking to Doug. He was fun and always an original. I hope him the best.

Tim
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#563
Posted May 6th 2014, 4:54pm
I'm sure I've told this story before, but one of the many times I've been there - but one of the few times I've timed it poorly and ended up in a (relatively) long line - I stood behind a visiting tourist couple who spent the entire wait figuring out hungrily what they wanted to order. When they got to the register, they suddenly, belatedly, broken-heartedly realized it was cash only. Doug asked them how much money they had, and they sheepishly said only a couple of dollars. "So what would you have ordered?" he asked them. They told him. "Would you get fries and a drink, too?" he asked. They said yes. He yells back the order, then turns to the couple: "That'll be two dollars, please."
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#564
Posted May 6th 2014, 5:15pm
Here's another Hot Doug's story. I've gathered a few, over the years, meeting other regulars and supporters of Doug. This is one of the best.

I used to live in a loft building up in Lakeview on Grace and Lincoln, lived there 2011-2013. I moved out of there about a year ago. For the first year or so, we had a night time doorman who's name is Paul. Paul had been going to Hot Doug's since the beginning, to the original Roscoe location in Roscoe Village. Paul is in his mid thirties.

Several years prior, Paul had a special occasion to share with his girlfriend (or maybe it was his wife!) and went to Doug for a restaurant suggestion. Doug suggested that he show up at the Encased Meats Emporium on the day and time that Paul was looking to eat at a restaurant, and to dress nicely. So he did.

Doug rearranged the tables inside the restaurant and dimmed the lighting. He proceeded to serve my friend Paul and his significant other a five-course meal along with wine pairings. At the end of the meal, a check was presented and Doug only charged them "not even $100" (as my friend Paul said it) for the entire experience. Very, very special.

Paul told me the story like twice, but both times said that it was the best meal he ever had in his entire life. Needless to say, Doug Sohn is the kind of guy that could do something like that.
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"If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork." -James Beard
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#565
Posted May 6th 2014, 5:35pm
Love how this thread is evolving, especially in light of all the really stupid things people are posting in the comments on the various news and SM reports, critiquing Doug's decision to close and even berating him for the selfishness of it. I always knew that LTHers were nice people but this is really great stuff and I hope it continues for a bit (and maybe even gets to Mr. Sohn somehow ;) )
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"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
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#566
Posted May 6th 2014, 7:55pm
The first time I went to Hot Doug's - probably 18 months ago, not long after I moved to the city - I stood in an interminably long line with some friends who had been there many times. They assured me it was worth it. When I made it to the doorway, I stared at the front of the line and immediately noticed that Doug spent a fair amount of time talking to each customer. I made a brusque comment to one of my friends, noting that Doug must just speak with his customers to chew up time and allow for seating turnover - from afar, it seemed phony.

But when I got to the front and actually talked to Doug, I immediately felt his warmth. He genuinely seemed to enjoy whatever monotonous back and forth we shared. I was hooked before I even had the chance to eat his wonderful food.

It's also worth noting that on numerous return visits, Doug has occasionally rounded large orders off at some "neighborhood" number well short of the menu value. I've protested, as his food is a good enough value, but he's never listened.

All this makes me wistful enough to be excited for whatever's next for him. He deserves a break and a new project to focus on, if he wants it.
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#567
Posted May 6th 2014, 8:31pm
Doug Sohn is a mensch.

And the best dog IMO is the BLT: a sausage made from ground ham and bacon, with halved cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado mayo. Simple, and just fabulous. (This one will be reasobly easy to reproduce at home: Nueske's makes a ham and bacon sausage, thank God.)

I wish him the best, and a serene life, as he's made an awful lot of people very happy.
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#568
Posted May 6th 2014, 9:02pm
I think the food at Hot Doug's is terrific, but more than anything, I think Doug is fantastic. He should teach lessons on how to run a restaurant. Despite the fact that the place is always packed and must be stressful, you'll never hear him yelling at his employees. And he'll always greet customers with a smile and light conversation. He makes sure there's seating for everyone by not letting customers save seats, and I think this generally leads to customers assisting with this team attitude by not loitering. And yes, he'll discourage those eating in from getting large drinks, etc. And best of all, none of it's an act - that's just how he is. In that respect, I suppose maybe you can't teach that to every restaurateur. But he's one in a million and I'm convinced that a large part of his success is the customer experience he creates, not just the food.

I'm thrilled for him that he can take time away to figure out what he wants to do next. It didn't seem like it was always so easy - e.g., the fire at the Roscoe location. And I'm excited to see what's next. In the meantime, I'll partake in many more Hot Doug's visits and I'll be sure to say thanks again for everything he's given.
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I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

Twitter: brbinchicago
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#569
Posted May 7th 2014, 8:57am
Five years ago, Chicago Foodways Roundtable hosted Doug Sohn and Bruce Kraig for discussion on hot dogs. You can find the podcast by WBEZ's Chicago Amplified here.

Regards,
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Cathy2

"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
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#570
Posted May 7th 2014, 9:47am
I cant decide if I am happy or sad for the long goodbye.

On one hand, it gives everyone time to get back in one last time.

On the other, I usually prefer the "get it over quick approach to bad/sad things"

I really am going to enjoy all the stories that get repeated, re-posted, and remembered.

Doug's was always a happy place for me, and will be still for the next 6 months or so.

I hope to be in often.
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