3324 North California
Chicago, IL 60618
The quote painted on the wall says everything about Hot Doug's: "There are no two finer words in the English language than 'encased meats,' my friend." No there isn't!
I made my way up from the city yesterday to take a long lunch, bringing a friend from out of town on his first visit to Hot Dougs. I've found that visiting on a Saturday can be a complete zoo...with lines at 11am snaking down the block and taking an hour to get your food. Going during the week is the way to go, as I've rarely seen the line longer than 15 people at noon on a weekday.
Anytime I come to Hot Doug's, I try to go light on the fries and enjoy a couple of sausages as they are so unique (and ever changing) I can't choose just one. Yesterday, I went with my all time favorite sausage: the Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel, and the day's celebrity sausage: Saucisson Alsacienne: Bacon Sausage with Creme Fraiche, Caramelized Onions and Morbier cheese.
The duck sausage is heaven on a bun, as three of my favorite things to eat are foie gras, truffle, and duck. I even had my picky eater friend order it and he loved it. When I asked him if he liked the foie gras, he said yes and "what is foie gras? I hope it's not pork liver or something crazy like that."...I told him to google it when he got home.
The celebrity sausage exploded with bacon flavor, and I loved the morbier cheese coupled with the onions. Very good and an example of the sausage talents of Hot Doug's.
I also took a bite of my wife's order, which was the Traditional Irish Pork Banger with Guinness Stout Mustard and Cahill's Porter Cheese. This was pretty good, but in my opinion nothing special.
The only benefit to coming on a weekend and standing in line is that they have the duck fat fries, so we settled and had some of the standard fries.
All in all, Hot Doug's is a favorite and a place that everyone who comes to visit the city should try to see in order to experience the "real" Chicago.