Hot dogs are certainly getting the royal treatment these days. Gayle Pirie and John Clark who run Foreign Cinema opened up Show Dogs recently just down the block from the Warfield, in a somewhat disreputable area on Market Street that borders the Tenderloin. The menu lists about a dozen offerings of fine locally produced sausages from Fatted Calf, Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, Let’s Be Frank, and Golden Gate Meats. They strive to use local ingredients for everything else and all of their to-go containers are compostable. I work right by the Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 and am used to paying top dollar for a hot dog, but I am much happier paying a little more for an organic sausage made by a local artisinal producer.
So many choices, so many distractions! I saw the glass vat filled with brine, onion slices and hot dogs floating marked Pickled Hot Links and interrogated the server dude, who said I could get one as a corn dog. I almost jumped up and down and ordered one of those. Then I saw pickles in the jar on the other side of the register and got one of those… While the menu has such creative options as organic duck sausage with pasilla barbecue sauce and kimchi ($8), and organic lamb merguez with fig chutney ($7), I decided to stick with the basics.
Follow them on twitter to get daily hints for free stuff:
Woof! Woof! Bark at the cashier today and receive a free beer with your purchase!!! (No slobbering please)
The fellow working at the register seemed perfectly at home with me clicking away with my camera. They take down your name and call for you when your order is ready.
It was very warm inside of the restaurant, but looking outside at the flora and fauna of Market and 6th street, we decided to dine inside. I noticed the smell of hot metal, kind of like a burnt iron. I sat down thinking they needed overhead fans or something and waited for them to call my name. Church pews line the perimeter of the triangular dining area which has rows of marble topped cafe tables along with stylish metal bistro chairs.
At last they called my name and I scurried up to pick up my order at the counter which conveniently has a tray with every possible condiment, including a big bottle of habanero hot sauce.
The Corndog ($5.50) came with a plastic tub filled with squiggles of honey mustard… I would much rather have had plain yellow mustard or even dijon, but for some reason, kept using the honey mustard. It also came with a slice of pickle, which I thought was nasty. It was really sour, not very salty and didn’t have much flavor… it reminded me of Bubbies pickles, which I also don’t like. I adore crunchy dills that been brined with garlic and spices… maybe I should have gotten some spicy and garlicky kimchee, which is an optional topping you can choose.
The corndog had potential, but the batter was burnt and dry didn’t adhere to the dog. Instead, it sagged flaccidly against the plump and meaty hot link. The overall texture of the batter was dry and rough in the manner of natural foods and the coating was too thin. I should have pulled off the batter and enjoyed the dog, which was magnificently spicy and had a wonderful briny tang. It didn’t need the mustard and I thought the sweetness of the corn batter didn’t go very well with the sweet honey mustard.
Thank god I ordered two things, the other was a plain hot dog with onions. I loved the Let’s be Frank dog ($5.5), which was long and thin but had a nice snappy texture and was very flavorful. All of the dogs and sausages are served on a Acme sesame bun, made especially for showdogs. This was very good and satisfying. I gobbled it up.
Daisy and Sarah both had the Lemon Chicken Sausage ($6.5) which came with house tartar sauce, house mustard, and arugula. The sauce didn’t do it for Daisy, who said that she spent a lot of time scraping it off of the bland rubbery sausage.
Pat had the Louisiana Hot Link ($6.25), which came with a relish made from those hideous pickles. She scraped off all of the pickle topping and seemed to enjoy it after that.
Berndt had the Field Roast Vegetarian ($5.5), which came with house mustard and agave coleslaw. Strangely, this vegetarian dog had more texture than some of the meaty versions and he was very content with his choice.
Sarah shared her Onion Rings, which were dog gone delicious.
They were very lightly battered but were cooked just the way I like them. The crust was crunchy and the onions were sweet and melted in your mouth.
The fries were forgettable, over cooked and dark as if they had visited the fryer more than a few times, or perhaps the oil was too hot. This was a shame because they are made from Kennebec potatoes, not frozen or formed but were definitely hard, dry and crunchy.
But these little tidbits are quite munchable as I can attest… I can only imagine how delicious they would be cooked properly. I have a feeling that the experience here can be better and definitely will be checking the tweets so I can time my next visit for something really good.
p.s., I’m off sailing in the seas of Alaska with not much internet access. It’s time for a break!