The Fourth of July weekend is the hot dog's official time to shine. Look no further than Coney Island, where Nathan's holds its annual hot dog eating contest. (The winner was again Joey Chestnut, who devoured 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Sit with that a minute before reading on. Done? Okay.)
But California may soon be known for warm-weather hot dog-eating contests. Our own state fair will hold a corn dog eating contest on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20 in Sacramento -- yep, corn dogs, so consider the added elements of batter and the stick -- while The Dog Haus in Pasadena is going to hold a straight-up, go-for-the-win wiener competition on Saturday, July 6. It's the inaugural year for the contest.
DJs, a half dozen local breweries, and more will be going down around the Hill Avenue hot dog palace from noon to 6 p.m. You have to be over 18 to jump into the eat-a-hot-dog-super-fast madness.
Make that several hot dogs super fast.
But in the face of all of this quickity consuming, let us pause to pay tribute to the restaurant's stand-out offerings, those hot dogs that demand a slower enjoyment. There's the Little Leaguer -- think of a Frito Pie, complete with corn chips, atop a hot dog and bun -- and the Grand Slam, which arrives with bacon, tater tots, and a fried egg.
Truly, hot dogs have up and gone gourmet. No, this is not a recent development, but is there any hot dog and bun situation that doesn't make an excellent edible plate for other foods? Eggs and tater tots and corn chips? Practically everything but chocolate chips probably work, although we can't count those out, either. Surely someone is soon to try those, too, as a dog topping.
And our Fourth of July-striped visors off to those people nutty enough to go for gourmand glory by eating a bunch of hot dogs on Coney Island or at the State Fair or at a local restaurant over a holiday weekend. Slather some extra mustard on for us.