The J Dawg
● Up in the high-rent district of the Catalina Foothills, renowned restaurateur Janos Wilder is doing his own take on the Sonoran hot dog at J Bar, his casual Southwestern eatery at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa, 3770 E. Sunrise Drive. "We have the best dog you'll ever eat," he promises.
Here's what Wilder did to turn a hot dog into the J Dawg:
● The bun. He uses the Sonoran-style buns from El Triunfo Bakery, 6348 S. Nogales Highway. He splits them most of the way open and toasts them.
● The meat. "The dog itself is very important here," he emphasizes. He imports all-beef Red Hot Chicagos, from the Windy City, naturally. These are beefy boys in every sense - they spill out of the split bun, they snap when you bite into them, and they taste like you actually dream a hot dog ought to. At $3 a pound to the restaurant trade, "this is the most expensive dog there is," Wilder said. He skips the usual bacon wrap and grills the dogs plain.
● Assembling. Wilder first lays down a base of black beans cooked with chorizo, using the sausage flavor to substitute for the missing bacon. He adds the grilled frank, then some smoked poblano crema instead of mayo, stone-ground mustard, fresh chopped nopalitos (prickly pear cactus pads) and finely chopped red onion. A cone of French fries and a side of ketchup complete the dish.
● The price: $2.75, which has to make the J Dawg one of the major bargains in foothills dining. The catch: It's only available from 5 to 6:30 p.m. daily at J Bar. "At 6:31, forget about it," Wilder said.
Other regional dogs at ballpark
● From the sauerkraut-laden frank to the chili dog, there are lots of regional toppings added to the basic hot dog. Here are some that you can find at the Arizona Diamondbacks' home base in Phoenix:
● Cincinnati Chili Dog: spicy chili, onions and jalapeño cheese
● Pittsburgh Stacker Dog: stacked with coleslaw, fries, tomatoes, grilled onions and nacho cheese
● Wisconsin Dog: beer boil, sauerkraut, spicy brown mustard and Swiss cheese
● Chicago Dog: green relish, mustard, celery salt, tomatoes, sports peppers, cucumbers and pickles
● California Dog: guacamole, pico de gallo, spicy cheese sauce
● Texas Dog: crispy onion rings, Merkts Cheddar, barbecue sauce and chopped bacon
What's it all about
● These are the basic ingredients of the Sonoran-style dog:
● Sonoran-style bun
● Bacon-wrapped dog
● Plain whole pinto beans
● Grilled onions
● Grilled hot yellow pepper
● Fresh chopped onions
● Chopped tomato
● Jalapeño sauce
● Mayonnaise and mustard