It’s been warm lately, downright hot at times. For some reason, the hottest part of the day here is around dinner time which does wonders for suppressing hunger. I may bitch about the heat, but I’ll take the heat any day over the cold. The thought of slip sliding on icy roads and the chilling Hellgate canyon winds makes me want to slather on another layer of sun screen and enjoy the summer heat while it is here.
One of the benefits of summer is occasionally letting someone else do the cooking. I embrace the grill but also embrace that when you are grilling outside, your not heating up the kitchen. Which often heats the rest of my house along with it.
The late afternoon and evening sun makes a direct hit on my back deck and grilling area. It somehow has a laser focus on the sensor for my weather station and really bumps up the temperature reading. The temperature at the airport is in the 90’s. My deck thermometer reads 117. Hot enough for me to let someone else to the cooking.
What a great excuse for me to try out the dog of the month at Tom Dooley’s Gourmet Hot Dog restaurant in Missoula. This month its an Asian Dog stuffed with cabbage and carrot, wrapped in egg roll crust, deep fried, and topped with sweet and sour sauce, Chinese mustard, sesame seed, and chopped green onions.
The first bite is like a sword-fight of flavors in my mouth competing for my attention. Tastes of sweet, sour, mix with varying textures and crunches. Even the carrots & green onions provide a temperature variance as a welcomed surprise. A great wall of flavors.
One Tom Dooley’s Hot Dog really is enough, but I just cannot resist a trying a couple other offerings as well. I round out my order with the Dog-Zilla and a Chicago style hot dog along with some fries.
The Dog-Zilla is an egg roll wrapped dog that is stuffed with cream cheese. No bun needed here, the Dog-Zilla is crispy with a smooth creamy backbone that comes from the cream cheese. Perfect for dipping in one of the available sauces.
I have never had a Chicago dog while in Chicago, but do enjoy them in Missoula. Mustard, Relish, and Onion, the hot dog holy trinity are the foundation of the Chicago dog, but thats not all its topped with. It also gets a wheel of tomato cut in half, a slice of pickle, celery salt and a couple of spicy but flavorful peppers called the sport pepper. I am not sure how Chicago got to take credit for those ingredients, but they got it right the first time.
The folks at Tom Dooley’s are super friendly and engaging while I watch them cook and assemble my order. Somehow they get an unmistakably charred flavor on the dogs just like I do at home. When they add the gourmet toppings though, it reminds me that I would trade backyards with them any day-