Hot Dog Time

By Kate Krader, Restaurant Editor, Food & Wine

Follow Kate on Twitter: @kkrader

Guess what food Lady Gaga chose to showcase at a recent Vanity Fair photo shoot. Not a grilled version of her infamous raw meat dress. Not a lobster hat made with different shellfish. She selected a mustard-slathered hot dog (to eat, not to wear). If Lady Gaga is now focused on hot dogs, then let's focus on them, too.

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HD1, Atlanta. At this just-opened spot, Top Chef winner Richard Blais turns his attention from avant-garde burgers to inspired hot dogs. Believe it or not, he has a classic hot dog with sauerkraut (note, the mustard is house made). The chicken-apple sausage comes with herbed crème fraîche and sour grape relish; for vegetarians, there's this note on the menu: "Sous vide carrot may be substituted for any dog."

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Senate, Cincinnati. I'm happy just reading the names of the dogs on the menu at this genius Cincinnati gastropub. Among the selections: the Trailer Park (bacon-wrapped dog, American cheese, coleslaw, crushed Grippo's chips) and the Hello Kitty (with wasabi mayo and ponzu coleslaw). There's also a "Hot Dog of the Day"; it's market price, depending, I suppose, on the going price of franks that day.

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Crif Dogs, New York City. Who doesn't want to be able to have a bacon-wrapped deep-fried hot dog after a long night of drinking artisanal cocktails at a speakeasy? No one I want to hang out with. The Crif Dogs menu pays homage to everything from natural disasters--the Tsunami is a bacon-wrapped hot dog with teriyaki sauce, pineapple and green onions -- to other iconic sandwiches (the Philly tubesteak is "casually attired in cheese and sautéed onions"). If you'd rather do your hot dog eating in Brooklyn, there's a new Williamsburg location that's helpfully open until 4 AM.

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Dirty Franks Hot Dog Palace, Columbus. Whoever created the menu at Dirty Franks must have a Ph.D. in hot dogs. There are at least seven types of dogs to choose from, three bun options, almost three dozen toppings (from fire kraut to Fritos) and I can't even count how many specialty combinations. Among the options: the Slappy Pappy's Super Sloppy comes with bacon, coney sauce, cheddar, sour cream and french fries; the Picnic Table is topped with baked beans, sweet-hot cabbage & carrot slaw, relish and chip crumbs; and the Glenn Beck is "just a plain, old wiener."

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7-11 Hot Dog Potato Chips, Nationwide. If you've ever eaten a potato chip before, you probably knew there's no visible signs of hot dog in the newest flavor of potato chip from 7-11. What's more, there's apparently not even any meat in these chips. What there is, however, is the solid flavor of mustard, relish and, however it's done, 7-11's own Bit Bit hot dogs.

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