Aug 31, 2010

Hot Dog Fix at a Moroccan Walk-Up

As the last days of summer pound us with their dry heat, I keep telling myself they should be appreciated, not despised, as I eagerly anticipate the coolness of fall.

Partly, that means enjoying summertime foods til they've run their course. Juicy tomatoes and peaches, corn on the cob and strawberries are magical this time of year, but to me, these are the final days of true   hot dog season! True, a hot dog is good just about anytime of year, but it never tastes quite as good as in the dusk of a late summer, when baseball and cold beer, too, are in their prime.

Looking for a cheap and quick lunch today, while I ran errands, I decided to stop by a little place on 39th whose black awning with "Chicago Dogs" printed on one side had been beckoning me for quite some time. I didn't know whether this place was a hot dog stand, sold ice cream cones (see the large plastic ice cream cone mounted above their entrance) or what. I'd never heard anyone say anything about it.

Come to find out today I was way off: it's Rock-n-Moroccan (also on facebook)!

This little shop is owned and run by Moroccan-born Amine Lamrani and serves up simple favorites, both familiar and Middle Eastern. Deli staples like a turkey club, reuben and roast beef sandwich are juxtaposed with the likes of gyros, zalouk and tabouleh. Not your style? There's a list of crepes available, both savory and sweet (like everyone's favorite - Nutella!).

And, of course, they have hot dogs. A basic hot dog runs just a buck fifty. Polish and smoked sausages are $3.50. A brat is a quarter more.

My selection, though, was the classic Chicago dog, which is a basic hot dog smothered in everything but the kitchen sink, namely: tomato, pickle relish, diced white onion, peppers, a dill pickle slice and plenty of French's yellow mustard. At a measly $2.75 this is a great buy, especially considering the hot dog was no weenie.

Judging by the salty, dark colored casing and equally dark coloration that penetrated the first few layers of internal meat, I'd say this frank had been slowly cooking on hot rollers in the r-n-m kitchen for a little while, which isn't a bad thing, but those rollers have made a bad name for themselves being pimped out as self-serve taquito warmers at QT.

It was a nice, thick beef hot dog off of which the myriad of toppings with cooler flavors and crunchier textures played nicely. Not only do I recommend this hot dog stand, I'm instantly obsessed with it. I'd imagine I'll be back there again and again, particularly if I'm alone for dinner or need a late night fix (open til 2:00 a.m. during the week, 3:00 a.m. on the weekends).

I'll reserve placing a rating on Rock-n-Moroccan until I've had a chance to sample the fare from the other categories of their menu, but as a hot dog purveyor alone, they're on the right track.

Rock-n-Moroccan on Urbanspoon

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