Monday, September 10, 2012

Seattle Dog - Seattle Weekly

Seattle dog illustration (originally done for Serious Eats) featured in a recent Seattle Weekly cover story on the origins of the "Seattle Style" cream cheese hot dog. 

I'm quoted along with my buddy Garrett Morlan (also an awesome illustrator  ) who tipped me off to these things when he moved out there a few years ago.

Also interviewed for the article was Keith over at Hot Diggity about his version, which I also did the artwork for. Diggity's version takes it more in a "bagel" direction, which i always thought was sort of wrong, until I read this awesome article and realized the first guy to do this in Seattle was a bagel guy.

The funniest part is that everyone in Seattle thinks the style came from Philadelphia, assuming that we slather everything in cream cheese. Anyway the article is fantastic - and follows the history of the Seattle cream cheese dog WAY further back than I had any idea it went - to hot dog carts in the park during the grunge era - supposedly someone was hit in the face with a cream cheese dog at a Pearl Jam concert in the early 90's - and a bagel place that made hot dog roll sized "bialy sticks" and filled them with hot dogs.

From the grunge carts and bagel dudes the trend spread to vendors outside Mariners stadium - where i had assumed it started - like Joe Bernstein at Joe's Grilled Gourmet Dogs, who's been slinging them for something like 15 years. Joe may not have invented the cream cheese thing, but he's probably the first person to call them "Seattle Style".

From then it spread across the country, in waves - the most famous cream cheese slingers outside of Seattle being Biker Jim in Denver (who bought his first cart - cream cheese caulk gun and all - from a guy in Seattle) and M.A. in Alaska, who added their coca-cola onions to the mix, served on reindeer dogs and game sausages rather than standard dogs.

They've both been at it for 10-15 years, Biker Jim famously serving one to Bourdain on No Reservations a few years ago. Anyway don't take it from me, go check out the article,
probably the most exhaustive history of this newer regional hot dog style to date.

Seattle Weekly: The Seattle Dog - An Oral History

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