Whenever we're on the road, either for business or leisure, we're on the lookout for Chicago Dogs. While recently visiting Santa Fe, I (Kevin) was minding my own business when I saw some Vienna tables and a sign that read "Chicago Dog Express". After cutting my wife off in mid sentence, I pulled into the parking lot and didn't waste any time getting to the counter.
Chicago Dog Express was originally setup by a Chicago native; however, the stand was recently purchased by a local. The dog can be ordered either "1/2 loaded" or "fully loaded" and comes in two sizes: standard and jumbo.
I ordered up a standard size dog, "1/2 loaded" and hoped for the best. The dog arrived fairly quickly and all the ingredients were present. The dog was slightly bigger than the standard size dog you get at most places, but a tad smaller than the larger 1/4 pounders (jumbo variety). I was also a little puzzled when they handed me the dog, along with a spoon, but more on that later.
I opened up the nicely wrapped dog and noticed right off the bat that the veggies were piled high. In addition to a large, crisp, deli pickle (which was very good), the dog had a ton of fresh, cubed cucumbers and tomatoes. Mustard was correctly applied to the dog, not the bun, but the application was a little on the light side. The onions were chopped and the quantity was pretty sparse. The poppy seed bun did not appear to be steamed, and the structural integrity was getting pushed to the limit by the sheer mass of the cucumbers and tomatoes. The dog held together for the first couple of bites, but the bun quickly disintegrated after that. Four sport peppers topped the dog and they were on the hot side, but were easily mellowed by the shear mass of cucumbers and tomatoes. The celery salt was nicely applied, which was nice to see since so many people go astray on this crucial ingredient. Lastly, the dog itself had great flavor and was nice and juicy, once you got past all the extra toppings.
Overall, the dog was very good and I'd definitely order another, except I'd probably opt for the jumbo version to balance the ingredients better. My chief complaint was that the overall taste was on the "earthy" side, since there were so many tomatoes and cucumbers. I cringe when I think about what it would have been like if I had ordered a "fully loaded" dog. The phrase "dragged through the garden" definitely applied here, however, I just wish I didn't have to eat the entire garden!
Chicago Dog Express has a number of other items, such as Polish Sausage and Veggie Sandwiches. A standard size, "1/2 loaded" dog runs $4.18, while the "fully loaded" version runs $4.88. The jumbo versions run $5.81 and $6.50 for the respective "loaded versions".