Tuesday, March 1, 2011


There is something very intriguing about pairing food and churches. Something about the two just seems to go together. Perhaps it's the reversal of the aphorism "Man shall not live on bread alone" to "Man shall not live on faith alone." Then again, it might be because there is something rather satisfying in feeding someone spiritually and physically at the same time. Regardless, I have learned over the course of my travels to detour towards various religious houses when in search of food, as one is very rarely disappointed.

Hot Dog salvation may be found through this door.

So, with an open mind and an empty stomach, I made my way through Downtown Pittsburgh to Franktuary, a small gourmet hot dog shop in the back of the Trinity Cathedral. Now, for the confession, I've known about the place for years, and indeed, I've eaten there maybe twice before. That was also a long time before I actually started caring about what I eat, so I decided to give it another try.

First of all, the staff at Franktuary are some of the nicest people you will meet in a restaurant staff. Even when I was daunted at the menu, in the middle of lunch hour (always a precarious position to be in) the staff took the time to make the recommendations (which naturally I followed) and were warm and friendly the whole time.

Now for the food itself, I ended up with a basic, (somewhat) well balanced meal of the hot dog, with a side, and a drink. A little on the pricey side, but the food is good enough to deserve it, and a portion of the proceeds go to charity.

A well-balanced (?) meal.

First of all, for the dog itself, I ordered the locavore Texan hot dog. Up until this point, I was completely unfamiliar with Locavore culture. The idea of eating predominately locally made food appeals to me greatly, as I believe one should always eat like a local. The hot dog itself is locally made, organic (which means no nitrates) and made with grass fed beef. Arguably, this is the best hot dog I've ever had. It gains massive points for both flavor and texture. Go to Franktuary and get one immediately, you will not be disappointed.

What makes a hot dog special however, are the toppings. In the case of the Texan, it comes topped with chili, shredded cheese, and jalapeno slices. I have to admit, that even when the bun's structural integrity was compromised (the ONLY shortcoming) I used the bun and a spoon to eat the remainder of the chili after consuming the hot dog, it is that good. I also admit (regretfully) that while it does include beans (something I consider chili heresy)...it absolutely blows my chili out of the water in terms of taste. I just need to find a way to steal the recipe now...

For my side, I followed the recommendation, which led to a side of vegetarian baked beans. Full of flavor, they had a great texture and consistency. One of the other notes is the onion, which really punched through the sweetness to add a unique flavor.

The only misstep in the whole equation was the drink. Having decided to try the Natrona Bottling Company's "Jamaica's Finest Ginger Beer", I was somewhat let down. It's extremely...stimulating, I will give it that. That being said, I've never had a drink spicy enough to burn my throat a bit. It might make a great mixer, but I can't say I recommend it straight.

So, all in all, get to Franktuary, choose to eat locally, and you will be rewarded. Until next time, stay hungry, my friends.

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