For this week's cover story, I traced the history of the Seattle dog back to its invention in Pioneer Square. Incredibly, the tale of how Seattle eaters developed a fondness for cream cheese on their hot dogs had been lost over the span of just two decades. But the previously unsolved mysteries surrounding the snack haven't prevented it from becoming hugely popular. Over the next few days, Voracious will look at fancy versions of the dish made famous by street cart operators.
Canon owner Jamie Boudreau has always resisted serving dishes already available in the neighborhood. But the cocktail bar's chef, Andrew Cross, persuaded him to make an exception for the Seattle dog.
"I'm a huge fan of the Seattle Dog (a guilty pleasure of mine) and thought, what could I do to make it better?," Cross e-mails. "The answer seemed all too obvious... foie gras!"
For his ritzy version of the lowbrow dog, Cross nestled an all-natural Painted Hills beef hot dog in a soft brioche bun crowned with foie gras cream cheese and caramelized onions. To further vault the $12 "gras dog" into pure Robin Leach territory, he paired it with a corkscrew pasta salad spritzed with truffle oil and Champagne. While the dish sounds ridiculously rich, it's actually appealingly tender and buttery. And if the pasta's a mite too much, at Canon, that's just a signal for another glass of whiskey to cut the fat.
Boudreau granted Cross a trial run for the dog. He prepared 10 as a one-night special.
"(We) sold out in the first hour and a half!," he writes. "We were convinced and, apologetically to Po Dog, added it to the next menu."
Melding foie gras with hot dogs isn't a new idea: In Chicago, Doug Sohn famously put chunks of foie gras on a Hot Doug's dog, drawing the first citation after the city banned foie gras in 2006. But Sohn's controversial sandwich, built on a duck sausage foundation, wasn't garnished with Seattle's favorite condiment.
"We seem to just be blowing through them and the reception of it has been wonderful," Cross says.