I like hot dogs. I don't eat them, but I like them.
When I was a kid, a favorite meal was my grandmother's Chilean twist on a hot dog, which I long for every now and then. I don't think I'll find it though. It's a plain old hot dog on a plain old bun. The glory's in what you put on top. Let's start with ketchup, mustard, and mayo. But just to make it interesting, let's skip the sauerkraut and relish for fresh tomato salsa and cooked & diced potatoes. And pile it on high. So high you question your morals and ethics. So high that you think you're living a life that isn't your own. So high that you almost can't get it in your mouth. Ah, but then you manage. Gluttony at its finest.
First off, I've given up on gluttony because it's a tough life to live (just ask Anthony Bourdain). Easier and more pleasant to eat until I'm no longer hungry, which is always less than any fast food or restaurant portion. But don't get me started on portion sizes. That's a whole different rant.
The other reason I don't entertain the hot dog notion any more is that I just don't like eating hot dogs any more. Yes, I like the taste, but I don't like what's in them. I don't like a food that generally prides itself on being known as the miscellaneous food. It's full of hormones, fillers, antibiotics, nitrates, nitrites, and what I'm assuming is a wide variety of other unknowns. None of that is good eats.
I see hope on the horizon, though. I just heard about a new hot dog stand in the LA area on Good Food (scroll down to "Grass-Fed Hot Dogs" piece to listen). Let's Be Frank has all-beef hot dogs made from 100% grass-fed beef. They aren't packed will all of the bad stuff I listed above, and they're dairy and gluten free. Sue Moore, co-owner, was the "meat forager" (no, seriously) at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, which is a good sign to me.
We're no vegetarians, though as a family we've significantly cut down our red meat consumption, as well as our overall meat consumption. But every now and then, you gotta give into temptation.
They only have a few carts (one in L.A., two in the San Francisco Bay area), but they sell their franks online. Let me know if you've tried and loved :-D