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REVIEW: Sonic Premium Beef Hot Dog (Chicago Dog & New York Dog)

Written by | March 21, 2011

Topics: 3 Rating, 6 Rating, Fast Food, Sonic

Sonic Premium Beef Hot Dogs Chicago Dog and New York Dog

Sonic recently added four new 100% pure beef hot dogs to their menu – The Chili Cheese Coney, The All-American Dog, The Chicago Dog and The New York Dog. I chose to review the latter two because a.) I thought they had the most interesting toppings and b.) both Chicagoans and New Yorkers take their grub seriously. Lock two of them in a room together that has the word “pizza” written on the wall and see what happens. I’ll give you a hint: bloodshed.

There’s a similar situation with hot dogs. Just Google “chicago vs new york hot dogs” and you’ll see quite a few discussions on the topic. The Chicago dog is iconic, of course; it has its own name and everything. The New York dog doesn’t really have its own name, but put hot dog and New York in the same sentence and anyone who has been there will immediately have an image in their head. I will get to that image soon. Right now, here’s what I imagine a Chicagoan and a New Yorker locked in a room together with the word “hot dog” written on the wall would be like:

New Yorker: “‘How you doin’! We gots the best damn dawgs in New Yawk! I’m just sayin’!”

Chicagoan: “Dat’s cryap! Da Chicago Dog be the best dog use ever taste!”

New Yorker: “Yo, bruh! You bettah bounce, because that is mad bull right thah!”

Chicagoan: “Use think so, do use? Well now we gonna get inta dis!”

The conversation quickly devolves, and two minutes later both sweaty men have bloody noses and their Giants and Bears jerseys are torn and sullied. It’s just a bad situation all around.

(Note: The above scenario uses stereotypical language and situations and is intended as parody [bad parody, but parody nonetheless] only. In other words, please do not track me down and hurt me.)

Now that I feel I’ve been sufficiently offensive, let’s get to the dogs themselves.

Sonic Premium Beef Hot Dogs Chicago Dog

The Chicago Dog

I’ve never been to Chicago, but I have had a Chicago Dog before. I respect that any Chicagoan would tell me I haven’t actually had a Chicago Dog unless I’ve been to Chicago; mostly because I’m a soft little girl from the suburbs and anyone who grew up in Chicago probably knows how to beat me up at least three different ways. So let’s say I’ve had a Chicago-like Dog.

I have to say, I was impressed, at least on paper, at how authentic Sonic tried to make their Chicago Dog. As they describe it, “Got love for the Windy City? Then try SONIC’s Premium Beef Chicago Dog. A 100% pure beef hot dog topped with pickle, relish, tomato, sport peppers, celery salt and mustard all served up in a soft, warm poppy seed bun.” From what I know, all those ingredients sound pretty legit. I like the addition of the poppy seed bun; very traditional, but could have been easily overlooked.

All of the toppings on my dog were very fresh. The tomatoes were juicy and the dill pickle spear was crisp. The sport peppers brought some serious heat; my nose was running by the time I was done with the wiener. The one topping I could have done without was the sweet relish; the other toppings were tangy and savory, and the relish just didn’t feel like it belonged. However, it is a traditional Chicago Dog topping, so I’ll chalk it up to personal preference. Who am I to argue with an icon?

The Sonic Chicago Dog is not something you’re going to want to eat while driving. With so many toppings, many of them juicy, you’re gonna get your hands dirty. Also, the sport peppers kept sliding around, trying to avoid my mouth like Jonah attempting to escape the whale. Ain’t gonna happen. And, of course, the poppy seeds flew everywhere and stuck to my pickle/tomato/relish/mustard smothered hands. Not the most portable of foods.

My biggest beef (how many times can I use that pun before it gets old? Answer: once) with this hot dog is actually the dog itself. While the toppings were fresh and tasty and the bun was soft, the dog was actually not very good. I’ve been hooked on Nathan’s all-beef natural casing wieners for a while now, so maybe I’m spoiled, but you can taste quality, and these dogs tasted incredibly pedestrian. Whether it’s the 100% beef dogs they’re using or the way they cook them, the vessel of all those delicious toppings was really disappointing. I know promoting them as 100% beef is supposed to be a good thing, but maybe a little pig anus or two would have added some more and/or better flavor.

Sonic Premium Beef Hot Dogs New York Dog

The New York Dog

While I have never visited Chicago, I have, however, been to New York several times, and I have had several hot dogs from vendors on the street. Here’s the previously aforementioned image: standing at a small cart on the sidewalk while people brush past you, a man with a questionable grasp on the English language opens a lid. Hot steam rises into the cold New York air, and he reaches in with his tongs and removes a hot dog from the water boiling within. He then places it in a bun, which is sitting in a little paper holder. Sometimes you have options; sometimes the man will just choose your toppings for you. He does not have time for you to hem and haw. Brown mustard is applied, then sauerkraut or maybe some chopped white onions. He hands it to you, and you are now holding a New York hot dog. All of this happens in seconds. You may look around, confused; but at least you have a hot dog in your hands!

Interesting bit of trivia about New York: if you ever ask someone for yellow mustard, they will look at you like you are a being from another planet. I’m not even sure they sell yellow mustard in stores. You’re certainly not going to find it at a hot dog cart, or a baseball stadium, or pretty much anywhere else. In New York, it’s brown mustard or GTFO.

Like the Chicago Dog, Sonic stays impressively true to tradition with the New York Dog. “Get a taste of the Big Apple with SONIC’s Premium Beef New York Dog. A 100% pure beef hot dog grilled to perfection and topped with spicy brown mustard, grilled onions and crunchy sauerkraut in a soft, warm bakery bun.”

Sounds great, but somehow, things went wrong. As you can see, the mustard got all over the bun, but that’s probably because it was in a sleeve so things got a little smushed. That wasn’t the main problem with the mustard, though. It was oddly colored for brown mustard; too bright, too yellow, and tasted a bit off. I’ve had lots of different brands of brown mustards, and I’ve never seen or tasted anything like it. It was almost like they’d diluted brown mustard with yellow mustard.

The sauerkraut was sparse, but I was okay with that, because it, too, tasted off. The strips were thinner than normal sauerkraut, it was limp, and it lacked the pickled tang of other sauerkrauts I’ve had. It also had a strange aftertaste. Almost bitter, I think. The grilled onions just seemed old and limp, like they’d been sitting out all day. And, of course, the dog itself suffered the same problems as the Chicago Dog.

I like the concept of the Premium Dogs and applaud Sonic for really striving to get the Dogs to be true to the region that they originated. The Chicago Dog had lots of fresh, tasty toppings that were authentic to a real Chicago Dog, but make sure you’ve got a good bit of table real estate and a handful of napkins if you try one. The New York Dog looked great on paper, but all the toppings were somehow fundamentally flawed. I don’t even know how you can screw up brown mustard or sauerkraut, but Sonic somehow found a way, and that was disappointing. Both hot dogs suffered from poor flavor; I don’t know where Sonic gets their 100% pure beef Premium Dogs, but they should look into finding another vendor.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 hot dog – Chicago Dog – 440 calories, 180 calories from fat, 20 grams total of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 2300 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 17 grams of sugars, 14 grams of protein, calcium 10%, iron 30%, vitamin A 4%, vitamin C 8%. New York Dog – 350 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams total of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1290 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugars, 14 grams of protein, calcium 6%, iron 30%, vitamin A 2%, vitamin C 10%.)

Other Sonic Premium Beef Hot Dog reviews:
Does It Hit The Spot
Grub Grade

Item: Sonic Premium Beef Hot Dog (Chicago Dog, New York Dog)
Price: $1.99
Size: 1 hot dog
Purchased at: Sonic Drive-In
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Chicago Dog)
Rating: 3 out of 10 (New York Dog)
Pros: Chicago Dog had fresh, authentic toppings. Chicago vs. New York. Fluffy hot dog buns. Going a whole review without making a wiener/mouth joke. New York hot dog carts.
Cons: Hot dogs were not top quality. Bad parodies. New York toppings were all flawed. Recycled beef puns. Chicago Dog was pretty messy.

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NEWS: Sonic Introduces Four 100% Pure Beef Hot Dogs, Representing American Cities, America, and…Chili

Written by | March 4, 2011

Topics: Fast Food, Sonic

Sonic Drive-in

Sonic has just added four new hot dogs to their menu, touting them as 100% pure beef and giving each of them a theme. Sonic already offers a Footlong Quarter Pound Coney and a Corn Dog, but these are different, because they’re all beef, baby. Introducing the new wieners:

All-American Dog

“Take a bite out of Americana with SONIC’s Premium Beef All-American Dog. It’s a 100% pure beef hot dog that’s grilled to perfection and topped with ketchup, yellow mustard, relish and chopped onions and served in a soft, warm bakery bun.”

The All-American contains 390 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1220 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, 13 grams of protein, 6% calcium, 30% iron, 2% vitamin A and 4% vitamin C.

New York Dog

“Get a taste of the Big Apple with SONIC’s Premium Beef New York Dog. A 100% pure beef hot dog grilled to perfection and topped with spicy brown mustard, grilled onions and crunchy sauerkraut in a soft, warm bakery bun.”

A New York Dog has 350 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1290 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 14 grams of protein, 6% calcium, 30% iron, 2% vitamin A and 10% vitamin C.

Chicago Dog

“Got love for the Windy City? Then try SONIC’s Premium Beef Chicago Dog. A 100% pure beef hot dog topped with pickle, relish, tomato, sport peppers, celery salt and mustard all served up in a soft, warm poppy seed bun.”

The Chicago Dog provides 440 calories, 180 calories from fat, 20 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 2300 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 14 grams of protein, 10% calcium, 30% iron, 4% vitamin A and 8% vitamin C.

Chili Cheese Coney

“Want something filling that’s also a great deal? Try SONIC’s Premium Beef Chili Cheese Coney. It’s a grilled 100% pure beef hot dog topped with warm chili and melty cheddar cheese served in a soft, warm bakery bun.”

A Chili Cheese Coney rocks 420 calories, 230 calories from fat, 25 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1180 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 19 grams of protein, 15% calcium, 35% iron, 10% vitamin A and 2% vitamin C.

Sonic’s got some big shoes to fill, especially with the Chicago and New York Dogs. People from those cities take their traditional foods pretty seriously. However, I’m glad to see a major fast food joint stepping up and offering some different toppings that you’re not going to find at any of the other big players. I’m looking forward to trying these and seeing how they stack up.

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REVIEW: Sonic Holiday Mint Blast

Written by | December 8, 2009

Topics: 8 Rating, Fast Food, Food, Sonic

Even before you have your second round of Thanksgiving leftovers, the flavor of the season changes. Pumpkin makes a graceful exit and peppermint takes over. I’m a pumpkin fan, but how can you not like a flavor that’s able to mask the boozy smell of cheap vodka and settle your stomach after a tray of gingerbread cookies at the office holiday party (or “special” brownies if you’re employed by High Times).

The Sonic Holiday Mint Blast gets into the spirit of the season without having to fight off overweight moms at superstores trying to get the hottest toy of the season, or without having to sit on the lap of a questionable man in a Santa suit. The Sonic Holiday Mint Blast’s color scheme is like a traditional candy cane, however the candy on top of it, which gives it its “holiday personality,” aren’t crushed candy canes, they’re little pieces of Andes Peppermint Crunch.

Although it appears like this dessert isn’t packing a lot of crunchy pieces, it’s what’s inside that counts. Chock-full of candy pieces swirled around delicately flavored peppermint soft serve and whipped topping (I know that sounds like a line of bullshit fast food restaurants use to describe their subpar food, but the Holiday Mint Blast can be described in such a flowery manner), the Holiday Mint Blast is a great treat that tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream.

The “whipped topping” is a little bit too much; the first five spoonfuls are the just the topping and a few crunchy pieces. Even though looking like a candy cane can be festive, I wish they tossed some green in it. Put a dash of food coloring in the mix and BAM it oozes even more holiday spirit. But if you work at the High Times, I’m sure you can add your own green later.

The Sonic Holiday Blast is a deal at $2.99 for a regular, especially for those slightly skinny Santas out there who need to pack on the pounds quickly so they can fill out their red suits. Unfortunately, if it becomes a staple of their diet, they won’t be able to fit into their civilian clothes once the season is over.

(Nutrition Facts – Regular size – 695 calories, 28.7 grams of fat, 20.9 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 62 milligrams of cholesterol, 187 milligrams of sodium, 102 grams of carbohydrates, 93 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, 11% vitamin A, 30% calcium and 6% iron.)

Item: Sonic Holiday Mint Blast
Price: $2.99
Size: Regular
Purchased at: Sonic
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Plenty of wonderful Andes Peppermint Crunch. Peppermint flavor doesn’t get sickening. Oozing holiday spirit. Regular is large enough for two servings.
Cons: Skinny Santas. Loaded with fat, cholesterol, trans fats etc. etc. Green color isn’t added to the mix. Getting work done at the magazine High Times.

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REVIEW: Sonic CroisSONIC BLT

Written by | September 21, 2009

Topics: 3 Rating, Fast Food, Food, Sonic

“Help…me…eat…me,” the CroisSONIC BLT said as it gasped for breath when I opened its foiled wrapper. I knew something was wrong when I heard it cough like an 80-year-old diner waitress whose voice had been scarred by years of hollering out quirky names for the way an egg is cooked and inhaling second hand smoke. What could I possibly do? I looked away for a moment, pondering over if I should neglect this sandwich. No, I couldn’t possibly abandon it as it stared at me with its bacon tongue sticking out of its limp bun of a mouth, oh excuse me, croissant.

“Help…me…eat…me,” the CroisSONIC BLT continued to plead. Did it want me to end its misery after spending its entire childhood under a heat lamp? I did not want to ask it questions, because it was so pitiful to look at. It wasn’t as emotional as those commercials with Sarah McLachlan showing neglected puppies and kitties, which make me weep, but it was pretty awful.

This sandwich, if you could even call it that, put me in a very awkward position. Not as awkward as the time my grandmother asked what “Two Girls One Cup” meant, but awkward nevertheless. Should I eat it, or should I just give it to one of those puppies in that Sarah McLachlan commercial? I decided to take a bite. “Thank…you,” it said in its weak ET-like voice. I was sure that this would be a glorious day for the CroisSONIC BLT, but it would not be one for my colon.

I thought it would be harder than it was to end this sad little sandwich’s life. Actually, the entire task took less than three minutes, and that was alternating between a Diet Cherry Limeade (one of the reasons to go to Sonic) and the medium order of tater tots that came packaged along with this depressing sandwich. Thankfully, those tater tots were the Prozac I needed to help get me through the serious bouts of sadness that occurred while eating the pathetic CroisSONIC BLT.

The croissant made Burger King’s look like a freshly baked, buttery pastry that could be found in the finest of Parisian bakeries, while the strips of bacon were nice and crisp. BUT THERE WERE ONLY TWO STRIPS!!! It’s a BLT, Sonic! All caps, not a bLT. As for the lettuce and tomato, they were…well…not ripe.

The CroisSONIC BLT had so much potential, but alas, it just fell into the trap that a lot of fast food sandwiches tend to crash into (a.k.a Sandwich Skid Row). It sounds good and the original looks scrumptious, but it loses its self worth because it knows it could never live up to what’s on billboards and television commercials. It does not care what it looks like and just waits until a hungry human takes it out of its misery.

With all of these sad sandwiches, there needs to be a fast food sandwich rehab, which I think would also make a decent reality show.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 sandwich – 425 calories, 29.6 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 32 milligrams of cholesterol, 888 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein, 16% vitamin A, 7% vitamin C, 4% calcium, 8% iron.)

Item: Sonic CroisSONIC BLT
Price: $2.99 (with medium tots)
Size: 137 grams
Purchased at: Sonic
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Good value. Crispy bacon. My colon forgiving me for eating this sandwich. Doesn’t take long to eat if you’re in a rush. It’s delivered to you by people on skates. No trans fats. Tots are good.
Cons: Limp croissant. Only two strips of bacon. Sandwiches that end up on skid row. Not enough food to cure severe bouts of hunger. Almost 30 grams of fat. Too much sodium.

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