I’ve been spending a lot of time this summer at my fiance’s father’s house in far-upstate New York, in the small, quiet, mostly farming community called Chazy. Chazy hugs the western edge of Lake Champlain and moves at the kind of slow, friendly pace that immediately curbs my rush-rush-New York City tendencies. You wouldn’t know the place unless you’d grown up there, or knew someone who had. And that is precisely why it is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the beautiful warm weather in peace.
Once I’ve done my fair share of lazing lake side, I begin to look forward to the hot dogs, the delicious, meaty, saucy dogs called Michigans, or Red Hots, depending on who you talk to. Michigans are a North Country staple, and three restaurants in nearby Plattsburgh—Gus’ Red Hots, Clare and Carl’s, and McSweeney’s Red Hots—are famous for their dogs. As far as I can tell, they are each variations on one tasty theme—a hot dog smothered in a spicy-tangy chili-like meat sauce and topped with mustard and onions. The trick is deciding where and how to take your onions—on top of the sauce, buried, or not at all. I prefer mine with mustard and no onions. I am sure there is much debate among locals as to which restaurant makes the very best. I am happy to sit this one out and enjoy this upstate staple—always with a side of fries and a cold root beer.
What’s your favorite way to top a hot dog? Check out a few of our regional favorites here.