There’s no food that I can think of as malleable and regional (and wonderful) as the hot dog. In Chicago it’s topped with nearly everything (except ketchup) and it’s amazing. In Arizona, the Mexican / Sonoran hot dogs are wrapped in mesquite-smoked bacon and are terrific. In upstate New York, you can get a Hofmann frank on a potato roll at Heid’s in Liverpool and it’s delicious. They all have the same base — encased meat on a bun — but the results are wildly different and regional.
You just can’t get a Sonoran dog in Chicago — you need to be in Tucson (though we did find Chicago dogs in Bisbee). And it’s great that you can’t (usually). Food should be special in and specific to an area … and it nearly never is. You can get pizza anywhere. You can get steamed Maine lobsters in New Mexico (not as good, sure, but possible). Same with hamburgers (everywhere). Sure, there’s In-N-Out out here in California, but, honestly, it’s not that different than Culver’s in the midwest. Beer varies in brand by region, but it largely tastes the same (light lager). Which means hot dogs are what unite America … culinarily. We all have them in our home towns, and the way they’re prepared is specific and special to our home towns. I can’t wait to find more.