Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hank's Haute Dogs in Kakaako - Hot Dogs' Greatest Hits

Kanani, one my most dedicated blog readers, suggested I try Hanks "Haute" Dogs (get it, francophiles?), 324 Coral Street in the Kakaako section of Honolulu, just off of Ala Moana Blvd., between OfficeMax and the now defunct CompUSA. There is now a location in Waikiki, in the International Marketplace.

Any conversation about a hot dog place will invariably include something to the effect of "Okay, maybe it's good, but is it that much better than a hot dog and a drink at Costco for $1.50?" For some, you will never be able to convince them that what breaks down to a 92 cent hot dog or Polish dog (if you subtract the 58 cent solo drink price from the combo price) could possibly be topped.

For the others, you'll find Hank's to be a great place to sample hot dogs prepared in different styles.

I got a Chicago dog, which uses the correct ingredients: a Vienna brand all beef hot dog served on a poppy seed roll with yellow mustard, onions, tomatoes, a dill pickle spear, very green relish, hot peppers, and celery salt.

When I got it, it was a little smaller in size than the ones I've had in Chicago, but I have to say that it was excellent. The hot dog had a nicely textured casing and the meat was very flavorful and tender. I enjoyed it very much.

I have to admit, however, that I liked what Becky ordered better, although you might have predicted so. She got the Fat Boy: which is a hot dog wrapped in bacon and deep fried(!!!!). It comes with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. You might think of it as a delicious hybrid of a BLT and a plain hot dog. It was fabulous!

Kanani urged me to get the fries cooked in duck fat. Alas, these are only available on the weekends, when they make a duck and foie gras sausage. But the regular, twice cooked fries were good, although I prefer fries made from peeled potatoes. The gourmet dipping sauce made from wasabi and tobiko was very good.

They have a daily exotic hot dog. On this day (Tuesday), it was alligator sausage. I have to go back and try Sunday's special: a Wagyu Kobe beef hot dog. There are also hot dogs made from rabbit, buffalo, and lobster.

There is a Polish dog, but that seems like going to a great steakhouse and ordering a hamburger.

The drinks are a delightful bonus. The jasmine iced tea was particularly good, especially with some simple syrup (they call it liquid sugar) added. The hibiscus lemonade was good, although I would say that this is an adult drink, not too sweet and pretty tart.

There is a vegetarian "No Dog," with avocado, tomato, onion, cucumber, cilantro, spicy chipotle mayo, and cheddar, which I'm sure I will never order (why go to a hot dog place if you're not going to eat a hot dog?). There is a keiki dog, but I think if I take my children, I'll have them split a Fat Boy (partly because I won't mind eating their leftovers).

The service is a bit uneven. There was one front-of-the-house person who was very helpful and enthusiastic - he seemed to be more of a management type. The other person we experienced was devoid of energy, did only what was necessary, and was clearly hired help. She didn't detract too much from the experience, but I like good service no matter where I go.

All in all, however, Hank's is a very enjoyable place. For me, it's the best hot dog place in Hawaii. And yes...I would go there anytime over Costco...and pay the higher price.

For Becky...it's another place (not Costco)...I'll blog about it soon.

Grace and aloha,



One of the best books that I've read in a long time is Darkness Is My Only Companion. It chronicles the experiences of Kathryn Greene-McCreight, with whom I went to seminary, and who went on to receive a Ph.D in Theology from Yale and become an Episcopal priest.

After the birth of her second child, Kathryn would eventually be diagnosed bi-polar, would be hospitalized a number of times, and though she has shown some great improvement (with psychotherapy, medication, and by her description, the grace of God), she will probably always live with the illness.

The book is a great witness of a sufferer of mental illness who nonetheless remains steadfastly Christian. The podcast of my latest sermon goes into a bit more detail.

For anyone who has suffered depression at any level, or struggled with the diseases of the mind, this book is an illuminating resource.

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