Summer Guide: Veggie-Dog Days

Learning the joy of soy from the city’s hottest dog-hawkers.

Tune into a food program these days and you’ll see shows like Burger Land and Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives proudly extolling the virtues of the conventional meat- and fat-heavy American diet (think bacon-wrapped, deep-fried meatloaf). Bon Appetit’s Andrew Knowlton took note recently in his “Foodist” column when he asked chefs, “Are you trying to kill me? [Pork belly] is good every once in a while, ideally when you’re building a stone wall, but lethal when it becomes just another protein.”

Speaking of protein, the CDC reports that “most Americans eat more [of it] than they need,” which tacks on extra calories and a host of health problems (CDC figures claim that 35.9 percent of adult Americans are obese). But there’s good news this swimsuit season. A number of Seattle eateries serve great vegetarian alternatives to that most revered of meaty summer meals: the hot dog.

More Summer Guide: Have a Nosh on the Water

When rooting for the M’s, don’t miss the Field Roast Stand behind section 133 on the main concourse at Safeco Field. Seattle’s own grain-meat company serves their ballpark franks, hand-crafted veggie burgers, and a killer chili-cheese frank. Doctor your dog with all the fixings and get back to the game—or take it to go if the contest is too painful to watch.

When hunger strikes on your next downtown shopping binge, a quick stop at Cyber Dogs (909 Pike St.) is sure to satisfy. The quirky cafe offers an all-vegetarian hot-dog menu with items like the Doga Lisa, loaded with pesto and chopped tomatoes, and the Il Bandito; served with chili, cheese, avocado, and salsa, it’s meal enough for two.

No summer is complete without a good ol’ bender, and every proper bender culminates in a hot-dog run. Dante’s Inferno Dogs (various locations) serves two excellent choices, Field Roast’s Apple Sage and Chipotle sausages, but waiting in Dante’s long line at 1 a.m. can be interminable. The queue moves quicker at Monster Dogs (in Belltown and Capitol Hill), and their veggie dog, served on a soft Franz roll with grilled onions and cream cheese, hits the spot when you’re ready to chow.

Other veggie-dog varieties: The endless array of toppings for the Apple Sage sausage and the egg-roll-wrapped Wasabi dog at Po Dog (1009 E. Union St. and 2014 N.W. Market St.); the Asian flair of the Shinjuku Veggie Dog at Tokyo Dog (various locations); and the pinball-themed veggie links at Shorty’s (2222 Second Ave).

The best thing about these dogs? You don’t have to sacrifice a good time—or your health—to try ’em. Here’s to the other other white meat.

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