Doing it Sonora Style in Tucson

When it comes to street food, few places compare to New York City. From the taco trucks in Hamilton Heights to the Chinese food in Saint Marks, the city offers a plethora of fast and cheap places to grab a bite on the go. The quintessential staple of New York City street food is of course the hot dog – covered in mustard and ketchup. It pits price against hunger to satisfy both your hungry appetite and starving wallet. Its simplicity is its perfection. Or so I thought.

That was until I arrived in Tucson. Known as The Sunshine Factory for the constant abundance of sunny skies, it was anything but. My friend Steve and I arrived the day before while on a cross-country road trip from New York City to California. We stopped for a day in Austin, Texas before pushing on to Tucson where we crashed with my former roommate Rick.

“You can’t leave town until you have a Sonora Dog,” Rick said.

“What’s a Sonora Dog?” I inquired.

The Sonora Dog is a local twist on the traditional Hot Dog. For starters, the hot dog is wrapped in a piece of bacon, cooked on a grill and topped with diced tomatoes and onions, mustard, mayo, chipotle sauce and avocado puree. But wait, there’s more! The imbiber then has the option to add cheese, mushrooms or jalapenos. The brave (or brazenly ignorant) can opt to have a guerito on the side – a small white spicy pepper named after the Spanish slang word for little white boy. The resulting dog almost spills over the bun.

On this particular afternoon, we walked to the corner of Prince and Mountain where a cart was set up in the parking lot of Lucky Market which advertises liquor, beer and wine. I approached the cart and was greeted in Spanish by Jose Ramon. I ordered myself a dog and he quickly went to work. I gazed upon the glorious dog and paused long enough to snap a few photos before devouring the tasty snack.

It is the perfect combination of spice, meat and overwhelming flavors. It creates a hodge-podge of flavor as you chew through the different layers. It’s 100 % Sonorense, according to the sign. And to think it all costs the consumer $2.50 a dog. There is also a special for two Sonora Dogs and a soda for $5. New York City vendors would surely whimper in fear if they ever encountered this wiener.

Tucson's Sonora-style Hot Dog

Tucson's Sonora-style Hot Dog. (photo by Matthew Huisman)

XXXXX serves up Sonora-style Hot Dogs in Tucson. (photo by Matthew Huisman)

Sonora-style Hot Dog stand in Tucson. (photo by Matthew Huisman)

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