Category Archives: The Chomp

SF Staples: Dignified Dirty Dogs

By Nicole Dobarro

It’s 3 a.m. and it’s been a long night of inhaling cheap whiskey, tolerating the hoots, hollers, and enduring the judgement of walking barefoot in the Mission because those heels just aren’t worth it. It’s time to go home. But wait…Can it be? That seducing aroma of greasy, grilled meat fills the air as 19th and Mission Streets approach. As if a divine intervention has grasped you and cuddled you into a warm, fuzzy place. You have found the dirty dog cart and nothing has been, or ever will be, more perfect.

Rumored to have originated in Mexico then made popular in Los Angeles, the blessed dirty dog or danger dog (or street dog or Mission dog) has saved us San Franciscans. More often than not the dirty dog rescues us from ridiculous lines at Taqueria Cancun or having to wait for the OWL next to that guy being that guy. And from experience, Lyft drivers will more often let you eat your incredibly messy dirty dog in their car over that burrito because they know what’s up. Living in a society where Americans spend over $1.5 billion on hot dogs (only in grocery stores) last year, it’s safe to say the hot dog holds a place very close to our hearts. Even with the rise of the organic and local movement, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, hot dog sales have actually remained the same. Maybe it’s because of the growth of more health-conscious hot dog brands or maybe it’s because we’re simply addicted to them.

Though eating two to three dirty dogs while squatting on the curb can be incredibly thrilling, why not try it at home where you hopefully have plates and a chair? Cooking at home creates the opportunity to make a dirty dog tastier and dare I say it? Healthier. Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are not supposed to be healthy, but when you’re paying four to five bucks (depending on the hour) you just know the quality can’t be that great. This recipe doesn’t call for any specific brand of hot dogs or bacon. Just be aware of what percent of real beef the dogs are made of and reach within your budget. As for produce, buying local and organic is great but anything you can find at Trader Joe’s will work just as well. And don’t be afraid of baking your own bread! It’s surprisingly so easy that it’s silly to buy those rubbery buns that probably also have yoga mat in them.
Making your own dirty dog is a great excuse to show-off to your friends or justify eating five in one sitting, so good luck and happy munching!

Homemade Crusty Hot Dog Buns
(yields about 8 buns)3.5 C all purpose flour
1 C warm water
1/3 C oil
1/3 C sugar
1 yeast packet
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
pat of melted butter
crushed almonds
sea salt
sesame seeds
fennel seeds

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine and mix warm water, oil, sugar, salt and yeast packet. Forget about it for 15 minutes.
3. Beat egg and set aside.
4. After 15 minutes, slowly pour yeast mixture and egg to flour in a large bowl. Mix until well combined.
5. Transfer dough to a surface lightly covered in flour. Knead for 2-3 minutes until bumps disappear.
6. Portion dough into 8 even pieces.
7. Roll into logs(try to resemble the shape of hot dog buns).
8. Place on parchment paper or a greased baking sheet. Brush melted butter on tops of logs and sprinkle with crushed almonds, sea salt, sesame seeds and fennel seeds.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

100% all-beef hot dogs
thick cut bacon
baby bell peppers
onion
pickled jalapenos
kewpie mayo

While the buns are in the oven, prepare the hot dog and toppings:
1. Heat up a greased grill pan. If you don’t have one, a regular pan is fine. If you want that extra crunch, heat up the deep-fryer. YOLO.
2. Wrap the hot dogs with bacon and grill all sides until the bacon is cooked and a nice charred appearance. Remove from grill pan and set aside.
3. Cut 4-8 baby bell peppers and one onion into strips. Grill them until nicely charred on grill pan. Be sure to use the oil released from the hot dogs to cook the veggies.
4. Slice homemade hot dog buns then get to assembling! First goes the bacon-wrapped hot dog, grilled onions and peppers, then top with pickled jalapenos and kewpie mayo if you want to go all out. Then don’t share and enjoy!

**Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker and Bonnie’s 30-Minute Hot Dog Buns, and through trial and error.

Catching Crabs

Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, shows the difference between a Dungeness crab i(left) and a rock crab (right) in his backyard on the first day of the recreational season, Nov. 2, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, shows the difference between a Dungeness crab i(left) and a rock crab (right) in his backyard on the first day of the recreational season, Nov. 2, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress

Words and photos by Tony Santos

Braving the open sea, wrangling wild animals from the depths of the ocean, and taking the kill home to feast upon the meat.

Ok, it’s no Deadliest Catch, but Daniel Hoffman is regularly enjoying fresh Dungeness crab, caught from the comfort of his kayak.

Every few weeks Hoffman, a biology major at SF State who lives a few minutes drive from Baker Beach, loads his kayak into a pickup truck and heads out to make good on what the San Francisco Bay has to offer.

About two years ago Hoffman started kayak crabbing, adding to the other water-related activities he enjoys. He says crabs are abundant in San Francisco and come in shallow waters to spawn, making them an easy catch.

After sending out his nets and waiting a few minutes in the kayak, Hoffman has his first crab, and continues until he’s satisfied. Pulling in the final net, Hoffman paddles in, packs up, and heads home to unload his equipment and catch.

Arriving home, its time for Hoffman to finish the job.  He boils a pot of water with table salt, measuring only with his eyes, and drops in the sweet crustaceans. Once the crabs are done cooking, they must be cleaned.

Hoffman begins by separating the telson—the pointy-triangle on the bottom—from under the abdomen, allowing the body to be detached from the shell. He then removes the gills and guts from the body, leaving legs, claws and torso meat.

A relaxing day on the water, followed by a meal fit for kings—not bad for a day in the life of a student.

Bon appétit!

  • Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, carries his kayak through is backdoor to load it in his truck. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, carries his kayak through is backdoor to load it in his truck. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, untangles the ropes for his nets before crabbing at Baker Beach Oct. 30, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, untangles the ropes for his nets before crabbing at Baker Beach Oct. 30, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, pulls up a crab net at Baker Beach, Oct. 30, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, pulls up a crab net at Baker Beach, Oct. 30, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • The California Department of Fish and Wildlife requires that Dungeness crab be a minimum five and three quarters of an inch on the widest part of the carapace—the second notch of the shell—in order to be legal. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    The California Department of Fish and Wildlife requires that Dungeness crab be a minimum five and three quarters of an inch on the widest part of the carapace—the second notch of the shell—in order to be legal for catching. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • To trap the crabs, Hoffman uses nets, similar to basketball nets, that have a smaller, webbed rim on the bottom. When the net hits the ocean floor, the larger top rim collapses flat over the bottom, so crabs can crawl onto the net to nibble on the bait. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    To trap the crabs, Hoffman uses nets, similar to basketball nets, that have a smaller, webbed rim on the bottom. When the net hits the ocean floor, the larger top rim collapses flat over the bottom, so crabs can crawl onto the net to nibble on the bait. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • Hoffman lights his portable stove to boil crabs in his backyard on the first day of the recreational season, Nov. 2, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Hoffman lights his portable stove to boil crabs in his backyard on the first day of the recreational season, Nov. 2, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • Hoffman cleaning the crab he caught earlier. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Hoffman cleaning the crab he caught earlier. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress

Get Your Greens

An example CSA subscription box, put together by Blue House Farms, sits on the back of their truck during a farmers market event in the Mission District. Photo by Kate O'Neal / Xpress.
An example CSA subscription box, put together by Blue House Farms, sits on the back of their truck during a farmers market event in the Mission District. Photo by Kate O’Neal / Xpress.

It’s an expensive lunch in San Francisco. There’s that seven dollar sandwich, that six dollar salad- convenient but hardly satisfying. Fast food has taken away our desire to cook. Many blame it on high produce prices- or simply not having time to shop. With the new trend of “going local” when it comes to food, students of San Francisco State are turning to affordable Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions for their daily dose of vegetables.

A CSA subscription is the equivalent of buying stock in a farm. Subscribers help the farmers to speculate how much to grow for the season. When subscribing to a CSA, customers receive an affordable box of produce anywhere from 7-20 lbs. of seasonal fruits and vegetables to be delivered to their house. “Our weekly rate of $22 gets you between 8 and 10 items from the farm, at prices slightly below what we charge at the farmer’s market,” says Mia Riddle, The CSA coordinator of Blue House Farm.

Inside these produce boxes is a random grab bag of pesticide free, seasonal produce. Although customers won’t know what’s inside their subscriptions until they receive it, they are assured with something even better: fresh produce. “I like it because it is a surprise, you don’t get to pick or choose what you are getting,” says Cat Collins, a SFSU student who receives her CSA box from a farm in Watsonville called Ground Stew. “If you get a bell pepper that is a little bit shriveled that you would never pick up at a farmers market and you cut it open and you see that it is completely fine you really understand there is no reason to be wasting produce.”

Supermarkets provide a colossal amount of produces that shoppers, at times, never anticipated needing.  The USDA estimated in 2012 that collectively supermarkets threw away $15 billion in unwanted fruits and vegetables. CSA subscriptions help lessen this wasteful act. “You get access to much fresher produce than what you’d see at a grocery store, and a chance to help out a small organic farm directly and be part of the movement for a better food system,” says Mia Riddle, the CSA coordinator at Blue House Farm outside Pescadero. Subscribers not only get fresh produce; they help unsold produce find a happy home and a hungry stomach.

It really is up to the eater to decide how much they want to consider their meals before injesting them. Supermarkets will always be available and needed. CSA subscriptions cannot replace them. However as these produce boxes become affordable and available many, shoppers can feel good about supporting a local cause. The risk is really in the surprise – if you’re afraid to try new things, a CSA probably isn’t for you. Many of our subscribers tell me ‘I never tried that before! I loved it!’ and that always makes my day. A CSA has the power to change the way you eat, forever.”