Evanston, IL — Skip St. Patrick’s Day. A much better celebration will be taking place Saturday, March 22 at Wiener and Still Champion, 802 Dempster Street in Evanston. It will be all about National Corn Dog Day.
No place is better suited to throw a National Corn Dog Day party, since Wiener and Still Champion has received national, and even international acclaim for its freshly-made, hand-dipped corn dog, famously known as the Dippin’ Dog™. On the 22nd, Dippin’ Dogs will be available for a special, one-day-only price of $1.50. In addition, a dozen or so dipping sauces will be available for only 75¢ each.
Says owner Gus Paschalis, “We’ve spent the last year developing many new, original sauces. We have more than just mustard or ketchup available – you can get a mild sauce, a garlic aioli, spicy mustard, curry ketchup, honey mustard, and even our own Argentine garlic and herb sauce. They each go well with a Dippin’ Dog, and each gives the dog its own unique personality.” Paschalis notes they all also go well with his award-winning, “Somewhat Famous” fresh hand-cut French Fries.
Wiener and Still Champion’s Dippin’ Dogs have been so successful that they’ve received a lot of publicity, including many rave reviews from WGN television’s Chicago’s Best TV program, WGN-TV’s personality Marcus LeShock, WGN radio personality Nick Digilio (who has a burger named after him), Jeffery Saad on the Cooking Channel’s United Tastes of America, and a feature segment on ABC7 news by Emmy-winning food reporter Steve Dolinsky. The notice has even extended internationally, with a video seen around the world on Voice of America. http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Paschalis spent many months and man-hours developing his recipe for his Dippin’ Dogs. Befitting his background in food science and food product development, Paschalis tested a wide range of batters and sausages for the ultimate corndog. “The natural casing dogs that I serve at the restaurant [for anyone ordering a Chicago-style hot dog, or one of its many variants] didn't work. The batter didn’t stick to it and you really had to bite down hard on it.” So he did an extensive search for the right hot dog. After sampling many, he found a maker of encased meat that could provide a delectable product that was perfect for being further encased in a sweet cornbread batter. Thus, the Dippin’ Dog was born.
Paschalis then enlisted the talents and palates of many members of LTHForum.com, the noted Chicago-based culinary discussion website, as tasters. One taster said, ”The hot dog was the same in all trials and seems like the perfect choice. A bit garlicky with a fatty juiciness I really liked.”
But it was the batter that proved to be the real challenge. While Paschalis admitted there are commercial mixes available for corn dog batters, he wanted to better them and make his own proprietary batter. Testing recipes that ranged from the traditional to recipes based on Jamaican bread traditions, he finally settled – based on significant input from his tasting panel - on a specific mixture of cornmeal, flour and other ingredients that provided just the right crunch to surround the hot dog, without being overly bready or cake-like. “The great flavor of the sausage has to come through, with the corn flavor and texture as a crisp compliment,” says Paschalis.
Paschalis is known for many other unique creations which are unexpected from what may look like a typical Vienna Beef hot dog stand. Most recently, he developed a patty of Deep Fried Gravy, which he puts on his new “faux poutine” burger — which joins with other inimitable creations, such as Country Fried Bacon, Chili Bombs, and the Hell on Earth burger (with hot sauce and fried jalapeños).
National Corndog Day coincides with the Saturday of the final 32 teams in NCAA basketball tournament, and has been described as the happiest confluence of basketball and meats on sticks that you'll ever have. It’s the only day all year that one can watch a quadruple-header of college basketball games from start to finish without having to change the channel. Therefore, to celebrate the excitement of the college basketball tournament, and have fun with friends, many people eat corn dogs. There’s much more information at www.corndogday.com, and, of course, at www.wienerandstillchampion.com