Ice Cream and Hot Dogs, This is the Month

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It’s July 1st and the eleventh day of the summer! It’s Friday! Hope everyone has a fun-filled holiday weekend planned ahead of them – whether you’ll be grilling, partying, or just relaxing under the sun or chilling under the shade. Well, there’s at least two more items to add to your festivities… July is National Ice Cream Month and also National Hot Dog Month!

From the International Dairy Food Association:

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by a full 90% of the nation’s population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

This year, National Ice Cream Day falls on Sunday July 17th. So, take out that ice cream maker and whip up your favorite homemade ice cream creation or discover a new experimental flavor. Or, stop by one of your favorite ice cream/froyo/dessert shops and grab a treat. As always, enjoy in moderation and choose your flavors and toppings wisely.

Here’s a few nice ice cream spots in NYC.
The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory serves up a variety of Asian inspired ice cream flavors like lychee, black sesame, red bean, taro, green tea, almond cookie, as well as fun flavors like avocado, wasabi, and peanut butter and jelly. For the lactose-intolerant, vegan, or anyone craving a dairy-free alternative, check out Stogo and try one of their organic, all natural, coconut based, hemp based, or soy based ice creams. For ice cream trucks, there’s Big Gay Ice Cream Truck and their take on the traditional soft-serve ice cream with the additional of innovative toppings (try the Salty Pimp) Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck and their artisan, high quality ice cream (try creamy Vanilla, made with vanilla beans aged in vodka), or stop by good old Mister Softee for the childhood soft-serve ice cream cone. Not in the mood for an ice cream cone, check out the Coolhaus Truck and enjoy unique, creative ice cream sandwiches packaged in an edible wrapper (made from potato and soy ink).

Apparently there’s also a Nike Sportswear Ice Cream Truck roaming around New York City, from June 24th to August 20th, with exclusive shoe releases, tees, stickers, shoelaces and ice cream!

From the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council:

The summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day continue to make up the “hot dog season.” Hot dog producers estimate that an average of 38 percent or $614 million of the total number of hot dogs are sold during this time. Ten percent of annual retail hot dog sales occur during July, which is designated as National Hot Dog Month.

Also, July 23 is National Hot Dog Day. The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council website shares many interesting hot dog statistics and fun facts.

  • According to sales data for 2010, New Yorkers spent more money on hot dogs in retail stores ($105 million) than any other market in the country.
  • Los Angeles residents consume more hot dogs than any other city, beating out New York and San Antonio/Corpus Christi, Texas.
  • Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport consumes SIX times more hot dogs, 725,000 more than Los Angeles International Airport and LaGuardia Airport combined.
  • On Independence Day, Americans will enjoy 150 million hot dogs, enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. over five times.
  • During Hot Dog Season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs or 818 hot dogs consumed every second during that period.

What’s your favorite hot dog? Usually I like it simple, with just mustard and relish. But occasionally, I like to enjoy fun hot dog creations or one of the many regional variations. Like the New York hot dog – an all-beef frank wrapped topped with spicy brown mustard, sauerkraut, and onions. Or a Chicago style hot dog – a steamed all-beef hot dog served on a steamed poppy seed bun, topped with chopped onions, tomatoes, a dill pickle spear and sweet pickle relish, yellow mustard, pickled sport peppers, and sprinkles of celery salt . Don’t forget the corndogs – hot dog sausage on a stick coated in cornmeal and then fried or baked. There’s also veggie dogs too, which are typically made with soy protein or tofu.

Here’s a few hot dog spots in NYC.
For an original, classic hot dog, there’s Nathan’s Famous, Coney Island, home of the famous hot dog eating contest. For a quick and cheap bite, Gray’s Papaya, known for their inexpensive high quality dogs, has the recession special – 2 franks and a drink for under $5.
For a fun, punk atmosphere, there’s Crif Dogs. Grab a beer and enjoy one of their hot dog creations like the good morning – hot dog bacon wrapped hot dog with melted cheese and a fried egg and the philly tubesteak – hot dog with melted cheese and sauteed onions. Bark Hot Dogs in Brooklyn serves up gourmet hot dogs like the Bark dog – hot dog topped with sweet pepper relish, mustard and onion and the Beans and Frank – baked heirloom beans, smoky pork, onion and mustard. I recently visited Asia Dog in Nolita and sampled one of their hot dogs with creative Asian inspired toppings. There’s a nice handful of fun toppings to pick from like the Sidney – Thai style relish with mango, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, crushed peanuts and fish sauce, or the Vinh – Banh mi style topping with pork (or veggie) pate, spicy aioli, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeno and cilanto, and the Ginny – kimchi and seaweed flakes, just to name a few.
If you have the patience to wait on the usually very long line, Shake Shack serves up mean Chicago-style hot dogs. Their Shack-cago dog features a Vienna all beef dog, on a poppy seed bun, topped with Rick’s Picks Shake Shack relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt and mustard. There’s also the Second City Bird Dog, which is a chicken sage sausage with the Shack-cago toppings.
The artisan pretzel shop Sigmund Pretzelshop also offers a pretzel dog – a Schaller and Weber all-beef dog served in a pretzel bun topped with housemade spiced kraut.

The lists can go on and on. What’s your favorite spots for ice cream and hot dogs? or do you prefer making them in the comfort of your own kitchen? (Ice cream makers are amazing! Too bad, mine is sitting in storage right now.) The possibilities are limitless with imaginative ice cream creations and assembling the perfect hot dog too. What about an ice cream hot dog? I want to try this. Cheers!

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