Los Perros de Danilo, Pereira, Colombia
My first memory of solid food is kimchi with rice and sheets of seaweed that my mom cooked over an electric burner. She'd take a sheet, brush both sides with oil, then salt one side, flip it, and salt the other. Every evening my family destroyed the tower of seaweed sheets till all that was left were tiny flakes and a few grains of salt.
The meal was a war of flavors and textures. Salty and crispy. Pungent and crunchy. Sweet and sticky. So, of course, my 4-year-old self was not into a wiener wrapped in a hot dog bun. It weirded me out. It was bland on bland. I didn't like ketchup, undecided about yellow mustard, and unimpressed by the bun.
Now it’s a totally different story – I’m always down to grub on hot dogs covered with a whole mess of toppings from a street vendor or hit up Altstadt Bierhalle & Brathaus (a RAH happy hour fave spot) for a brühwurst with a sampling of mustards.
So when Hector asked if I wanted to try perro caliente, the Colombian hot dog, I was like HELLZ YEAH I do. We headed straight to the best – Los Perros de Danilo. Story goes that it started as a corner hot dog stand. When it got so popular that the massive lines were causing traffic problems, the owner was told to move into a permanent spot down from the corner.
The perro caliente is a crazy combo of way too much sweetness mixed with the right amount of crunch drowin’ two steamed hot dogs in a bun. Danilo’s doesn’t hold back on the toppings – mayo, ketchup, pink sauce (what the what?!), mustard, raspberry sauce, crushed potato chips, pineapple sauce, cheese, and quail eggs. How the basic hot dog bun holds it all together is a mystery!
I skipped the cheese but accepted the challenge of the hot mess. I still don’t like ketchup but if I eliminate too many toppings, would I really be experiencing a perro caliente? One bite down and I was overwhelmed by the sweetness. Second bite in, and I was like ok… this is really happening, WHAT THE FUCK is going on in my mouth? Then it was on! I didn’t stop till I finished the entire hot dog. My belly ached, I still wasn’t sure about the pink sauce, ketchup, and mayo but I loved it. The crushed potato chips were so on point. Is it wrong that I now wanna top everything I eat with crushed potato chips? Totally ghetto or totally chévere?