The hamburger is the constant center of attention, what with all those restaurants, festivals, and food battles dedicated to its existence. Hell, it's like it can't help but be the spectacle of the culinary universe. (Witness the Cinnaburger for further evidence). What about the hot dog? Won't somebody please think of the hot dog?
Sef Gonzalez (aka Burger Beast) and his burger-loving crew are looking to balance the scales with the first Hot Dog Fest on Sunday afternoon in downtown Hollywood.
"There's all of these burger festivals and we hadn't seen a hot dog festival yet," Gonzalez said.
Falling as it does on July 1, the Burger Beast/Food Truck Invasion-sponsored event is a de facto kickoff to National Hot Dog Month. According to the National Hog Dog and Sausage Council's "vital" hot dog statistics, Americans will consume about 7 billion hot dogs during "hot dog season" between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Sunday's family-friendly gathering will feature 36 food trucks, some of which will be serving an all-hot-dog menu for the day, Gonzalez said. Other trucks will serve special dogs in addition to regular (non-dog) menu items. All manner of styles will be represented, from a Philly dog from OverLoad Extreme Street Food, to a Polynesian dog from Mobile Culinary Kitchen, and a Tokyo dog from Killer Pasta. Classics like a Chicago-style dog and ballpark franks don't appear on the event's "special" menu listed on the website, but Gonzalez said they will be available as part of participating trucks' existing menus. A half-dozen sweet-centric trucks will serve dessert.
A hot-dog-eating contest kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Whoever can eat the most dogs (and buns) in ten minutes gets the grand prize of a National Deli barbecue kit including a Weber One-Touch grill, a case of National Deli premium beef franks, four bottles of National Deli mustard, and two National Deli aprons. Contestants must be 18 years or older to participate and you'll need to sign up at the event's information booth by 1:30 p.m. There's a max of six contestants, and if you're interested in securing a spot, Gonzalez recommends filling out the online form (here) and making a compelling case for your inclusion.
The Craft Brewjas -- "wicked women who love beer" -- will make a rare journey north of the Miami-Dade County line to serve craft beers from Brown Distributing, like Magic Hat #9, Blue Point's Toasted Lager, Avery's White Rascal, and Shipyard's Summer Ale. Entertainment comes by way of '80s cover band Mad World Orchestra and frequent food truck rally DJs Pinchadiscos.
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There's no admission charge for the fest -- which runs noon to 5 p.m. -- but bring cash for the trucks and beer. The action takes place in Arts Park in Young Circle in downtown Hollywood where the weekly Monday night Food Truck Invasion sets up camp.
"The City of Hollywood has always been good to us," Gonzalez said.