SF Chili Dogs and Root Beer Floats
So friends of ours have sent us a note that they plan to come to visit from overseas (Amsterdam) and one thing they totally crave (expatriate Americans) is Chili Dogs with a Root Beer Float.
So Chowhounds, what is the best SF venue to get the best of both?
I'm not sure "best" has its usual meaning in this context.
If they're from Chicago, Fleming's in Vacaville might be worth a detour.
Maybe Miller's East Coast?
How about Whiz Burger?
Miller's East Coast Deli
1725 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Flemings Chicago Style Deli
179 Elmira Rd Ste C, Vacaville, CA 95687
Whiz Burgers Drive-In
700 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
re: Robert Lauriston
Thanks Robert, I guess I wasn't being very specific.
I think best in terms of taste -- while a chili dog isn't in the realm of a curry or a perfect french sauce, there are elements that make one more special than another, I'd think. The quality of the chili (made onsite or forever bubbling on a hot plate), whether the dog is grilled or boiled (and a Farmer John 12-pack or artisan made), the quality of the bun (i.e. Safeway vs. Tartine-quality) -- and this is speaking from someone who would celebrate the 5 Chili Dogs for $3 at Weinerschnitzel as a teenager. :o)
Root beer floats same type of thing -- though with two ingredients it's not as difficult. Not necessarily looking for Humphrey Slocombe ice cream in micro-brew root beer (though if they had that I'd try it) but something more special than a chain's version.
If a chain is deemed to have the best, then certainly I'd be up for that and certainly he would be too -- just looking for a good way to satisfy his craving that he'd really enjoy. For me, that would be great flavor throughout.
I think the request was for the city. I did have a good classic chili dog in Vallejo at Sacs Tasty Dogs. Nothing trip-worthy, but they make their own chili, use Schwartz hot dogs (steamed) and have a nice bun. A little better than Caspar's. No floats though ... could go to Liled's for that.
However, in SF, Mel's and Max's might be ok, but they have been going downhill for years. They would be better maybe marginally than chains.
What about Mo's in North Beach ... one of those places I have had forever on my to-try list. They have Schwartz hot dogs, they make their own chili and they have root beer floats. Also there's that All American burger joint ambiance about it. Anyone had these items at Mo's?
While I'm not wild about the burgers, Holy Grill in SOMA might be a consideration. They do try to put out a better product. Anyone had the floats or chilidogs there?
Ok -- with that criteria I would suggest;
1) Go to Rosamunde and get a knockwurst (well-grilled) with chili and raw onions. While Rosamunde changed hands a few years ago they still sell very good sausages.
2) Try Mitchell's for your float. They are not on the the highest end of the bell curve like Bi-Rite or Humphrey Slocombe, but they offer the full range of soda fountain creations and make their own ice-cream. Tropical flavors a specialty.
Mitchell's Ice Cream
688 San Jose Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
Rosamunde Sausage Grill
545 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
+1 to the Mitchell's suggestion. Way more appropriate for an expat ith nostalgic yearnings.
Though I have not sampled it, I see that Joe's Cable Car has chilli dog on the menu, as well as a chilli burger. Joe's does a mean burger, and the camp decor might also suit the nostalgic mood. Their shakes are also highly recommended in an old-school kind of way.
Joe's Cable Car
4320 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112
If you're looking for a hot dog with snap topped with homemade chili, then head to Hot Dog City in downtown Santa Rosa. This place is very serious about quality. The root beer is Thomas Kemper on draft and served in a chilled mug. I don't know if ice cream is available for making a float. Here's my post on the chili dog.
Edited to add: Found an online menu, and root beer float is on there.
Hot Dog City has some sidewalk tables, so on a nice day, this is a cheap dining al fresco experience.
Hot Dog City
631 4th St Ste 1, Santa Rosa, CA 95404