I’m pretty into hotdogs, and I’ve got to be honest—I don’t discriminate. If I have a craving I’ll enjoy a snappy Kosher all beef dog topped with rare and exotic delights just as much as a 7-Eleven Big Bite.

I probably shouldn’t admit to that on the internet. Too late, moving on.

So, being that I am a lover of all things hotdog, I jumped an an opportunity to rep Geekadelphia in the 3rd Annual Hot Diggity! Dog Days of Summer Amateur Cook-Off. Alright, “jumped” is an exaggeration. The truth is I had about three days notice and am generally a very planned person so I could not for the life of me figure out a good idea for Philadelphia-themed toppings. My original plan was extremely conceptual and involved a homage to the Academy of Natural Sciences, but I couldn’t quite finalize it.

That’s when Mary stepped in.

Mary Brickthrower is a fellow Geekadelphian, food nerd, and blogger over on Fare Game. And her hotdog topping concept spoke directly to my heart. An Italian hoagie dog. Super Mario’s Italian Hoagie Dog to be exact (gotta keep with that geek theme).

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Guys,  I know I said I’m into hotdogs, but I’m really into Italian hoagies. Since I moved to Philly in 2006, they have been my favorite treat yo’self carbtastrophy. Wawa, Primo, Koch’s—everything. So when Mikey proposed we team up, clearly I was down.

The components

Mary took the reins in regards to meat, cheese, and our glorious Geekadelphia Dressing Jawn. Head on over to Fare Game for her chunk of the hotdog topping process.

I was in charge of veggies, which I was super excited about. I love nothing more than a hotdog topped with something bright that gives it some crunch and adds a touch of coldness. After some deliberation I decided to use shredded iceberg lettuce and julienned hot and sweet peppers to create something with feel of a slaw. Instead of a mayo-based dressing we doused it in some Geekadelphia’s Dressing Jawn—a red wine vinegar spiked Dietz and Watson dressing—and topped it all off with some organic cherry tomato slices.

I snagged the tomatoes from my friendly neighborhood co-op, Mariposa, and the marinated peppers from Kaufman’s Lancaster Country Produce in the Reading Terminal. Mary grabbed the lettuce from Iovine Bros, also in the Terminal.

We won for “Most Comforting”, which makes sense because I’m pretty sure combining backyard BBQ paper plate childhood favorites with Italian-American grub is the definition of comfort food.

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I cannot wait to do this again next year with more notice. It was a total blast.