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Best Hot Dog 

Steve's Hot Dogs on the Hill

Fans of local music got to know Steve Ewing during the 1990s as the kinetic frontman for the Urge, a band whose hyper amalgam of punk and ska found an audience at home and abroad. Ewing has long since traded his dreadlocks for a clean-shaven head, and in the past few years he has focused on building the perfect hot dog. His operation was formerly an on-the-street operation, popping up after concerts and public gatherings, but this year Ewing hung his shingle on the Hill and has turned the simple frankfurter into a multifaceted vehicle for flavor fusion. The menu at Steve's Hot Dogs can be divided (with all due apology to Claude Lévi-Strauss) into the grilled and the smoked. The former is embodied by Nathan's hot dogs, the latter by more exotic sausage fare — chorizo, andouille, salsiccia — all combine to provide a multifarious gustatory tour of cased meats. Once that base is laid down, anything goes for toppings: the "Gorilla Mac & Cheese Dog" adds everyone's favorite comfort food alongside bacon and fried onions; the "Aye Chihuahua" pairs chorizo with avocado, jalapeños and chipotle-spiked onions. Ewing hasn't retired his microphone just yet — he performs under his own name, and the Urge has been playing out and recording more regularly — but he has found a delicious way to pass time between gigs. And hot-dog hounds are the better for it.

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