— Laurence J. Peter
Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co.
My friend Russ Salazar and I were continuing our quest for the best, or at least different, hot dog and ended up at Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co. at 4355 Town Center Blvd., Suite 114, in El Dorado Hills. I had intended for our visit to be just another of my “wanderings,” but it soon expanded into a whole story.
They have a large menu on the wall that includes just about anything in the way of a hot dog you might want, with a selection of different, high quality sausages. And, if it isn’t on the list, they have a BYOD, “Build Your Own Dog,” category.
We looked at the list and discussed unique dogs, such as the Montecrisdog, with a battered turkey frank, apple wood smoked bacon, melted Monterey jack and blackberry jam, all dusted with powered sugar and the “Dog of the Day,” “The Guido” — a Polish sausage with shaved pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and German mustard on a dark rye bun.
We decided to try two of the most popular dogs, the Chicago, with mustard, nuclear relish, tomato, onions, dill pickle spear, sport peppers and celery salt, all on a poppy seed bun and the Coney, with chili, mustard and onions. Russ asked them to leave off the cheese on the Coney, “You don’t mess with a chili dog,” he said.
We asked for them to be cut in two and made them both “a combo,” with a side and a drink. We opted for regular fries and onion rings as the sides.
While waiting for our dogs and sides, we talked with Olivia, the well-informed and delightful counter person, about the menu, the non-dogs, the appetizers and more.
When she brought our dogs they were beautiful and delicious. The Chicago had real fluorescent relish and sport peppers from Chicago and the chili on the Coney was great, as were the sides. The buns are custom baked for them by Sacramento Baking Co. and are sliced along the top, like they do on the east coast, so the dog doesn’t slide out.
While we were finishing, Charles Knight, one of the two brothers who are both experienced chefs and owners of the place, came over to talk with us. He mentioned that they will be adding some new dogs to the menu, made with the restaurant’s own sausages, including the Mia Sorella, the Bangkok, the Coyote, the Bollywood and the Marley. He then brought us the Bangkok to sample. It has a chicken sausage made with red Thai curry, coconut milk, lime and cilantro and is topped with a spicy sweet chili aioli and cool Asian citrus slaw. It was very different, not as filling as regular hot dog and full of interesting and delicious flavors.
Then he told us about the “Big Bad Braut” a 36-inch house-made bratwurst, which comes in a custom baked 30-inch bun. You pick two toppings and then try to eat it in 30 minutes. He showed us one of the sausages and it was impressive. I’m not going to try it.
Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co., has lots of great dogs, classic to cutting edge, interesting sides, beer and wine and a laid back environment. Since all the dogs are made to order in the kitchen and the place often gets busy, you might consider calling in your order before you arrive.
Hours are from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily. Stop by and check them out. And, ask them about catering both at their place and your place. For more information call 916-941-DOGS (3647).