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College Football Playoff, Top Dog edition

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We're probably out of the playoff, but that gives us a chance to talk about the real action.  Give me your Top Dog playoff rankings.

Avinash Kunnath:

Four in

1. Calabrese. Always solid, always strong, goes great with relish and everything. Plus, "Cal"abrese.

2. Hot Link. Solid option, plus as spicy as you can get with these sausages. Goes down right at the perfect time, and goes down right at other times.

3. Chicken Apple. Get older, get healthier. This is the best option on the menu once cholesterol-checking becomes part of your daily diet.

4. Bratwurst. I went to Austria once and I think this is similar to what it tasted like. Then again, you can order beer in Austria, which is Top Dog's fatal flaw.

First two out.

5. Kielbasa. You know what's better than one type of meat? Two types of meat!

6. Bockworst. It's just so random and so Berkeley.

Ruey Yen:

Four in

1. Top Dog - It might not be the most interesting offering at Top Dog, but this one is listed first. Plenty of Top Dog novice will order this one. This is the Alabama of the Top Dog sausages. They may make the top 4 even with one or two loss.

2. Chicken Apple - A solid choice but a bit overrated due to playing in the weaker but popular conference of "healthier" choices AKA the Big Ten. Urban Meyer's heart is okay with him eating the Chicken Apple but not the greasier Florida-equivalent sausage.

3. Hot Link - This is my personal favorite, but it's not for everyone. Some people might claim that the spiciness overpowers other taste. I would say this is akin to the Oregon where the Ducks are rather flashy but still not be accepted as really good by everyone. Only because the playoff has been expanded to 4 teams does the Hot Link makes this list.

4. German Frankfurter - Top of the menu bias is strong for this sausage which include in its name a reference to the country known for sausages. German Frankfurter is great at recruiting flavors from both pork and beef.

Just missed out

5. Cal-abrese thought they were going to the Rose Bowl, but German Frankfurter is better at lobbying for votes in the final poll. Calabrese has a hot ingredient that may wind up doing great things at the next level, but most people are just too lazy to read to the middle of menu.


1. Top Dog - Everyone orders it. Solid, no weaknesses.

2. Bockwurst- totally underrated, and yet when I get other people to order it, they are quickly converted. The veal+milk isn't very Berkeley friendly, but I think it's the tastiest and it's my usual order. (2 bocks, one done with onions and russian mustard, one done with kraut and stone ground mustard. Almost the same order for 22 years).

3. Garlic - Who doesn't like garlic? Vampires and other evil doers, that's who. This dog is buried on the menu, and yet really nice snap and garlic flavor which isn't overpowering.

4. Kielbasa - It was down to this and the bratwurst for me. I think brats are too associated with Wisconsin, so I've gone with the kiel here.

Underrated secret menu - asking them to cut the dog open and grill the inside

boomtho: I'm definitely the wrong person to answer this question since I don't eat beef or pork, but here are my top 4:
1) Mango chicken: spicy, smoky, sweet. This is freaking fantastic dog.
2) Chicken apple: Solid but not remarkable. Nice hint of sweetness but I find it a little bland
3. Veggie: surprisingly good for a veggie dog, almost tastes like a veggie burger
4) Lemon chicken: meh

For all, my toppings of choice are spicy mustard, a little bit of ketchup, onions, a tiny bit of relish, and a few jalapenos.

For completeness, I asked my roommates for their top 4:
1) KIELBASA! (they said it in all caps)
2) Hot link
3) Calabrese
4) Chicken apple

So what’s the anatomy of a Top Dog. You serve a quality product in 13 varieties, but what’s the magic in it? And what’s good with that bun?

The bun is a big part of the success man. The thing that we shoot for with the bun is finding a bun that is light enough so that it doesn’t overshadow the dog, so your teeth can sink into it but you don’t have to chew the bun. You don’t want to spend most of your time chewing the bun. So instead of sourdough, we use a French Roll, which is much softer and will almost melt in your mouth.

You want to get it so that when you toast it up, it’s light and toasty on the outside, but soft on the inside, so we use sesame seeds on the exterior to allow the top to toast without burning all the way through. The sesame seeds absorb some of the heat from the toasting process.


1. Hot link
2. Garlic
3. classic top dog
4. Calabrese

Just missed the cut: Kielbasa