Whole30: Chicago Cravings

So maybe you’ve read in the last few posts I went to Chicago last weekend. Sorry, I’ll try to stop talking about it after this post, but it was my first time there – and I loved every second of it. I went up to meet the boy who was on a ten day business trip over the weekend. You’d be surprised at how much you can fit into a day and a half when necessary. We had an amazing Italian dinner at Volare, window shopped in stores we could never afford on the Magnificent Mile, saw the awesomeness that is Eataly, took a river architecture tour, hung out with a tin-man mime, had stuffed pizza at Giordano’s, drinks at the top of Hancock Building and schmoozed with trendy locals at Drumbar. Whew! Do you see a theme here? We like to eat and drink.


Of course there is one Chicago staple I couldn’t leave without sampling: The Chicago-Style Hot Dog. These have been a favorite of Jeanie’s since she was little, she even threw a get together where she had all of the ingredients on hand for us to create our own. Quite honestly, I may have built one that way, but I may also have just stuck with my ol’ standby – raw diced onions and mustard. This is quite possible, as I don’t do well with change – but as they say, “When in Chicago…” We stopped at Downtown Dogs on Rush Street, grabbed a table on the sidewalk, and before I knew it this was in front of me and annihilated pretty quickly:


Isn’t she looooovely? Isn’t she wonderf- THAT, my friends, was a damn good hot dog. As I was trying to keep all the toppings in the bun, I says to myself: “Self, this is like a hot dog with a salad on top. Can’t you make this at home without bread and enjoy it on your diet next week.” Yes, self, I can – and I did! I had to fly home Sunday while the boy stayed in Chicago for the last 4 days of his training session, but once I hit ground in Virginia I headed straight to Wegman’s to pick up Whole30 compliant foods for the week ahead. The items needed to recreate the Chicago Dog were hunted and gathered, and I may have taken a little creative license with some of the ingredients:

Traditional Ingredients:

  • Poppy Seed Bun
  • Beef Hot Dog
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Sweet Green Pickle Relish
  • Chopped Onion
  • Tomato Wedges
  • Dill Pickle Spear
  • Sport Peppers
  • Celery Salt

Whole3o Ingredients:

  • Lettuce (sprinkled w/ poppy seeds!)
  • Applegate Beef Hot Dog
  • Organic Spicy Brown Mustard
  • (_______)
  • Chopped Onion
  • Tomato Wedges
  • Grillo’s HOT Dill Pickle Spear
  • Dorothy’s really stupid pepper pick
  • Celery Salt


I picked up some lettuce for the “bun,” this is not traditionally a Chicago Dog element, but for our purposes, it bulks up the dish a bit. All the other ingredients seemed to fit the bill. I skipped out on the sweet relish, as sugar/honey/green food coloring and other elements I came across are banned on the Whole30. I suppose I could have worked up some sort of replacement, but with all this good stuff, I wasn’t that worried about it. If I have offended any Chicago natives by leaving it out, I deeply apologize, I assure you that was not the result which was intended. Also, if you don’t really know your peppers that well … ask someone. :/ I opted for a fresh pepper rather than pickled and was sorely mistaken in my selection. I ate it though. Because I am stubborn and have way too much pride to admit this was the wrong choice. Consider it me passing on a lesson to you. Really all I had to do was whip out the grill pan for the dogs, and chop/assemble the other ingredients while they were charring a bit. The result? A taste of Chicago – and absolutely no guilt.


What’s your favorite food you’ve had while travelling, and have you been able to Whole30-ize it?? Please share if so – I think we’d all love to pump it up a bit!

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Book hoarder. Red lipstick aficionado. Compulsive shopper. Crazy cat lady. Adores alliteration; couldn't give a @$%& about an Oxford Comma.

Comments 2

  1. andreaquist@msn.com'

    OMG, that looks so good! I’m an hour from Chicago, and have to agree, the hotdogs are WONDERFUL! We used to have a street vendor outside our office building selling Chicago style hotdogs, and I miss him dearly. :) Will have to try the Whole 30 version you posted.

    1. Post

      How is he gonna go and disappear on you like that?? How rude. :) definitely give it a try, it was a big hit. Don’t forget the poppy seeds!!

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