04 June 2008

Tony Packo's

During a business trip detour to Toledo, Ohio, I was told by many that I had to try Tony Packo's. But there was one diner's suggestion that had been rattling around in the back of my head for decades: that of native son Jamie Farr, a.k.a. Cpl. Klinger on M*A*S*H. In one episode he said, "If you're ever in Toledo, Ohio, on the Hungarian side of town, Tony Packo's got the greatest Hungarian hot dogs. Thirty-five cents..." The restaurant was mentioned several more times over the course of the series. When I was a kid Dad and I used to stay up late watching this show, and after I told him about visiting the restaurant he dug up the local product info (more on that in a bit).

A Tony Packo's hot dog is not what you're thinking exactly. It's a Hungarian sausage called kolbász, close in appearance and similar in flavor to Polish kielbasa. For a standard dog, one of these is split longways, put on a bun that's been dosed with yellow mustard, topped with chopped onions and the house chili. There are a variety of side dishes, but I had mine with their chili mac, basically spätzle topped with more chili and a handful of shredded cheese. The hot dog was delicious, the chili mac was filling, but my favorite part was the complimentary dish of pickles.

It seems like a ridiculously simple idea, but putting sliced cucumbers and banana peppers together in the same brine is genius. When I got home I picked up a jar at our local Fresh Market. Many varieties are available online but locally you've got original (pictured, fairly hot), bread & butter, and sweet. It's hard to describe how the flavors intermingle but if you love pickles and banana peppers then this is heaven in a jar.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The dogs are not topped with chili, they are topped with a store-secret coney sauce, which is different and has no beans