World Record Weiner
By Mary Nares
May 31, 2012 in Sacramento, a Guinness World Records attempt succeeded.
No one jumped higher, swam farther, or sang longer… no one even had the most, ate the most, or did the most.
No, on Thursday, someone paid the most. $145.49 (plus tax) for a hot dog. Really.
Yes, the official Guinness World Record for the Most Expensive Hotdog has been reclaimed from the foreign hands of the Canadians, who ripped it from the (almost) foreign hands of New Yawk City.
The festivities were raucous, and the smell of hotdogs and fries emanating from the modest restaurant on 20th Street was tantalizing. Dozens of friends, well-wishers, random customers, and press representatives crowded the miniscule eatery.
The event was a fundraiser also: one third of the purchase price of each prizewinning dog will be donated to the Shriner's Hospital for Children.
Mike , owner of Capital Dawg, has been planning the event for several months.
He is a serious foodie, and has been purveying his superior collection of “dawgs” for over four years. The menu has always featured a great variety of sausages, sandwiches, toppings, and styles, including corn dogs, veggie dogs, Polish sausage, and hot links. The fanciful names include nods to the governmental flavor of Sacramento, local neighborhoods and landmarks, sports teams, and regional styles from all over the country (Brown is from Chicago).
Two of the most popular dawgs are named after local bands: the Tesla Dawg and the Deftones Dawg. And it was Brian Wheat, bass player for Tesla, Sacramento’s most successful band, who actually set the record yesterday.
Wheat and Brown have been friends for many years, and together they traveled to Sweden to purchase the moose-milk cheese which made the California Capitol City Dawg the Guinness prize winner. At $500 per pound, the cheese might just be the world’s most expensive (are you listening, Guinness people?).
Wheat said that the trip to the Arctic Circle in pursuit of the cheese was the most unusual trip he has taken, even after years of touring the world with his band. “It was all frozen tundra,” he said of the part of Sweden where the cheese producing family live with their milk moose. “We got to meet the moose, pet the moose,” added Wheat. “The people were great, very welcoming.”
Only one place in the world produces this cheese, and it is generally sold only to restaurants in Sweden. Brown and Wheat split their bounty of seven pounds of cheese between their suitcases, so in case of customs trouble, at least some of their cheese would make it through. Regulations on cheese importing are very interesting; while ‘hard’ cheeses such as Parmesan and Cheddar are generally acceptable, there are some restrictions on ‘soft’ cheeses, including Brie and Feta.
Nowhere in the regulations is semi-soft moose cheese mentioned. Apparently the customs officials were not inclined to argue, and the precious cheese arrived safely in Sacramento.
The Guinness World Records protocol is stringent; an attempt must be verified and documented. One of the easiest ways to do this is by requesting (and paying for) the services of an official Guinness World Records Adjudicator, which is the route Brown chose.
Without the adjudicator, Brown would have to send substantial documentation to Guinness in England and then wait perhaps weeks for a decision.
Michael Empric, a personable young man from Queens, New York flew into Sacramento to officiate at the world record attempt. Dressed in the required blue blazer, yellow tie, and conservative white shirt, Empric was undeterred by the heat. “I was in Brownsville, Texas yesterday,” adjudicating the World’s Largest Fishing Tournament and it was 95 there,” he said.
The requirements for the award of the record were that the hot dog had to be a menu item, and that a customer had to order and pay for the item, and then be served the item as it was described on the menu.
The award-winning dawg was described as “#31 California Capitol City Dawg (Triple C, Our own world record style) specially made 18" 1/4 lb. premium all beef frank in natural casing from RED HOT CHICAGO, French whole grain mustard from Meaux, garlic & herb mayo, sauteed shallots, mixed baby greens, applewood and cherrywood smoked (all natural & uncured) bacon, Swedish moose cheese, chopped tomato, sweetened dried cranberries, peppercorn, white truffle butter (spread & grilled) on a specially made herb & focaccia roll baked by OLD SOUL CO..........$145.49 “
Wheat stepped up to the counter and gave his order for item #31 to Courtney Brown. And he said, “Make it a combo,” adding fries and a drink to the order. “I’m pretty hungry.”
After the transaction—Wheat paid in cash—Brown led reporters into the kitchen where he lovingly described each step as he prepared the costly dog. It was beautiful, it smelled divine, and the ingredients were fresh and intriguing.
As the dawg was served, Empric declared the success of the attempt and presented Brown with the official Guinness World Record certificate. To cheers and applause, Brown opened a bottle of champagne and served it up to all after an initial celebratory toast with Empric and Wheat.
Robert Abelon, representing state Assemblyman Richard Pan of the 5th Assembly District, and Daniel Conway of the California Restaurant Association handed Brown a framed Assembly resolution in recognition of Capitol Dawg's achievement.
There was no requirement that the customer had to actually consume the item; however Wheat took a healthy bite as Brown helped him support the behemoth sandwich. He pronounced it to be very tasty.
The dawg was then returned to the kitchen and divided into tiny tastes for any guest who wished to try it. A new sign was tacked up to the outer wall of the restaurant declaring Capitol Dawg to be the home of a Guinness World Record prizewinner.
The former high-ticket item on the menu was the #28 “Railyard Dawg”, a 14” monster containing a total of four bacon-wrapped, deep-fried dawgs festooned with chili, pastrami, and four kinds of cheese. It sells for $21.99. Other menu items range from $2.59 to $8.59.
The #31 CCC Dawg will remain on the menu for a limited time only, and a 72 hour advance notice will be required for orders as of June 4. Several people had already placed advance orders by the time of the official record-setting attempt.
Of course, with fries and a soda, it came to $161.38 including tax. But who’s counting?
Photos by Kati Garner