630 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
South Street has some very hit-or-miss food spots. Although, in general, South Street is better left to teenagers and frat boys at night, there are a couple of diamonds in the rough. I think everyone has their own nostalgic look back at how South Street "used to be," but in reality it is about the same as it ever was. Anyway, Hot Diggity has been open for quite a bit, but unfortunately I had not yet ventured there. However! To my credit, I once tried around midnight (they close at eleven).
The whole store is decorated with art work by the amazingly talented Hawk Krall, and I wish I could buy every single thing he has done.
They also have an amazing section of gourmet sodas.
Basically you come in, order at the counter and wait for them to bring out your food. The fries are not to be missed, especially because they have eighteen dipping sauces.
I went with this month's "monthly special," the Swedish Dog, as well as the Philly Surf & Turf. The Swedish Dog came with an Ikea pamphlet instructing you how to put it together (they do that part for you) and eat it. It was amazing.
This hot dog was phenomenal. It starts (as do all of their dogs) with a Sabretts dog, on a Liscio's roll and comes with Bibb lettuce, a lemon vinaigrette, tarragon rock shrimp salad, dill, salmon roe, and crispy potato sticks. The varying textures, flavors, and tastes made for a complete package that was far and away greater than the sum of its parts. The lemon lightened everything up, while the shrimp salad boasted perfected poached shrimp with delicately applied tarragon flavor (which can quickly get overpowering). I also loved that they used roe on there to give it a briny pop every once in a while. This was an awesome special, and I would not hate them leaving this one on the board indefinitely. And just look at those colors.
In between bites of deliciously crafted dog, I got into some fries. These fries were a bit thicker than I usually prefer (of the Belgian frite variety), but they were well cooked and actually quite good. For dipping sauces, I can't recommend the HD (Hot Diggity) sauce enough. It was a bit spicy and had a smack of ginger. I would get two of them next time. The chipotle malt vinegar and the garlic and herb aioli were not bad, they just couldn't hang with the HD (see orange sauce below).
Finally, I had to get to the Philly Surf & Turf. This dog is a nod to the old school dogs that used to be served around the city, and still are, in some places. Hot Diggity, instead of smashing a fish cake in with the dog, wraps it in fish, breads it and fries the whole lot. They top it with traditional pepper hash and spicy mustard. This one is another winner. I absolutely loved the crunchy fish cake wrapped around the dog; the cool hash (it is not spicy), mixed with spicy brown mustard was like a delicious trip back in time.
Hot Diggity is – without a doubt – one of the best, if not THE BEST hot dog spot in the city. I will be back shortly to try most everything on the menu. I only WISH they were open later, so that I could balance out beers on South Street with some tasty hot dogs. On second thought, I would probably eat far too many of these and/or hang out on South Street more often if that were the case, so maybe it's for the best.