It started out, like so many other good things, as a bet. Silo chef Michael Walters, when challenged to come up with a promotion for the 2014 World Cup, proposed the idea of creating a hot dog for every single country's team.
Walters has kept up. Any time a World Cup game is on, the Mount Vernon Triangle restaurant has a hot dog for the teams playing at that time, topped using ingredients popular in that country. That means pâté for France, pickled fish for the Netherlands, grilled octopus for Spain, pico de gallo for Mexico, seaweed and wasabi for Japan, and fried plantains for Cameroon. Each comes with fries, and at $5, is a great game-time bargain.
"I do research to see what foods are most indigenous and what they eat the most in those countries," Walters said. "I go on Wikipedia ... I get in depth with it."
It's yielded some surprisingly good combinations. Walters says that guests were a big fan of his Croatian dog, which was topped with a beef and potato goulash. The Greek hot dog, with red onion, feta and black olives, was another winner.
For Friday's noon match, Italy vs. Costa Rica, the hot dogs mirrored the game's results: The Costa Rican dog, with refried beans and chimichurri, bested the Italian dog, topped with mozzarella, pizziaola sauce and olives.
As for the American dog, Walters, who is cheering for the United States, has been switching it up. For Sunday's game against Portugal, he says it will either be topped with bacon and eggs or chili and cheese. You can check Silo's Twitter for upcoming dogs.
Silo, 919 5th St. NW. 202-290-2233. www.silodc.com.