Teacher Appreciation Luncheon ~ Baseball Theme! Home Run!

root beer float
teacher appreciation luncheon invitation

Take me out to the ball game! We all have our favorite days in the school year – mine, Graduation Day and the Annual Teacher & Staff Appreciation Day. Each year the generous, creative parents of children at Rolling Hills Country Day School transform our auditorium into a delightful oasis in the middle of the workday.

A couple weeks before the event we were thrilled to receive an “admission ticket” to a DAY AT THE PARK accompanied by a box of Cracker Jack – a baseball-themed luncheon, and we were invited to wear our favorite team jersey. How fun! And while we know the general theme of the event, the decor and menu will be a surprise until we walk through the auditorium doors. We’re always dazzled and amazed when we enter the room!

The attention to detail is what impresses me most. This year featured charming picnic tables with astro turf runners with giant baseball vases and handcrafted daffodil arrangements. Four “Olde Fashioned Stations” were set up around the room – Party Favors, Root Beer Floats, Ball Park Candy & Cupcake, Popcorn. Fresh popped corn was offered with assorted toppings – truffle salt was by far the most popular. Several moms baked specialty cookies, which were made into ice cream sandwiches, a hot seller! The buffet table featured a bounty of picinic-style sandwiches, salads, and sides. Last but not least, one dad was the pretzel & peanut vendor, how adorable is that??

While some parents graciously serve the food and set the tables at the luncheon, other parents are in the classrooms with the children so teachers may have an extended lunch period to relax and enjoy the fabulous meal. We are so very fortunate to work at an outstanding school with such a dedicated parent population.

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What makes a classic Chicago-style Hot Dog?

chicago hot dog, classic chicago hot dog, hot dog, chicago-style hot dog
Classic Chicago-Style Hot Dog

A Hot Dog – preferably Vienna Beef, simmered in water (never boiled) until nice and hot
A Steamed Poppy Seed Bun – warm and soft
Yellow Mustard – not Dijon, not brown
Neon Green Relish – do not be afraid of the color, it’s classic
Diced Onion – sprinkle onion along the length of the dog
Sport Peppers – medium-hot, two peppers are the standard
Fresh Tomato – fit two half-wheels between the bun and the dog, skin-side out
Kosher Pickle Spear – crunchy and mild, not too thick, about the same length as the dog
A Dash of Celery Salt – without this final condiment, it would not be a Chicago Hot Dog!

Ordered like this: “I’ll have a Chicago Dog with the works.”

Wrapped up in a sheet of waxed paper. Eaten while standing at a counter. With fries.

By the way, any Chicagoan over 18 will tell you that putting ketchup on a Chicago hot dog is completely unacceptable. Save the ketchup for the fries. This fine specimen pictured above with their popular hand-cut fries is from Man-Jo-Vin’s on Damen near Belmont.

chicago skyline

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Polish Sausage Chicago Style

Polish Sausage with the Works at Hot Doug’s


“There are no two finer words in the English language than,
‘encased meats,’ my friend.”
-Secret Robbie

Everyone’s got their favorite dog. People who rarely eat hot dogs will cheerfully order up when in Chicago. When I’m in town, my all-time favorite remains the one I’ve been eating for decades: The Chicago Style Polish Sausage with the Works. It is a hickory-smoked mildly spicy beef sausage with all the condiments. Even as a kid, I chose the polish over the hot dog on our regular trips to Fluky’s, another famous hot dog stand that’s been around since 1929. These days, no one does encased meats better than Doug Sohn, owner of Hot Doug’s.
Pictured above is: The Elvis
Polish Sausage: Smoked and Savory – just like the King.
$2.50
The polish, served in a steamed poppy seed bun and dressed with all the traditional Chicago-style condiments:
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Bright Green Sweet Relish (also called Piccalilli)
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickle
  • Celery Salt
  • Sport Peppers (optional)

Doug is my hero. In addition to the excellent standard fare, he also offers duck fat fries (only on weekends) and gourmet sausages including Game of the Week, this particular week: Merlot and Blueberry Venison Sausage with Pomegranate-Blueberry Mustard Cream and Finnish Lappi Cheese, oh my!
And other specials such as the one pictured above which I enjoyed on my last visit:
The Celebrity Sausage
Robert Goulet
Uber Garlic Pork Sausage
Chipotle Dijonnaise
Menage Cheese
Roasted Garlic Cloves
$7.00

My nephew, Stone, prefers his hot dog with ketchup only.
How do you like yours?

The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium
3324 N. California Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
Phone (773) 279-9550
Hours 10:30 AM – 4 PM
Stone and I recommend that when you visit Chicago, don’t miss out on a trip to Hot Doug’s for lunch, and be prepared to wait for your excellent encased meat, as the line is usually out the door!