Unpopular opinion: Seattle dog is still disgusting, shame on you
Just in case you didn’t get the message the first time — or any time Zak Burns has an opportunity to say it — the Seattle Dog is, and has always been, shameful.
“The Seattle Dog is the shame, the shame of this city,” Zak told KIRO Nights co-host Gee Scott. “It is the city’s black eye. And the fact people are calling it Seattle’s iconic dish – boo.”
Chicago has the deep dish pizza. Portland has bacon on a maple bar. Seattle has the Seattle Dog — for better or for worse. This dish is so controversial, it ranks among Seattle’s top five most cherished debates, along with: are Blue Angels are still relevant?; NIMBY vs YIMBY; Kshama Sawant; and “no, actually, I’m more Liberal than you are.”
The Seattle Dog has its roots in the 1980s when a bagel enthusiast created a quick bite for Pioneer Square’s late-night bar crowd. It wasn’t originally supposed to be a hot dog. Over time, the bagel and the sausage evolved into the Seattle Dog — cream cheese, grilled onions, and a hot dog. The flavor greatly appealed to a demographic of night owls who stumbled out of bars.
But it didn’t win over everyone, such as Zak Burns. A year ago, he wrote a column on MyNorthwest saying the Seattle Dog is “the shame of this city.” It spurred some push back, but he’s not backing down. The anti-Seattle Dog campaign continues.
“I like the idea of a Seattle Dog. I do,” he said. “Let’s do something better. Cream cheese? And pork-related meat? Ugh.”
“If you are eating cream cheese, you lack a better ingredient,” he said. “Cream cheese is a replacement for something better. Butter is better than cream cheese. It is significantly better than cream cheese.”
Enter the debate. Gee sees both sides.
“I was born and raised in Chicago, and the first time I saw a hot dog with cream cheese and grilled onions on it, I thought that was the dumbest thing ever. Who in the world would eat a concoction like that? I made fun of it,” he said. “The first time I saw it, I wasn’t eating that. Then I saw people putting catsup on it?! You should be smacked.”
But then …
“I tried it once … man, it got my life together,” Gee said. “It really changed my life.”
Culinary experts often point to a handful of ingredients that influence our taste buds: salt, sugar, and fat. The Seattle Dog certainly hits all three of those, so in theory it should work. Still, it prompts a great divide in Seattle that won’t close.
“Cream cheese is better than butter?!” Gee said. “I can take a spoonful of cream cheese and eat it. Can you do that with butter?!”