Banh Mi at Haute Dogs & Fries, Alexandria, Virginia
“Everybody loves a hot dog.” That was a phrase Pamela Swanson’s father often repeated and that motivated her and partner Lionel Holmes to open up Haute Dog & Fries while the recession was still lingering and there was a craving for less-expensive lunches. You can escape the Washington, D.C., hustle and head just minutes away to Alexandria, Virginia, for this Vietnamese-inspired hot dog the two created (they've both worked at Morton's Steakhouse, and Swanson's resume also includes the Four Seasons in D.C.). Carrots, cucumbers, and jalapeños give a healthy crunch to the veggie-centric Banh Mi dog, which is also garnished with cilantro and drizzled with Sriracha mayonnaise. Try it with some fried dill pickle spears or sweet potatoes dunked in a curry ketchup. The restaurant’s hot dogs are served on buttered and toasted New England–style lobster rolls and the grass-fed beef hails from a local farm. Take lunch to go to a waterfront park along the Potomac River or listen to live music, as the restaurant also doubles as a stage for local musicians on any given night.
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