Hot Dog Time

11/18/2011 05:04 pm ET | Updated Jan 18, 2012

By Kate Krader, Restaurant Editor, Food & Wine

Follow Kate on Twitter: @kkrader

Guess what food Lady Gaga chose to showcase at a recent Vanity Fair photo shoot. Not a grilled version of her infamous raw meat dress. Not a lobster hat made with different shellfish. She selected a mustard-slathered hot dog (to eat, not to wear). If Lady Gaga is now focused on hot dogs, then let's focus on them, too.

HD1, Atlanta. At this just-opened spot, Top Chef winner Richard Blais turns his attention from avant-garde burgers to inspired hot dogs. Believe it or not, he has a classic hot dog with sauerkraut (note, the mustard is house made). The chicken-apple sausage comes with herbed crème fraîche and sour grape relish; for vegetarians, there's this note on the menu: "Sous vide carrot may be substituted for any dog."

Senate, Cincinnati. I'm happy just reading the names of the dogs on the menu at this genius Cincinnati gastropub. Among the selections: the Trailer Park (bacon-wrapped dog, American cheese, coleslaw, crushed Grippo's chips) and the Hello Kitty (with wasabi mayo and ponzu coleslaw). There's also a "Hot Dog of the Day"; it's market price, depending, I suppose, on the going price of franks that day.

Crif Dogs, New York City. Who doesn't want to be able to have a bacon-wrapped deep-fried hot dog after a long night of drinking artisanal cocktails at a speakeasy? No one I want to hang out with. The Crif Dogs menu pays homage to everything from natural disasters--the Tsunami is a bacon-wrapped hot dog with teriyaki sauce, pineapple and green onions -- to other iconic sandwiches (the Philly tubesteak is "casually attired in cheese and sautéed onions"). If you'd rather do your hot dog eating in Brooklyn, there's a new Williamsburg location that's helpfully open until 4 AM.

Dirty Franks Hot Dog Palace, Columbus. Whoever created the menu at Dirty Franks must have a Ph.D. in hot dogs. There are at least seven types of dogs to choose from, three bun options, almost three dozen toppings (from fire kraut to Fritos) and I can't even count how many specialty combinations. Among the options: the Slappy Pappy's Super Sloppy comes with bacon, coney sauce, cheddar, sour cream and french fries; the Picnic Table is topped with baked beans, sweet-hot cabbage & carrot slaw, relish and chip crumbs; and the Glenn Beck is "just a plain, old wiener."

7-11 Hot Dog Potato Chips, Nationwide. If you've ever eaten a potato chip before, you probably knew there's no visible signs of hot dog in the newest flavor of potato chip from 7-11. What's more, there's apparently not even any meat in these chips. What there is, however, is the solid flavor of mustard, relish and, however it's done, 7-11's own Bit Bit hot dogs.