In these dog days of summer, thoughts turn to hot dogs. The all-American food, right? Well, just like nearly every other aspect of our culture, what you put on a hot dog reflects where you come from.
Luis Echeverry came to the U.S. from Colombia, South America, spending formative teen years in New York City. He moved down to the Charlotte area to work for the phone company. On the side he runs a hot dog cart at Plaza Fiesta, the exciting Latino-themed mall next to Carowinds.
“It’s the first New York City hot dog cart in South Carolina,” he says proudly. “We had to adapt it to run indoors in the mall. Everything’s electric, not propane like in New York.”
He’ll fix you a New York style dog: “Relish, sweet onions, brown mustard — the spicy kind.”
But his eyes light up if you ask for your hot dog as it’s traditionally done down in Colombia. Watch close — it’s an amazing production.
First into the bun go potato chips. Then the hot dog itself. Then crushed pineapple. Crumbled white taco cheese. A squirt-line of mustard. A squirt-line of honey. A squirt-line of mayonnaise. A squirt-line of salsa rosada, the mild pink sauce beloved in Colombia.
Then more crushed potato chips, topped by a hard-boiled quail egg. A quail egg? “Oh yes, that’s the thing in Colombia. On hotdogs, and on hamburgers, too.”
Sadly, the hot dog cart and Plaza Fiesta mall are gone.
Plaza Fiesta is always worth a visit:
I77 exit 90, 3700 Avenue of the Carolinas, Fort Mill, SC 29708