I am just not a hot dog lover. But when I was given the chance to attend the Hot Blog Dinner at Trina's Starlite Lounge, I jumped at the chance. Rumors of a great atmosphere, good food and even better prices made it high up on my list of places I wanted to try out. Located in Inman Square, once you find parking, you are in for a treat. Trina's is relaxing enough that I will be bringing my kids with me next time, but it would work just as well for a date night.
Part of the fun of a food blogging dinner is the chance to talk food with like-minded people. In this case, that meant spending the evening with fellow writers from "Eat Boston", Lingo Li, Julia Rappaport, Will of the Boston Foodie, Cambridge Carrie and the editor of Thrillist Boston, amongst others. This night, though, was made even more enjoyable because of the graciousness of both Trina and Beau Sturm. (Who, for the record, are a ridiculously cute couple, too.)
But it was Chef Suzi Maitland who treated us to 4 different riffs on the hot dog, one of the staples of Trina's menu. We began with a salad of arugula with "hot dog lardons." While tossing sliced hot dogs on a salad seemed comical, it was suprisingly good. Better still, for parents, like me, who cook hot dogs on a regular basis, it was a new way to get kids (and the parents) to eat their greens.
The second course: a hot dog banh mi. I have written before about my love of the Vietnamese sandwhiches. Here, Chef Maitland took the best of the bahn mi, the pickled vegetables, and placed them on top of a dog. It worked like an Asian-style relish.
One of my favorite tastes of the night were the baked beans that covered our 3rd course: frank and beans. Chef Suzi was willing to reveal that they were cooked with molasses, brown sugar, A1 and Worcesthire sauce. They were a perfect salty, sweet balance and I will be lucky if I can recreate this one at home.
The final dish: a cheesecake dog with, yes, bacon caramel sauce. Bacon in sweet desserts seems to be a bit of a rage right now, whether it is in caramels, ice cream or fudge. Similiar to the chocolate covered pretzel, it does work, though I think it would be best on a less sweet dessert, like a burnt caramel ice cream.
Throughout the evening, Beau matched our meals with drinks. I am not a drinker, but I loved each one, as well as how he paired the dishes so well.
However, I will return for something entirely different. One of my fellow writers raved about the corn bread. And, yes, I will comfortably say that it was the best slice I have ever had. Brilliantly moist, sweet with corn scattered throughout, I could eat this every day. Served with sweetned butter it was heavenly.
Trina's menu offers comfort food at its best. In addition to hot dogs, you can have burgers, chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, chili fries or wings, amongst other options. On Mondays, Trina's offers an "Industry Brunch." Lucky for me (a teacher), this option is also offered on holiday Mondays.
Trina's Starlite Lounge, 3 Beacon Street, Somerville (but on the edge of Inman Square, Cambridge), 617-576-0006