June 8, 2017

Hot Dog (Sandwich) of the Week: Cleo McDowell

In our first episode, we explore the iconic American cuisine: hot dogs. Everybody has their favorite hot dog toppings, whether they’re simple go-to ingredients like ketchup and mustard or a little more complicated like chili, pickle spears, coleslaw, or even samosa filling for a special twist (credit for that idea goes to Destination Dogs, our favorite place on Earth).

Speaking of Destination Dogs, best place on Earth and oasis for hot dog lovers everywhere, this sandwich of the week (sotw) is inspired by one of our favorites off the menu at this airport-themed restaurant offering both domestic and internationally styled dogs. The Cleo McDowell (the hot dog associated with LaGuardia airport in Queens, NY) is a symphony of classic burger flavors meets innovative sausage topping heaven. A BURGER (KIND OF)? BUT A HOT DOG? HOW? We’ll show you!


  • Brioche hot dog bun (or a regular bun for you non-bakers)
  • All beef hot dog (or veggie dogs/sausages of any kind for you vegetarians)
  • Cheese sauce
  • Secret sauce
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Pickle
  • Sesame seeds

Step 1: Buns Away

Lindsay and Andrew are fortunate enough to have the best baker and bread maker in their lives who graces them with fresh homemade buns. Find a person like this and have them make you buns for this recipe. If you have trouble meeting people, go to the store and get regular buns we promise it’s fine.

Step 2: The Easy Part

I like to start with the easy parts of cooking first. The cabbage, onions, pickle, and sesame seeds are almost ready to go at this point, so let’s start here.


The Cleo usually uses white cabbage, but purple is our favorite color so we used purple cabbage instead (it’s fine). For an extra element to the cabbage, we tossed it with a splash of apple cider vinegar and lime juice. We also used diced white onion (here is Gordon Ramsey to tell you how to do that). The pickle spears we used came fresh from the local farmer’s market and were of the half sour varietal.


You might not think the sesame seeds add much to this meal, BUT THEY DO YOU HAVE TO PUT THEM ON THERE. Get them at an Asian grocery store and pick up some dumplings for later while you’re at it.

Step 3: Harder Things

I’m going to just say that sauces are the best, and this hot dog has not one but two delicious sauces: one cheese and one “special.” You might think that because I mentioned burgers earlier and also am mentioning special sauce now that this special sauce might be kind of like a Big Mac sauce. Well, you’re wrong. It’s more of a mustardy based sauce that goes on the Cleo McDowell. This recipe isn’t confirmed, so I just tried my best here:

Special Sauce

  • equal parts mayo and mustard (we used Trader Joe’s Garlic Aioli Mustard Sauce for extra fancy)
  • some ground red pepper/cayenne (to taste)
  • some lemon juice
  • black pepper

Stir all ingredients until well combined. This sauce will give you the mustardy bite you need on your dog, and pairs perfectly with a classic cheddar cheese sauce:

Cheese Sauce

  • one block cheddar
  • some half and half

Our baker made this cheese sauce but I’m sure it’s fine if you just put those things together in a pot on the stove and heat until melty.

Step 4: Photo Op

Painstakingly assemble a few of each ingredient on your hot dog to make sure it’s extremely photogenic before eating.

We hope you enjoy this twist on a classic hot dog! Try it out and send us pictures via social media or at our new email address hello@cherryhunter.media.

Happy hotdogging,