Saturday, November 7, 2009

Local Eats: Michigans

There is a thing in Northern Upstate New York called a Michigan. All I was able to sort out was that it involved some sort of sauce and a hot dog. If the nice folks at the local eatery in the crossroads town missed the out-of-state license plates on my car, they sure knew I wasn't local when I ordered 2 Michigans (thinking I was so smart by not being redundant and ordering Michigan Hot Dogs), then didn't understand the presentation options.

"You want those buried?" (The server actually asked about at least 2 additional variations, but I was stuck at buried, and didn't register the other two).

"I don't know what any of those mean..." (OH HI! I AM SO FROM OUT OF TOWN RIGHT NOW!)

"Oh. Well, they're usually served with mustard and onions, and usually served buried, so everything is under the sauce..."

"Um. Ok, I'll take them buried. With a Diet Coke."

"Pepsi ok?" (As well as being the Land of Michigans, Northern Upstate New York is also the Land of Pepsi).

What I got was a steamed hot dog on a white-bread bun. Underneath the dog were mustard (I can't recall if it was yellow or deli, but I think it was deli mustard) and chopped raw onions. On top of the dog, burying everything, was a tomato-based meat sauce with lots of chopped beef. It wasn't a chili dog... there was no chili spice or anything like that, and it wasn't like a spaghetti sauce, either. Served with pickles and potato chips on the side. Very tasty.

If you're ever out by Keeseville, New York... Tuesdays are 99c Michigans at the local joint. Have one for me (but hold the onions!)


Ink said...

I have never heard of that. Wonder why it's not called a New Yorker. Or Adirondack. Or something less other-statey!

Digger said...

I dunno, Ink... food is weird :D The best I have is that the guy who invented it was -from- Michigan, but didn't use it on hot dogs until he was @ Coney Island. Even then, they're not called Michigans in Coney Island. I don't know where the dividing line is; I don't spend much time in the I-87 corridor.

Just for fun, though, here's a link to SEVEN different versions of Michigan sauce:,1-0,michigan_hot_dog_sauce,FF.html

RPS77 said...

I've never even heard of anything edible being called a "Michigan" - it seems like regional foods and food names are sometimes one of the best ways to tell different regions of the US apart.

I wonder which side of the great "soda" vs. "pop" linguistic divide that part of New York falls under.

Digger said...

RPS77 -- I didn't follow-up on the soda/pop issue; I was being weirded out by the Pepsi line (I'm a Coke drinker, what can I say).

I would guess, though, being only 30 miles from the Canadian border, it was either pop, or bicarbonated (you could order soda or pop).

jo(e) said...

That's funny -- I've never even heard of a Michigan.

I can answer the pop/soda question though. It's "pop" in western New York (Buffalo and Rochester), but "soda" in central New York (Syracuse), eastern New York, and most of the north country.