Have a bite at Black Dog Hot Dog

Food cart features Southwestern-style green chili with a kick

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Why: Black Dog Hot Dog, owned by Kurt Muller, joined the ranks of the food carts in downtown Vancouver in May. He combines the taste of New Mexico’s green chili with hot dogs to offer his signature green-chili dog.

A native of New Mexico, Muller grew up on fire-roasted green chilies. After spending the past 35 years in the Pacific Northwest, where Muller has found authentic New Mexican cuisine is barely represented, he now spends four days a week operating Black Dog. His mission is to bring true Southwest flavors to the streets of Vancouver.

On the menu: The menu is as simple as the classic hot dog meal: the green-chili dog, a kraut dog, a classic dog, chips and soda (or water). Toppings include onions, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard in addition to green chili and kraut.

Muller recently added vegetarian dogs and is always open to suggestions for what his customers would like to see added to the menu.

What I tried: I had a green-chili dog. I admit that I do not usually gravitate to hot dogs because so many have such sketchy ingredients. Muller procures his dogs from Costco (Kirkland brand).

I sampled the green chili before it was added to the dog and found its flavor robust and spicy with an additional spicy kick that was a bit delayed. It had the consistency of salsa from a jar. The fire-roasted taste of the green chilies, apart from the spicy character, reminded me somewhat of salsa made with tomatillos. I found the chili a good companion to the dog, though next time I will have more chili topping because the Kirkland brand dog is quite flavorful on its own.

Other observations: Muller is personable and keeps Black Dog tidy, which translates to an appetizing experience for hot dog fans.

Cost: A green-chili dog is $3.50 and a kraut dog is $3. For $2.50 you can get a classic dog. Chips and soda cost $1 each. At these prices, paying with six bucks will leave you with some change for parking.

Hours: Black Dog is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cart is at 25th and Main streets on Mondays, Seventh and Main streets on Tuesdays, and at 13th and Franklin streets on Thursdays and Fridays.

Health score: Black Dog Hot Dog received a score of 10 on May 31. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.