A few weeks back I met up with San Diego food scene extraordinaire, Erin Jackson and husband James to check out Quality Social. Simply described as ”a bar with food” I thought the place might have huge potential to become a routine spot for this food-focused stud when looking to mingle. Think about it, here’s a place where I could forego the drinks and break the ice by sending a house-made hot dog to that cute girl across the bar. Quality, indeed.
There’s just one problem, and it has nothing with women finding it odd that I prefer bar snacks to alcohol, or taking my gesture as some sort of crude innuendo. My problem is the $7 it would cost me to do so. I ordered what was essentially a Chicago style hot dog, billed as “our way” on the menu due to executive Chef Jared Van Kamp being a transplant from the Windy City. But why did I pay at least twice the amount of any other Chicago dog?
The price is a result of the quality ingredients. All of the meats at Quality Social are smoked and/or cured in house, even the relish is house-made. Now, I can appreciate all of that, but in order for me to feel okay with paying for it, I need to be able to taste the difference. This was a good hot dog, the casing was snappy, relish sweet, mustard tangy – I’m guessing most any Chicago native would call it a fine representation. However, I didn’t feel it was good enough to warrant such an up-charge (especially sans fries).
I also ordered these pickled veggies, each vegetable was was done in a different way providing a variety of flavors. That’s cool I guess, I liked the sweeter carrots, but wasn’t as much of a fan of the more sour asparagus, and certainly not the price.
This particular visit didn’t impress anyone in our party, Erin’s thoughts on the burger can be found here. I haven’t completely written them off yet, but it will take a pretty strong showing to change my mind. In the mean time, I’ll be referring to the “our way dog” as a wiener, because that’s what I felt like after paying for it.