This is not the case at Lorelei, East Liberty’s Alpine-inspired eatery.
Lorelei’s sausage kart, developed in mid-April as a creative way to expand takeout offerings amid the ongoing pandemic, boasts eight dogs. Creations range from the classic formula — a “Plain Jane” dog, with ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut — to the everchanging dog of the week, recently the Seattle dog, dressed with the fixings of a jalapeño popper: cream cheese and fresh jalapeños, plus caramelized onions and sriracha.
I had a choice of four options for each dog — the classic frank, kielbasa, a beer bratwurst, and a vegetarian carrot dog. I chose Lorelei’s classic frank to go with my two Asian-inspired dogs: the Banh Mi, sporting bright jalapeños, vegan sriracha mayo, cucumber, and pickled carrots and radishes; and Korean, with peanuts, gochujang, and kimchi. It seemed fitting to go with a kielbasa for the Reuben dog, matched with Russian dressing, sauerkraut, gruyere, and caraway seeds, and a beer bratwurst for the Beiermeister, slathered with beer cheese and topped by onions and bacon. Every dog is placed on a house-baked bun, either traditional sesame or a vegan pretzel bun.
I preferred Lorelei’s franks over the other sausages. They weren’t the average hot dog expected from a cookout or a ballgame; they were all-beef and didn’t taste overly-processed, boasting a pleasant, cured flavor. There was just enough snap to give a satisfying pop with each bite through the casing.
The Asian-inspired dogs were by far my favorites. The cured flavor worked quite well with the slightly sour and spicy banh mi toppings, creamy sriracha mayo balancing out the pickled veggies. I found it to be — a word that I never considered a hot dog to be — refreshing.
Gojuchang, Korean red chili paste, turned the Korean dog sweet. Fermented flavors echoed from the kimchi to the sauce, the peanuts adding a crunchy layer.
Though hot dogs were the obvious star of the kart, I indulged my Pennsylvania-dutch heart by adding a beet-pickled egg to my meal. If you’ve never had a pickled egg, don’t knock it; the vinegar adds a nice sour tang, the beets an earthy sweetness.
Truly, Lorelei’s sausage kart can’t really be called a cart — it’s actually a pick-up window from the restaurant, with no wheels in sight. But cart or no cart, Lorelei is churning out top-notch dogs.