The phenomenon of Sonoran hot dogs has been big news in the food world lately. Food magazines, NPR, many bloggers — and even John T. Edge in the New York Times — have written about how American hot dogs have been embraced by innovative Mexican cooks along the border of Mexico and Arizona to create something unique and special.
When we’ve read about them, they’ve sounded delicious — hot dogs, some wrapped in bacon, topped with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and refried beans, some wrapped in tortillas, others served on soft buns. They’re a food often served from trucks in the West or found in small restaurants that only the locals know about. And so, when journalists have stumbled across them, they’ve been amazed at how well the flavors of Mexico and the simple hot dog go together.
We wanted them. We considered making our own version. But then we heard a rumor that we could get them right here in Memphis. So we did some research and found a place that many of you may already know about — Cuauh’s Hot Dog-o & Taco.
We’re actually late in finding Cuauh’s; for almost a year now, they’ve been serving hot dogs, tacos, quesadillas, burgers, and tamales from their quiet strip mall location near Wolfchase. And these are not your mama’s hot dogs.
The Memphis is wrapped in bacon and topped with barbecue sauce; as a special, you can add crushed barbecue potato chips for extra crunch. The taco hot dog-o is a hot dog wrapped in a tortilla and fried, topped with cheese, lettuce, and tomato. The Mexican is topped with salsa, sour cream, and diced peppers in a colorful and tasty rendition of the Mexican flag.
The Cuauh’s original is topped simply with homemade refried black beans and fresh guacamole. These are all delicious, and they’re only the start of the menu at Cuauh’s.
There’s more than hot dogs at Cuauh’s, though. The guacamole is made fresh to order, as are the agua frescas. Both are worth the wait. The Cuauh’s burger is a treat, too, with cilantro, onions, and fresh jalapeno peppers combined into the patty. A smear of creamy refried beans and fresh guacamole tops it off.
We tried the buñeulos for dessert — a simple flour tortilla, fried and dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar and a drizzle of honey. We’re going to have to go back soon to try the fresh cut French fries, French fried yams, and sweet tamales.
If you’re looking for a fancy dinner, Cuauh’s probably isn’t the place for you. But if what you want is something fun, inexpensive, and delicious, Cuauh’s is a great choice. If you want something a little stronger than an agua fresca, beer and tequila are available options. It’s also kid-friendly, offering plain hot dogs, chicken fingers, tacos, and PB&J sandwiches.