Eat With Your Hands: Internationally Inspired Encased Meats (Hot Dogs)

Each issue of Covered Bridge we, your brave culinary explorers Russel Reuben and William Montecristo, search the valley for inspiring burgers, sandwiches, tacos, snacks on a stick, second breakfasts and finger foods.

or issue five of Covered Bridge, we humbly tackled our most ambitious and dangerous challenge yet. In today’s ultra-competitive, quick-bite world, no culinary treat seems to be having a bigger “68 comeback special” moment more than the humble hot dog. From street corner carts to eclectic gastropub menus — fancy frankfurters, dressed-up dogs and wild wienies are getting their day in the spotlight. We scoured the Valley, eating more digglers than Kobayashi. We tried the $1.50 big box store combo. We forked out $30 for a buffalo brät beer dinner. Kielbasa sweats, mustard stains, raw dogged by day old bread … it was the best of times, it was the würst of times.

Hot Dogs: Internationally Inspired Encased Meats

Swiss Dog. The Blü Cow, Vail VillageGold: Swiss Dog. The Blü Cow — Vail Village

Reuben: After a few cold ones and my first ever Swiss Dog, I tucked in for a cold
winter’s eve slumber on William’s comfy leather couch. I dreamt I was backpacking across Europe and met a Swiss miss on a bullet train through the mountains. We fell instantly in love and ran away to start our lives together in a cozy cabin on a snowy peak. She made stone ground mustard to sell at the market, and I gave
yodeling lessons. We raised our seven children on hot cocoa and Swiss dogs. I’ve been chasing that vibe ever since.

Montecristo: During one especially wild aprés afternoon, I was lucky enough to score a coveted front-row seat at the bar and order my favorite late lunch delicacy.
My Swiss Dog arrived quickly, but before I could even sneak a bite, a girl dancing
on the bar smashed my Swiss Dog under her ski boot. My fresh new jacket was
covered in beer, mustard, arugula and curry dust. Five stars!

Sonora Dog. Rime, West VailSilver: Sonora Dog. Rime — West Vail

Reuben: West Vail’s newest watering hole gives us hope for the future, while satisfying those late-night cravings and guaranteeing a short stumble home courtesy of our beer-powered navigational systems. We’d just settled in for a cerveza when, to our surprise, we discovered a Sonora-inspired street dog on the menu. Upon our first bites, the whole world seemed to slow down. The crispy bacon, the juicy doggo, the soft bun, holy frijoles refried beans! The explosion of flavors was nothing short of a mariachi symphony in our mouths.

Montecristo: : One time on a surf trip in Mexico, we got pulled over by some federales at a full-on roadblock. When the camouflaged commander came to the window yelling for our “papeles,” my buddy Jason, the driver, rolled his window down, steadily looked him in the eye, and replied, “Me llamo Nacho. Me gusta la biblioteca.” Everyone at the checkpoint burst out in laughter, and they just waved us through. No search. No hassle. Just smiles and laughter. A few miles down the road, we stopped for bacon-wrapped fully dressed dogs just like these. We laughed until it hurt, telling the story over and over again. Rumor has it, that if conditions are right, you just might see Ol’ Nacho himself sitting at the bar in Rime.

Riverwalk Dog. Riverwalk Theater, EdwardsBronze: Riverwalk Dog. Riverwalk Theater — Edwards

Reuben: As Martha Stewart once said, “I always look for a hotdog wherever I go, and the theater is no exception.” This blockbuster beef missile is a hot take on a cult classic. The butterflied glizzy is perched on a perfectly toasted pretzel bun, topped with jalapeño pepper relish, ketchup and mustard. This is not a dog for the anti-condimentalist. This experience turned a rotten tomato into a heart-pounding adventure. A love story for the ages. The feel-good hit of the summer! Next time you catch a flick with your bro, make it a rom-com with the sizzling saga of the Riverwalk Dog.

Montecristo: Have you heard the one about the Colorado senator, a hot dog and a dark theater? All jokes aside, this concession counter home wrecker delivers a cosmopolitan collaboration of flavor. Colorado beef, a fluffy Bavarian-style pretzel bun, slathered in jalapeño, this super sausage goes way beyond international and onward to a galaxy far, far away.


Disclaimer: These rankings are absolutely anecdotal samplings of some of the food we ate with our hands and is by no stretch of the imagination an all-inclusive or accurate encapsulation of the valley’s cornucopia of offerings. If you have a suggestion of where we should eat next please email us at

Illustrations by Becca Saulsberry.