Yesterday, while skimming the Bark Hot Dogs take-out menu, something caught our eye. The veggie dog costs $7, a full 75 cents more than the most expensive of the regular hot dog variations. At any other hot dog joint, veggie dogs, if they’re on the menu at all, are less expensive than their all-beef brethren, making them the natural choice for vegetarians and cheapskates alike. True, Bark’s veggie dog comes with roasted mushrooms, chickpeas, lentils, and pickled garlic mayo, but the all of the beef options have plenty of fixings, too. So why the discrepancy?
“It’s not a discrepancy,” says Brandon Gillis, one of Bark’s owners. “The veggie dog is a four to one,” meaning that there are four to every pound, making it much larger than a regular hot dog. “That’s basically the reasoning,” Gillis explains. “It’s almost double the hot dog.” Plus, “it’s not a Tofu Dog or Tofu Pup or anything like that.”
So what is it? “It’s Field Roast Grain Meat,” Gillis says. Images of Soylent Green aside, Field Roast is actually a Seattle-based company that for the past 12 years has been using seitan seasoned with “European flavors” to make everything from Mexican chipotle sausages to meatloaf.
“It’s an amazing product,” Gillis enthuses. “Basically, it’s potatoes, apples, sage, onions, and spices, all bound together. We slow-roast it on the griddle with a bit of olive oil.” And, meat-loving skeptics and frugal gourmets be damned, “it’s one of our higher-selling products.” After years as the wiener world’s consolation prize, this dog, it seems, is finally having its day.