Some rituals never get old. Such was the case when I lived in North Miami a few years ago and would pay a visit to La Perrada de Edgar almost every Friday night.
Nestled in a row of shops along Collins Avenue just south of 71st Street, Edgar Gomez’s hot dog shop is a little bitty place famous for putting a new twist on an American classic. He elevates the hot dog to an art form like the vendors in his native Colombia.
I paid a visit to my favorite South Florida eatery on a recent visit to the area and everything is just as I remembered. The red, white and yellow interior screams “hot dog shop.” A red tile bar with metal stools runs the entire length of the store on one wall, while behind the high counter on the other side is where all the magic happens. This is where Edgar and his team create Colombian hot dogs.
In Colombia perros calientes are sold in street stands with ketchup, mustard, salsa rosada, mayonnaise, pineapple sauce, cheese and crumbled potato chips. Some add a cooked quail’s egg on top. In the coast, it’s common to also add some finely shredded lettuce to the bun, giving it a refreshing touch for the coast’s hot weather. There is also a version called “perra”, it usually has the same other toppings but it’s made of chopped bacon and barbecue onions instead of a sausage.
– from Wikipedia
Pictures of menu items dominate both walls as well as images of Edgar posing with his celebrity friends, including television star Anthony Bourdain who once profiled the restaurant on the Travel Channel.
By now, you’re probably asking, “What makes this hot dog place so special?”
Maybe the best answer is Edgar’s imagination. You won’t find a boring hot dog on the menu. Instead, Edgar adds a little bite to each dog, piling them with a smorgasbord of unique toppings and sauces from all over the world.
“From bacon and chorizo to salad, onions, peppers, pineapples, potatoes, and even eggs. Suddenly ketchup and mustard seem so passé,” Edgar writes on his website.
I was happy to see they still served my all-time favorite, the Italian Hot Dog. The plump, juicy sausage is put in a bun and topped with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, bacon, Edgar’s special blend of Italian sauces, cheese, ketchup, potato sticks.
These things can be a little messy to eat. When I tried to eat my hot dog with a knife and fork (a big no-no), Edgar came to the table and showed me how to eat it properly using just the foil wrapper, just as he did when he caught me trying to use utensils years ago.
The menu of hot dog varieties at La Perrada de Edgar is endless. There’s a Venezuelan Hot Dog, Mexican Hot Dog, Argentinian Hot Dog, French Hot Dog, Roman Hot Dog, Greek Hot Dog, Spanish Hot Dog, Chilean Hot Dog, Brazilian Hot Dog, and several American Hot Dogs with his own special touch.
In recent years, he’s added a number of Asian-inspired hot dogs to the menu. Topped with ingredients like rice, sesame seeds, zucchini, wasabi, and even teriyaki chicken, the countries of Japan, China, Thailand and the Philippines are well represented here.
And the menu isn’t limited to just hot dogs. There’s quesadillas, burritos, arepas, personal-sized pizzas, tamales, smoothies and desserts.
The hardest part about eating at La Perrada de Edgar is making a decision on what to order. If you want to do it like the Colombians, order the Edgar Special Hot Dog. The sausage is topped with mozzarella cheese, pineapple, blackberry, plum, sauces and whipped cream. Might sound a little off-putting, but it’s oh so good!