by Dan Gibson
We had to call out Wienerschnitzel in our cover story this week, but the scam that Pee Wee's Famous Hot Dogs and Hamburgers is trying to pull might be worse.
From Gustavo Arellano and OC Weekly's Stick A Fork In It food blog:
Take a close look at Pee Wee's so-called Mexican hot dog at left from the snapshot of their website above. Notice the stream of mustard bisecting the dog, the tomatoes shoveled on top of the dog, the trickle of relish, the zig-zag of—HA!—Mexican creme fraiche (sorry, folks: HAHAHAHAHAHA!), the contours of its paper wrapping below, the indentations of the bread, the size and placement of everything in the picture. This is the shot that Pee Wee's uses to advertise itself as the "Home of the Mexican Hot Dog."
I knew I had seen that picture somewhere ...my own blog post on five "authentic" Mexican dishes that would make Rick Bayless scream! And that picture came from the website of Tucson's El Güero Canelo chain, where the art of the Sonora dog has reached beautiful heights highlighted even in the frou-frou food pages of The New York Times.
Pee Wee's rip-off is shameless. The only thing they did to make the picture theirs is Photoshop out the roasted pepper on the side (compare and contrast! compare and contrast!). How much effort would it have taken to merely take a picture of an item you're already claiming as innovative, an item you duped a poor Reg reporter into inaccurately reporting on? Do you really think online customers are that dumb? Actually, you do! Replace that photo ASAP, but such tactics have given me an ethical pepper belly for you guys that I don't think can ever be cured.
Oh, and Pee Wee's? $3.95 before tax for a Sonora dog is larceny—El Güero charges $2.71, a price that includes the tax. And a "true" Sonora dog doesn't use a bolillo as its bread. Bolillos are for tortas; hot dog buns are for hot dogs. Even in Mexico.
How dare you, Pee Wee's. HOW DARE YOU.
I tried calling Pee Wee's but no one answered (lunch rush, maybe?), so I sent an e-mail to the address listed on their site to get a comment. More information to come as the story develops.