“There are no two finer words in the English language than ‘encased meat,’ my friend.”

–The motto attributed to Secret Robbie on the wall at Hot Doug’s

“This is what happens to me always. I want to write so many things but I get tired.”



I just got back from the eye doctor after first having lunch at Hot Doug’s — the Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium. After last night’s Bulls loss, I needed to nurse my pain and get my vision checked; I’m sure I was not watching the same game as the referees.

My pupils and belly are now dilated. At least that’s the excuse I am running with for this rambling exercise in battling inertia. I haven’t posted on the B2L2 in a while. I can no longer use the Bulls for my excuse.

I get to Hot Doug’s about as often as I visit the eye doctor. Doug hardly needs the exposure with all the word of mouth, rave reviews on Channel 11’s Check, Please! and the many, many feature articles. In fact, I probably haven’t been there since Anthony Bourdain featured Hot Doug’s on the Travel Channel’s No Reservations a couple seasons ago.

Last summer, I used to bike past Doug’s on Saturdays as I rode down California to Humboldt Park to hit lobbed baseballs and shag fly balls. On the way down, the line at Doug’s would run out the door and alongside the building to the alley. I’m told that is a 45 minute wait. On the way back, the line went past the alley and past the first house or two on Roscoe.

Now to say that I am a patient person would be a boldface lie. Yet I’ve come a long way over the years to begrudgingly accepting things I can’t control. The problem isn’t the line; it’s people in the line. The same conversations happen every time I go to Doug’s and annoy me when I am trying to focus on the task ahead with an empty stomach.

There’s always the friend who has to explain to the Hot Doug’s virgin how things go. “They got this line thing down to a science. Bye the time you order a table opens up.” “On Fridays and Saturdays they make fries in duck fat. It’s incredible.” Yeah, I get it. You’re excited. But you’re a bore, so can you please just shut it?

Every line has a young mom with the crying child on her shoulder and a young dad swinging his toddler in a circle that makes me vicariously dizzy. Parents can be so oblivious to other people around them when they are with their kids.

Then there is the whiner. The guy who didn’t dress warm enough, didn’t wear a hat, so he shivers as he bounces from foot to foot while chattering on about what Doug’s should do to expand and solve the line. He’s usually the most annoying guy. Mr. Impatient.

No line is complete without the wound-up little boys running around chasing each other. It’s hard to resist sticking my foot out as they run by, yet somehow I do. I count that as my good deed for the day.

At least a handful of people will walk up to the corner and see the line only to return to their cars. On cold days, I don’t blame them. On days like today, when I finally get inside and order, I like to sit by the window and watch the line. Victorious.

Today, Linda and I split an order of Bacon and Jalapeno Duck Sausage with Blood Orange Mustard, Goat Cheese and Lemon Sea Salt; Cognac-Infused Pheasant Sausage with Chive-Dijon Goat’s Butter and Duck Rillettes; Smoked Portuguese Linguica with Saffron Rouille and Olive Manchego Cheese; and the duck fat fries.

Grin. Chew. Slurp. Repeat. An eclectic soundtrack of old school punk, funk, soul and rock plays in the background. I am a big dumb animal in a happy place.

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Battling inertia one cat at a time

Everyone knows cats make terrible writers. It’s not because they are selfish or loners or anything like that. Mainly it’s because all they write is l’;kkkkkkkkkANTdrrjuiiiii8;;;;;;;;l;hjjxqqqqqqqqqqqqqw2hhhhhhhhhhhhn—-


Next idea to save the world: Leasing solar panels to make them affordable to the masses. I’m sure someone else has already thought of this.


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The writer is very full and feeling sleepy.

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About the Author

Tom Long

Tom Long is one-third of the seldom heard Chicago band The Ethyl Mermen. The name Tom Long can be found in the dictionary, Baseball Encyclopedia and a pub in Ireland. Tom Long is not affiliated with any other Tom Long; he won the rights to use his own name after prevailing in a three-way game of Jan-ken-pon by choosing "dynamite!" No Toms were harmed in the making of this blog.

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