We are a baseball family. Often, as our son was growing up, we planned our summer vacations around the Major League Baseball schedule. A trip to South Carolina meant a stop in Atlanta to see the Braves play. We opted to drive to a family vacation in Delaware so we could catch games in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. Eventually, our grand plan of hitting every ballpark in America fizzled out. Yet, while moving Caleb to Oregon this past summer for law school, he and I went well out of our way to make a game in San Francisco.
Fall means baseball playoff time. Even in San Carlos, Mexico. Especially in San Carlos, Mexico! Baseball in more popular than soccer in the northern state of Sonora. In fact, the first baseball game played in Mexico took place in the port of Guaymas in 1877. Today, there are three teams representing Sonora in the Mexican Pacific League, a winter league, whose season runs from October through January. Estadio Sonora, in the capital city, is home to the Hermosillo Naranjeros. It is one of the largest baseball stadiums in all of Latin American, boasting a capacity of 16,000.
It is difficult for my husband to be a Cubs fan during this current series, as many of our friends and neighbors are rooting for the Dodgers. Fernando Valenzuela, the Dodgers’ 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award winner was born in Navajoa, Sonora.
I no longer have that one favorite team. I get a lot of ribbing from my son for my “fair weather fanishness”. I am a fan of the game these days. I am a fan of the experience. I am a fan of the nostalgia of ballparks, and the feelings stirred up by the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, and the smells of popcorn and peanuts. So while a Cubs’ victory in the series would definitely make my husband happy, and ultimately my life happier, it just does not really matter to me who wins. What I am more excited by is an excuse to indulge in the most famous ballpark treat of them all; a hot dog. And it just so happens that Sonora has me covered!
Sonoran hot dogs, or Estilo Sonora hot dogs, got their start in Hermosillo 30 to 40 years ago. They were sold from carts by venders known as “dogueros”. For the most part, they are still sold this way today. The hot dogs have spread throughout the state and even jumped the border. The Sonoran hot dog is the star of the menu at all three El Güero Canelo restaurants, located in Tucson, Arizona. The delicious treat has even been featured on the Food Network and Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel.
The hot dog is first wrapped in bacon and then grilled. It is
served in a baguette style bun, called a bolillo, a bread that was introduced by the Spanish in the 1860’s. Next, the bacon wrapped dog is slathered with pinto beans, grilled onions, tomatoes, mustard, mayonnaise, and a guacamole purée. Jalapeños are served on the side. I do not care for tomatoes, but I make an exception for the Sonoran hot dog, always ordering mine “completo”. There is a wide variety of extra sauces that can be added as well, including plain old ketchup. The combination of flavors and textures is incredible! And there is absolutely nothing better to wash this treat down with than an ice cold Coke- – in a bottle!
Just as friends trash talk with one another about teams and players, Sonoran hot dogs cause their share of drama too. Heated debates about where to find the very best ensue whenever the topic comes up. This is a contest I am more than happy to lose, as long as there is taste testing involved. But to be honest, when Sonoran hot dogs are involved, everyone is a winner!