(MY MOST MEMORABLE MEAL is an occasional feature at Table Talk atLarrys.com, written by co-hosts of the restaurant web site atLarrys.com)

By Larry Sheingold –

Most people can remember special meals, those inedible little life moments, as vividly now as the moment they put down the fork and looked up with that is-there-any-more expression on their faces.

It’s about aromas. Preparations. Childhood memories. Celebrations.

But for me it’s about the company. I can name 100 perfect restaurant meals my wife and I have shared. Few involved cooking that would stand up to a critic’s scrutiny. It was about us.

Same for a birthday lunch with my father months before he died at age 90. He had his trademark grilled salmon and glass of white zinfandel. Good food, but it makes my best-of list because of the way the occasion touched him.

So for my most special meal, I have selected a hot dog lunch. With a side of explanation.

It’s 1999. My wife Judy, Jim Hayes, Cathy Keig and I are at SuperDawg in Chicago. We are eating an excellent version of the Chicago hot dog with sport peppers, celery salt and tomatoes served in a box stuffed with pretty good fries.

This is our first sports trip together, with stops at Detroit’s old Tiger Stadium just weeks before it closed for good, Wisconsin for a Badgers football game and Lambeau Field, fabled home of the Green Bay Packers.

I can still picture us at the walk up window on that November afternoon, under the shadow of the huge plaster hot dogs on the roof of this iconic mom and pop stand.

That day gave birth to a food tourism hobby the four of us have shared ever since. Now, two or three times a year, we travel to other destinations around the country to sample the culinary culture – from the creations of James Beard Award winning chefs to new adventures in frying.

The companionship, memories and sense of discovery are a special part of my life. Kicked off with a meal at SuperDawg.

I’ve had better food. But as favorite meals go, nothing compares to the gateway lunch from Maurie and Flaurie’s hot dog stand – SuperDawg in Chicago.

( Read Larry Sheingold’s biography and see his restaurant recommendtions at http://www.atLarrys.com.

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