Haute Dog

The hot dog is to the United States what merguez -- thin, spicy beef or lamb sausage -- is to Algeria. And since so many Algerians have migrated to France, merguez et couscous has long been standard Parisian fare. The French restaurant Café Rabelais (2620 Bolsover, 713-526-6841) serves a lamb merguez sandwich ($5.75) -- a six-inch piece of toasted, crusty baguette holding two dogs, colored dark red from harissa, or red chile pepper paste with garlic coriander and cumin. Some spicy French mustard and a smooth garlic mayonnaise are all the condiments the dish requires. Field greens, which are intended to be eaten on the side, fit perfectly in between the links. Café Rabelais's merguez sandwich wins the France-U.S. battle for sausage supremacy, hands down.


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