The Kobe Beef Dog with Sabra Ranch Chili at Canopy

Philadelphia is known for its cheesesteaks. New York is known for its pizza. And Chicago is known for its hot dogs. In Houston, there's an ongoing debate about the foods that Houston should be known for. Christine Ha's recent blog about the Top 5 Foods Best Found in Houston sparked a healthy debate about everything from chicken and waffles, to Tex-Mex, to Vietnamese banh mi and pho.

There was little debate about hot dogs in Houston, but with newcomers like Moon Tower Inn and special-menu items like the the new Kobe beef dog with Sabra Ranch beef chili at Canopy, I'd say that Houston is poised to move into the era of the gourmet dog.

Canopy's Kobe beef hot dog arrived in all its glory, smothered in the Sabra Ranch chili and partially hidden underneath a generous bed of crispy thin-cut fries. Even for someone with a healthy appetite, the dish looked daunting. One bite into one of the tastiest dogs I've ever had, though, and I knew that I wouldn't have any trouble finishing the entire thing. It was just too good to stop eating.

Compared to a regular hot dog, Canopy's Kobe dog was texturally more dense and had a stronger bite to it. The flavors were deep and hearty, and it was reminiscent of a Polish sausage in color and flavor, but thicker, and more tightly packed. The chili, made of grass-fed Sabra Ranch beef, was mild in flavor but in a good way, since it would have been a shame to mask the flavor of the dog with the chili. Oozing cheese and chopped green onions only served to enhance this oh-so-delicious dog.

The price tag is a bit steep, but you're paying for quality and quantity. The plate is big enough for two to share if you're not being greedy, and the quality of the ingredients justifies the $13, not to mention ambiance. Canopy's airy dining room is one of the nicest in the city, and with its wall-to-ceiling tree mural, its green-topped tables and architectural wooden dining chairs, they've managed to bring the outdoors inside, making it the perfect respite for a hot summer day.

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Mai Pham is a contributing freelance food writer and food critic for the Houston Press whose adventurous palate has taken her from Argentina to Thailand and everywhere in between -- Peru, Spain, Hong Kong and more -- in pursuit of the most memorable bite. Her work appears in numerous outlets at the local, state and national level, where she is also a luxury travel correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide.
Contact: Mai Pham