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Cooking with Myra: Sometimes a hot dog is more than just a hot dog

April 1, 2014 at midnight
Updated March 31, 2014 at 11:01 p.m.

Spicy sweet potato jack dog

Spicy Sweet Potato Jack Dog

• All-beef dog

• Cilantro

• Avocado

• Monterey Jack cheese

• Sweet potato chips (on the dog or on the side)

• Peppered bacon slivers

• Dill relish

Prepare hot dog in a grill pan; add ingredients to build the dog.

DogGone Healthy DOG

• All-beef hot dog

• Whole-wheat bun

• Pico with jalapenos, onions and tomatoes

• Mint chutney

• Queso Fresco cheese

• Sunflower sprouts

• Sunflower seeds toasted

• Bacon relish (almost healthy)

Prepare hot dog in grill pan, then add ingredients on top, finishing with sunflower seeds.

Create your custom dog

Ingredients to add to your dog:

• Chopped onions

• Curry powder

• Cheese

• Jalapeno slices, pickled

• Bacon

• Tomatoes

• Lettuce with Caesar dressing and alfalfa sprouts

• Onion rings for crunch on the dog

• Sriracha sauce

• Creole mustard

• Sweet or dill relish

Our daughter, Hannah, and her husband, Ben, live in the big city of Houston. All three of our children have chosen the lights and nightlife of the city over small-town living - for now.

Hannah has been enrolled at the University of Texas medical school in Houston for the past four years since graduating from Baylor University, and in just one month, she will have an M.D. behind her name. She has been studying and working hard.

Her husband chose the lawyer route and graduated a year ago. He is in corporate law for a large firm. He is like an actual adult with a real job, and we are grateful for that.

The process to be a doctor takes many years. First, you must graduate from college with excellent grades, do well on the admissions exam, get into medical school and pass a lot more tests during the next four years. Then, finally, you graduate.

But wait, there's more.

Even though you are a doctor, you still must spend another three to seven years specializing in some field. That is called a residency. In Hannah's case, she wants to be a surgeon, which requires at least five years.

I decided to attend the Match Day celebration at Hannah's school two weeks ago. This is when the students find out where they will go for their residency training. She had interviewed at 12 residency programs. These programs rank their choice of students, and the student ranks their choices, and it all gets fed into a computer.

She was so hoping she could stay in Houston, so Ben could keep his job, and so they could continue to enjoy the city and friends they had come to know.

Hannah and Ben slept fitfully the night before Match Day, and as we drove to the school, I reminded them God is in control of all things in our lives. Since we are unable to see the entire picture, we must trust knowing that what happens is supposed to happen. The event was set up in a courtyard, where all the students and their families gathered.

Unsettled talking, nervous laughing and whispers were rippling through the crowd as one of the doctors stepped forward and tapped the microphone, quieting all of us. He explained what a monumental day this was and how hard every one has worked to get to this point. All of us were nodding our heads up and down and thinking, "Let's get this over with."

Each student's name is called and they are given an envelope containing the name of the program they have been accepted into and the specialty. The crowd is cheering as each student approaches and returns to their family pod holding their envelopes.

Many of them are holding them up to the sun overhead to try to see the words, but all the documents are in security envelopes, so they try to calm their quickening pulse and wait for the moment.

Once the class president counts down from 10, students tear open their envelopes. In Hannah's case, she was crying and passed her envelope to Ben, who opened it and exclaimed, "I get to keep my job."

Hannah got her wish for a surgery residency in Houston at her school. She was laughing and crying at the same time. She greeted her friends and listened to their news with a lightness she had not felt for months.

Suddenly, we realized we were all hungry. Since our digestive systems were finally free of nervous butterflies, we were off to a cute restaurant named Tiny Boxwoods for a celebratory meal.

After lunch, we had to begin the next task. There was no time to rest. The lease had expired on their house, and they had been temporarily living with their two large dogs in my sister's garage apartment. Since they now knew they would be living in Houston for at least five more years, they needed a home.

Their first choice of neighborhoods was The Heights, which is a quaint, old area northeast of downtown. Unfortunately, that's where a lot of people want to live, so the houses are expensive and in short supply. If a decent house at a good price comes on the market, there might be five offers on the first day.

I think we drove up and down every single street for hours. At least, we got a feel for the place and could begin to understand what sort of house could be purchased for a certain range of money, if one was available. Almost every house we called about already had a contract pending.By evening, we had worked up quite an appetite. We found a gourmet hot dog restaurant named Good Dog. It had been awhile since I ate a hot dog, but this looked like a quaint establishment in The Heights, and lots of grandmothers with strollers and hip 30-something moms and dads were eating outside on the deck.

I bellied-up to the counter and ordered off the creative menu. I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into the Guac-A-Dog filled with avocado, fresh jalapeno, tomatoes, diced onion, roasted garlic aioli, cilantro, cumin and lime. Hannah ordered a Curryous Frank, which has curry relish, cilantro chutney, sweet potato chips, sriracha ketchup and roasted garlic aioli. It was delicious and crunchy.

Ben reluctantly shared his Ol' Zapata Dog bacon, muenster cheese, caramelized onions, tomatoes, jalapeno relish, ketchup and mayonnaise since he was enjoying it so much. We were all surprised by what could be achieved on a humble dog.

We struck out on finding a house. The search is still in progress. Good Dog Houston is a treasure, and I am sure I will return someday, since the kids will be there for the next five years.

Take a peek at their menu at gooddogfoodtruck.com or visit their restaurant at 903 Studewood St. in Houston.

Here are a few of my versions of their gourmet dogs.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email myra@vicad.com.

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