Besides ice cream, there are few foods that scream “summer” more than hot dogs, right? So on this hot summer day, we wanted to share this adorable hot dog bar from one of The Local Moms Network’s favorite food bloggers, Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats. Mom to Max, 4 and Emilia, 18 months, she’s also the author of two gorgeous cookbooks, Seriously Delish (2014) and Pretty Dish (2018), and is hard at work on her next book, Everyday Dinners (out in 2021).
Jessica is known for her comfort food with a twist (what she calls “trashed up”), but also likes to stick to the basics. “All the salads with fruit—I love a spring greens salad with berries and goat cheese!—and tons of vegetables on the grill. We get fantastic sweet corn and tomatoes here in PA come July. They are unbeatable! I think almost every dinner I make in mid-late summer consists of those.”
For your next summer BBQ, think of making this hot dog bar that’s fun, easy and guaranteed to please adults and kids. Jessica includes all the classic—like a Chicago Dog and Carmelized Onion and Cheese Dog—as well as unexpected ones. We’ve definitely never had a Hawaiian Dog or Mexican Street Food Dog, but we’re pretty sure they’re going to be fast favorites. Jessica says her kids love making their own creations as much as she did. “I find that when my kids can help or choose their own toppings, they enjoy their food more and are more inclined to try new foods. It sparks creativity!”