When it comes to food, Mo Rocca knows when to defer to others’ expertise: As host of “My Grandmother’s Ravioli” on the Cooking Channel, he learns the recipes of families across the country in their own kitchens.
But this weekend at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, he’s keeping to simpler fare at Hot Dog Happy Hour. The city’s unofficial street food has been enjoying a renaissance, moving into restaurants and gaining some gourmet — and offbeat — toppings.
We caught up with the former “Daily Show” correspondent for a taste of the tasting event. (Hot tip: Take a trip to Mexico to find truly “extravagant” hot dogs.)
First of all, why hot dogs?
I like a meal you can eat on the run, though I’m aware that walking while eating puts undue strain on the heart. I believe that LBJ’s first heart attack (in 1955) was caused by both his 60-cigarettes-per-day habit — and his habit of eating hamburgers while walking. (Actually, I might be imagining the latter.)
What do you like on your hot dog?
I love a chili dog with onions and relish and sauerkraut. (And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to make out with me right afterward.)
What’s harder, being funny or cooking a good meal?
Cooking a good meal requires the right ingredients, a decent recipe, steady hands and practice. It’s not rocket science (unless it’s baking, which is more of a science). So I’d say being funny is much harder, as evidenced by this answer.
Hot Dog Happy Hour
Oct. 17, 5 p.m.
The Standard,High Line
$99, must be 21+