A Fork on the Road: The Latin Corner Gazebo

 

Latin-infused hot dogs head south

Cauley Square

Linda Bladholm

Hot dogs are a favorite at fun places like amusement parks, baseball stadiums -- and Cauley Square, a collection of quaint shops deep in South Miami-Dade on the site where Henry Flagler housed his railroad workers at the turn of the last century. There, tucked in dense foliage, a yellow snack shack called the Latin Corner Gazebo serves grilled, all-beef franks in soft buns with snazzy garnishes. Owner Angelina Huete came to South Florida 20 years ago from Chinandega on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. She leased the stand last year after meeting Frances Varela, the Honduran-born operator of Cauley Square, at the car wash she ran nearby. Her Chilean husband, architect Mario Davila, helps out.

Also known as frankfurters, wieners and red hots, hot dogs are a type of cured sausage that originated in Central Europe, perhaps created by a German butcher who trained in Vienna and called his creation the wienerwurst (literally Viennese sausage). It had arrived in the United States by the mid 19th century, but didn't take off until someone -- sources credit a Coney Island vendor -- hit on serving it in a long bun.

In Chile, avocado is used like butter, and the Latin Corner serves hot dogs smothered in an avocado mash with lemon and salt, plus onions, relish, mustard and ketchup. The Latin dog is topped with pico de gallo spiked with jalapeño and cilantro, and the American has relish, sauerkraut, ketchup and mayo topped with shoestring potatoes for crunch. Or mix and match toppings as you wish. Nica tacos are four fried corn tortillas rolled around shredded chicken and topped with sour cream and cabbage slaw. Pan con tortilla is an omelet sandwich. There are also roast pork and steak sandwiches, burgers, empanadas and quesadillas. Milkshakes are thick -- try guava, mango, papaya, strawberry or piña colada, a frosty treat to chase down a dog.

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