Sometimes a new dish just screams, “Try this!”

So when I heard that a new Icelandic hot dog cart was doing business around Portland, I had to try it. I mean, hot dogs are the all-American food, served at ballparks and Fourth of July picnics. What could Iceland, a tiny Scandinavian country, know about them?

Well, they know enough to make them deliciously different. That’s what Peter Grebowski found when he went to Iceland last fall. This summer, he launched his Gunnar’s Icelandic Hot Dogs food cart in Portland. The main difference is that the hot dogs are primarily made of lamb, along with the beef and pork found in American dogs. The condiments are different too.

I tried a One with Everything at Lone Pine Brewing in Portland recently, and the toppings included: red onions; crispy fried onion bits; ketchup sweetened with apple cider vinegar and apple sauce; a remoulade made with mayo, Greek yogurt, capers, gherkins and spices; and a tangy dark brown mustard called Pylsusinnep. It was $10.

Though they use steamed buns in Iceland, Grebowski’s nod to Maine is he serves them in buttered and grilled New England-style buns. He has the hot dogs made at the Sausage Kitchen in Lisbon Falls. He took the name Gunnar for his stand because he wanted a name common to Iceland that people here could pronounce.

I found that the lamb gave the long frank (it hung out of both ends of the bun) a very firm bite and a meatier taste, though I would not have known it was lamb. All the toppings melded together so well, I couldn’t really taste one over the other, except for maybe the onions. The others were creamy and a nice texture contrast to the firm dog.

My wife, Jess, got a Dave’s Hot Dog for the same price. It’s named for Grebowski’s late father and was topped with a bright red spread made of beets and horseradish, mayo and lots of fresh dill. The frank was still Icelandic, but the sauce is a Polish condiment Grebowski’s father made at Christmas.

Jess gave me a bite, and though I liked mine, I liked that one even better. It was not at all spicy and did not necessarily taste like beets. Though be warned not to wear anything white if you order this one.

One with Everything, $10, Gunnar’s Icelandic Hot Dogs, various locations;

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