PERU -- "Boston Strong" runs through Dana DiSantis' soul -- and her hot dog buns.
When the Peru resident saw Kayem Foods' -- the makers of the official hot dog of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park -- "Create Fenway's Frank" contest, she knew the hot dog had to be about her beloved city.
"We're just huge Boston sports fans," she said of her and her family. "We were at Fenway after the Boston Marathon. It was so moving and touching. That's what I thought of when I saw the contest -- it should be for Boston, about Boston."
With a little encouragement from her daughter, DiSantis' entered her creation -- Boston baked beans, honey mustard, warm sweet onions, sharp cheddar cheese and crispy smoked bacon bits on top of a Kayem Fenway Frank -- which she appropriately named "The Monstah."
To her amazement, her ballpark recipe was chosen as one of the top five entries by Kayem in its second annual contest, which also celebrates National Hot Dog Day, which is today, in case you didn't know. Even more surprising, she said, was when "The Monstah" made it to the top two after the food brand's Facebook fans voted for her frank, putting her in the running of winning $1,000 and the honor of having her hot dog sold at Fenway Park throughout the summer.
"Never in a million years did I think it would get this far," said the mom of three, now adults, who grew up eating their mom's hot dog creations. "It's just been a happy, fun thing that really wasn't expected.
Today, she finds out if she takes top dog -- she's up against Peter Anastasi of Watertown and his "Greenville Southern Drive Dog," topped with pulled pork and creamy coleslaw -- at a celebration with free hot dog sampling at Boston Harbor Cruises' The Landing at Long Warf.
But before you think DiSantis, who is known among family and friends for her catering and entertaining talents, is in it for the glory, hold the mustard.
"I love doing stuff that spotlights other people and I really like being behind the scenes," said DiSantis, who describes herself as "not a self-promoter."
"I'm still not sure how I got all those Facebook votes, maybe it was everyone in Peru," she said with a laugh.
For DiSantis, who has promised her family and friends she will make her creation for her daughter's upcoming high school graduation party, the relish on the dog would be to get a photo of Wally the Green Monster holding a "Monstah."
"I named it as an ode to the big green monster," she said. "I've always wanted to sit there for a game. And, honestly, I'm obsessed with the show ‘The Wahlburgers,' and they way they speak. Between Donny Wahlberg and the Green Monster, I knew it had to be ‘The Monstah.'"