Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stewart's, Ocean City, NJ

Stacy and I ditched work (with permission) on Monday and headed to the Jersey Shore. Our shore experiences are almost always based entirely around boardwalk food. We start planning what we want to eat before we even get there. It's kind of gross. Of course, we wanted to do some hot dog research and chose Stewart's after scoping out the scene. For some reason, I keep being drawn to chili dogs even though I'm almost always disappointed. Maybe I'm hoping I'll find one that will help me reach hot dog nirvana? I don't know, but this time was no exception. They actually gave me two chili dogs because of some kitchen miscommunication and I think the teenaged girl behind the counter was too afraid to tell the cooks of the mistake. What am I going to do with two sizable chili dogs, though? This is when I realized that the boardwalk is devoid of homeless people. This is also when I realized that it is weird to offer complete strangers a free chili dog. The hot dog and chili were too salty for me to finish, but the Stewart's root beer was sweet and refreshing and made it easier to deal with the dehydrating effects of all that salt. Sitting on the boardwalk, eating that chili dog, I'd wished I'd kept it simple.

Stacy's PS: Oh hai. The hot dog blog took a trip to Grey Gardens? Nah, I just got a crazy old lady sun hat. I also got a corndog. As far as corndogs go, it was standard: scalding hot, foil cape, wooden stick. I liked it, but I think most of its allure was that I WAS AT THE BEACH AND NOT AT WORK. That said, I always enjoy any location of Stewart's and had a great root beer float. Please note that we are again relying on cell phone pictures. I was trying to kick it old school and bring a film camera, but after a day of blog worthy beach photography (I can only assume since it can't be proved otherwise) the damn camera broke. Sure, it was a toy camera but I didn't expect it to literally fall apart in my hands and expose all my film to daylight. Blurgh. The world will now never see Cathy posing with an Elvis statue or something that looks exactly like a Medieval Times but was not. Stay tuned for an artist rendering (or maybe not since I tend to be lazy).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sans Nitrates

I'm a lady that eats a lot of hot dogs so obviously I constantly fear dying a hot dog related death... how so you say? specifically from nitrates and some strange awful hot dog related cancer. Luckily my constantly worried state was inherited from my mother, who found these Oscar Meyer nitrate free hot dogs! They're good too. They taste a little of kielbasa, which is kind of a great thing in itself. Also, don't you love my grandparents' awesome kitchen floor? (It's so awesome, one could do a whole photo thesis on it...)

Accidental Hot Dog II: North Bowl

Mikey and I went to cheer on our friend Brian last night at North Bowl. He's in a bowling league there, but it was really an excuse to hang out close to home and eat tater tots (at least it was for me). They have a "Hot Dog of the Day" on their regular menu and last night's hot dog was topped with caramelized fennel and apple slaw. I also had a choice of either a veggie dog or Hebrew National. I chose the Hebrew National (natch). When our hot dogs arrived, Mikey's looked burned and mangled, and though mine wasn't burnt, it didn't look all that special. Something about it smelled like a foot (maybe the bun) and we couldn't taste the fennel even though there was plenty of it. I did like the apples, but the "slaw" was not a slaw, nor was it caramelized. The mixture felt and tasted like it was sauteed to oblivion and then left to sit until serving time. By that point, I didn't care because (a) I was drunk, and (b) I HAD TATER TOTS.

Here is a camera phone picture for your squinty viewing pleasure.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Accidental Hot Dog: Dos Segundos

While dining out at Dos Segundos Cantina (on N 2nd St.), Adam and a hot dog had a moment. I was totally not prepared to do any hot dog related investigative reporting, but it just happened. The hot dog was just calling to him... a Mexican hot dog, deep fried with bacon and God knows what else. (Please note it comes with mayo, so if you are like Adam and start dry heaving at the thought of it, maybe skip that part like he did). I was allowed the tiniest bite of it, and yes it was a dream, but frankly I had my own steak tacos to contend with. The photos are not up to my desired quality level, but aren't too bad considering the low light/camera phone/several margarita circumstances. I like them anyway, since they effectively capture the magic of this hot dog.
(I was trying to look jealous but instead look like I'm trying out to be in the next Urban Outfitters catalog)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tales of Hot Dogs Past: Nathan's Hot Dogs

Two years ago I went to Coney Island and ate a hot dog from Nathan's. I don't remember a whole lot about the hot dog I ate, but it must have been stellar because I still have a photo of it saved on my phone. Another plus: seeing the ticking clock countdown until the next competitive hot dog eating world championship. Only 17 days to go until the next one!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hot Dog TV

Mikey informed me last night that there was an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay featuring hot dogs on onDemand. In case anyone hasn't seen the show, Bobby Flay travels around the country challenging cooks who've become famous in their respective hometowns for making a particular dish extremely well. I think it's pretty jerky of Flay (I was particularly mad one time when he bested some little old ladies -- respect your elders!). So I watched and drooled as he challenged Brooklyn's Nick Suarez to a hot dog duel. Suarez's recent claim to fame is "Brooklyn's Cheesiest Dog," a hot dog covered in a very special macaroni and cheese that contains bacon and leeks. I am currently dreaming about this hot dog. Luckily, the recipe is up on Food Network.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guest Blogger: Flag Festival 2010

Hi, my name is Meryl of Love, Meryl Judith and thanks to Stacy and Cathy for welcoming me to the blog today!  On Saturday, my boyfriend Joe and I stumbled upon a street fair on our walk from Center City to Northern Liberties.  The event was the 3rd annual Flag Festival at the Betsy Ross house and Arch Street was closed off between 2nd and 3rd Streets.  I love stumbling across street fairs and/or attending them voluntarily.  This one featured face painting, old time photos, carny games, a mesmerizing puppet show and let's not forget, the traditional fair-food cuisine.  

I'm not going to pretend to be a hardcore hot dog fan.  In fact I normally lose interest after eating one very plain and boring hot dog.  (Don't boo me please).  But I love hot dogs for what they represent.  To me they mean summer and barbecues and friends and good times, and so what could have been a more perfectly impromptu lunch than a hot dog at a street fair on the first weekend of June?  

See said hot dog.  As previously described it's as plain as a hot dog with mustard can be.  They did offer relish which Joe topped his hot dog with.  It hit the spot!  So much so, that we didn't need an ice cream cone from the Franklin Fountain cart, which was staring at us longingly.  Since I can't promote a no-brand stand with a white sign for "hot dogs, hamburgers and fries," I will tell you that if you want a delicious ice cream sundae and authentic atmosphere, stop at Franklin Fountain in Old City.  

Now I will leave you with the Punch and Judy puppet show that left me giggling like a 4 year old.  Ta da!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Puttin' on the Dog, Oaks

Word on the street was that a new hot dog place had opened in Oaks recently. Our friend, Colleen, graciously drove us to Puttin' on the Dog even though she doesn't eat meat. Everyone is just getting into the spirit of the hot dog blog and God bless them for that.

I chose the Sloppy Dog -- mustard, cole slaw, and "sloppy" sauce. I did not ask about the sloppy sauce. I just went for it. Turns out that it's just sloppy joe mix. Straight up Manwich. I ate the whole thing, as is my style, but it's definitely low on the list and I don't think I'll go back. The flavors never came together and, like I said, it was just sloppy joe on a hot dog.
On our way back to Colleen's house, we passed a Nathan's hot dog stand, which I hope to visit on our next trip to that area. Did I mention that Colleen's apartment complex has a pool??? Yes, we will be back.

Stacy's PS: One thing Cathy forgot to mention was the abundance of surly teenage boys, which is not something I look for when dining out, especially when they will be preparing my food. After walking in and being greeted by the blank cow eyed stares of five dudes just standing around, I started to rethink our hot dog jaunt. There were four hot dogs to choose from (which is pretty weak for an all hot dog restaurant when you think about it), and I settled on the Mighty Dog, mainly because I like the name. Essentially it was as if someone took the components of a Chicago style dog, minced them, subtracted 50% of the taste and then stuck it on a hoagie roll. It was the equivalent of what I make myself for lunch when I run out of everything else. So yeah, this is our first official thumbs down across the board. For shame, Puttin' on the Dog, for shame!

At least enjoy the pictures courtesy of Colleen, our soon to be veggie dog correspondent.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

White Dog Café, 3420 Sansom Street

Let me start off by saying that we didn’t intend to go to White Dog Café this past Friday, but we’ve been having some hot dog issues. We make plans to go on a hot dog adventure and our plans are quickly foiled by the total absence of hot dogs when we arrive at our destination. Needless to say, we were all very sad and cranky to have to come up with a Plan B.

Stacy and I were accompanied by her boyfriend, Adam, on this trip and none of us had ever been to the White Dog before. We were worried they might not even have any hot dogs given our bad luck. We were given two choices of menus by the hostess. Hot dogs are on the bar menu and the bar menu is not served in all areas of the restaurant, so be sure to specify what you’re there to accomplish if you are in search of dogs. There were six different hot dog options, all named after canines and all made with natural beef hot dogs. I chose the Schnauzer, aptly named with its sauerkraut, spicy mustard, and sweet pickle relish. While not the fanciest choice, it was made just the way I like ‘em. All dogs were served on a bakery roll. I thoroughly enjoyed all components of this hot dog, except for the price ($7.25), but I suppose you pay for the quality of the ingredients and can feel good about that. I would also like to note that even though I am bringing up the price of the hot dogs, Adam was lovely enough to pick up the tab. Thanks again, Adam!
Stacy's PS... I was kind of lukewarm about these hot dogs. My hot dog of choice was the The Chihuahua, featuring salsa, nacho cheese sauce, pickled jalapenos, guacamole, and fried tortilla strips (there was also lime sour cream which I passed on). So it was a flavor explosion right? Not so much. Somehow the spicy hot dog flavor overpowered everything else, which was rather disappointing. Only the occasional jalapeno would slip in to break up the hot dog redundancy. As a plus these hot dogs were all nitrate free, but apparently I am so used to my beloved nitrates that I couldn't get on board with the taste.

Our handsome benefactor Adam knocked back two hot dogs, The Mastiff, a Texas Tommy with bacon, cheese and jalapeno corn relish, and The Bloodhound, a chili dog replete with chopped scallions and cheese. Adam was a big fan of the added scallions.

Summation: While I didn't love my dog, I still might want to go back? Everyone else seemed so taken with their dogs, maybe I just ordered the wrong one. The dog themed decor also won a place in my heart. That combined with the too tall tables gave it the feel a restaurant your parents take you to as a little kid, which is something that warmed my cold hot dog addled heart.

Hot dog excursion officially sponsored by Redcap's Corner.