Tag Archives: hotdog

Leo’s Coney Island (Howell, MI)

As I briefly mentioned a few years ago in my review of George’s Coney Island, the phrase “Coney Island” means different things to different people. To someone in New York, it’s a neighborhood, best known for its amusement parks, beach, and boardwalk. In many places, it means a variant of the chili dog, usually one served up with a beanless and slightly sweet chili, diced onions, and mustard. To someone living in Southeast Michigan, however, it actually means a particular type of restaurant…This time, I checked out Leo’s Coney Island, which is actually one of the larger coney island chains in Michigan…

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Blackie’s Hot Dogs (Cheshire, CT)

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, a lot of people believe that (to quote my former coworker Marc), “A hot dog is a hot dog.” I don’t concur, I’ve eaten enough hot dogs, from Sonoran Hot Dogs, to Chicago Dogs, to DC half-smokes, to New York papaya dogs, to Dodger dogs, that this clearly isn’t the case. It’s also important to note that it’s not just serving styles that vary, but also the dog itself. The Sabrett’s beef hot dog is what give those New York dogs their flavor. Similarly, a Chicago dog isn’t really right unless it’s a Vienna Beef dog hiding under all that stuff. And in the case of Connecticut, there’s quite a bit of variety hiding in this little state, with several regional butchers producing the hallmark style of that state: beef and pork blend, spiced similar to New York dog with lots of garlic and paprika notes. One of my favorite hot dogs is one of these from Hummel Bros. in New Haven, CT, making a good natural casing hot dog with a serious spiciness to it. And one of the best places to get a Hummel dog is Blackie’s in Cheshire, CT.

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Gray’s Papaya (New York, NY)

Our next lunch stop on the Manhattan Death March was for hot dogs. Like many regions of the country (as an aside, Wikipedia has a rather nice summary of regional hot dog variations, New York City has it’s own take on hot dogs. In fact, it has two: the “dirty water dog” (a typical street cart dog, so named since they simmer them in warm water in the cart) and the “papaya dog”. The latter is the interesting one, since, despite the name, the papaya dog doesn’t actually have papaya in or on it; it’s the same Sabrett’s hot dog you’re buying from the dirty water carts on the street, although they’ve grilled it instead boiling it, and it’s generally offered up with both kraut and hot onion sauce as condiments…

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Ben’s Chili Bowl (Washington, DC)

As I’ve mentioned here several times before, I have a soft spot for one of the DC area’s unique food items. Indeed, you can read my previous treatise on DC’s most notable item, the half-smoke. But, after reading that and some of the comments I received from both my readers here and on flickr, I realized I’ve been amiss in visiting the mother of all half-smoke joints: Ben’s Chili Bowl.

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Guest Blog: Annie’s Kiosk (Sønderborg, Denmark)

In an attempt to redeem our reputation, somewhat sullied by reviewing high-concept over-priced pabulum served in the dark, the European Bureau of Offbeat Eats has attempted to get back in touch with the culinary roots of this blog. Although we at the European bureau can’t really compete with Los Manjares de Pepe after a hot day of dropping things out of airplanes, the least we can do is find a decent hot dog in continental Europe. As sometimes happens, you may find yourself on the scenic route from Flensburg (in the northern German region of Schleswig Holstein) to Sønderborg, Denmark. If you haven’t had your fill of herring and potatoes in Flensburg, you might be able to fill in the cracks with one of the better hot dogs on this side of the Atlantic.

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Wein-O-Rama (Cranston, RI)

I’ve covered a lot of hot dogs on this list. Chicago Dogs. Pink’s Hot Dogs in LA. Coney Island dogs. Rochester White Hots. And even the hot dog’s cousin, the Half Smoke. You’d think I’d be running out of hot dog varieties, but, really, I’m only barely scratching the surface (God bless the fine folks at Wikipedia for gems like this). Which brings me to the latest variety, the “New York System” hot dog, native to Rhode Island (and not, as the name would suggest, New York… but then again, you won’t find a Coney Island hot dog anywhere near Coney Island, NY, either. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with it). For those that have never heard of the style, New York System Wieners (or, in a regional mispelling, several places use the mispelling “Weiner”, such as today’s entry) are similar to a “Coney Island” or a “Michigan” hot dog. It starts with a slightly smaller veal and pork sausage than your normal hot dog, served in a steamed bun with meat sauce (sweeter and milder than Coney Island sauce, and definitely way too mild to be called a “chili”), mustard, onions, celery salt. The last of these is what makes the style unique, since while celery salt is a standard Chicago Dog topping, it’s not often seen on a Coney Island dog. In any case, there are several “Hot Wiener” joints in Rhode Island, including Olneyville New York System, Saugy’s, and today’s entry, Cranston’s Wein-O-Rama…

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Gilley’s PM Lunch (Portsmouth, NH)

A quintessential part of the New England dining experience is the Worcester Diner Car, and quite a few New England towns have at least one Worcester Diner Car-based diner, typically with a long service counter, stools, tables, and lots of chrome. And, despite being designed on a wagon and/or train car style chassis, they typically don’t move. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the earliest Worcester Diner Cars weren’t this way. Early Worcesters had the stovetop, food prep, and service counter in the end of the car, with seating at the other end. And the cart was mobile, typically stored during the day and pulled out at night to serve factory workers. However, it’s extremely rare to find examples of these early Worcester Diners. Gilley’s PM Lunch in Portsmouth, NH is, however, a good example…

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Hot Dog varieties: The Half-Smoke

One of my simple guilty pleasures that I indulge in on every trip to the DC metro area: A “Half Smoke” hot dog , with mustard and “cooked onion” sauce. Many of you that aren’t from broader Washington, DC metropolitan area are probably asking, “what the heck is a half-smoke?” Like many areas (Chicago and Rochester being particularly good examples), Washington, DC has it’s own particular variant of the hot dog, the half-smoke. A half-smoke is a close cousin to the hot dog, but is a slightly larger and spicier sausage, with a level of seasoning halfway between a typical smoked sausage and a hot dog, hence the name. Interestingly, however, the sausage itself isn’t smoked (halfway or otherwise).

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Pink’s Hot Dogs (Los Angeles)

Anyone that knows me knows that I love hot dogs. I’ve made it a point to seek out iconic hot dogs at places such as Blackie’s in CT, Lafayette Coney Island in Detroit, various Chicago spots, Ted’s in Buffalo (and Arizona), as well as any number of additional places. One noticeable omission in my reviews has been Pink’s in Los Angeles. I’ve been here before, but not in many years. But, with a late night flight arrival, I had an opportunity to visit on the way out to Edwards AFB.

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Ted’s Hot Dogs (Tempe, AZ)

Ted’s Hot Dogs is a relatively minor hot dog chain with locations around the greater Buffalo, NY area…. and one location waaaay over here in Tempe, AZ. The chain itself goes back to the 1920s, and apparently the son of the original Ted family relocated to Arizona in the early 1980s and opened a location here. I’d say that most Valley denizens are thankful, since Ted’s has been consistently topping the “Best Hot Dog” lists of all the local publications since they opened (they’ve got an entire wall plastered with New Times awards, for example). And I have to say the awards are well-deserved, I’ve been coming here since they opened (well, the visits are pretty sparse now that I’m no longer an area resident…), and I really like the hot dogs here…

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