The Cannibal: Part Deux

Have you ever been in one of those moods? You know, one of those moods where you have some time to kill before a Broadway show after work and want to get on a Citi Bike and ride really fast to this hot dog place that you wrote about two years ago and crowned as the King of NYC? No? Weird, because, I mean, it was crazy… I was in one of those moods last night!

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Behold! The Jan Ulrich. Slightly over two years ago, I discovered the Cannibal. Known for their outlandish selection of meats at their main restaurant in Chelsea, no man leaves unhappy, unsatisfied, or feeling any better about their beer gut. When I visited their Hell’s Kitchen outpost in Gotham West Market back then, there were many different varieties of hot dogs – enough to take up a section of the menu. Now, they have only two hot dog options, one of which has their homemade wieners serving as the sausage base, and the other has the familiar Brooklyn Hot Dog Co. weenies. I usually don’t like to review the same place twice. As proof I’ve even been to the main restaurant and had their dogs before (shout-out to the Feastie Boys), but since these are completely different, utilizing a different sausage base that I already know and love, I feel compelled. I mean, you’d write a new movie review of The Shining if Eddie Murphy replaced Jack Nicholson right?

Is the Cannibal still king? Well, let’s start with the topic of bacon jam. Sweet Lord have mercy on my soul. This is a creation of a millennium. Sweet, yet fatty and rich, it is the perfect sausage icing. On top of this, we have some lightly flavored bbq chip bits to add a nice crunch. They’re like croutons on a salad or seat belts in cars – not completely necessary, but really nice to have. Next, glazed on the top of this magnificent sandwich (yes, a hot dog is a sandwich), is a delectable spicy mayo. It’s much spicier than you expect and that’s how it should be. If you’re going to sit down and eat a Jan Ulrich, you’re not a pansy, you’re a giant can of testosterone from Sweden ready to devour all the other pansies in the world. Eat up Jan, you deserve it. Is the Cannibal still king? Of course it is. The best weenie in the city hasn’t changed yet, my friends. Go to this establishment ASAP.

4.6 weenies

The Cannibal

Above is the first review I wrote. Below are some useless links to social media stuff.

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McG’s??? …in Dublin

Oy lads! Your man fancied a pint or two of Gat in Dublin and on me way to the jacks I stumbled upon this here food truck near Croke Park. (English translation: Hey, guys! I had a few glasses of Guinness beer in Dublin, and on my way to the bathroom I found a food truck outside of Croke Park.) Now, I have no idea what the name of it was and the chances of me ever being in Dublin again are very small, so that picture above with me gleefully smiling in the reflection is all we have as evidence for now. For context, Croke Park is where the GAA Men’s Hurling finals were being played, and you better believe we were rooting for Galway. Luckily, as part of this adventure, this food truck had a hot dog, and luckily, even though I wasn’t hungry, my friends convinced me to eat it. Serendipity, indeed. Cheers.

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In Dublin, all of the food is super heavy. Full Irish breakfasts come with blood sausage made out of real blood, bangers (sausage), bacon, eggs, fries, and who knows what else. Fat, greasy, and gluttonous are the three main words I’d use to describe Irish food… and also our current President. But, as I digress, the best part is that Ireland’s average life expectancy is higher than the US. This is the only data I need to justify all of my endlessly caloric culinary endeavors. So, I consumed what we have up above, a weenie loaded with ketchup, mustard, cheddar cheese, and onions. Heartburn on a bun, just how I like it.

Going from the outside in, rapid fire: the bun was fluffy, un-toasted, and sort of lacking substance. The cheese was from a bag, but lot of good things come from bags, so I liked it. The ketchup was red and the mustard yellow, as it should be. The onions were grilled, allowing a sweet glaze to caress their curves, like a freshly baked Krispy Creme donut. Then, the weenie, although a little skinny, provided a minor snap and a smoky flavor that I wouldn’t expect from a non-hot dog bearing country.

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See what I did there? 3/17 is St. Patrick’s Day. Epic. So, now for the only reason I wrote this post – to share this .gif of me scarfing down a weenie and my buddy Chuck in the background makin’ a real lad face. Guys doin’ things. Lads doin’ Ireland.

Cheers

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Pig Beach

I’ve been on vacation, sorry. Can you blame me? I mean, have you ever had the chance to swim with pigs on a beach in the Bahamas? Yeah, me either. Actually, I’ve just been lazy, but I did go to Brooklyn! Some of the NY Weenies staff moved to Brooklyn this month, which has graciously broadened my hot dog horizons. My first stop in the area (after a rough Saturday morning taking a standardized test that is, shall I say, obtuse), was to the much anticipated Pig Beach BBQ. Craft beers, cocktails, and meat aplenty, it was sure to be a treat. I found myself in the kind of mood where random 1950’s expressions for excitement were most appropriate. I felt like a hybrid cross-child of Opie Griffith and Beaver Cleaver. Gee, pa. Good golly, oh boy! What a hoot!

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Yes, this is a classic yellow-mustard-only dog. Simple, elegant, and timeless. Pig Beach does offer some exotic toppings on their locally sourced Karl Ehmer dogs that I’d love to try another time – cheese, pulled pork, and pickled peppers – however, I was also hankering for a pulled pork Sammy so I didn’t want to encourage obesity. The first thing I noticed was the bun: a Martin’s potato roll, no question about it. It was also grilled, showing some char on the side, which never fails to impress if done correctly. I applied the mustard from the big jug-pump sort of simple machine, so obviously that was done to perfection. You’d be amazed at how many people do this correctly. It is literally a simple machine, like a wedge, or a wheel, or a pulley. The big jug-pump machine, duh. I’m pretty sure I was fed from a big jug-pump machine as a baby, for cryin’ out loud. BJPM baby, what a hoot.

Anyway, let us progress, both in maturity and time, to the first bite. The snap was present, not strong, but present. The flavor was robust, sort of smoky, but not over-bearing, and the overall wiener size was a little less that desired, but, overall no complaint. Also, it wasn’t quite as hot as I wanted, lacked char, and could have been cooked more. I’ll cut them a little break since it was super busy on Saturday afternoon, but, as Yogi Berra once said, “ya gotsta cook ya weenies.”

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I’m happy, I’d go there again. Pig Beach is a very fun spot offering loads of tasty meats and drinks. In fact, you can buy a nice Other Half IPA and a shot of mezcal for 10 bucks. That’s enough reason to go right there. Happy weenie huntin’.

Cheers

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The Ukraine is Weak: 4th of July 2017

“Do you know what the Ukraine is? It’s a sitting duck. A road apple, Newman. The Ukraine is weak. It’s feeble. I think it’s time to put a hurt on the Ukraine.” – Kramer in Seinfeld. Happy 4th of July everyone. On this special holiday, after almost 2 years of writing about hot dogs, I have decided to take this opportunity to put all of my gumption into verbally abusing a hot dog from another nation. We Americans have thrived off of being unfriendly, loud, fat, and annoying for years (especially in 1776), and I would like to continue this tradition today. A while back, I went to the Ukrainian Village in Manhattan with Mike and had a traditional Ukrainian hot dog. I have been waiting until this day to tell you how awful it was.

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Baczynsky? Sounds like a disease my cousin caught in Korea. It definitely doesn’t sound like someone who knows how to make a weenie. Now, there are 5 distinct issues with the hot dog pictured above. I shall enumerate.

1. The bun, in general. A bun should be one piece of bread, held together. Here, the bun is split clearly up the middle just like Ukraine’s choice of languages. Maybe Russia wants the other half. It also is hard, like a weird piece of ciabatta. Tell me about the last time you wanted a hard weird piece of ciabatta. I didn’t think so.

2. Carrot salad. Am I a rabbit? Am I little bunny foo foo hopping through the forest? No, but I certainly am scooping up the makers of this wiener and boppin’ ’em on the head.

3. Lack of diversity. There is only one topping, it is carrot salad, and there aren’t any other options. In America, we have all sorts of toppings, flavors, ethnic groups, and languages. Ukraine has one: carrot salad, Ukrainian, white people. All the same. Vanilla.

4. The shape of the sausage. No further detail required.

5. The hot dog was not made in America. The hot dog was invented in America, ladies and gentleman. No other country can claim this. Yes, sausages are inherently German, and the Danish have done a great job at making their own style of weenie, but there was a cart in Coney Island that started the whole thing. It’s true, I wrote on homage back in 2015: NHDD 2015 Homage . Don’t try and sneak one past me, Ukraine.

0.01776 weenies. “Murica.

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Joey Chestnut will eat 68 hot dogs today and claim the title of National Hot Dog eating champion for the 10th time in 11 years. Now, go out there, have a wonderful day, and do American things. Crack a craft beer, brewed in the states, grill a weenie, lay back and enjoy yourself. It’s Independence day, so be independent. Freedom isn’t free. America the beautiful, four score and seven years ago, I had a dream, speak softly and carry a big stick, they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our Independence Day! Happy 4th, y’all.

Cheers

P.S. [Disclaimer: The Ukrainian dog was actually pretty decent. If I were being more serious, I’d probably give it a 3-point-something. But, I’m wearing red white and blue right now and feeling very patriotic, so I ask that you kind of just let me have it. Satire, right? Thanks.]

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Special Edition: Destination Dogs, Philly

That’s me and Jimmy Cronk, creator and co-owner of Destination Dogs in downtown Philadelphia. That’s two people who share a passion for hot dogs. The person on the left just eats them and tries to avoid becoming obese. The person on the right creates them. The weenie God – he is an enabler in the best of ways, coming up with 33 (for me, 34) location-themed high quality weenies for all to enjoy. I was lucky enough to spend a Saturday afternoon in this fine establishment in a the fine city of Philly, and ended up having 6 of Jimmy’s fine franks. Cue the obesity.

From left to right: “One Bite in Bangkok”, “The Chicago Bull”, “Trenton Thunder”, and “Chivas Royale”. These weenies are themed after Thailand, Chicago, Trenton, NJ, and Mexico. There is nowhere else in America where you can do this. It’s absolutely wild. This old boy was as happy as could be. Imagine your favorite thing in the world. Now imagine it in 34 different varieties, all while serving craft beer. I think that’s what John Lennon was singing about.

One bite in Bangkok is made of a snake. To be very clear, it is not a hot dog, it is a python sausage. I literally ate a python adorned with cucumber salad, pepper jelly, crushed peanuts, and cilantro. It was dope. The Chicago Bull is a classic Chicago dog, kind of like Emmett’s. Can’t go wrong, a true classic. Chivas Royale is deep fried, loaded with cheese sauce, bacon, salsa verde, sour cream, and scallions. I felt my cholesterol thicken as I consumed it, and I loved it. Then the most unique, even though I just ate python, was the Trenton Thunder. This Thor-esque colossus of a wiener was also deep fried, loaded with pork roll (aka Taylor ham), scrambled egg, cheese sauce, and a very interesting tomato and pepper jelly. So far, Trenton, somehow, while being a relatively undesirable city, produced an insanely desirable hot dog. Get this one.

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Heeeeerrreee’s Jimmy! While he didn’t have an axe and break through a door, once he found out that I wrote a hot dog blog, Jimmy did what any hot dog lover would do for another – he hooked it up. We got to try a custom Philly creation that he plans to bust out during Iggles season. I don’t want to leak his secret recipe, but it’s basically a Philly cheese steak-weenie hybrid, and it works. Upon first glance, it was like a kindergarten art room: dysfunctional and filled with things that don’t get along. Then, once we got to know the inner-workings, we realized how great it could be. I was honored to get to try it, a true A+. We also got to try some amazing chili sauce and a “Kansas City Beefs”, adorned with pulled BBQ ribs and slaw. This was the simplest dog, but maybe the best. If only my stomach allowed, I would have had 3 more. I still can’t decide if Trenton Thunder or Kansas City Beefs was the best, so I’ll recommend that you get both when you go.

In summary, this place is the real deal, and I’m a huge fan. The quality of the weenies is incredible; we have the snap, the juice, the smoky flavor, and the size to bun ratio. The buns are hearty, but not too thick, and nicely toasted. Once you add in all the exotic toppings, you have yourself a real all-inclusive hot dog resort of an experience. My hat goes off to Jimmy for this vision, as well as his hospitality. The good news is, he’s not just in Philly, but New Brunswick, NJ as well. You better believe I’ll be there soon.

Cheers

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P.S. My friend Dan ordered the hot dog above. What are you, 12, Dan?

Corner of Vermont

I always thought that Vermont was a place for hippies and mountain folk, like a northern version of “Deliverance.” Then, I went there for the first time and found it to be quite beautiful and filled with decent people, like a northern version of “The Notebook.” Then, I went to the restaurant called the Corner of Vermont and found it to be truly inventive, unique, and mind-boggingly delicious, kind of like a northern version of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” I felt like Augustus Gloop in this place, eating maple weenies like it was my day job. If I wasn’t careful, I’d drown in the maple mustard just like he did in chocolate. I had to travel all the way to Park Slope Brooklyn for these wonderful Vermont weenies, and I didn’t even have a golden ticket. What a great decision.

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Notice how the sun kisses the wiener’s toppings as if it were Apollo’s own lips. There’s a reason for this: these sausages are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.

On the left, we have a classic chili cheese dog done right. The chili is made in house, is outstanding, and has the perfect amount of spice. The cheese? Oh, the cheese, is 1 year old Grafton cheddar. Al Gore may! (Get it? Gourmet?)

On the right, we have “The Vermonter”, which was my favorite, mainly due to the surprise I had when I realized how good it was, and the creativity that went into it. Adorning the weenie are maple mustard, maple caramelized onions, and a sprinkle of maple sugar. True to the name, and phenomenal.

Now, the sausages. They are composed of pork, beef, and… BACON. That’s right, there is ground up bacon in the sausage. On top of that, they are huge and meaty, and have that oh so necessary snap. The grey color is at first a little off-putting, but you get over it really quick. You’ll think the exact same thing when you see the shirt I am wearing in the picture below.

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Yes indeed! I couldn’t be happier to find this place. It was a perfect start to the day, and a great discovery that I will be returning to. The owner and staff were incredibly friendly, and they do everything all natural – no nitrates, straight from the farm in Vermont. This is a real Vermont establishment, putting out genuinely awesome food and beverage. We even got to try their homemade lemonade and tea. Without too many more words, I hereby declare this hot dog the King of Brooklyn. That’s right, this is the best hot dog I have eaten in Brooklyn. The Cannibal is still #1 in NYC, but this is for sure top 5, and #1 in the biggest borough of NYC. Well done, Corner of Vermont.

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Do the numbers matter anymore? (802 is Vermont’s only area code. Tribute. Here’s another to make your mouth water.)

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Barclays Center

The worst team in the NBA and a mediocre, generally less preferred hockey team grace the center of this arena in Brooklyn. This raises many questions for me. Is there a correlation between the caliber of teams in the arena and the caliber of weenies sold at the arena? Well, the Mets were slightly better than the Yankees last year, and I’ll take a Citi Field dog over a Yankee Stadium dog any day. If the mustard that comes out of the spigot is brown and wicked, would you still lick it? Weird question, even weirder, cringe-worthy rhyme scheme. If a tree falls in the forest when nobody is around, does it make a sound? Obviously yes. Like, there’s not even a question, it’s science, of course it makes a sound. OK, I’m not good at asking mysterious questions — on to the part about wieners.

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Foot longs are always fun. They add an element of party to the hot dog that normal dogs don’t have. They are kind of like that friend you’ve always had that is an absolute blast at times, but much better in small doses. I am the kind of person that can take higher doses of foot longs compared to most people, so I was all about the fact that a foot long was an option. Barclays also offers a great condiment section, similar to Citi Field, so I was able to scoop on ample amounts of mustard infused relish as well as spicy brown mustard. Obviously, yellow is preferred, but the relish was outstanding so I was very pleased overall with the topping choices. Pickles are great. Chopped pickles on a hot dog are stellar. Chopped pickles infused with mustard on a foot long wiener?! Breathtaking.

And the rest of the experience? Not much different from other hot dogs I’ve had, with perhaps a slightly higher quality sausage. There wasn’t a snap, but it was firm and juicy with solid flavor. Apparently this place is a spin off of an actual restaurant in Wiliamsburg, the Vanderbilt, so they’re upping the ante in BK. I’ve had much worse. Toto, we’re not in Asia anymore…

3.25 weenies

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I should probably be embarrassed by that picture, but Nietzsche thinks I shouldn’t.

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Planet Earth: Hot Dogs of Asia

A few weeks ago I traveled to Asia. Luckily, Asia isn’t the void, hot dog barren continent I thought it would be. Instead, it is a fairly westernized, hot dog imitating continent that falls far short of being worthy of the title “hot dog continent”. There can only one hot dog continent and that is America. There can only be one ‘Murica. Regardless, in total I had three hot dogs, and one was particularly epic. It was part of a 25 course tasting menu at the #1 rated restaurant in Asia… three years in a row. Let’s not save the best for last, because I don’t save and I don’t like being last.

Gaggan: Bangkok, Thailand

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What we have here are little lamb kebab dogs on little buns with little onions, little carrots, and a little sauce. The menu we see during our 3 hour long experience of utmost gluttony is only emojis. There is one emoji per course, and this one was obviously the hot dog. We had to guess what the emojis were going to be – sometimes even after the course came out and we couldn’t tell what it was. To be honest, I don’t know what the sauces were because I was so happy and immersed in the experience. I had just enjoyed an old-fashioned that was infused with Cohiba cigar smoke underneath a glass dome in front of me. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Incredible. No words. “…”

Stand Underneath the Ferris Wheel: Hong Kong

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Touristy areas have hot dogs, it’s a way of life. So did the Ferris Wheel in Hong Kong. My options were Original, Spicy, BBQ, or Cheese. I went with original, and I love how that meant, ketchup, YELLOW mustard, and relish. This was true American influence. The bun was OK, the sauces were applied with gusto, but unfortunately the sausage itself tasted like dirty brown water trash. For what it’s worth, the Ferris Wheel was pretty awesome?

Random Convenience Store Bacon-Wrapped Wiener: Phuket, Thailand

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Given this title, I’m sure you were expecting greatness. So was I. It was really disheartening to see how under-cooked the bacon was and how flavorless the hot dog was. Such a fine establishment should have done better. Welp, someone had to do it. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone… ever.

P.S. Below is a picture of the Asia boys, AKA “JUBS” getting to meet the man behind the magic at Gaggan – Gaggan Anand himself. Check him out on Netflix’s Chef’s Table if you’re interested. Also, go to Thailand if you can.

Cheers

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Tørst

Danish people love hot dogs. Apparently they also love beer, serving beer in wine glasses, having no decorations in their bars, and a new vowel that looks like an o with a slash through it. Apparently, that vowel is pronounced like the “i” in bird or the “eu” in the infamous French expression “sacré bleu!” Well, when I eat a good hot dog, it is pronounced with a “snap.” And, that is exactly what I found at this bar in Greenpoint with one of the craftiest craft beer selections y’all ever did see. Apparently, they know how to get to my heart.

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That shiny submarine of hope pictured above is the Tørst hot dog #4. Four is my favorite number. This is destiny. At first glance, it looks immaculate, but I must admit that I am skeptical. It’s very easy to be too fancy when it comes to wieners. In my opinion, forgetting the classic and moving too far away from what made the frankfurter famous can be a recipe for disaster. As my Dad used to say in youth sports, “don’t try to make the highlight reel.” So, as I see curry ketchup, raita, candied nuts, and thinly sliced pickly things on top of this guy I got worried. Raita?! Barely know her. Emily Raita-kowski? I have no idea what raita is, but as it turns out, it is an Indian cucumber sauce that usually serves to counteract spicy foods. I suppose this is logical due to the curry ketchup.

The first bite yields the best part of this hot dog, and one of the greatest feelings of all time. The snap. Oh, it is glorious. This is the best snap of any weenie I have had in New York. This is better than the snap from Snap, Crackle, and Pop… better than the snap from snap into a Slim Jim… and even better than SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the government organization responsible for food stamps. After the snap comes some intense heat from the curry ketchup. When this hits, you’ll need some water. Luckily, the raika and the pickle balance it out. The nuts, in my opinion, don’t add anything, but I’ll never complain about peanuts. Lastly, the bun is big and bold, almost brioche, but not quite. I need to think about the bun a little more.

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OK, it’s too big. The bun is too big. I need less bread. Seriously, just put a toasted Martin’s potato roll on this thing and you’ve got the best dog in the city I think. But, holy cow, Tørst, you’ve done an amazing thing with this weenie. I debated giving you king of NYC. Alas, since I don’t like having ties anymore, you shall receive a very odd rating.

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I’ll be back… Tirst… Teurst… whatever. Ø!

Cheers

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Crif Dogs

Congratulations, you made it through a passing of arbitrary time into a new year. Good for you. The only good thing about the new year is that it gives people an excuse to do new things. For me, it was an excuse to do something legendary. What is legendary, you ask? Oh, I don’t know, how about… visiting perhaps the most recommended and definitely most creative hot dog place in NYC… that I have been holding back on reviewing for ONE AND A HALF YEARS. Yes, I’ve been writing about weenies for one and a half years and have not yet seen a psychiatrist. That’s also legendary! Now, to mix in even more legendary, I visited this place with a guy from ENGLAND who STARTED HIS OWN HOT DOG CART and is SAVING THE WORLD, ONE HOT DOG AT A TIME by giving his profits to a charity that fights children’s hunger. That is literally the most legendary thing I have ever even been close to. Sorry for the caps, I’m very excited. 2017 is looking to be… absolutely legendary. Absolutely 2017. Pete, from Feed Hot Dog Co, and I went to Williamsburg and ate at CRIF DOGS. 2017!!! (Disclaimer: I ate these hot dogs in 2016, but was a little slothful when it came to writing this blog. Shhhh.)

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Oh mama. For those who don’t know, Crif is famous for their handmade, naturally smoked beef and pork dogs that are covered in a myriad of unique and interesting topping combinations. Pete and I, being the hot dog lovers we are, ordered 2 each. (Pete also ordered some cheesy tots because he’s an animal, and Kate ordered a boring kraut wiener. Hey, you’ve got to admit it’s cool that we found a girl that will eat any weenies with us at all.) Then, after realizing that there were so many amazing wieners on the table, we decided to cut them in half and “get involved”, as Pete says. Oh my Jiminy Cricket, did we get involved. Here’s the lineup:

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The Chili Dog: I love chili dogs. NY Weenians know this. This dog is simple: chili, onions, and mustard. It’s excellent. Eat it.

The Tsumani: It’s a B-b-b-ba-ba-BACON wrapped weenie. (Pardon my stutter.) On top of the wrap are teriyaki sauce, pineapples, and green onions. Its sweet n’ savory, and makes me want to crank Jimmy Buffet and wear Tommy Bahama. Basically my life goal at age 52.

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The Jon-Jon Deragon: cream cheese, scallions, and the same toppings you’d find on an everything bagel all on top of a bacon wrapped dog. Lord have mercy. I’ll admit, this dog is the reason why I love Crif Dogs. It’s an incredible invention. I’d equate the experience of eating this dog to the time I ate macaroni and cheese for the first time. Revolutionary and life-changing. I’ve got the bluuueees. (If you don’t get that reference, shame on you, go Youtube old Kraft ads after reading this.)

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The Chihuahua: another bacon wrapped dog, this time topped with avocados and sour cream. This one surprised me the most. Sour cream on a hot dog is out of this world delicious. Much like the Jon-Jon, it is a revolutionary discovery and anyone and everyone should try it ASAP. Tell your boss you have a doctor’s appointment and go get this dog now. The snappy crunch of the bacon, plus the smooth, salubrious love of the avocado… finished with none other than a dollop of Daisy!?!? Take me to church!

Overall notes and final review: Crif Dogs is a miraculous wonderful place. I absolutely love it and encourage everyone to go. I love it so much that I held back on reviewing it because I thought that it would be king. Alas, my friends, it is not king. The Cannibal is still king. I realized that while the topping selection is excellent and the handmade dogs are super tasty, Crif lacks three very important things that I hold near and dear to my heart: the snap, yellow mustard, and a toasted bun. It would simply be unfitting if I gave the title of king to a place without these essentials. I love you Crif Dogs… I don’t need any Purple Rain, because you’ll forever be my Prince.

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Lastly, thank you Pete for coming to join me. You are an inspiration in that you can do great things for the world, yet simultaneously have a blast and do what you love. I wish the best for Feed Hot Dog Co’s future – readers please check them out on Instagram @feedhotdogco and at their website and Facebook: Feed Site Feed FBook. I hope I can make it out to England one day and enjoy another weenie with my newly acquired hot dog fam. It’s 2017, y’all.

Cheers

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