Papaya Dog

It’s 7:56 PM and I haven’t had dinner yet. I’m fresh off of a bar crawl, getting off the subway to meander to my friend’s apartment. There, on the horizon, shines bright like a diamond, a beacon of hope. For 4 dollars I could devour 2 of my favorite things in the world and be completely full, recharged, and ready for the night. Of course I stop in. In my opinion, you have to be outside of your mind to not stop in. Look at the picture above. It is a paradise of culinary delicacies that one could only hope for in heaven. The best part about this paradise is it won’t cost you any money! This place is literally helping society by providing low cost health plans to the general public. I don’t care how much money you make, you can afford Papaya Dog. Bernie Sanders loves this place.


Political jokes aside, look at those bad boys. I don’t know about the readers, but I’ll take that image over the SI Swimsuit cover any day. I mean, let’s be honest, Ronda Rousey and the Dove bar soap girl make up two thirds of the covers now. Regardless of your preference, I ordered a nacho cheese and a chili dog. The “nacho” cheese was exactly what I was looking for: melted Kraft singles. The chili, however, had the most appeal, because unlike many other types of hot dog chili, this one had beans. Loads of beans. Let’s take a step back and really take a good look at the bean, or the legume, if you will. It is one of the healthiest, tastiest, most abundant sources of nutrition on the planet. There are many types of beans, all of which peacefully coexist. Kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, and even lima beans, all offer a different flavor and appearance to those lucky enough to consume. In a way, beans are the humans of the earth. This is why we should love them. Any way, I was excited about that bean loaded chili.

The bun is nicely toasted, and the wieners came out quickly. The wieners were hot, and with nowhere to sit I wasted little time diving in. Much like the other rival papaya hot dog joints in the city, the sausage itself is relatively thin, but flavorful. The difference here is the consistency. I felt a little bit like I was eating a slim jim. Now, before that sounds terrible, I love slim jims, obviously, because I love all things cheap and loaded with preservatives. However, it is a negative observation in this case because when compared to the other papaya joints I’ve reviewed (Papaya King and Gray’s Papaya), the sausage just doesn’t compare. The King of the Papaya’s is still the aptly named Papaya King on the Upper East side. But, I will never speak poorly of a place that offers decent cheap dogs at all hours of the day. I have been to Papaya Dog many times before, and I will go again.

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Now, because this is a NY Weenies @ Night edition, I have to tell a story. After I ate the two dogs, I was still hungry because I always seem to be hungry and I had been consuming adult beverages earlier in the day. My friend told me he would buy me a corn dog if, as I ate it, I asked the next person I saw a question. This question had to be, “would you like to taste my wiener?” So, I’d like to apologize to the person on the street I embarrassed that day. Just take solace in the fact that I slathered that corn dog in French’s yellow mustard and downright cherished it. Thank you, stranger.


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Here we are again ladies and gentleman, another edition of NY Weenies @ Night. This particular night was quite spectacular. So spectacular in fact, that I’ll never forget it. I’m so excited to tell you, but I don’t want to spoil it, so let me walk you through the events of the evening first. Nobody is around. That is, nobody except the Mohanster. We first decide to have a unique dinner at a local hot spot. We then decide to indulge in a cocktail at a more local, less hot spot. It is then when another friend ajvc reminds us via text message that there is a concert that night. A concert? Who could be entertaining enough, talented enough, and epicly awesome enough to warrant paying to see in concert? 5 minutes later we were on our way to gallivanting in the realm of Miley Cyrus.


Proof. Also proof that if you wear a Christie Brinkley style leotard and a moon for an arm people will watch you sing. Also proof that you are a nutjob. So, since this is a hot dog blog, near Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen is a wonderful craft beer bar called Valhalla. This is where we had our nightcap. Luckily for me, they serve hot dogs. If you looked up nightcap in my dictionary the definition would be: “1. A relaxing time enjoying a craft beer and a hot dog after a Miley Cyrus concert”. OK, maybe it wouldn’t have the Miley part, but we can get past that. The dogs here come with nothing on them – basic. But, in a sense, “basic”ally whatever you want on them. The friendly gentleman behind the counter suggested sauerkraut. I reluctantly agreed. Then, like Obi Wan, I waved my finger and said “this is not the kraut you’re looking for”, and they put it on the side. Sweet.

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There was no yellow mustard, but I slapped on some spicy brown and gave it a whirl. The quality of the sausage was good, it had a minor snap and very good flavor. It was also well prepared, as you can see by the grill marks. This place certainly doesn’t specialize in hot dogs, they specialize in beer, so I’m not going to knock them for having a lack of topping options or yellow mustard. I will knock them on the bun, though. You can almost see in the picture that it is quite airy. I don’t know about you, but when I say airy out loud I get a nostril-flared, sour look on my face and I feel acid climb up up my esophagus. Too much? No, the bun was just no good. They tried to toast it but it made it crusty. Crusty, now there’s another bad word. Don’t even get me started. The bun was crusty and airy. Crusty and airy and bland. Crusty and airy and bland, oh my! (Disclaimer: watch the Wizard of Oz to get that one.)

Quite honestly, I felt like I was eating a backyard dog grilled over the 4th of July with a slightly stale bun. As a fan of hot dogs, I’m never going to complain about that. Then I had a delicious local IPA to my right?! You kiddin’ me?

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Valhalla is a great little bar for a great big beer. I highly recommend it. Their weenies are pretty good too. Until next time, knuckleheads.


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Gray’s Papaya

Hot Dogs at Night – A NY Weenies original. (Sung to the tune of Downtown by Petula Clark)

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely
You can always eat… hot dogs
It’s 3 AM, you are tipsy and hungry
Seems to help, I know… hot dogs

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the sausages look pretty
Gray’s doesn’t close?
Nothing else is open there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares

So eat hot dogs
Things will be great with some hot dogs
Go with a friend for sure, hot dogs
A whole lot of wieners for yoooouuuuu!


I really enjoyed writing that song. I also really enjoyed reviewing this hot dog. This was my first “NY Weenies @ Night” review, because it was really late, after a night at the bar. I also ate 3 hot dogs. Good lord. Gray’s Papaya is another “papaya” joint, and is the upper west side rival of the upper east side, recently highly reviewed 4.5 weenie Papaya King. All of these places are similar. There is a lot of yellow, they also serve smoothies and fries, but really everybody goes there for the cheap, quick, and artfully simple weenies. They are also open 24 hours a day. Gray’s was founded in 1974 by a former partner of Papaya King, once had three bustling locations, now has one, and only has half of it’s sign lit. Obviously I am not bothered by this at all, because all that matters is the dog.

Very openly and humbly I approached the counter and asked the two gentleman for their best hot dog. After some hesitation and overcoming a language boundary, below is what they came up with.


What the hell is that?! The frank looks good, the bun looks good, but whatever they put on top of it is a tremendous mistake. Blasphemy! It’s some sort of onion, ketchup, sweet and sour sauce, urine combination that should never be on a hot dog. Bye Felicia. Very poor start. I guess that’s what you get from the late night staff. I could, however, tell that there was a quality weenie underneath that toxic sludge that they call a topping. (Of course I ate it anyway.) So, I approached the counter after receiving some advice from my personal hot dog adviser Mike and decided to take matters into my own hands. Per the rules, published in the Who Am I? page of this site, I got a classic with mustard. But, just like Papaya King, there is no yellow mustard. Come on, man. I understand this is a New York thing, and try to keep an open mind. I am very pleased with this one, but the bun could have been a little more toasty, and the dog a little bit thicker. It has the snap, and it is a good temperature, color, etc., but it seems a little small. When I place my index finger and thumb on either side of the bun, the frank disappears quicker than a frightened turtle. It must be better than this. Gray’s is legendary, there must be a better hot dog. So, I order a third weenie.


That’s the ticket. A little bit of chili goes a long way. This was the best of the three, and totally out of protocol, but you only live once as they say (YOLO), and I’m so glad I got this one. Chili, relish, and mustard. Like Bosh, Wade, and LeBron, the three combine to win championships. You can’t lose. Gray’s delivers a high quality hot dog for an incredibly affordable price, but it doesn’t quite match its upper east side rival.

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In conclusion, if you want to lose your inhibitions and go to Gray’s to devour 3 hot dogs, bring some Tums and enjoy. I highly recommend it.


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