I am ferociously dedicated to hot dogs. My devotion to the weenie is undying. Just about 2 hours ago, I walked 20 minutes from work… to a deli I had no enthusiasm for… in 10 degree wind chilled temperatures… alone… simply to eat a hot dog, take pictures of it, and write about it. If I told that to a psychiatrist, I’d be in a straight jacket right now. In fact, I heard about this deli because I’m pretty sure a dude I never met before in an Uber pool told me about it. Thanks, guy. Regardless of the struggle and the insanity, I can honestly tell you all that this was indeed the highlight of my day and I’d like to tell you about it.
Behold. The frank from Ben’s extremely commercial, Jewish, and Kosher (I guess that’s still Jewish) Deli. Now, you may remember that I wasn’t a fan of another big commercial touristy Jewish deli. (Katz’s Deli) So, I wasn’t incredibly enthused about Ben’s, especially since it is just south of Times Square on 38th and 7th. The place was a little bizarre, and definitely huge and commercial as I feared. However, when I told them I didn’t want to sit down and be waited on, and I only wanted a hot dog at the bar, they looked at me oddly, but were very accommodating. For $9.95 the hot dog comes with a drink, 3 different types of pickles, coleslaw, sauerkraut, and a huge knish. This is an epic deal, especially if you’re poor. A quick side note on the knish: I love this invention. Whichever lovely Jewish man with gorgeous curls invented it must have been a sweetheart.
Let’s get into the weenie details. The dog comes out with ‘kraut on the side and no toppings at all. They only have this odd spicy brown mustard that I’ve never seen, called Gold’s. It is no French’s yellow, but it is pretty good, and I’m a little surprised by it. I applied it with incredible precision, and even added kraut because I was feeling the whole NYC Jewish vibe. The bun is nicely toasted, but maybe a little on the light side, as in I couldn’t see any grill marks or bun browning. That’s a new one: “bun browning.” It sounds like something the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders do as a pre-game warm up routine.
Anyway, the first bite is marvelous, because the snap in this weenie is next level. You can tell there’s some real intestine on the outside of this bad boy and its glorious. There is a strong, 100% beef flavor, that is the tell-tale sign of a high quality frankfurter. This is a pure hot dog. If you are a plain weenie person, I think this would be on the top of your list. One unfortunate thing that happened to me, however, happened over time. Towards the end of eating the hot dog, I got a little tired of the snap. It was as if there was too much casing, and I had to chew through the sausage. This goes to prove that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Moderation in life is key. I didn’t think it could happen with the snap, but it did. I would definitely recommend this weenie, though. “One flaw a mistake does not make,” Yoda once said.
Is eating a hot dog alone at the bar of a huge time square deli sad? Am I a pathetic human being? To the haters I say nay. I say, in the words of Kelly Clarkson, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Unfortunately, eating a ton of hot dogs my eventually kill me. Eh. YOLO.