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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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.

4.4802 weenies

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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Cheers

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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.

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

@nyweenies     NY Weenies Facebook

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The Bearded Lady: Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve. Rather than get in the Christmas spirit by listening to Christmas music, baking cookies, and stuffing socks full of useless trinkets, I am choosing to write about a hot dog. The story of this hot dog, in my opinion, truly embodies the spirit of Christmas. It all began on a Saturday morning. I had purchased a Santa suit in preparation to run a 4 mile race called the jingle bell jog, where my plan was to don the suit and attempt to make it across the finish line with my coworkers. Given that I write about a hot dog once a week, y’all know I can’t be in great shape. Well, Saturday morning race day comes along, and I wake up to multiple missed calls and texts. It is 10 minutes to race time and there is no way I make it to Brooklyn on time. Epic fail. Rather than stay in and sulk, however, I make it out to Brooklyn to participate in the post race bar crawl. Part of that bar crawl took place at a bar called the Bearded Lady, which, by some sort of Christmas miracle, served hot dogs. Santa is real, and he presented me with this gift even though I was a bad boy. No coal this time, just a weenie for me. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, indeed.

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Behold the Chicago dog. As I’ve mentioned before, Chicago dogs are great, but usually mood weenies. What is a mood weenie? Every once in a while, you get in a strange mood and crave chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, right? Imagine that chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is a Chicago dog. It’s not your go-to, but when you’re in a weird mood, it’s money. Luckily, given the events of the morning prior, I was in a weird mood, and a Chicago dog called my name. Chicago dogs are essentially gardens on top of sausages. You have your tomatoes, pickles, onions, peppers, and most importantly mustard. My favorite part about the Chicago dog is the way the yellow mustard (always yellow, obviously) interacts with the pickle to form this graceful, harmonious marriage that is most definitely legal everywhere in the US except for Alabama.

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Now, remember, we are in Brooklyn, so this is not a traditional Chicago dog. We have here a very thin toasted bun which allows for emphasis on the toppings. The toppings are diced up and covered in black pepper, which is very rare for a Chicago dog. In fact, I’ve never seen this before. It is almost as if there is some form of pico de gallo adorning the sausage. I have to say it works very well. Then, the weenie itself. Let me give a shout out again to the Brooklyn Hot Dog Co,  serving up another delicious sausage. They are long, tasty, and of incredible quality. I still long for a little more snap, but definitely some of the best sausages around. This is a very bold weenie, at a very bold place, with very bold cocktails. I highly recommend both the bar and the hot dog they serve. If you’re ever near Prospect Park, this is a great rest stop to shoot some pool and enjoy a cocktail and a dog.

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Now, in honor of Christmas, a poem. This is a mashup of some of your favorite Christmas hits, entitled “Hot Dogs for Thee”.

On Dasher, on Dancer, on Schnippers, Papaya

On Comet and Cupid, The Cannibal and Rudy’s

A hot dog comes for thee, oh yum yum yum yum

A king weenie we seek, oh yum yum yum yum

Deck the halls with loads of weenies

Fatty fatty fat, we get so fat

A hot dog comes for thee, oh yum yum yum yum

A king weenie we seek, oh yum yum yum yum”

From the middle of my heart (the bottom makes no sense), thanks for all of the support in 2015. See you in 2016, as there are still many weenies to try! God bless you all and have a wonderful holiday! 

Cheers

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Humboldt & Jackson

Well, I found myself in Brooklyn again. This time was far enough away that I caught people giving me funny glances as I walked around the streets. While it is in Williamsburg, it is definitely in the back of Williamsburg. Back here is where the Wicked Witch of the West summers. The rat from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a place here. Have you seen PeeWee’s Big Adventure? This is where Large Marge lives. However, nestled within this barrio is a little taquito of holiness called Humboldt and Jackson, serving up excellent All-American drinks and snacks. It’s crafty.

  
Before I get into the deliciousness that is pictured above, let me start out by saying that these guys serve something called “beer cheese fondue”. I cannot name a single time in life where if that was on the menu I wouldn’t order it. It was amazing, and I highly recommend it. Beer is good, cheese is good, and fondue is fun to say in a french accent with a beret on. Beer cheese fondue is a fantastic invention. (Maybe they should put some of it on a hot dog.)

Now, the weenie itself. The Chili Verde Dog. H&J is all about small market beers, and they keep constant with that theme in their hot dogs. The weenie itself is from Brooklyn Hot Dog Co., a local sausage maker. If I knew that was a profession that I could tell a guidance counselor in elementary school, it would have been on the top of my list. Not only is it local, it tastes damn good. Note to self, I need to visit the weenie factory soon. Then, laid gracefully on top of the dog is the chili verde. This is certainly a first for me, and a pretty unique, hipster-y topping. I am definitely a fan of it, but I’m not so sure it should be on a hot dog. If you’ve ever eaten flautas, this hot dog is essentially flautas plus a sausage. There are some mexican soft cheeses and diced onions on top as well that help cut the spice of the chili verde. The bun is toasted with care, and they even stuck a little American flag in it. How perfect is that? 

  
Obviously I enjoyed it. The weenie in general was kind of like that kid that you stay friends with only because he is interesting. You don’t want to hang out with him all the time, but every once in a while he provides a little spark to your drab, meaningless, mundane existence. Pop some chili verde on that bad boy and that’s the personality you’ll get in the dog. Good, but not great. Mexican, but American. Sauce, but not salsa. Ornate, not elegant.

3.5 weenies

I would also like to point out that I did not plan on coming to this establishment, nor did I know they had hot dogs. I was more than pleasantly surprised with the place in general and the fact that they had a gourmet hot dog on the menu. They specialize in beer and wine pairings and everything that they serve was really good. Go there. 

On a more serious note, what has 100 teeth and eats wieners? A zipper…

Cheers

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Rosamunde Sausage Grill

Where Brooklyn at?!?! That’s right, folks. The hills are alive with the sausages of Brooklyn. Quite honestly I went into this review with very few expectations. I had no idea what I was getting into, and all I really knew was that sausages and beer were a featured partnership in this establishment. Nothing else has to be said. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do. So, without further delay I put on my most ironic outfit, tightest pants, and glasses that are absolutely unnecessary for my vision and hopped on the L train. What a scene.

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24 beers on tap. 20 different sausages. In the heart of Williamsburg, Rosamunde not only offers a variety of high quality weenies and libations, it also exudes a great vibe. It certainly embodies classic Brooklyn stereotypes, but they are the good stereotypes and they are subtle. For example, they have two TV’s, each playing a different movie the entire time we were inside. One TV had Sammy Davis Jr. and Tony Bennett twirling cute little umbrellas and hanging from windows. The other featured a bloody, murderous Chinese man smiling and playing a ukulele. Similar, I suppose. The beer selection was as crafty as it gets, and super high quality. These beers were all top of the line and rare. I ordered a La Fin du Monde by Unibroue. What an incredible beer. It is 9 percent alcohol and has this golden caramel hue that has previously only been seen in Twix commercials. Find this beer now and consume it. I don’t care what you’re doing, it will be worth it. Driving? In church? Having a baby? Stop and drink this beer. It will be worth it.

I digress, my apologies, this is a hot dog blog. The best sausage was said to be the cheddar brat. I ordered it with chili and onions, then added some spicy brown mustard at the condiment stand. No yellow was available. I don’t know what it is about New York, but people really don’t appreciate yellow mustard as much as they should. This was the best looking weenie I’ve reviewed yet. Literally, this was the juiciest sausage that has ever juiced. The bun was this massive powdery floury thing that I was very unfamiliar with at first but eventually came to love. Kind of like SSBD’s. (Short sleeved button downs).

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Oh my. Ohhhhh my. That’s a sausage. I enjoyed that.

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NY Weenians, let me tell you, this cheddar brat was incredible. Juicy, flavorful, beautifully cooked, great chili, sweet onions, floury bun, infused with cheddar cheese, etc. etc. The list goes on and I will honestly say that this was the best sausage I have reviewed yet. But that is the problem. It was a sausage. This was technically not a hot dog. I can’t, as a hot dog fan and as an American, lie to the people and even give this a rating. I’m sorry to all that I’ve disappointed, but I can’t, “I just can’t even.”

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However, I am not lying when I say I loved Rosamunde. I will absolutely be back and it will be incredible again. Go there if you have any sense of decency. Whatever you’re doing, stop, and go there. It will be worth it. Mowing grass? Riding a pony? Watching the WWE? Stop at Rosamunde. It will be worth it.

Cheers

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