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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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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Boat Basin Cafe

Up on the Upper West Side there’s this odd little sinkhole close to the water where twenty-somethings like to drink. If you live on the UWS and have any semblance of fun in the daytime when its nice out, you’ve been here. If you don’t live on the UWS but have a friend who lives on the UWS and you have any semblance of fun in the daytime when its nice out, you’ve been here. Furthermore, if you don’t have any friends at all, no connection to the UWS, prefer Beyonce over Rihanna, but have some semblance of fun when its nice out, you’ve still probably been here. Its called the Boat Basin. They serve buckets of Corona, Narragansetts, and most importantly: hot dogs. Y’all know I’m down to descend to spots of lower elevation for a good weenie.

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Bring on the mudslide of chili. Above sits the second “chili-est” dog I’ve ever eaten. The first was a lovely weenie eaten atop the marble bar top of Old Town Bar. Science doesn’t allow for much for chili than that. George A. Hormel himself would be overwhelmed with the amount of chili on this hot dog. I, however, am a tremendous proponent of chili dogs, so my mouth salivated the second this thing was in sight. In fact, I saw a guy next to me order two of them before I knew the restaurant even served hot dogs. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to order two because this was my 4th meal of the day at my 4th restaurant, so I let off on the gluttony gas pedal a bit.

Now, to elaborate on the dog itself. The bun was a bun, that’s about it. The sausage had a smoky flavor, which I think in part was due to the chili. There was very little snap but I could tell the weenie was of good quality, so I was pleased. I ordered mustard on it, but I couldn’t taste it because I was focusing so much on the best part of this weenie: the chili. It had two types of beans!!! Pintos and kindeys floating around in the same primordial soup is something I dreamed about as a child and drew pictures of in art class. It wasn’t too runny, or too spicy, but it was spicy enough. Once cheese was added to the top it was heaven. I wish there was a bowl on the side so that I could dip any part of the hot dog that was uncovered into it. Stellar.

3.75 weenies

P.S. The pickle was dope, too.

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Trademark Burger

The basics. That’s really what livin’ is all about. When something’s not working, we as humans like to go back to the basics and do what we did best for years. Soho went back to the basics last month. They got tired of their tofu vegan fusion with an octopus leg mixed with quinoa and wild herbage con pomegranate fava bean crap, and added Trademark Burger. They serve burgers, dogs, and shakes the American way, no frills, no fancy weird health ingredients. Weenie fans, do you want to know what health is? The dogs are 100% pure grass-fed beef. That’s my health. That’s my fancy. That is my foie gras, and nobody had to force feed a goose, stand in a line of hipsters, or write a food blog to get it. (Oops.)

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It can’t even fit in the bun! The Trademark Dog runs a measly 4 bucks, and comes with ketchup, mustard, and kraut. I found this interesting at first, especially in NYC where the combo is usually just mustard and kraut. Ketchup is an odd addition. But, my friends, here we have something different. The mustard is YELLOW! God Bless America, French’s original yellow mustard is back after a long divorce and happy with it’s original partner, traditional ketchup. Quite honestly, if I had it my way I’d get rid of the kraut, but hey, it’s New York. I have to give major props to the owners/chef of Trademark for using yellow mustard here. It takes courage, and while it may not mean much, I have noticed.

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Now, we must talk about the dog itself. I’m going to go ahead and say it, this is the best quality hot dog I’ve had in Manhattan. First, there is the snap. Far better than the crackle and the pop, this weenie has the snap heard ’round the world with an ability to start wars. Then, there is the flavor. I don’t know what it is about feeding a cow grass, but it makes that cow taste a whole lot better than whatever else it was eating. Beefy juicy excellence oozes from the casing once chomped upon. What I do know is that there is no way I am walking into a cannibal village after eating a bunch of grass. Good lord. The flavor and the snap put together make this a very high quality weenie that I highly recommend.

4.5 weenies

Is this the reigning king?! Did Trademark overtake the Cannibal? Alas, it did not. But it came very close. It would have been nice to have a more toasted bun, or the option of some sort of chili. I know, I don’t like things too fancy, but just a tad more variety could have been nice. The point of this post is that Trademark is an excellent new spot in Soho serving up the basics with perfection. Go there, weenie lovers, and when you do, don’t forget the milkshake. It’ll definitely bring this boy to the yard.

Cheers

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Lucky’s

Red and yellow has never been a good color combination. Its simply too much – too harsh. Who in their right mind would put red and yellow right next to each other? McDonald’s owns that color combination. Someone in marketing decided that was a good idea? Is it supposed to be subliminal messaging? Add the eating smiley face to the mix and it feels like you’re in one of James Bond’s evil villain’s Chinese torture chamber. Quite honestly, the bright colors kept me away from this place, although I’ve seen them all over the city. Then I found out they had hot dogs.

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Not only do they serve hot dogs, but they serve the “Chili Cheese Dog Supreme.” Let me describe how epic of a name that is. They took four of my favorite words, put them in a row, and used them to describe something to eat, which is my favorite thing to do. Why did I ever doubt this place? The weenie came out quickly, piping hot, and the staff was very friendly. The creepy yellow smiley face lights that made up 60 percent of the surface area of the ceiling were definitely not my favorite, but I let it slide once this glorious weenie came into view.

Upon first bite, the first thing I notice is the cheese. This is thick, melted, nacho cheese. It is a little richer than the melted Kraft singles I’ve enjoyed before, and I’m totally OK with it. It goes together quite nicely with the chili all over the dog. In fact, it is nestled within the dog because the dog split in half. Poor dog. Normally, I’m not a split in half kind of guy but in this case there is so much chili and cheese its almost necessary to keep the slop within the bounds of the bun. I shouldn’t call the chili slop – that sounds like something in a pig trough. This chili is a stew of beefy goodness only kings should have access to. If they sold this in cans, my pantry would have already collapsed from the weight of the copious amounts of chili I would buy. If I had an Jewish friend who chose to break Kosher rules one time in his life, I would feed him this chili. Oh, they put some onions on it, too.

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The bun is supportive of its contents, thick, and well-toasted. I’m about 84% sure it is a potato roll, but for some reason I can’t tell because the whole room is yellow from the ceiling lights. I know the frank is a Hebrew National, because it is advertised as such. It is an average sausage, and cutting it in half does always eliminate the snap. However, no snap here is not a problem because the focus was totally on the chili and cheese. I kind of wish there was no onion, but it didn’t hurt the overall taste at all because the chili was so on point. Lucky’s advertises the chili as Angus, so I can infer that it is imported. As an importer/exporter, I can respect the decision to import from Texas here. Hook ’em horns.

3.75 weenies

What just happened? Three quarters of a weenie? That’s right folks, I was so torn here that I brought in the quarter weenie. Behold a revolution. Trust me, it will help in the future when there’s 100 of these reviews, I make a list of the best weenies in NYC, and take over the world. Too much?

Cheers

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